Social Media Marketing for SF Bay Businesses

By 2015, it is estimated that 30% of all internet searches will be done by people who are looking for something locally. That is to say, consumers in your area are looking for your local business or its products/services.

Your potential customers are using their smartphones or their computers/tablets to research, find, and purchase local products/services. If you aren’t in their local search results, you’re losing sales. You know the old saying – “Out of sight, out of mind.” That definitely applies to local businesses.

Is creating a website and having an online presence for your local business really worth it? Here are some things to consider about your customers.

Local Consumers Search Locally First

Shoppers use local searches to find what they want to purchase and where they want to purchase it. To maximize sales, businesses need a website that shows up in the search engines and local search results.

  • 85% of consumers search for local business information online rather than in a phone book.
  • 61% of local searches result in a purchase.
  • In the U.S., there are over 3 billion local searches per month.
  • 59% of consumers say they use Google search on a monthly basis (or more) to find good local business.
  • Almost 50% of all searches on Google are local. This is expected to rise to 60% within the next 12 - 15 months.
  • 18% of local searches lead to sales, compared to 7% for non-local searches.
  • More than 60% of consumers have used location information in ads.

Local Mobile Shoppers

Shoppers use mobile devices such as smartphones and computers/tablets to perform their local searches for businesses and products/services. Shoppers who use mobile devices more also buy more so it literally pays to have a business website that is mobile friendly and buyer friendly.

  • 77% of mobile searches occur at home or work, while 17% on the go.
  • 79% of smartphone owners use their smartphones to assist with shopping at least once a month or more.
  • 90% of smartphone shoppers use their phone for pre-shopping activities such as:
    • Find location/directions (58% )
    • Find hours (57%)
    • Make price comparisons (44%)
    • Find promo offers (44%)
    • Browse (43%)
    • Find where specific products are sold (32%)
    • Find product information (31%)
    • Find product availability in-store (31%)
    • Find product reviews (30%)
  • 84% of smartphone shoppers use their devices to help shop while they are actually in a store.
  • Of these, 82% use a search engine to find additional information about a product, while 62% go straight to the store's website.
  • When doing their pre-buying research, 65% of in-store shoppers prefer to view mobile sites rather than use an app to get the information they’re looking for.
  • 3 of 4 mobile searches lead to at least 2 customer actions such as more research, a store visit, a phone call, a purchase or info sharing.
  • These follow-up actions also happen very quickly. 55% of conversions (store visit, phone call or purchase) happen within an hour.
  • 28% of mobile searches result in conversions such as a store visit, call, or purchase.
  • When people use mobile searches to help them make a decision about a business, product, or service, they are:
    • 57% more likely to visit a store
    • 51% more likely to make a purchase
    • 39% more likely to call a business
    • 30% more likely to visit a retailer website.
  • Mobile Advertising, which essentially requires a business to have its own website, is effective:
    • 65% of respondents noticed ads during the study
    • 59% of people find mobile ads useful
    • Computer/tablet users say it’s most important to have the store address and phone number in ads.
    • Smartphone users say it’s most important to have directions and the call button on ads.
    • 34% of consumers on tablets or computers will go to a store within a day of conducting a local search.

Yelp and Online Reviews

  • 93% of people who research using reviews buy the items from the site where the review was found.
  • 72% of consumers consider online reviews just as trustworthy as personal recommendations.
  • 90% of Yelp users say positive reviews affect their buying.
  • 51% of Yelp users make their purchase decisions after visiting the site.
  • While Yelp visitations don’t always result in action, users report that 93% of the time, it may result in making a purchase from a local business.

Google+/Google My Business Pages

Having a Google+ Business Page or Google Places page, now called Google My Business, will make it easier for users to locate your business. Google My Business incorporates many of Google's Apps into one area, making it easier for business owners to grow and manage their businesses with a variety of tools and statistics.

  • 60% of Google+ 540 million active monthly users, log in every day compared to Twitter, where 50% of users log in daily.
  • After a local search, 86% then go to Google Maps to look up a business address.

Local searches and mobile buying are on the rise. Take full advantage of online and mobile marketing to be top of mind to your potential customers.

Top 3 Online Marketing Statistics for Local Businesses

Learn 6 Proven Strategies to Attract Your Ideal Clients with Social Media Marketing >>

Creating content is often the most difficult part of online marketing. We know our business and we know what we want to say… yet taking the time to put it down on “paper” without getting stuck on editing and self-criticism can be challenging.

Once you have gone through all the hard work of writing a great article, get the most of out it by strategically using this content over again and again -- otherwise called, Repurposing.

Get the most out of your marketing investment, both time and money, by leveraging what you have already created into different formats both offline and online.

Here are some ideas for getting the most out of your content:

1. Post Your Article On Your Website

This may seem like a no-brainer, but just in case, make sure this is done first. Your article can be used as a blog post, added to your FAQ’s, or added as an additional web page. Ask your web developer or marketing coach for advice on the best place to add the content on your website.

2. Send an Email Newsletter

Stay top of mind with your email list, the people who are mostly likely to buy from you (and repeatedly), by emailing them twice a month. One email can have a short update and current promotion. Your other email can include the first portion of your article with a link back to your website to read the rest.

This strategy gets them to your blog where they can take further action, including sharing your post with their contacts, or buy one of your products or services.

3. Post the Link to Your Content in a LinkedIn or Facebook Group

Find appropriate social media groups that include your target market, potential strategic alliances, or people in your industry in other locations. By sharing helpful information, you will brand yourself as an expert in your field, as well as a helpful marketer.

4. Create a PDF or Handout of Your Article

Keep handouts available for your local customers, or when you are in front of prospects. Each article can have a blurb at the end with a complimentary offer to increase your email list, traffic to your location, or more calls from prospective buyers.

5. Create Social Media Posts

Small business owners can easily setup their own social media profiles, but then what? Social media marketing is only effective if consistent, relevant information reaches your targeted audience.
Break up your content into soundbites for social media and add appropriate images and hashtags to increase your reach.

6. Create a Slideshow

Split up your content into slides, add graphics, and you can create a slideshow to upload to SlideShare or even use in a workshop or presentation.

7. Create an Infographic

Infographics, visual representations of facts, do not have to be about statistics. They can be created to feature tips, a list, or steps. In fact, every point of your article can be a section on an infographic. Hire a graphic designer to create one for you or use a site like Piktograph to create your own.

8. Record a Podcast or Radio Station

Use your content as the main focus for a podcast or radio station. You can read your article like a script, or use it as starting point for discussion with guests on your show.

9. Record a Video

Similar to an audio recording, you can use your article as a script on a teleprompter and create a video blog (vlog). You can also use the slideshow you created and record voiceover audio. Use software like Camtasia or Animoto to combine the two files.

10. Create an eCourse to Grow Your Email List

Take your content and split it into chunks to create an ecourse. Add details, images, examples, or stories to each section to lengthen the course.

Use an email program that has a “marketing automation” feature to automate your eCourse. Once a person signs up, the program will automatically send them each lesson at the pace you setup. Popular lead generation software like Hubspot and Infusionsoft have this option, as well as Mailchimp.

11. Bundle Your Content Into a Kindle Book, Report, or Self-Published Book

Once you have a collection of related articles, gain the most credibility as an industry expert by publishing a book. Choose the right format, hire an editor, a book layout designer, and if needed, a publisher.

These are only a handful of suggestions on how you can leverage your content Every time you write an article, use it as many ways as you can to increase your visibility and credibility as a thought leader and industry expert.

Learn 6 Proven Strategies to Attract Your Ideal Clients with Social Media Marketing >>

What do you do when you are so busy that you have no time to maintain an effective social media campaign for your business?

Social Media Consultant or Assistant
Hire the right social media manager for your business needs.

First: Take a look at the health of your business today.

Can your business handle more clients? How is your sales pipeline? Do you have a backlog of people to follow up with or is it empty? Are your administrative tasks handled in a timely fashion or do you find it overwhelming and draining?

Also, why do you want to maintain a social media campaign? Is it necessary to your business? Is it just for fun? Is it just because everyone else says you “must be” on social media?

After you've determined that it is necessary—and especially if you are regularly maintaining one but it is not effective and you are not receiving any clients from it, your best option might be to outsource and hire either a social media manager or an assistant.

Determine if You Need a Consultant or an Assistant

Do you:

  • Already understand social media and have a plan in mind,
  • Need someone to handle the data entry and scheduling of the posts,
  • Have additional administrative tasks that need to be completed?

I recommend hiring an assistant who is familiar with social media.

This person can be an employee or an off-site or virtual assistant (VA). A social media assistant performs social-media related tasks delegated by you or by your social media manager.

Since VAs vary widely in depth of experience, sometimes there can be real crossover between the two, especially after you and your social media VA have worked together for some time. But knowing which type of social media assistant you need before you look for one will help you get exactly the type of help you need. (The difference in what you pay a true social media manager and a social media VA can be a wide gap, too.)

Do you:

  • Want someone to guide you in creating effective social media campaigns,
  • Want to integrate your other marketing strategies (email, SEO, referrals, print, etc.) with social media,
  • Already have an administrative assistant, but social media marketing is not in their skillset?

I recommend hiring a social media consultant to handle the the strategy based on your business goals and manage the assistants to implement the campaign.

A social media consultant would be responsible for:

  • Recommending the most effective social media strategy for your business' goals and objectives,
  • Consulting with you on what your buyers want to know before they hire you,
  • Increasing awareness and reach of your brand on social media,
  • Creating a targeted strategy for your social media content,
  • Ensuring your social media communications reach the most targeted audience possible,
  • And Increasing leads from your social media campaign.

A social media consultant also manages social media assistants —both yours and hers.

For example, each of our clients are assigned a team of assistants from our agency: the Social Media Strategist, a Project Coordinator, the Social Media Manager, and a Social Media Advertiser.

A social media assistant is typically responsible for:

  • Checking and monitoring your social media accounts,
  • Scheduling and uploading posts created by you,
  • Answering common questions on your behalf,
  • And other tasks you assign to him or her.

A social media consultant is the best person to hire when you are serious about developing and implementing an effective social media strategy that will generate leads for your business.

A social media assistant is the best person to hire if you are simply too busy to enter pre-scheduled posts to Hootsuite or Buffer or customize photographs for Pinterest and just want a help with your workload.

Is it time to hire a social media consultant? Here are the signs to look for:

  • You are spending hours on social media every week, leaving money-making tasks undone.
  • You do not have time to create social media tasks to delegate to your assistant.
  • You are inconsistent with maintaining a social media presence, you are not connecting with many people, or you are not attracting your target market.
  • You are not sure which social media sites to focus on and what to post.
  • You absolutely hate using social media. (You find it distracting and a waste of time, even though you know your business needs it.)

If reason number one is your only reason (or your strongest reason), you most likely need to hire an assistant.

If any of the other signs apply to you however, it's time to hire a social media consultant.

Contact us to schedule a complimentary Online Marketing Strategy Session to discuss what your business needs and the next step to start generating online leads. >>

"Does social media really work? What's the ROI?"

Those are the most frequently asked questions I get.

Smart business owners understand that social media isn't actually free. Even when they are not active on it, they understand that to use social media effectively, it takes time and know-how... and they are often busy enough.

Investing your money on an expert may be better idea than investing your own time to become an expert.

Social Media ROI

So how do you measure your ROI for social media?

In Andrew Jenkin's article, Five Questions to Ask About Social Media ROI, Jenkins reminds businesses to ask themselves:

Are we confident about how we measure the results of our current sales and marketing efforts?

Let's start calculating your social media ROI by evaluating your current marketing efforts.

Step 1: Your Current ROI in Marketing

  • Advertising, Online
  • Advertising, Print
  • Advertising, Radio
  • Advertising, TV/Cable
  • Articles
  • Associations
  • Books
  • Catalogs
  • Cold Calls
  • Direct Mail
  • Email
  • Events
  • Newsletters
  • Promotional Products
  • Promotions
  • Public Relations
  • Referrals
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Speaking
  • Social Media
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Trade Shows
  • Walk-in's
  • Other

Step 2: Your Customer's Buying Process

Do you have a sales process? (I hope you do!) Guess what? Your customer has a buying process.

To get the most out of your online marketing, including social media, make sure what you post, facilitates (and even speeds up) your ideal customer's buying process?

  • Do they tend to do research first before they contact you?
  • Do they ask their friends for recommendations?
  • What information do you they need to know before they contact you?
  • What is their preferred way to contact you?

As search engines themselves, social media is a research tool as much as it is a communication tool. How your customers shop will influence your social media investment.

Calculating ROI requires tracking the investment as well as the return. It can be a little tricky to categorize social media in budgeting terms. Instead of forcing it into an existing classification such as advertising, word-of-mouth, SEO, PR, or customer service, make social media an independent category – then you know exactly what you are putting into it.

Step 3: Track Your Return

Ask your customers how they heard of you. Do you know when a client lands on your website from social media? Do you know how many of those website landings result in a sale?

Once you’re confident about your current tracking system, you can calculate and interpret your business's social media ROI from a cold prospect to a hot referral.

In James Clear's article, This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened, he describes the "Aggregation of Marginal Gains".


It’s so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis...

...improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run...

There is power in small wins and slow gains. This is why average speed yields above average results. This is why the system is greater than the goal. This is why mastering your habits is more important than achieving a certain outcome.


It reminded me of what I heard in marketing seminar once:  Changing the direction of your ship by one percent can bring you to a different continent.

One Percent Shift in Marketing


The 1% Shift in Your Social Media Marketing

How can we apply this concept to social media?  I see so many small business owners get discouraged when they don't see instant results.  Aim for incremental gains instead.

Also, there's a difference between competitive analysis and letting your competitors' statistics stop you from marketing your own business.


Social Media Metrics that Count

Start tracking the following numbers:

  • Traffic to Your Web Site
  • Sources of Traffic
  • Keywords and Number of Searches
  • Followers/Likes on Social Media (tracks brand interest)
  • Email Subscribers (tracks buyer interest)
  • Calls/Emails/In-Store Visits by Potential Customers
  • Sales
  • How Your Customers Found You
  • Length of Buying Cycle
  • Which Social Media & Email Newsletter Your New Customers Follow/Subscribe To
  • Number of Reviews and Average Rating

Note when they are increases (or decreases), and determine what caused that change.  Did paid advertising help?  Was it the content of the post?  Did it have more engagement?

As you pinpoint the most effective online marketing strategies, create tactics to incrementally increase your strengths until your ready to improve one of your weaknesses.


What's the 1% shift you will make in your social media marketing?

One of my goals with social media is to drive traffic to my client's web site. In order to do this, the social media post must be enticing enough to compel a prospect to leave the social media site they're on now and click through to read the rest of the post.

I found this insightful article on the HubSpot blog on the psychology behind Twitter engagement by Lanya Olmsted. Even though it focuses on Twitter, the same principles can be applied to increasing click-throughs on any social media platform.

Psychology & Social Media Click-Throughs


Here are my interpretations of the four psychological theories presented by Olmsted and examples of different social media headlines for one blog post, "3 D's to Drive Referrals" by Brennan Scanlon.


1. Challenge Assumptions

Challenge what your prospects think are true. What are they ignoring? What did they forget? What important step are they missing?


The 3 D's You Might Be Ignoring That Could Drive More Referrals
Do You Have Consistency & Quality in the 3 D's You Need to Drive Referrals?


2. Appeal to the Ego

Appealing to the go is the opposite of challenging assumptions. What do your prospects identify with? What are they already great at and would still improve?


The 3 D's Great Networkers Excel at to Drive Referrals


3. Benefit

This psychological theory is the easiest one for me to write on. What do your prospects get from reading your blog post? What do they learn? How will this improve their lives?


Drive More Referrals and Revenue with The 3 D's


4. Need

The Hubspot article suggested using the words "ought" and "should". I hate using the word "should". I think it has a manipulative intent that prays on someone's self-worth.

Instead use the words "need" or "recommend".


The 3 D's You Need Have to Drive Referrals


Bonus Tip: Use Keyword Rich Blog Post Titles

Some bloggers make the mistake of creating cute or funny blog titles. Instead, save that for your social media posts and use keyword phrases that your prospects search for.


Your Turn

Do you agree on how I interpreted the four pscyhologcial theories that Olmstead presented? What examples would you add?

Try these exercises whenever you're writing social media posts and comment below with a link to where you used it. I would love to see how you're putting these ideas into action.


A version of this post was previously published on Ludlow Media's blog, Video as a Master Format.

Effective content marketing depends on providing a consistent flow of content to your customers. The problem most business-owners face is how to create that content at a pace that suits their content marketing strategy — without compromising quality.

At Ludlow Media, we are trying to change the way businesses approach their content marketing by using video as a master format. We build our production process around this approach to make video the most efficient tool for any content marketing strategy.

All of the content you need for a full, diverse content marketing strategy can be found in a video if you approach video as a master format. Videos are very content-rich. They combine images, sound, and writing in the form of a script.

Take advantage of the density of video by breaking it down to its component parts and generating content from those parts:

  • The audio can be put out as a podcast,
  • the script can be turned into a blog with minimal tweaking, and
  • the images we use can be turned into infographics.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. A video producer specializing in content marketing, such as Ludlow Media, can yield up to 4 videos and 32 pieces of content in just one visit to their studio.

Repurpose & Distribute Video Content

Get the maximum amount of content, utilizing a minimal amount of you and your key people’s time.


About Rhys Ludlow

Rhys Ludlow, Video ProducerRhys is the Founder and CEO of Ludlow Media. He has spent the past 25 years in marketing communication and corporate training as an entrepreneur, consultant, director and content producer. He has helped hundreds of private and public organizations communicate their marketing & training messages clearly and effectively using video, web and print communication.

He has received numerous awards including Platinum and Gold Ava Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), the prestigious Telly Award and an ITVA Golden Vision Award. He is a certified Inbound Marketing Professional.

Follow Rhys on Google+ or on Twitter.

If you are like many professionals, you have a lot of connections on LinkedIn. Many of them you know, many of them you may have met in passing and they wanted to connect with you.

The benefits of being on LinkedIn are growing, and one of those benefits is the possibility of growing your referral network through it.

LinkedIn Neworki

Expanding Your Referral Network

  • Do you have gaps in your contact sphere?
  • Does your Top 12 feel like a a Top 5?
  • Are you unable to invite visitors to your networking group because you’ve “run out” of people to invite?

Figure out some professions you want to connect with, and then search in LinkedIn to find people in your area in those professions.(Hint: use the ‘Advanced’ search feature with keywords and locations.)

When you find someone who has a profile that interests you and may be a potential referral source, find out who is connected to them and ask for an introduction.  Even better, call your mutual contact and ask for the introduction rather than waiting and hoping they check their LinkedIn messages.

When you get that introduction, invite the person to coffee or to a networking event to get to know them and start your new possible referral relationship.

About Cory NottCory Nott, Referral Marketing Coach

Cory is the Co-Owner and a Referral Marketing Coach for Referral Institute Oakland. His mission is to support entrepreneurs in developing their true potential and build the business they dream of through coaching, consulting, and training in referral marketing.

Follow Cory on Google+ or on Twitter.

This post was previously published on the Fortune Marketing Company blog.


At first glance, Pinterest can befuddle. To the new user it appears to be nothing but a screen of random photos. The experienced, however, see it as an elegantly designed photo-sharing site optimized for planning and inspiration.

Pinterest is a powerful social media tool for small businesses, increasing brand recognition, website traffic, and sales.

The statistics are phenomenal:

  • By 2011, Pinterest drove more traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+
  • 81% of U.S. women who spend time online trust Pinterest for information and advice
  • 70% of those on Pinterest use it for purchasing inspiration
  • The average Pinterest user has a household income of over $100,000

Pinterest is undeniably a muscular business tool. But, how do you apply it? 

Four Steps to Leveraging Pinterest for Your Business

Fine Floorz on Pinterest

1. Make Your Business Visual

Document your products, services, and staff with your smart-phone camera, or hire a professional photographer or videographer. Then use those images to promote your business on Pinterest.

Create boards to showcase your company’s before and after photos, how-to information, case studies, and reviews.

Develop a special offer just for your Pinterest followers, like a coupon or free report.

2. Know Your Target Market

Pinning photos and videos about your services and products is just the beginning of leveraging Pinterest for your business. The next step is to create boards highlighting your target market’s other interests.

If you’re representing a flooring company, as an example, begin with boards that feature hardwood, tile, and carpet. Next, create boards on dream homes, remodeling, design ideas, house cleaning tips, organization, recipes, or whatever will draw your target market to your site.

Researching your target market will help you create a successful Pinterest strategy specifically, and an overall marketing strategy in general.

3. Drive Traffic to Your Website

Write content for your website on the topics you have chosen. This can be blogs, articles, reports, FAQ’s, or videos. After you post that content on your site, upload the featured image to Pinterest. Even better, include the name of your content on the image, like this example:

Make sure you include keywords, descriptions, and hashtags in your board titles. Verify your website with your Pinterest account by going to your Pinterest Settings page and clicking on the Verify Website button. This will increase your Pinterest’s profile credibility and trust with your followers.

4. Remember, Pinterest is Social

Pin consistently and pin during peak times. Just as with all marketing platforms, to be effective, you must use Pinterest consistently. Scheduling software such as is a convenient way to schedule your pins in advance. Because most people suggest pinning 3 to 10 images a day, pre-scheduling pins allows you to consolidate your marketing time.

Pinterest users are most active in the evenings and on weekends. Schedule the majority of your pins for those times.

Putting the power of Pinterest to work for you is an amazing way to build your business. Remember, though, that advertising yourself 24/7 gets tiresome for your followers. Therefore, when you pin, blend content from both your own site and other business sites.

Social media is social – engage with your followers. Share pins from their boards, comment on their pins, and thank them for sharing yours.

Posting your business on Pinterest is a great way to increase your brand recognition, website traffic, and sales. In four steps, you can be successful on Pinterest: be visual, know your target market, create content on your website, and be social.

Twitter is celebrating its 8th birthday with a new site where you can discover the very first thing you tweeted. You can also search other accounts to find their first tweets.

My #FirstTweet is probably what everyone thinks the first time!

Follow @GailNott on Twitter
Follow @GailNott on Twitter

Twitter's campaign is a great example of involving your online audience in your company's celebrations. Think about your own business. What do you have coming up?

Are you launching a new service? Hiring a new employee? Celebrating a milestone anniversary?

Next, brainstorm ideas on how to get others involved. Where do you have the largest, most engaged audience? What's a popular activity to do on that site?

For example, if your largest and most engaged audience is on Facebook, you could create an Event and invite all of your fans. Ask them to post their favorite photos of what you do and invite their friends.

If your best audience is on LinkedIn, create a group, invite your clients, vendors, and staff, and create a networking community to serve them.

Involving your online community into your company's celebrations help form a lasting bond with quality clients you love to serve.


Find your first tweet here:

And Happy Birthday Twitter!


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