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2019

Organic marketing on Facebook means it’s free to reach your target audience. In other words, no advertising costs.

 

Back in the ‘good old days’ of 2008 to 2013, we could reach as much as 300 percent of our audience. How was that even possible?

 

With the viral nature of the Facebook news feed, you could publish a piece of content on your business page and your audience would immediately start engaging with it and sharing. This would often result in your content taking flight and reaching a much wider audience than just those who liked your page.

 

Once Facebook became a public company in 2012, the organic reach started to plummet. In fact, this chart by Social@Ogilivy shows a 50 percent decline in organic reach in the five months between October 2013 to February 2014.

 

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Even though that sharp decline happened five years ago, many small business owners are stuck marketing like it’s 2012. They see their business posts not getting as much reach and engagement, so they try publishing more content. Instead of posting once a day, they’ll post four times a day.

 

This strategy is terribly counterproductive.

 

Over-publishing content on Facebook can hurt your reach and even your reputation. Why? Because the algorithms are trained to seek out popular content and give it more reach. I’m sure you’ll agree, this is rather unfair.

 

How can you get more reach if you can’t get engagement?

 

The good news is there are proven methodologies. It is absolutely still possible to create very successful organic marketing on Facebook!

 

3 simple steps to successful organic marketing on Facebook

 

1. Focus on the ROI of each post.

 

Rather than increasing the volume of your Facebook posts, publish fewer pieces and focus on the ROI of each. Everything starts with exceptional content. Without compelling content, there is nothing with which your audience can engage. Without regular content on your Facebook page, it’s like you’re sending the message that you’re not really open for business and don’t care about your audience. And, of course you do. So, it is best to publish quality content 3 to 5 times per week. If you can manage it, go for once per day.

 

    • TIP: Review your Facebook Page Insights and look back over the past year or so of posts. Which posts got the best reach? What format – video, pictures, links –  resonates most with your audience? Is there a day and time to which your audience responds best?

 

2. Create and publish more video content.

 

The Facebook algorithms favor video content more than other posts. And, Facebook Live video broadcasts get six times the engagement of recorded video. You should publish a mix of both recorded and live videos. My recommended content ratio for 2019 is 70 percent video posts, 20 percent image posts and 10 percent link posts. Video and image posts can still include links and CTAs (calls-to-action). BuzzSumo recently analyzed over 777 million Facebook page posts and concluded that video is indeed the most engaging content type.

 

    • TIP: Create a variety of videos in these categories:
      • 15-second square videos for use on Facebook and Instagram. These are ideal to publish as a ‘teaser’ with a link to your blog posts and articles. They are also ideal for boosting and using as paid placement when you do allocate a budget. See examples on my Facebook page here and here.
      • 15-second vertical videos for Facebook and Instagram Stories. Make sure you’re including Stories in your marketing mix for 2019. This is a rapidly growing area that small businesses need to understand.
      • 3-minute videos in landscape or square for all social channels. Facebook considers videos over 3 minutes as ‘long form,’ which the platform needs in order to eventually place 15-second ad breaks.
      • 18- to 25-minute episodic videos. These can be recorded or broadcast live and ideally published on the same day each week as part of a show format. Your show-style videos could be featured in the Facebook Watch platform as a result.

 

 

3. Encourage meaningful engagement.

 

This can include adding polls to your video content, asking your audience questions and incentivizing user-generated content. Invite your audience to submit suggestions, examples, case studies, etc. You could also periodically host a contest on your Facebook business page to generate an increase in engagement. The Facebook algorithms give significant priority to posts that generate engagement - reactions, comments and shares. The sweet spot is being able to spark conversation among your audience members. In other words, having your followers chat with one another.

 

    • TIP: Link your Facebook business page to a group. Some of the most successful Facebook pages also offer a free group where members can connect more deeply. I offer several groups on my Facebook Page, two of which are public and free and another two are for paying course members. Another great example is the wildly popular Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk with over 4.5 million followers of the show and a linked group with over 458k members. Granted this is a celebrity show and companion group. However, there’s a great deal here from which small businesses can learn.

 

One more exciting component to add to the mix for your 2019 Facebook organic marketing plans: Watch Parties!

 

I am most excited about this feature. It first came out in July 2018 just to groups, but it is now available on personal profiles and business pages. The idea is you can host any public video, or a playlist of multiple videos, for your audience. It’s very different than sharing a video, because everyone watches the video at the same time, essentially as if it were live.

 

You can use the Watch Party feature to showcase your own content, or related content. Find out more with an actual demo on my Facebook page along with this Facebook help section.

 

Want to read more of my tips about marketing your small business on Facebook?  Check out my other content on this site.

 

 

You can read more articles from Mari Smith by clicking here

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

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Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Is there any element of business ownership changing faster than marketing? Keeping up with marketing trends can feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be if you focus on the basics.

 

Here are seven brand and marketing resolutions every small business owner should make – no matter the time of year.

 

Resolution 1: “I will develop a marketing plan.”

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A shotgun approach to marketing—a couple of Facebook ads here, some blog posts there—won’t get you far. With so many options for how to market your business, making the most of your precious marketing budget requires a strategic approach and a well-thought-out marketing plan.

 

 

Download themarketing plan guidefrom SCORE.

 

Resolution 2: “I will maximize my online presence.”

 

Your business website is just one element of your business’s overall online presence. That presence also includes local search directories, social media accounts, ratings and review sites, and online advertising. Make sure your website looks modern, loads fast and is optimized for SEO and mobile use. (You can test your mobile site’s speed here.) Keep your listings on directories up to date. Monitor ratings and reviews to respond quickly to any negative feedback.

 

  • Tip: A strong social media presence on one site is better than a half-hearted presence on all of them.

 

Check out our Small Business Owner’s Guide to Social Media.

 

Resolution 3: “I will listen to my customers.”

 

There’s no excuse for not knowing what your customers are thinking. Use “social listening” tools such as Reputology, Mention, ReviewTrackers or Hootsuite to pay attention to what people are saying online about your business. Review your website analytics and social media analytics to see where your customers are coming from and how they engage with you. Conduct surveys by email or online—tools such as SurveyMonkey make this simple to do.

 

  • Tip: Don’t forget the power of actually talking to your customers face-to-face to see what’s on their minds.

 

Read more from Rieva on why listening to social media can grow your business.

 

Resolution 4: “I will nurture my email list.”

 

Ignore email at your peril: It remains the single most effective marketing method for small businesses, generating higher ROI than any other marketing channel for 10 years running. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of consumers prefer to get promotional messages via email.

 

  • Tip: Use every opportunity to expand your email list—ask customers to sign up at the point of purchase, on your website home page, on social media or in person. Then use email segmentation and automation tools to deliver personalized messages tailored for each customer’s interests.

 

Learn more about cleaning up your e-mail marketing list.

 

Resolution 5: “I will cultivate customer loyalty.”

 

Are you so focused on getting new customers that you’re ignoring the potential of those you already have? Getting existing customers to buy more is easier (and more cost-effective) than convincing prospective customers to give you a try. Use customer data to pinpoint your most valuable customers based on customer lifetime value.

 

  • Tip: Implement loyalty programs to target your most valuable customers with personalized offers and sell more to them.

 

Learn my 7 best email marketing ideas to build customer loyalty.

 

Resolution 6: “I will explore online video.”

 

Shoppers are “64 percent more likely to buy a product online after watching a video ad and 80 percent more likely to purchase when a landing page includes a video,” according to AdRoll president Scott Gifis. Explainer videos, how-to videos, product demonstrations and testimonials are the four most popular types of videos used by businesses—one or more of these should work for yours.

 

  • Tip: Ask your employees to help. One or more may be handy with video and have some great ideas to creatively showcase your offerings.

 

How to use Compelling Video On Social Media for your Small Business

 

Resolution 7: “I will protect my customers’ personal data.”

 

A data breach costs you more than money—it can also cost you customers. More than one-fifth of consumers in Bank of America Merchant Services; 2018 Small Business Payments Spotlight say they would never again shop at a small business that experienced a breach. When usingcustomers’ personal information for marketing, protect it using cybersecurity best practices such as firewalls, complex passwords and compliance with industry standards.

 

  • Tip: Reassure your customers their personal information is safe when they shop with you. They will appreciate your approach to data security.

 

Visit our Fraud and Privacy Resource Center.

 

Making and keeping these resolutions will help you grow in 2019 but be sure to check back here in the Small Business Community for new marketing trends. Nothing in business is changing as quickly as marketing these days.

 

Did I miss any resolutions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

Remember when big box stores like Walmart were seen as the threat to small businesses? Those almost seem like the good old days.

 

Today, the big bogeyman as we all know is Amazon.

 

Amazon has all the benefits of a one-stop shop like Walmart, but even lower prices on many things, and a larger selection, and one big bonus: it’s all just a click away. Amazon

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makes up approximately 50 percent of the e-commerce market– astounding, until you remember that there are about 95 million Amazon Prime users in the U.S. alone. Amazon

 

is a formidable competitor for any small business.

 

I get this question from small business owners all the time:“What can I do to compete with Amazon?” My answer always is the same: “You can’t.”

 

This does not need to be bad news, however.

No, you can’t compete with Amazon and its size and prices and selection, but the good news, the important news, is that Amazon can’t compete with you either, with your personal touch and attention to detail. There are lots of things your business can do that Amazon cannot.

 

That is the secret.

 

Here are a few tips for competing withAmazon – not against – in  a way that is to your best advantage.

 

Do what Amazon cannot.

 

This step is our secret weapon. There are so many things Amazon cannot provide – a comfortable in-store experience, personal service, individual attention, the ability to look a customer in the eye and crack a joke, to name a few. The way to compete with Amazon is to play to these strengths – your strengths – and not theirs.

 

Another way to do what Amazon cannot is to sell things not easily found on Amazon, like local or handmade goods.

 

Something else to consider: Amazon sells everything, right? This might make it seem like they have a monopoly on every possible market. However, what it also means is that they do not have a specialized niche. Amazon is not the leading expert in fabrics, for example. This could be an opportunity. If you dig in and work to make your business a leader in all-things-fabric, then, when someone needs a particular type of fabric, Amazon just may not be the first place they turn to.

 

 

Market your business as local.

 

Back in the day, this was one of the best ways to combat the big boxes. And it is still effective perhaps more so. Especially today, people tend to be very responsive to the idea of supporting locally operated businesses. Marketing your business as “locally owned and operated” or a “family business” can make a huge difference, and one that Amazon cannot compete with.

 

Also, make sure your business is listed in directories of local businesses.

 

Read how local businesses succeed on Facebook and how you can, too.

Learn why local SEO matters more than ever and 4 steps to success.

 

Learn from Amazon.

 

If your business can afford free shipping, do it. Or, what about 2-day shipping? A new service called Ware2Gomakes this option much more feasible for small businesses.

 

Here’s another trick to take from the Amazon playbook: Think about what people love about Amazon. What usually first comes to mind are low prices and convenience. Those are two things (almost) all small businesses should already excel at. Convenience for your business could mean many things – an easily navigable website or online store, friendly and knowledgeable in-house staff ready to help, good signage, a central location with parking, responsive social media, great selection, etc. Amazon can’t compete with those things.

 

Find out 6 ways to add “experiences” in your retail store.

 

Like Google, Amazon has even become a part of our colloquial vernacular: “Just buy it on Amazon” and “I’m sure you can find that on Amazon.” Yes, that is scary, but take a look around and notice all the small businesses still thriving today. “Shop local” is also a thing now too.

 

Last thought: Humans are social creatures. We love, nay crave, personal interaction. Small businesses help fill that need. Can Amazon?

 

No.

 

Tell us how you compete with Amazon in the comments section below.

 

 

About Steve Strauss

 

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Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

The demise of retail has been greatly exaggerated, as the 2018 holiday shopping season proves: 2018 holiday sales soar to 6-year high.

 

Overall, in 2018 physical retail stores enjoyed a net gain of over 10,000 locationscompared to 2017. Over half (51 percent) of small business owners now have e-commerce sites, up 7 percentage points from 2017, according to Bank of America’s 2018 Small Business Payments Spotlight.

 

Whether you sell online, in a store, or both, here are six hot retail trends you should know about for 2019.

 

1. Experiential retail

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Why do consumers still go to brick-and-mortar stores when there are so many convenient online options? According to Oracle, shoppers in all demographics cite the same

top two reasons:

 

1) they don’t want to wait for products to be shipped.

 

2) they want to see, touch and try products before they make a purchase. Retail stores have the

potential to offer an experience that makes browsing and shopping fun.

 

Think of ways to make your store a sensory experience with sight, sound, smell and touch. Hold events like fashion shows or pop-up shops.   

 

2. Buy online, pick up in store

 

During the 2018 holiday season, more than 89 million Americans shopped both online and in-store—an increase of almost 40 percent from the previous year, according to the National Retail Federation. “Buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) orders on Thanksgiving and Black Friday were up 73 percent compared to last year.  Shoppers choose BOPIS to get their products faster and/or to save on shipping costs—but the good news for retailers is that 64percent of people who use BOPIS make an additional purchase once they’re in the store.

 

3. Storefront as a service

 

New retail options are springing up to help e-commerce companies stake their claim in the brick-and-mortar world. Storesreports a project called Re: Storeis expected to launch in San Francisco this spring, offering combined work/retail space for e-commerce companies. Popular co-working space provider WeWork launched its first WeMrkt shop in mid-2018 to sell products to people who work in WeWork’s spaces.

 

4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) /Chatbots

 

According to a survey from BRP Consulting, just 7 percent of retailers currently use AI capabilities such as digital assistance and chatbots. However, 40 percent plan to implement this technology within the next three years. Chatbots can help retail customers overcome obstacles that might delay or prevent purchases, such as problems with product availability or glitches during the checkout process. Consumers are rapidly accepting chatbots for shopping assistance: 20 percent say they would use chatbots to compare products, 18 percent would like bots to help them discover new products, and 10 percent want bots to help them complete their transaction, according to SUMO Heavy.

 

Read Mari Smith’s article, “Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge”

 

5.  Augmented reality

 

Big retailers like IKEA and Gap are using AI technology to create augmented reality (AR) apps shoppers can use to “virtually” try on clothing or see how furniture will look in their homes. (Learn more here: how 10 retailers are using augmented reality.) By 2025, some experts predict augmented realitywill drive $1.6 billion in retail sales annually. Will 2019 be the year augmented reality trickles down to small retailers? With DIY tools like Blippbuilderand Appy Pieto help you create an AR app, the answer is likely “Yes.”

 

6. Transparency/Social responsibility

 

In 2019 consumers will pay attention to retailers’ environmental and socially-responsible activities when deciding where to shop. According to a recent GlobalData survey, 71 percent of consumers consider the environmental impact of products they buy at grocery stores, and 64 percent do the same when shopping for clothing and footwear. How does your retail business demonstrate its commitment to making the world a better place? From environmental sustainability practices to how you treat suppliers, contractors and employees, being transparent about your retail business’s mission, vision and policies will help you attract and keep customers.

 

All told, 2019 looks to be an exciting time for retailers.

 

What trends are you planning to incorporate into your business this year?

Tell us in the comments below.

 

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation

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