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Is Cannabis Marketing Out from the Shadows and into Mainstream Legitimacy?

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Cannabis Marketing Going Legit - Eminent SEO
Marijuana. Legit. Are these two words separate entities or do they belong in a singular phrase? Wishful thinking or the reality in the not-so-far future? Depends on which side of the fence you sit on. But for   those who work within the cannabis industry, it’s legitimate and many advocates and customers can attest to it.

Just by looking at this specific business sector on its own merit, the numbers and associated forecasts for growth not only support a serious consideration but stands to be the next, big, missed opportunity (if you haven’t jumped in with both feet yet). So, whether you’re a grower, wholesaler, distributor, retailer or anyone with an ancillary product, how do you differentiate yourself from competitors? It’s all in the cannabis marketing you do and the way you do it.

Facebook Changed the Dos and Don’ts of Marijuana Marketing, Again

Legal Cannabis Recreational Sales 2021 ArcView Group - Eminent SEOJust when we thought it wasn’t safe to swim with the sharks of Facebook, they actually stepped up to the plate of public outcry and accountability. After listening to their users – and most notably their former platform users – who were up in arms about the recent shadow ban on cannabis marketing, they copped to it.

Before Facebook made changes that support the industry, it prohibited user access to:

  • Marijuana advocacy group pages
  • Cannabis-related events (public and private sectors)
  • Licensed caregiver info for medical marijuana patients
  • Dispensary searches for CBD products
  • Information about new laws or regulations
  • Meetings, conferences and other educational series from cannabis-related associations

While Facebook has theoretically opened its doors to the cannabis community, at least for the time being, individuals, groups and businesses will need to be Facebook compliant in order to come out from the shadow bans effectively and be visible to the community.

The following are the new Facebook guidelines that enable medical marijuana advertising, dispensary marketing and others in the industry to maintain a viral presence:

  • Requires specific Facebook verification for users and pages.
    • Blue Verification Symbol – applies to brands, media and public figures
    • Grey Verification Checkmark – applies to individuals and businesses
  • Verifications allow for ranking/presence in search results.
  • Without verification, individuals, business entities, etc. will be blocked.

So now that you know what the new playing field is for Facebook, where do you go from here for advertising your thoughts, resources and the marketing information that’s pertinent to marijuana-related business?

Agility and Collaboration in Digital Ad Agency and Cannabis Client Partnerships

Digital Ad Agency and Cannabis Client Collaboration - ESEOYou know what you know; now, admit what you don’t know. In marijuana business outreach, there isn’t much room for faking it. Let me illustrate.

Not everyone is comfortable with recreational marijuana – some prefer the use of alcohol. On another parallel, many consumers prefer pharmaceutical drugs compared to CBD oils and other products for relief of health-related symptoms.

But for those who truly don’t understand the obvious faux pas in the advertising copy italicized above or subtle nuances in design for cannabis marketing, you would never know I just stated something that compromised the business. If you know cannabis marketing, you understand. If you don’t, I just made a medical claim about CBD oils. That’s a no-no.

If you are the owner of a dispensary, distribution channel or retail store searching for ways to increase your visibility in the marketplace, knowing the legal limits of your advertising and public relations content is immeasurable.

However, as a digital ad agency with expertise in cannabis marketing, our clients don’t have to know everything. We don’t expect them to. But what we do need from our marijuana-based clientele is a level of collaboration that is transparent and agile. It has to be, because it isn’t just that you’re competing with other dispensaries, other growers, or other advocacy groups, for example; you’re competing against what you can’t see – the black market of the trade.

Much of what is needed to effectively promote within the marijuana mainstream is founded in the same tenets recommended for the advertising agency/client partnership as a whole: It’s all about a relationship of fluidity and collaboration. It might entail more ego-headbutting … but the results are astounding and support building long-term, successful relationships.

Subject Matter Experts Are Worth Their Weight in Gold

Not all weed-related businesses are owned by people who partake in the product. Many don’t even possess the basic knowledge about what’s entailed in the various business verticals within the industry, but they do know numbers and when an investment shakes out as a lucrative endeavor. They might even know marketing. They could have the background in traditional marketing that provides a deep-rooted know-how of the importance in brand story, the need to promote local, the use of trade publications, online communities, and boosting community outreach.

If a marketing company or advertising agency tells you that they know cannabis marketing but don’t have the clients to prove it, don’t just walk away; run!

Marketing Marijuana Is Like Alcohol Branding, Seriously?

This Marijuana Buds For You - Eminent SEOTo pull from a well-known, popular tagline, “This Bud’s for you,” from Anheuser-Busch, imagine using it to promote a specific retail shop that has an exclusive strain of marijuana.

Let’s take it further: This particular product has been known to promote better sleep, though there is no U.S. scientific proof, merely the feedback from those within the cannabis industry who have used it.

Let’s say you’ve got a friend of a friend whose brother-in-law is in this amazing alternative-gone-country band, and the members commit to creating a jingle for this-bud’s-for-you. You can use it in your videos, email campaigns, website and radio campaigns, and maybe even television. I mean, why not? They did it for alcohol, right?

Yeah. So … NOT.

Legal-Ease, No Such Animal in Cannabis Marketing

Cannabis remains prohibitive on the U.S. federal law level. Although alcohol manufacturing, distribution and sales went through its drama decades ago with prohibition, etc., they came out of it and legalized it. Marijuana isn’t there yet … but the industry is changing seemingly on a monthly basis. And because it’s evolving that fast, businesses need to align themselves with marketing agencies that are knowledgeable.

We can also look at this sideways. Marijuana, as a business, is already more legit by the sheer fact that it has a pharmaceutical component to it. Research continues worldwide in uncovering the benefits to patients with various health issues that experience a reduction in symptoms or enhanced well-being due to cannabis use. Alcoholic beverage manufacturers and distributors can never tout that. But we still can’t claim it via marketing efforts either.

Without trademark protections available from the government, competitors within the industry can exercise bad ethical practices without a lot of backlash. In a way, those committed to the cannabis industry are virtual pioneers, navigating through unforgiving mainstream methodologies and advertising pathways yet to be discovered, let alone accepted.

Brand Identity Is Everything

Once you’ve got a handle on the legal and ethical best practices, it’s easier to be able to focus on the creative aspects of branding for cannabis marketing. One major consideration should be made for consumer persona or your audience. Especially in ad campaigns and social strategies that are trying to tug at non-marijuana enthusiasts, your prospects. You have to compete for their interest and convince them to step away from traditional mindsets and explore something new.

In a recent interview with Entrepreneur.com, Cassandra Farrington, Co-Founder and CEO of Marijuana Business Daily, defined the challenge as such, “Mainstream society … they don’t want to feel edgy, they want to feel like it’s as normal as having a glass of wine.” Yes, in the short term, it’s a tall order.

Some use celebrity endorsements to boost brand credibility and awareness, which can carry a lot of weight, but for those not wavered by star status, product quality will always reign supreme in brand loyalty. And celebrity popularity can change with a tweet or two. Though product quality can only be shared through word of mouth, and strategically placed trade communications.

Getting in Front of Your Back Story

Marijuana Plant Grows In Dirt - Eminent SEOKnowing your audience helps you generate your strategy but it also helps you define the overall tone of your campaigns: the language, cadence, look and feel of the copy and design.

If you want to reach baby boomers that are open to alternatives for pain management, what you say and how you say it should be congruent to them and what they care about. Again, you cannot make product claims, per se, but you can exude a lifestyle in your marketing.

If your audience is made up of Generation Z or millennials (especially for recreational use product offerings) create more of a buzz about your brand by providing a compelling story (or back story) about your business. This story could be something unique about the owner, the company mission or vision, or the employees.

What really resonates with the younger audience (over 21 years old only; have to remain compliant) is any story that speaks to sustainability. If you can espouse to lowering the environmental footprint related to the growing, packaging and distribution of the cannabis, that’s the kind of marketing tale that will go a long way.

Check out these 10 cannabis advertising and marketing strategies and see if your current program meets the criteria.

Pick a Niche and Then Be the Source of the Source

While cannabis companies cannot push product like traditional CPG marketing, industry advocacy is the best position to start with to set up for success. Over time and a solid, organic, digital marketing strategy, brand identity, market reach, customer retention and consistent referral business will come. Focus on being “the source of the source” within your market – part advocate/part teacher. Be the quintessential resource and, if possible, pick a specific niche and lead with that.

COO Joe Hodas of General Cannabis, an investment firm, and formerly a high-level Dixie Brands marketing exec, believes that “the increased growth of the overall market will allow niche products to proliferate and thrive.”

Is your cannabis marketing buzzworthy to consumers and referring businesses? We can help.

See How We Help Cannabis Businesses

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Ethical Addiction Treatment Marketing Alternatives to Paid Ads

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Ethical Addiction Treatment Marketing Industry Paid Ad Obstacles - Eminent SEO

Dear Rehab Owners: Beware of Shady Marketers and Lead Generators

I am part of an ethics in addiction treatment group on Facebook. Some of the members are marketers, like me, but most of the members of the group seem to be treatment providers. What they have to say about the shady practices is pretty disturbing, and it goes well beyond digital marketing.

One member asked about the ethics and legalities around addiction treatment marketing, and after reviewing the comments, it was clear that there is still a lot of gray area.

Some acted like all marketing is bad. Others implied that it was how the marketer was paid.

Can You Legally Market Your Addiction Treatment Center?

Marketing is an umbrella term for so many tactics and channels. You’ve got ground marketing, referral partnerships, online advertising, lead generation, traditional and digital forms. You’ve also got branding, content development, local, paid ads, organic, etc. etc.

The problem is all of these are legitimate forms of marketing, yet all can also be easily distorted and manipulated. So, when the law gets involved, they’re not always sure where to draw the line. There is a lot of gray area and the people writing and enforcing the laws don’t always understand the full scope of what’s going on. This leaves a lot of loopholes for anyone looking to scam the system.

Unfortunately, with technology and the law changing so fast, rehab owners can’t keep up with it all. Think about the implications of even owning and operating your own website. Is it safe and secure? Can you be sure your content is medically accurate, even blog posts from years ago? Do your leads go to a HIPAA compliant tool?

Don’t think this matters? Think again.

If you’re making claims and can’t back them up, you’re going to be in trouble. Not just with generating leads, but with insurance companies and, yes, the law.

Certain aspects to what falls under ‘marketing’ can be looked at as illegal. You can’t lie and manipulate. You can’t patient broker, fee split or take kickbacks. If you violate HIPAA compliance, they’ll be coming for you.

Defining Ethical Addiction Treatment Marketing

So, what defines addiction treatment marketing and how can you ensure you’re doing it ethically?

Most will agree that “marketing” is neither illegal nor unethical. To further clarify, addiction treatment marketing is when a treatment business hires an agency or salaried employees to:

  • Create a website with proper SEO and messaging.
  • Perform outreach and networking tasks on behalf of the facility.
  • Utilize digital marketing channels and assets to promote the brand.
  • Run paid ad campaigns to raise awareness and generate leads.
  • Attend conferences, man a marketing booth and network to promote the facility.
  • Educate other providers, such as EAP groups, unions and other potential referral sources.

All of this is legitimate and ethical, assuming you are working with honest people. Where you get into a gray area is when the individuals are also paid a commission based on admissions to the program. Many legitimate marketing positions, where all business is conducted in the light of day, include such incentives.

Many in my ethics group are confused why commission is allowed, but fee-per-referral is not, or is at least frowned upon. There are still hordes of websites and social media pages that seem to be making money from addiction treatment referrals.

Can You Refer Addiction Treatment Leads Legally?

Whether you are a facility owner or not, there are plenty of reasons why you might have to refer a lead to a treatment center. If you are an MD, psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, run EAPs or have some other related affiliation, from time to time you may need to refer clients to an effective addiction treatment provider.

Please note that I am not a lawyer and therefore I can’t give legal advice. However, based on popular public opinion, I can say there are a few things you can do to avoid violating HIPAA and professional codes of ethics:

  • Pre-qualify any treatment center you partner with.
  • Only refer patients to facilities qualified to treat the specific needs of this client.
  • Host and transfer your treatment center leads in a HIPAA-compliant system.
  • Never sell your leads to the highest bidder.
  • Don’t accept kickbacks for patients you refer.

The laws around lead referral seem to vary per state, so if you are in the business of referring leads, you should definitely consult a lawyer and make sure you understand what you can and can’t do legally.

Alternatives to paid ads

Generating Addiction Treatment Leads the Ethical Way Isn’t Easy

I can’t say I don’t understand why so many treatment centers resort to buying leads. Generating your own leads has always been hard. But, generating leads for addiction treatment is harder than ever.

At one point, before Google decided to eliminate the ability for addiction treatment centers to bid on treatment-related keywords, the cost per click on their paid ads had skyrocketed to $100 to $150 per click. This meant that Google ads were altogether too expensive for some of the smaller rehabs.

Alternative forms of marketing, such as branding and social media, can also be expensive and take time to get results. Plus, there are no guarantees. Take Facebook ads for example: After Google crushed AdWords, many rehabs moved to Facebook paid ads. So much for Google’s plan to stop shady rehabs from advertising, right?

Wrong.

Per this post from LegitScript on August 8th, 2018, LegitScript Addiction Treatment Certification Expands to Include Facebook:

“Starting today, Facebook will require LegitScript certification for providers of drug and alcohol addiction treatment who want to advertise in the United States. This partnership follows the official rollout of our program, which began at the end of July after an initial pre-launch phase. Now both Google and Facebook will require LegitScript certification for addiction treatment providers looking to advertise.”

So, now you have to have a LegitScript certification for both Google AND Facebook ads.

Viable Marketing Alternatives to Paid Ads for Rehabs

Here’s what to do/try if you’re a rehab business and not LegitScript certified:

#1: More of What’s Already Working

SEO Client Organic Rankings Growth Chart

Want growth like this? An organic approach to multi-channel marketing can rank your website for thousands of keywords and drive countless qualified visitors to your site and branded assets:

  • On-page SEO
  • Organic Link Building
  • Local Marketing
  • Strategic Blogging
  • Content Marketing
  • Asset Development
  • Branding
  • Outreach and Engagement
  • Email Marketing

#2: Test Other Ad Platforms

YouTube Stat 2018

Google and Facebook are not the only tech giants selling ad space. Why are these other channels of marketing and paid ad opportunities not being more heavily tested? Someone give us a budget so we can test this stuff already, such as:

  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Bing
  • Yahoo

If you do decide to test other ad platforms, just keep in mind that each work differently and may need to also utilize a supporting lead nurturing campaign.

When considering the buyers journey most ads on social platforms will reach buyers at the top of the funnel, or beginning of the journey. These leads can be nurtured into sales with the right strategy, but don’t expect to convert the majority of your visitors from the first touch.

You can learn more about this strategy here: How to Convert Leads into Sales by Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

#3: Get Listed on Relevant Sites

There are numerous high traffic sites that still sell ad space or offer directory listings. Trusted sites, such as PsychologyToday.com, offer brand visibility and referral traffic for a monthly fee.

Our good buddy, Jim Peake, of Addiction-Rep, has a good-sized drug rehab directory list on his site here. Some of the listings are free, but most decent websites want to charge you for valuable real estate on their site.

You do have to be careful about what sites you buy ad space from, however, as there are still so many shady third-party sites that fake their statistics and the quality of their traffic, banking on the ignorance of their buyers.

#4: Everything Else I Already Said Before

I don’t want to be redundant, so if you missed it, I provided some other interesting marketing ideas in my previous article here: Can Rehabs Survive Big Changes to the Addiction Treatment Industry?

In Closing

Unfortunately, there are no cheap solutions or quick fixes here.

Effective marketing requires addiction treatment center owners and advertisers to work together on reaching clients where they are with the right messaging. If Google and Facebook can eliminate your ability to bid on paid ads practically overnight, then your other channels of marketing and lead-generation sources could dry up in the same way.

The key is to diversify, test everything and use a smart marketing strategy that is always focused on what is working NOW … and focused on the tried-and-true solutions that provide long-term gains, like SEO.

See How We Approach Rehab Marketing

Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Cannabis Marketing Challenges – and 10 Strategies You Can Try

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Cannabis Marketing Challenges Paid Advertising - Eminent SEO

Most Advertising Platforms Will NOT Accept Cannabis Ads

If you own a medical dispensary or work in the cannabis industry, you might already know this by now, but hear this: The big ad platforms are not your friend.

I know, I know, this is totally counterintuitive to our typical multi-channel marketing approach, but hear me out.

The United States is a big place and our country operates at the federal and state level. So, even though states like Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington and 24-plus other states have made the drug legal in some form, it doesn’t mean the big advertising platforms are happy to host paid ads.

In fact, with the changing political landscape, four of the major ad sellers – Google, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – have all decided NOT to allow marijuana brands to run paid ads on their platforms, at least at this time.

Facebook and Instagram Shut Down Cannabis Accounts

But, it’s not just paid ads the big tech giants have cracked down on. Both Facebook and Instagram are infamous for taking down cannabis-related accounts.

Look at what others are saying:

Facebook Cracks Down on Marijuana Firms with Dozens of Accounts Shut Down

“We tried to log into Instagram, and a message said we violated their policy, but they won’t say what that violation is,” said Rick Scarpello, CEO of Incredibles, a Denver-based edible company. “I’ve written them every day, saying I’m not doing anything illegal and please reinstate my account.”

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Did Instagram Change its Marijuana Marketing Policy?

“Instagram does not allow people or organizations to use the platform to advertise or sell marijuana, regardless of the seller’s state or country. This is primarily because most federal laws, including those of the United States, treat marijuana as either an illegal substance or highly regulated good. Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, street addresses, or by using the ‘contact us’ tab in Instagram Business Accounts. We do however allow marijuana advocacy content as long as it is not promoting the sale of the drug. Dispensaries can promote the use and federal legalization of marijuana, provided that they do not also promote its sale or provide contact information to their store.”

Read this line again: Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, street addresses, or by using the “contact us” tab in Instagram Business Accounts.

Wait, what?

A Long Way to Go – Another Example

The Cannabis Industry Is Still Fighting for Legitimacy on Social Media Platforms

“It’s been frustrating for us not being able to advertise on Facebook and Google because of our involvement in the cannabis industry,” said Jeffrey Zucker, co-founder and president of Green Lion Partners, a business strategy firm focused on early-stage development in the regulated cannabis industry. He added that he has had to deal with influencers who have spent a lot of time building up their followings suddenly seeing their accounts deleted without any prior messaging or warning, and often with no recourse.

So, what can you do?

10 Cannabis Advertising and Marketing Strategies

1. Play by the Rules

You can still create branded social accounts. However, if you are going to use Facebook and Instagram, then you MUST play by the rules:

  • Add a disclaimer: “You must be 21 or over to follow this account.”
  • Don’t EVER post a product for sale.
  • Don’t use a “Contact Us” direct contact button on Instagram.
  • Avoid claiming any direct medical benefits.
  • To advocate for legalization and use, give strain and product reviews.
  • Don’t offer a physical address or phone number to buy any products.
  • To promote your store, direct people to your website for location information.

And, don’t think this is everything. These popular social platforms tend to update their terms of service quite frequently. As a cannabis business owner, it’s imperative you understand and keep up with the laws and changing restrictions.

2. Use Engagement and Outreach

If you’re going to play nice and use social media for your cannabis brand, you really need to get creative with your strategies. Even with ads, clients can have a hard time standing out online and getting new followers.

If you expect to grow your organic reach, you must identify, target and engage with your prospects. Try this on:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube

Bonus engagement tip: Your biggest fans may already be engaging with your brand regularly. Don’t ignore those users. Instead, focus on building a relationship with them first. When relationships are nurtured correctly, fans can turn into powerful brand advocates who actually create engagement and viral opportunities for your business.

3. Brand Your Business

As this industry grows, the marketplace has become saturated with new products and brands. With so much to choose from, branding is key to ensure your marijuana business gets found. Try:

  • A stand-out logo (don’t be like everyone else)
  • A quality website
  • Online video
  • Public relations
  • Product swag and giveaways
  • Brochures and flyers

No matter which marketing channels you choose to leverage for your business, you need a memorable brand identity with a solid personality in order to gain customer engagement and brand loyalty.

Why does loyalty matter? If people like your brand, they might come back to buy again. If they love your brand, they’ll pick you over your competition every time. And, if they just can’t get enough of your brand? Well, they’ll tell all of their friends too.

4. Buy Media on Relevant Sites

Sure, Instagram and Facebook might not allow you to buy ads, but there are some digital advertising networks that do allow cannabis media buys, such as banner ads and other dynamic display ads.

Popular networks and media ad sites include:

However, buyer beware: As with any form of paid cannabis advertising, having rented ads on these sites isn’t cheap. Most will cost you at least $500 to $1,000 per month. Want to play with the big boys? An ad on the HighTimes.com online magazine starts at about $5,000 per location.

5. SEO Your Website

As an SEO agency, we might be a little biased. But, the data doesn’t lie. Websites with the right search engine optimization are getting the most traffic and best conversions. With the ongoing social media roadblocks and paid ad restrictions, organic website marketing is even more crucial to gaining visibility for your marijuana brand online.

Effective SEO tactics today include:

  • Identification of your ideal buyers
  • Keyword research and selection
  • Optimized metadata and image alt tags
  • High quality, unique and keyword rich content
  • AMP and mobile responsive pages
  • Rich schema markups
  • Local business citations
  • Mixed media for user engagement
  • Outreach and link building

The right SEO strategy can drive huge amounts of qualified search traffic to your website. Check out this organic case study on one of our local medical marijuana dispensaries. Now, after just a few more months into their campaign with us, they are getting HUGE amounts of organic traffic to the site.

In the last 30 days, they have had more than 8,000 visitors, 6,700 of which are organic. This is what expert SEO can get you.

Marijuana Dispensary Website Traffic Data - ESEO

6. Tap into Local

From Google My Business to Yelp, if you are a geo-targeted business, you MUST have a local presence. Did you know that your Google My Business page can rank for hundreds of keyword phrases? Just like organic SEO helps drive relevant traffic to your website, local SEO helps drive geo-targeted traffic to your Google My Business page.

Think about this: Most users are searching for cannabis-related products and dispensaries “nearby.” Google understands search behavior and therefore assumes specific keyword phrases are intended to produce a local result. Because of this, many terms will return the Google My Business listings before any organic website listings, even if they don’t include a geo-target or the words “near me.”

For example, I searched “medical dispensary,” a generic keyword phrase, and Google assumed I wanted local help:

Medical Dispensary Google Search - ESEO

Having a Google My Business for your cannabis shop, medical dispensary or marijuana product line is a no-brainer. If you don’t have one, go make one now: Google My Business

“In cannabis, it's an education-first mindset, not product first.” – Matt Rizzetta, CEO of public relations agency N6AClick To Tweet

7. Share High-Quality Content

For decades now, cannabis has been illegal, forcing a lot of misinformation and stigma around the plant, including its uses and benefits. Many cannabis businesses are left with the task of raising awareness and spreading education around the facts.

Quality content can help a brand reach prospects and partners. If doctors are going to prescribe marijuana, they must understand it. By educating doctors and other health care providers on the benefits of the plant, dispensaries can earn trust, respect and new partnership opportunities.

You can develop and host high-quality content on:

  • Your own website
  • The company blog
  • Your public social media platforms
  • Your local listings

You can also write and share a company newsletter, offering users a gateway to other relevant content on your website and other branded platforms.

8. Leverage Email Campaigns

Another great way to share and spread quality information is through email marketing. In addition to a monthly newsletter about your brand, why not tap into targeted email marketing campaigns?

The Direct Marketing Association says for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $40.56. Not a bad ROI, huh? However, there’s a lot more to an effective campaign; sending out emails is only part of the strategy.

For effective email marketing, try this:

  • Develop specific landing pages to match your email offers.
  • Create multiple opportunities for new users to subscribe to your lists.
  • Organize your existing contacts into related groups.
  • Send each group offers and content relevant to their specific interests.
  • Use catchy headlines to increase open rates.
  • Test various send times and dates, and use analytics to optimize your delivery strategy.
  • Use your social media platforms to build a bigger audience.
  • Include personalized visual content, such as videos and GIFs.
  • Showcase client testimonials, case studies and other social proof.
  • Hire a designer to create a custom template and awesome graphics to wow the audience.
  • Always include a desired call to action. And, track everything!

Bonus Tip: Don’t oversell. Remember, when a user subscribes to a list, it’s because they believe they will receive something of value from it. Oftentimes, prospects are not ready to “buy now.” Instead, personalize your emails and become a trusted friend, someone your readers rely on for information they need. Provide value and the sales will come.

9. Try Text Messaging

Did you know that you can send short messages right to your employees, partners and customers using a text-messaging service? What better way to share daily quotes, specials, event updates and other important information with your clients? With text messaging, you can get your message directly to your audience in a cost-effective way.

With group texting services, you can:

Run Drip Campaigns:

  • Welcome texts
  • Updates on new products and sales
  • Detailed information about the service you offer
  • Transactional messages
  • Reminders about events
Send Business Promotions:

  • New offers and deals
  • Product announcements
  • Invitations to exclusive sale events
  • Announcements about sales
  • Product promotions

You can also segment your subscriber lists and send different messages to various groups based on their specific interests and buying patterns.

10. Traditional Marketing

This isn’t as much a tip as it is an option. Traditional marketing is expensive, but for cannabis?

“You have a handful of websites; you have print ads, which are abnormally popular, [and] dispensaries spend more on a cost-per-impression basis than a Super Bowl commercial to get into a local print publication,” Joel Milton, CEO of Baker Technologies, told Adweek.

Trying radio or TV? Good luck getting a prime spot:

“Most TV companies will only let you advertise if you can prove that the TV station or radio station has less than 30% of listeners that are under 21 years of age,” says Celeste Miranda, co-founder of The Cannabis Story Lab.

However, billboards might still work:

“We’re seeing a lot of marketers turn to out-of-home in place of digital opportunities,” says Kyle Del Muro, a consultant with several cannabis clients. “In Vegas, billboards are becoming a big thing,”

But, similar to online magazine ads, billboards are not cheap. To run a billboard ad in most small to mid-sized cities in the US is roughly $1,500 to $4,000 per month. Larger markets can reach $14,000 per month!

Canna King Billboard Oregon - ESEO

(Twitter Photo/@420dispensary)

Final Tip to Overcome Cannabis Marketing Challenges

Cannabis marketing and advertising isn’t easy. As the political and legal landscape continues to evolve, expect even more changes in the way cannabis businesses do marketing.

Get ahead of the curve, implement effective, long-term marketing strategies now, such as cannabis SEO, and reap the rewards for years to come.

Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Grow Your Cannabis Business with These Marketing Tips

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Cannabis Marketing Tips Dispensary Businesses - Eminent SEO
Marketing cannabis businesses is actually pretty nuanced. For example, you can’t just start a new Facebook account about your marijuana brand and say whatever you want about your products like any other business would. Nope. Facebook does not like that.

Cannabis marketing is still evolving with the changing industry, and there are things we can and can’t do. On top of that, the industry is young and many companies didn’t have to worry about strong branding and forward-thinking marketing because the demand was so high. But, with increasing demand always comes increasing competition.

Here are a few cannabis marketing tips to help businesses navigate the changing landscape of marketing and stand out from the competition:

Be Careful Your Marketing Messaging Doesn’t Target Minors

Cannabis is still in its early stages in terms of its legalization and acceptance in many ways. You must always keep age restrictions in mind and be careful about where you choose to advertise.

Marijuana businesses should make marketing messaging a top priority. Using a lot of jokes and incorporating cartoon mascots, like Joe Camel, will give the wrong image of your brand. It will also undermine the goal of the cannabis industry as a whole: to be taken seriously.

Make sure your social media AND your website both ask the user to confirm that they are 21 years or older in order to proceed. You might not be able to verify each follower yourself, but the disclaimer gives the platforms some assurances you are trying to do your part.

Don’t Try to Sell Your Cannabis Products on Social Media

The big social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are being pretty particular when it comes to what you can and can’t say about cannabis on their platforms. Some cannabis business owners have reported being flagged, getting posts removed and their accounts taken down altogether. It seems like marijuana is all over social media, so why are some accounts getting shut down while others are not?

We turned to the Instagram Community Guidelines to see if we could find any answers. This seems to be the closest thing to an answer: “Offering sexual services, buying or selling firearms and illegal or prescription drugs (even if it’s legal in your region) is also not allowed.”

Okay, we get it. But, why then do some accounts seem to remain unrestricted for years while others are taken down over and over? With cannabis only recently becoming more legally available, it doesn’t surprise us that Facebook and Instagram are a bit paranoid about what they allow on their platforms. But, if cannabis is treated like other substances, this wouldn’t be such a common issue for dispensaries.

Just look at alcohol. Who is monitoring the Coors Light account to make sure the 82,000-plus followers are all over 21? No one. But, better believe they are promoting the sale of their product. It appears to be fine to share product pics and talk about the product as long as you don’t directly suggest that fans purchase it.

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a gray area for some. It’s hard to know what you can and can’t say. And who has time to read all of those guidelines, anyway?

Are You Recreational or a Medical Dispensary? Why? There’s a Big Difference.

If you are marketing yourself as a recreational cannabis business, then social networks should treat you like it treats tobacco and alcohol industries. Meaning, you should have to make specific warnings and then be allowed to market your product as you see fit.

However, if you are offering a medical product and making medical claims about cannabis, then it makes sense that they would view you as a pharmaceutical company, which has its own process for proving a product has medical benefits.

Decide What Type of Cannabis Business You Are

Recreational Or Medical What Type Of Cannabis Business Are You - Eminent SEOUnfortunately, if you want to play by the rules, you are going to have to decide. Are you going to market yourself as a recreational brand? Or, are you going to push the medical benefits?

If you are going to share health advice, be advised: Certain platforms will see this as a violation of their terms.

There are two main rules you should remember:

  1. If you are talking about medical benefits, don’t take a solid stance as a brand. Instead, refer to studies and other third-party information to support your comment, such as patient testimonials. For example, write, “Many patients claim CBD helps them with their arthritis,” instead of, “CBD is known to help with pain from arthritis.”
  2. If you are a dispensary, you cannot push your cannabis products. If you have some new products to sell, they don’t want you publishing a picture with a caption that says how and where you can buy the products. Yes, even if you are dispensary and require visitors to present a valid card before they can purchase anything. The social platforms don’t care. These types of posts will be removed, and your whole account may get banned or suspended.

Branding Your Cannabis Business Beyond Recreational vs. Medical

Of course, there is more to it than simply knowing whether your brand represents a recreational business or medical company. What does your brand stand for? Do you have a company mission statement? Why did you get into the cannabis business? What is your story? What is your long-term vision for your brand?

If you hope to stand out from the competition, you must first define what sets you apart. Ask yourself what makes you unique?

Start with a Mission Statement

Marketing Tips For Cannabis Dispensary Businesses - ESEOA well-crafted mission statement aligns the company officers and employees with the same goals and objectives. The mission statement can act as the framework for decision making and provide a clear path to change if the company gets off track.

Without a mission statement, a company can easily lose track of its values, stability and specific goals.

Here at Eminent SEO, we have our own Mission Statement clearly stated on our website:

“Eminent SEO seeks to create and promote beautiful brand collateral, expertly optimized websites and well-crafted marketing messages as a means to push the boundaries of internet marketing, and to help companies, corporations and government agencies be more successful.

“It’s our mission to deliver ethical, high-quality services while simultaneously working on creating meaningful relationships with our clients, partners, each other and those in the community around us.”

If you want to get to work on your own mission statement, here are some things to consider: Mission Statement vs. Vision vs. Company Culture

Examples of Cannabis Business Mission Statements

TheCannabisIndustry.org:

To promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

“The National Cannabis Industry Association was founded on the principle of power in numbers. The thousands of American businesses involved in the state-legal cannabis industries represent a tremendous economic force in this country. As the industry’s national trade association, NCIA works every day to ensure our growing business sector is represented in a professional and coordinated way on the national stage.”

EarthMed.com:

“EarthMed prides itself on providing the highest quality compassionate care to patients who truly need it. We understand that for many, pain is a daily part of life and that nobody should have to live in pain when there are treatments available. Medical Cannabis has many medical benefits that ease the pain that traditional medicine cannot offer. EarthMed’s focus is to provide a safe and legal venue for patients to receive treatment using Medical Cannabis.

“Another ideal EarthMed strives for is community outreach and education regarding Medical Cannabis. These include educating the community with regards to the benefits of Medical Cannabis and how to legally obtain it.”

KindMedsAZ.com:

“Kind Meds is a medical marijuana dispensary that is focused on cultivating top-quality medical cannabis flower and similar products to help patients overcome illness, pain, and to live happier.

“Our company is passionate about supplying grade A cannabis flower as well as being a reliable resource to help educate individuals about quality cannabis medicine, because we feel that it can help change people’s lives for the better.”

Define Your Buyer Types

Before you can market to new prospects, you must define who they are. If you have a luxury cannabis brand, for example, your buyer might have a higher income, certain profession and live in a specific geographical location. You also need to consider age, gender and interests.

Buyer Personas for Cannabis Businesses

Depending on your specific brand and goals, you may have one, two or several buyer persona types. If you are just getting started, don’t overdo it.

Define your top two to three revenue-generating buyers and build your strategies around them to start. Consider:

  • Medical patients
  • Cannabis advocates/fans
  • Professionals
  • Advertising partners

Let’s say you are a medical cannabis dispensary that offers top-shelf products in Mesa, Arizona. You may ask yourself:

Who is my desired customer? What motivates them? What do they need to make a decision?

Define:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Favorite websites
  • Shopping preferences
  • Typical buying concerns
  • How they found you

Once you have your buyer personas identified, you can create better marketing strategies for each one. If you know your buyer hangs out on Instagram and watches YouTube videos but never goes on LinkedIn, then you know where to focus your marketing dollars and effort.

Cannabis Business Logos

We always tell our clients to think about how their logo will look on T-shirts, hats, mugs, letterhead, business cards – all kinds of swag and print. Your branding should be cool enough to wear on a hoodie, and professional enough to use on the website and marketing collateral.

James L. Bowie, a sociologist at Northern Arizona University who analyzes patterns and trends in logo design, wrote in Slate’s design blog “The Eye” in 2016:

“Analysis of United States Patent and Trademark Office records shows that 44 percent of logos registered as trademarks for marijuana-related businesses feature the familiar cannabis leaf.”

Too many cannabis brand logos and websites look the same. If your competitors are all using the same colors, fonts and symbols, maybe – actually, definitely – you should do something different. How else will you stand out among the endless sea of green marijuana leaves?

Marijuana Cannabis Dispensary Logos All The Same - ESEO
Where’s the creativity, people?

Cannabis Digital Marketing

Branding is just the beginning. Next, it’s tagline, messaging, website and marketing strategy. In today’s marketplace, people are consuming more digital content and less traditional media.

You might still rely on some forms of direct marketing, such as billboards, radio spots and print. However, if you expect to be successful long term as a brand, you’ve got to incorporate digital.

Our outline for a successful cannabis digital multi-channel marketing plan includes:

  • Quality Website
  • Expert SEO
  • Well-Researched, Relevant Content
  • An Engaging Website Blog
  • Google My Business and Other Local Listings
  • Organic Search Marketing
  • Social Media, such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Email Marketing
  • Text Messaging Marketing
  • Video Creation and Promotion
  • Branded Asset Development
  • Banner and Ad Network Campaigns
  • Influencer and Brand Partnerships
  • Event Sponsorships (with Online Event Promotions)
  • Reputation Monitoring and Management

We then track all marketing channels and evaluate the data each month to determine what the strategy will focus on in the following month.

The cannabis industry is evolving at a fast pace. If you want to be part of the future of cannabis, you might want to consider upping your branding and marketing game.

The Public Demands Quality Cannabis Content

Matei Olaru, CEO of Lift, a cannabis media and technology company in Canada, said that putting the right data, instruction or knowledge in front of consumers, sellers and medical professionals is a need that cannabis entrepreneurs can fill.

“Decades of misinformation has been perpetuated by prohibition,” Matei said. “As the number of legal cannabis consumers increases exponentially, so will the opportunities for information and media companies (in print, video or on the web).”

Before Applying These Cannabis Marketing Tips, Share Your Story!

Have you found success with a specific marketing strategy for your cannabis business? What about an epic fail or a big lesson learned?

Share your cannabis branding, marketing or business strategies in the comments and help budding entrepreneurs grow their businesses (pun intended).

Together, we can create and share cannabis content that matters. Learn more here: Professional Cannabis Branding and Marketing Services or call to speak with a pro: 800.871.4130.

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Vol. 79: How Well Do You Understand the Buyer’s Journey?

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Understand The Buyer's Journey Vol 79 Newsletter - Eminent SEO

Get Familiar with the Buyer’s Journey

You’ve probably noticed that consumers today are more cognizant and wary of sales pitches than in decades past. It’s becoming more and more difficult to walk up to a person and try to sell them your product. In fact, approaching them in such a direct manner may ruin any chance of selling them something they otherwise might be interested in.

“Don’t call us; we’ll call you,” might as well be today’s mantra among consumers. This is why it’s so crucial for sales and marketing teams to understand the modern Buyer’s Journey.

Companies may differ on how they interpret today’s buyer’s journey, but at Eminent SEO, we believe it progresses in five distinct steps:

Five Stages Of The Buyers Journey - Eminent SEODo you want to make that sale, after all? Then you have to be patient and feed your target customer the knowledge they need to make that purchase – likely weeks, months or possibly a couple of years down the road.

Once you get a grasp of the buyer’s journey, you will start to determine how long it usually takes to close one of your leads into a sale, and what you need to do along the way. You will also start to figure how to qualify your leads better and provide them with useful resources.

Do You Need Help Converting Leads into Sales?

Our Approach Gets Results

Buyer’s Journey Takeaway

The buyer’s journey is a long road, and sales teams need to understand that leads don’t close overnight. They also do not want to be sold. A solid strategy requires an integrative sales and marketing nurturing approach.Click To Tweet

Resources to Further Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Understand The Buyer's Journey To Convert Leads Into Sales - Eminent SEO

How to Convert Leads into Sales by Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

See the Full Article

Sales + Marketing = SUCCESS - Eminent SEO

How to Build an Aligned Sales and Marketing Strategy

See the Full Article

Business & Marketing Tips

Here are some simple steps to consider when nurturing leads or developing a lead-nurturing strategy for your sales team:

  1. Segment your leads.
  2. Build a lead-scoring strategy and score your leads.
  3. Develop canned responses for your sales team.
  4. Invest in more targeted content for various buying stages.
  5. Start the conversation.
  6. Remember that less is more (simple landing pages).
  7. Automate as much as possible.
  8. Be timely in your responses.
  9. Be personal.
  10. Align your sales and marketing strategies (see the “Related Reads” section above).

Buyer’s Journey FAQ

Q: In which stage of the buyer’s journey do most Facebook ad referrals fall?

See the Answer

Through Facebook Ads, you can now target users who will then directly message you through Facebook Messenger.

Over the last year, our team has extensively tested this process. What we have found is that most of these leads are in the Awareness or Consideration stages of the buyer’s journey.

This means most people are eager to share the problem they are running into, but they are rarely ready to purchase anything right then and there. This lends credence to the fact you have to nurture your leads and remain patient.

 

Who We Help

The cannabis industry – medical and recreational – is blossoming and becoming quite competitive. So, how can new cannabis dispensaries and businesses raise awareness for their brands and get in front of potential customers?
Cannabis Branding And Marketing Services - ESEO

We Can Help.
Explore Our Professional Cannabis Branding and Marketing Services:

How We Market Cannabis Businesses

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Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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How to Convert Leads into Sales by Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

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Understanding The Buyers Journey To Convert Leads Into Sales - Eminent SEO
Sales … leads … where do I begin? So many businesses are finding it difficult to generate qualified leads. Many businesses are also generating the wrong types of leads and not converting them into sales.

As a business owner, you’re probably wondering how to:

  • Generate new leads for your business.
  • Convert existing leads into deals.

The good news is an effective digital marketing strategy will be able to produce qualified leads for your business. We’ve been successful with all of our clients and achieving their goals for lead generation. The drawback is businesses have to invest into managing the leads properly and leading them through the extensive buying process.

Getting to Know Lead Life Cycles and the Marketing/Sales Funnel

First, you must understand that there are different types of leads and respective life cycles. A lead life cycle is defined as the life of a lead or prospect.

Website Visitor/Prospect

This is not considered a lead yet. This is someone who is doing their research and came to your website through a marketing campaign.

Marketing Qualified Lead

These leads are doing their research still. They may have come from Facebook or an eBook offer download on your website. These leads aren’t ready to be sold. They are looking to be educated.

Sales Qualified Lead

These are leads that are ready to make a buying decision. They have already done their research on your product or service and are sold on it.

The New Marketing And Sales Funnel Pyramid - Eminent SEO
All they need to be sold on is the fact that you are the company that can fulfill their needs.

Opportunity

This is when a lead has transitioned into an opportunity to become a client.

Customer

When the opportunity has paid for your product or service!

Track Your Leads Down to the Source

How we determine different types of leads is:

  • Where the lead originated from
  • The content the lead engaged with

This is where lead tracking is SUPER important. If you don’t have call tracking or lead tracking of any kind, you need to get that first.

When there is proper lead tracking installed on the website, we can tell where the lead originated from down to the source of the call with dynamic call tracking. By knowing where the lead came from, our team can dissect the data to understand user intent. That’s where the sales and marketing funnel comes in.

Depending on the lead source and content they’re interested in, you can determine their stage within the buyer’s journey.

The Buyer’s Journey Breakdown

Let’s face it, the sales process is VERY long. Now that the internet exists, buyers want to see everything possible before making a decision.

By understanding the buyer’s journey, you can learn what to expect for the duration of closing a lead to a sale. You will also know how to qualify your leads better and provide them with useful resources.

Awareness Stage

This is the stage where the prospect identifies there’s an issue and that they need help. They are not yet educated on what that solution is, but they are aware that an issue exists. This is the stage where users will normally convert on offers such as eBooks, blog posts or newsletter sign-ups for more information.

Consideration Stage

This is the stage where the prospect has started doing their own research for the problem they need help with. They will usually engage with offers such as:

  • Case studies
  • Downloading a brochure about your service
  • Browsing your products or services
  • Learn more about your team

It’s important to educate them extensively about your specific offering during this stage.

Decision Stage

Prospects that are ready to make a decision will simply call, email or chat with you directly. They have made the decision to move forward with a certain company, and hopefully you are that company. You still might need to do some nurturing for prospects in this stage, but they are definitely sold on the idea they need your product or service. They just need to be sold on your specific offering and company.

Service Stage

When the prospect has converted into a paying client, it doesn’t mean the nurturing stops. You have a reputation to maintain and a client to keep happy now. This stage is very important to maintain a happy relationship with your client by providing a superior customer service experience.

Brand Advocate Stage

When you have a happy client, they automatically turn into a brand advocate for your business. Get them to follow your social media platforms to give you street credit about your product or service. Positive reviews from happy clients create assets that you can use for your business long term. The other benefit is, other people will read them and consider your company!

Five Stages Of The Buyers Journey - Eminent SEOLead nurturing should never stop after they decide to purchase from you. There are many ways to stay in front of your current clients and nurture them into purchasing from you again or promoting your brand to their friends and family.

Understanding Lead Sources and Buyer Intent

There are various sources that generate leads if you’re investing into multi-channel marketing for your business. Sources are where the lead actually originated from, not where they converted from.

For example, your lead came to your site originally from a Facebook ad. Then they visited your blog, your services pages and left the site. They come back in a month after they’ve done their research and Googled your brand. They initiate a chat with you on your website.

The original source of this lead is still considered the Facebook ad. They’ve just been nurtured along the buyer’s journey to get to the Decision stage where they Googled your brand directly to make that next step. The lead source is not your website chat.

Here’s a breakdown of a few digital marketing sources that generate a large volume of leads:

Google Organic Search

This one gets a little tricky because you can have users from any stage within the buyer’s journey come to your website from here. What we typically like to look at the most is what type of content the user came in to see. If it was a blog post, for example, that user would be in the Awareness stage, because our blog post strategy is typically less salesy and more focused on educating.

If the user entered via a service or product page on your website, that means they’re typically searching more Consideration-type keywords and are looking to assess your company for that product or service.

Google Paid Search

Google paid search is very similar to Google organic search. Most companies like to bid on the keywords that are going to produce conversions. If that’s the case, then the majority of these users would be in the Consideration stage. Some might even be in the Decision stage and are Googling your brand directly to make that phone call.

Read More on Modern Paid Marketing

Facebook

Facebook has spent a lot of time and money optimizing its platform so businesses can connect directly with their distinct audiences. With Facebook ads, you can actually target users to message you through Facebook messenger.

Our team has tested these campaigns substantially in the last year and learned that these leads are more in the Awareness or Consideration stages. Most people want to chat about the problem they’re running into, but they’re not necessarily ready to buy.

A snapshot on the various sources that you may consider for a marketing campaign:

Multi-Channel Marketing Venn Diagram - Eminent SEO

96% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy yet, according to Marketo.Click To Tweet

How to Nurture Leads to the Next Stage

Lead nurturing can be extremely effective when done correctly. The problems we often face are:

  1. Marketers don’t understand the business well enough to do the lead nurturing for the business owners.
  2. Sales teams don’t understand how to nurture leads by utilizing digital content.
  3. Sales teams don’t have a process for closing leads into sales.
  4. All the above.
Converting a lead to the decision stage is only the beginning of another process: the sales process.Click To Tweet We have laid out some simple steps to consider when nurturing leads or coming up with a lead-nurturing strategy for your sales team:

1. Segment Your Leads

First things first is to segment your leads into the correct buckets. Remember the marketing and sales qualified life cycles? You need to segment leads into those two buckets, at minimum. You can always expand into more lead types if your business has many more.

Marketing qualified leads should be sent more informative and education-related materials. These materials may include eBooks, quizzes, videos, blog posts, infographics, etc.

Sales qualified leads should be sent more consideration related materials such as brochures, case studies, team bios, product samples, etc.

Each week, have a dedicated employee sort through the leads and determine which type of lead they are.

2. Build a Lead Scoring Strategy and Score Your Leads

Each business is unique and requires a custom strategy for this to work. Your strategy should include all of the digital assets you currently have and which assets you need to expand on to help nurture your leads along.

Digital assets can be considered:

  • Blog posts
  • Website landing pages
  • Videos
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • And more

After you have a strategy built with the content you want to provide, you must also develop a lead scoring strategy for the various life cycles of a lead. Develop a tagging system to tag your calls and messages, so that you can easily sort these leads at a later date when it comes time to follow up.

3. Develop Canned Responses for Your Sales Team

To make their job even easier, you can help them by developing canned responses for frequently asked questions. If you’ve owned a business for a while, you probably already know the basic questions your prospects often ask. Have those answers ready with the appropriate content and call to action for those various lead types.

4. Invest into More Targeted Content for Various Buying Stages

If you find that certain digital assets are not helping your team close the deal, you have to invest into better targeted asset and content development. Digital assets will benefit your brand and website for years to come. Develop assets and content for each buying stage based on what your prospects are asking/wanting.

5. Start the Conversation

With today’s generation wanting instant gratification, your prospects do not want to be sold. Being more conversational and personal in your approach to customer service is extremely important. Instead of sharing salesy materials (unless they ask), share a quiz for them to take or a new book to read. They want to be provided with the materials to self-educate.

6. Less Is More

Since people want instant gratification and have an attention span of a 3 year old, the best way to approach any landing page is to provide fewer options for the prospect. Always have one clear call to action on the landing pages you deliver during your lead-nurturing process. That way, they aren’t distracted by everything that’s irrelevant to your conversation, and they’re more likely to convert on that CTA.

7. Automate as Much as Possible

There are many tools out there today that can help your business automate your sales- and lead-nurturing processes. These tools make it easier for your sales team to send out emails, automatically respond to website chats and messages, create proposals, automate unqualified leads through a funnel and manage the lead pipeline in one dashboard.

8. Be Timely in Your Responses

According to Hubspot, leads are 21 times more likely to enter into the sales process as a qualified lead when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after a touchpoint on your website or social platform.

9. Be Personal

The digital age is full of automation. There’s a fine line between automated and manual responses. When your team is responding to an email or a Facebook message manually, make sure to always keep the responses personalized. It’s all about personalization and providing relevant resources to what the prospect is asking.

10. Align Your Sales and Marketing Strategies

This is probably the most important part. If your sales and marketing teams are not communicating regularly, you have a problem. Marketers today have much more insight than sales teams because they are the ones reading the data every single day while your sales team is out selling.

Marketers can and should:

  • Provide the sales team with existing targeted content to share.
  • Develop more content for certain types of leads.
  • Help automate the sales process.
  • Help with canned responses.

Read More on Aligning Sales & Marketing Strategy

Your Turn to Convert Leads into Sales

This post might seem overwhelming, but the main takeaway is to know that not all your leads from digital marketing campaigns are ready to buy. In fact, the majority of them are not ready.

The buyer’s journey is a long road, and sales teams need to understand that leads don’t close overnight. They also do not want to be sold. A solid strategy requires an integrative sales and marketing nurturing approach. Good luck out there!

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Lacey Bertnick

Director of Accounts at Eminent SEO. I'm passionate about digital marketing and SEO. I've been auditing websites since I was 19 years old. Been steady in the SEO and digital marketing game for 10 years. I've learned a few things. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, healthy living, new experiences, writing, learning and evolving. I'm the type of person that will tell you how it is. If something isn't working for you, change it. Life is all about the evolution. Marketing isn't any different.

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The ‘Pay to Play’ Era of Digital Marketing Strategies

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Pay To Play Era Of Digital Marketing Strategies - Eminent SEO
Marketing has been transforming businesses for ages, since way back in the 1960s when advertising strategies stemmed from one simple creative idea that transformed small businesses into huge, recognizable brands today. Back then, creative advertising teams focused less on the research and more on creativity.

1960s Tide Ad:
1960s Tide Ad For Women - ESEOvs. 2018:

Tide Pods Oreos Faux Flavor - ESEO
Needless to say…things have changed. Not that marketing is no longer creative, but it’s just way more complex. And we have to educate kids on not eating Tide pods rather than selling the products. Enough said.

The Evolution of SEO and Social Media Digital Marketing Strategies

The Evolution Of SEO And Social Media Digital Marketing - Eminent SEOWe’ve been doing search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing for over 12 years. Our team has been in it since Google and AOL Instant Messenger was all there was. Did I mention dial-up internet too? Yeah that used to be a thing.

Digital Marketing Platforms

When we first began doing SEO strategies, it was a hell of a lot easier than it is now. Back then, you didn’t have to worry about hundreds of different ranking factors or platforms for a website to be visible online.

Now, you have to think about Google Organic, Google Local, Google AdWords, Facebook Organic, Facebook Paid, Instagram Organic, Instagram Paid, LinkedIn Organic, LinkedIn Paid, Twitter Organic, Twitter Paid, and all their different algorithms. Each platform has a paid and organic option which requires its own strategy, since each audience is unique.

Within each platform, there are also different campaign types. With Facebook, you have a variety of options, including

  • Video views
  • Sign up for phone call
  • Messages
  • Website traffic

Devices

Platforms are just scratching the surface when it comes to how things have evolved online. When we first started, we only had to think about desktop computer users and their user behavior.

Now, online users aren’t even using their desktop. They’re on their mobile devices.

More users are searching for local services on their mobile devices than ever before. If your brand isn’t mobile-facing, then you’re falling short with your SEO.

Website User Experience

Back in the day, we didn’t take into consideration the website user experience. The entire website was focused on the keywords and getting as many of them on the site as possible to achieve top Google rankings.

Needless to say, that technique is way outdated, but we still see a lot of SEO companies doing this. A word of advice: These short-term strategies will only hurt your site in the long term.

Today’s digital marketing strategies focus heavily on website user experience and attracting user engagement. When your website content is high quality, personalized and easy to navigate, users will stay engaged with the site.

You Must Be Visible on All Platforms or Your Sales and Leads Will Suffer

In order to really grow your online leads, you need to consider all of these changes as well as all of the platforms your potential audiences live on.

“What if my audience isn’t on social media?”

We hear this so often from business owners. It’s completely inaccurate and makes me giggle every time I hear it.

Yes, your audience lives on social media. Yes, your audience is searching on Google. Why? Because EVERYONE is using social media and Google.

The Problem with Only Focusing on Organic Results

We are organic marketers, so we believe businesses should focus their marketing dollars on organic marketing first. However, with today’s algorithm shifts on Google and Facebook, you have to consider some paid ad budget.

Organic marketing alone takes time to see results. You can expect anywhere from 12 months to several years to see full results from organic marketing.

It’s not that it doesn’t work; it does work. Again, you’re only visible on the organic platforms though. Your business will not be visible in Google’s top paid ads or in Facebook’s newsfeed as often since those platforms allow paid ads to be at the top.

The Hybrid Approach: Organic Marketing Plus Paid Ads

The benefits of utilizing the hybrid paid and organic marketing approach include:

  • Your brand will receive visibility a lot faster.
  • Organic keyword rankings will increase much quicker.
  • Your website content will get much more visibility.
  • Social platforms will attract many followers within your targeted demographic.
  • Your content will be targeted to a specific audience and geographic area.
  • You’ll have the ability to test different landing pages for conversions.
  • You’ll increase your qualified leads much faster, since organic alone will take at least a year.

Why You Need Digital Assets for Marketing to Be Effective

Paid and organic marketing are essential to growing your brand. However, you still need to consider all of the different campaign types required in order to attract these qualified leads. That’s where quality content and digital assets come into play.

Digital assets are considered:

  • Videos
  • eBooks
  • Brochures
  • Media kits
  • Blog posts
  • Landing pages
  • Quizzes
  • Podcasts
  • Case studies
  • Email series

Your marketing won’t be as effective if you do not have engaging content to promote. Buyers today do not want to be sold. That’s why you develop assets for your ideal buyers and promote those assets through the various digital marketing channels.

Business Owners Are Focused on the Bottom Line: More Sales

If you’re a business owner, you know this is true. You don’t care what the marketing does, but you care how it impacts your business. The end goal isn’t to get more followers on Facebook; it is to achieve more sales to grow your business.

That’s a great goal to have, but where a lot of businesses fall short is considering this hybrid approach to their marketing. They don’t think they need paid ads, or they don’t think they need a high-quality website. Hate to break the news to you all, but that couldn’t be more untrue.

Think quality over quantity. You need to have a quality website with quality content to attract each buyer type within the various stages of the buyer’s journey. Otherwise, your marketing strategy is flawed and you won’t get the results you want.

Final Thoughts on the ‘Pay to Play’ Era

Your business has a huge opportunity to succeed with today’s digital marketing strategies. The tools are literally at your fingertips.

The landscape has changed dramatically throughout the years, and it requires a team of professionals to accomplish this task. It isn’t something to push aside or consider as a small tool for your business; it is the primary driving source of leads today.

Get on board with the changes, or risk not growing your business. It’s up to you, but it’s really that simple.

Stop Spending Money on Marketing That Doesn’t Work

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Lacey Bertnick

Director of Accounts at Eminent SEO. I'm passionate about digital marketing and SEO. I've been auditing websites since I was 19 years old. Been steady in the SEO and digital marketing game for 10 years. I've learned a few things. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, healthy living, new experiences, writing, learning and evolving. I'm the type of person that will tell you how it is. If something isn't working for you, change it. Life is all about the evolution. Marketing isn't any different.

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What Marketers Can Learn from the Top 5 Viral Facebook Live Videos of 2016

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Top 5 Viral Facebook Live Videos of 2016 - Eminent SEO

Just a little over year ago, Facebook Live went viral.

The service allows users to broadcast video from their phone where it can be viewed and commented on in real time by friends on Facebook. After the live recording is complete, the video can be viewed, liked and commented on – just like regular videos posted on the platform.

When Facebook Live initially came out in August 2015, it was limited to use by celebrities. Then in January 2016, Facebook started making the service available to all users. At first, it was mostly utilized by large media outlets.

In April 2016, BuzzFeed hosted the first Facebook Live video that went viral, which answers that burning question that keeps us all up at night: How many rubber bands does it take to make a watermelon explode? (If you need to know the answer, or just want to see a watermelon blow up, you can view the video here.)

While the exploding watermelon video garnered a respectable 11-plus million views, it was soon surpassed by Candace Payne’s “Chewbacca Mom” video in May 2016, which marked the first viral video by an everyday user. Soon, other videos followed – some silly, some serious – garnering millions of views in the U.S. and worldwide.

In honor of the first anniversary of Facebook Live going viral, let’s examine the top five viral Facebook Live videos of the past year.

The Top Five Viral Facebook Live Videos of 2016

In order of views, here are the top five Facebook Live videos of last year.

1. Candace Payne: Chewbacca Mom

Chewbacca Mom Facebook Live - ESEO

Facebook Video: Candace Payne

Live Date: 5/19/2016

Views: 166 million

The video in a nutshell: Sitting in her car at a Kohl’s parking lot, Candace shows off the purchase she just made: a Star Wars Chewbacca mask. She demonstrates the sound effects of the mask, which she finds absolutely hilarious, and her humor is contagious.

What we can learn: Authentic silliness is still a top driver in viral videos. Others could have demonstrated this same product and it might be interesting for about 2 seconds, but Candace’s genuine humor and her complete openness about what she’s thinking and feeling comes through so strongly that you can’t help but laugh along with her, even as your logical mind does an eye roll at the silliness of it all.

In fact, taking such a trivial thing and making it a high point of one’s day is what makes it so charming. Candace’s comment with the video says, “It’s the simple joys in life…” This pretty much sums up the appeal of this video. In a world full very serious happenings, there is a certain satisfaction in sharing the little things that make people smile.

2. Ted Yoder: Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” on Hammered Dulcimer

Tears For Fears Hammered Dulcimer Facebook Video - ESEO

Facebook Video: Ted Yoder

Live Date: 8/24/2016

Views: 94 million

The video in a nutshell: Musician Ted Yoder plays the classic ‘80s Tears for Fears song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” on hammered dulcimer, live in his backyard with family and friends looking on. If you’ve never heard of that instrument before, you’re probably not alone.

Maybe some of the appeal of the video is the novelty of the instrument, but it’s also an outstanding performance. And for the encore performance, you get to meet his family’s pet raccoon.

What we can learn: Extraordinary talent will never go out of style. Combine that with a great song, a few eclectic features – the instrument, the raccoon – and a casual, friendly vibe, and it’s easy to see why this video is a hit: It’s got several things going for it.

Like the “Chewbacca Mom” video, this oozes authenticity. This speaks to why marketers struggle to intentionally create viral videos: What elevates something from moderately interesting to worthy of being shared is often the open and authentic nature of the event, which is extremely difficult to manufacture.

3. BuzzFeed: Countdown to the 2020 Presidential Election

BuzzFeed 2020 Presidential Countdown Facebook Live - ESEO

Facebook Video: BuzzFeed

Live Date: 11/9/2016

Views: 55 million

The video in a nutshell: For those who woke up the day after the U.S. presidential election wondering, “How soon until we get a do-over?” BuzzFeed was kind enough to provide the answer in the form of a video.

The streaming video showed a (then) live countdown of the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds until the next presidential election.

What we can learn: Humor and empathy in a simple visual form is a powerful combination. There was a lot of talk on social media the day after about the surprising and controversial results of the election, but this video managed to say what some were feeling without saying anything.

4. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: People Lining Up to Hug Police Officers in Dallas

Dallas Police Officers Hugs Facebook Live - ESEO

Facebook Video: Jennifer Brett/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Live Date: 7/8/2016

Views: 38 million

The video in a nutshell: In the wake of an ambush attack on Dallas police officers that left five dead and nine injured, citizens turned out the next day to give hugs to Dallas police officers. Yes, the event happened in Dallas, but it was Atlanta’s most-recognized news outlet that garnered the most views on Facebook Live that day.

What we can learn: When emotions are running high, simple scenes like this one can become symbolic of what millions of people are thinking and feeling. Unlike the more lighthearted videos featured previously, this video sparked more opposing viewpoints in the comments.

5. NBC News: Election Results Electoral Map

Race To 270 Presidential Election - ESEO

Facebook Video: NBC News

Live Date: 11/8/2016

Views: 36 million

The video in a nutshell: This 4-hour video showed a map of the U.S. and was continually updated on election night as the voting results came in.

What we can learn: Being in the right place, at the right time, with the right information matters. At the time this video aired, the election was the biggest story in the country and millions of people wanted live, up-to-the-moment information on the results. The downside, however, was that the video became irrelevant as soon as the election concluded.

Some Facebook Live Videos Have More Longevity than Others

Facebook Live Video Longevity - Eminent SEO

It’s interesting to note that the first three videos on this list have continued to gain millions more views over time, whereas the last two are not generating many new views.

As you can see in the graphic immediately above, here’s the viewer count of each of the aforementioned Facebook Live videos on Dec. 8, 2016, and then compared to April 27, 2017:

1) Candace Payne: Chewbacca Mom: 162 million views then (Dec. 8) – now 166 million

2) Ted Yoder: Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” on Hammered Dulcimer: 85 million then – now 94 million

3) BuzzFeed: Countdown to the 2020 Presidential Election: 51 million then – Now 55 million

4) Atlanta Journal-Constitution: People Lining Up to Hug Dallas Police Officers: 38 million then – still 38 million

5) NBC News: Election Results Electoral Map: 36 million then – still 36 million

The last two videos on the list were based on events that were very relevant in the moment, but then become old news.

The funny and entertaining videos, however, continue to gain additional views as they are discovered and passed around by latecomers to the craze.

Interestingly, the “Countdown to the 2020 Presidential Election” video continues to gain views, perhaps providing an emotional outlet to those who are eager for the next presidential election. This reveals an important difference between the countdown video and the electoral college video: While the latter only gave us information we wanted in the moment, the former taps into an emotion that continues to be relevant long after the event that triggered it.

Summary: Evergreen Viral Video Traits

These five videos demonstrate six key traits that we see over and over again in viral videos.

  1. Authenticity and vulnerability
  2. Humor
  3. Uniqueness
  4. Talent
  5. Emotional empathy
  6. Relevancy in the moment

While it’s extremely difficult to intentionally produce a video that goes viral, marketers can hone the skill of identifying situations and moments when an opportunity exists to share something with these traits.

Showing up every day and engaging with what people are saying, and then using those interactions to understand how they’re feeling and thinking, is what builds a marketer’s instincts for what will be popular.

But, of course, engaging online on a regular basis can be time consuming, and many businesses don’t have the resources in house to keep up with it like they should. At Eminent SEO, we manage the daily social media engagement for our clients, interacting regularly with users online, and developing strategies based on popular demand.

Learn About Our Social Media Services

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Sara Korn

Finding creative ways to give both readers and clients what they want is why I love being a writer! As a Content Strategist at Eminent SEO, I listen to clients and put myself in the shoes of their customers to create compelling marketing messages that drive engagement.

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Why Well-Written Social Media Copy Makes a Difference

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Why Well-Written Social Media Copy Makes Difference - Eminent SEO

To succeed in the social media sphere, businesses must populate their various accounts with consistently strong writing (in addition to strong imagery). It might surprise you to learn, however, that not all social media managers deem themselves writers.

The good news is that writing social media copy isn’t complex. Nevertheless, learning how to write for social media is worth it. Here are some tips on how to write better content for social media – and why it matters.

Why Writing Well Matters

Writing For Facebook & LinkedIn - Eminent SEOEach social media post communicates a business’ brand to its clients. A well-written post paints a positive and polished image of a business, communicating to users that this business has something valuable to say and/or offer.

Meanwhile, a social post that is unfocused or disorganized reflects poorly on a business, hurting any rapport the company had built with existing or potential customers. Poorly written content doesn’t do a business justice and can undermine an organization’s success. Therefore, well-written social media posts are important.

Conciseness

A successful social media writer is informative yet concise. A large amount of value has to be communicated in as few words as possible. A strong social media post compels the reader’s attention with carefully calculated word choice. In short, writing well for the internet involves learning the right style, which we’ll get to later.

Consistency

Social media writing must be consistent. A Facebook page must share the same message a connected Twitter page does. Businesses should give an even level of attention to all social media accounts (unless one platform is clearly fostering better results). If a business is raving about a 50 percent off deal on all products on Twitter but crickets are chirping on its Facebook page, then there is inconsistent communication. The only exception is if the company is pushing a platform-specific offer.

Tailoring the Message to the Platform

On the other hand, consistency in content does not mean universal writing styles for all social media websites. A Facebook post has a 63,206-character limit while Twitter allows no more than 140. A LinkedIn post is intended to be formal and informative, while a tweet’s purpose is to be eye-catching and clever.

The same style and word choice of writing will not work for all social networks, but there must be common ground regarding communicated content over all platforms. This makes mastering the art of social media copywriting all the more challenging.

How Long Can the Social Media Copy Be?

This is the wrong question. Instead of asking how long a social media post can be, you should ask how long the post should be. A tweet can be up to 140 characters, but it shouldn’t be your business’s standard to run every tweet right up until the limit.

Finding the ideal character count for a specific Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn post may sound impossible, but thankfully, researchers have done the heavy lifting to produce ideal word count figures. Here are the findings:

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Character Post Limits - Eminent SEO

  • Twitter: Post limit: 140 characters. Ideal post length: 71–100 characters. Keep in mind that including any link removes 24 characters. Also, many social media experts recommend using 1–2 hashtags per tweet.
  • Facebook: Post limit: 63,206 characters. Ideal post length: 40 characters. The 60,000+ character limit includes the content that stays hidden unless the user clicks “Read More.” In reality, the character limit before the “Read More” link shows up is only 400.
  • LinkedIn: Post limit: 600 characters. Ideal post length: 25 words. As mentioned earlier, it’s recommended to keep your LinkedIn copy more straightforward and professional than on other platforms.

How Should Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Posts Be Written?

Each social media network is unique. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts have different end goals and different audiences they attempt to reach, and keywords can be specially utilized for each. Therefore, your social media copy should be tailored to fit these expectations.

Here is how the different social media networks operate, and how you can make the best use of keywords on each.

Writing for Twitter

Twitter is essentially a news platform camouflaged as social networking. There is a heavy emphasis on retweeting and content circulation. Twitter is the epitome of something “going viral.” A business that intends to share blog posts or promote website content should find Twitter to be a valuable tool.

As a rule of thumb, resharing article headlines as Twitter post copy should be used in moderation. It is best to tailor the social copy to the content an article is conveying. This entails giving a synopsis of the story or a unique insight, rather than a regurgitation of the article’s headline. In general, try to write complete sentences and clear thoughts on Twitter.

Using Twitter Hashtags and Emoji

Getting Your Hashtag On - Eminent SEO

It is a well-known rule to include hashtags at the end of a post. This will ensure they receive extra attention than they would otherwise. A healthy hashtag limit is 2–3 per post, so do not overuse them. Focus on using important keywords as your hashtags. With a high enough volume of sharing, the keywords can become successful.

In the same way hashtags should not be overused, neither should emoji. However, these icons can be beneficial addition to tweet copy when used economically because they add character to the content.

Including URLs

URLs are helpful to add to tweets. Adding them about 25 percent of the way into the tweet is better than including it at the tail end, according to research. This requires formulating a short introduction, embedding the URL, and then adding a longer explanation.

Writing for Facebook

Laptop Writing For Social Media - Eminent SEOFacebook distributes the most website referral traffic. The audience’s expectation of reading a   Facebook post is for both news and entertainment. Going forward, Facebook will continue to place a greater emphasis on video content.

Keywords are difficult to track through Facebook, but not impossible. You can use keywords in your Facebook status updates, and then click the “See All” option near “Insights.” This should help you quantify the number of users your keywords are reaching, and how viral these terms are.

Contrary to popular opinion, Facebook posts should be short: 40 characters short, believe it or not. Facebook also lowers promotion-heavy posts in its feed. This means posts that include phrases such as, “Act Now!” or, “Purchase Now!” should be avoided because Facebook’s algorithm will flag it. The tone of a Facebook blurb for a blog post or article should be concise, witty and conversational.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business-centric site, so a company’s content needs to appeal to this mindset. LinkedIn is the site of choice for professional content and business article sharing. As a side note, LinkedIn created LinkedIn Pulse in 2015, which is a content publishing and distribution feature.

LinkedIn writing is clear, concise and respectful. The most important rule for LinkedIn writing is remembering that a professional audience is reading the post. Avoid confusing language, get straight to the point and maintain a professional voice.

For keywords, the most important places to use them are in your location, your professional headline (120 available characters), your personalized URL, your summary of experience, and your overall profile summary. Use these spaces to advertise yourself and your business for best results.

Social Media Copy Can Make or Break Your Business

Stellar social media copy should be a weapon in every business’ arsenal. The written word powers social media (although images and video help, too). Guiding this power effectively through deft writing skills and audience reconnaissance leads to success in the social media realm.

Eminent SEO can help give your business’s social media efforts a boost – either through consulting or even taking control of your many social accounts, ensuring that each receives plenty of enticing, head-turning content every month. Click to learn more about our Social Media Marketing Services, or simply call 800.871.4130 today.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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10 Ways Social Media Can Help You Stand Out in the Job Search Process

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Social Media Can Help In Job Search Process - Eminent SEOWe live in an era of convenience where we have the ability to access information with the click of a button in a fraction of a second. Technology has allowed us to accomplish tasks and reach out to people we never thought was possible even 20 years ago.

Social media, in particular, is the beast that holds much power in our success or demise. It can single-handedly crumble a person’s reputation with a single tweet, or catapult a career with the sharing of a 20-second video. The bottom line is the user must navigate with savvy and caution.

Searching for the job you want can be exhausting. The whole process is time-consuming and impersonal, and it can difficult to show your full range of qualifications. Well, we’ve come up 10 ways you should leverage social media to stand out from the pack and look more desirable to potential employers while you’re in the job search phase.

1. Get On Board!

LinkedIn Most Popular Job Search Social Media - Eminent SEOLet’s start at the very beginning. If you do not have social media accounts and you are not close to retirement, get at least one now! LinkedIn is the most popular job search site, where an estimated 95 percent of recruiters search for candidates, and 79 percent of all employers hire based on contacts and referrals from this network.

Employers also look to social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to get a more personal take on a candidate and make sure that they fit in with the culture of their company. They also look at candidates’ social profiles to gauge who might possess the type of character traits needed to thrive and be an asset for their team.

2. Maintain Your Account

Although keeping up with your social media accounts can be a job in itself, you need to do it! Don’t forget: You reap what you sow. You should set up a strong profile and use keywords that highlight skills that potential employers may search for.  As you develop new skills or complete certifications, let them know!

Potential employers want to see that you’re keep active on your profiles, but you don’t need to get overwhelmed trying to show your activity every single day on every single site. Just a little something every few days goes a long way.

3. Become a Social Butterfly

Like Share Comment Tweet Social Media - Eminent SEOIf you’ve spent any time on social media, you know how awkward it is to get a random “like” from someone you completely forgot you have a connection with. You know, the “creeper” who looks to see what everyone else is doing but never engages? Don’t be that guy! It’s social media, so don’t forget to be social!

Remember, you have a choice of what to entertain and engage in, so choose wisely. You don’t have to put your entire personal life out there just to be seen. In fact, that disposition has the potential to deter potential employers and only serves as a distraction. Instead, it’s best to like, share, comment, tweet and retweet relevant information in your field and follow sites that interest you professionally.

Get used to putting your name out there. The more you get your name in front of businesses, the more it’ll stick and show them that you are relevant and up to speed in the industry.

4. Use Discretion

As tempted as you may be to make a comment about certain political candidates or fire back at an internet troll, it’s usually in your best interest to refrain. By all means, be authentic, but if you desire to use social media as an avenue for potential employment, you must remember that once it’s out there, it stays out there. Photos, comments and posts can come back to haunt you with a vengeance, even if you delete them, so using the utmost discretion from the get-go will only help your cause.

Also, it’s important to be mindful of the persona you illustrate online. You may be someone who can compartmentalize your life and have a “work hard, play harder” mentality, but if “play” means posting pictures of you and your buddies passed out after a few rounds of beer pong, or you showing off your new bikini in a dressing room, you should just pass. Companies want someone who can represent them professionally at all times and not compromise their reputation. If you do post highly personal photos, you should keep your account private.

5. Make an Impact

You don’t have to filibuster your way through an interview to show that you have good ideas and can make an impact. Use your social media platform to gain followers by posting information that your audience will appreciate. Gaining followers will not only show employers that you have something to say and can influence the community, it will also give you the confidence to continue to make an impact, which can allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment.

6. Keep It Positive in the Job Search Process

It’s not easy being unemployed (or underemployed). It can take a toll on your self-confidence and your ability to land a new position, so why remind yourself of that?

You can rephrase your former employment status in your profile and avoid using the word “unemployed” and instead highlight what it is that you are looking for. Your profile will sound much more ambitious and will remind employers that they need you as much as you need them.

7. Read Between the Lines

Actually, employers are the ones that will read between the lines, so be sure to cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Literally. Using the correct punctuation and grammar on your page and in your comments will show your potential employer how well you actually communicate.

Everyone loves to highlight their “excellent written and verbal communication skills” on a resume, then fail to proofread a comment left on a company Facebook page or description paragraph on their profile. If you say you are great communicator, do not pick and choose when to be great. Make sure to stay consistent with whom you describe yourself to be.

8. Get Endorsed

Ask For Recommendations Endorsements - Eminent SEOSince LinkedIn is one of the top job search engines, it is important to get endorsements from other professionals within the network. Your connections are allowed to endorse you, or legitimize your skill set. You can ask former bosses or coworkers to write recommendations for you, and you can certainly return the favor.

Creating several symbiotic professional relationships online can only help you. The more high-quality references you can get, the better. These endorsements show employers that you’re not the only one that thinks you’re great, because there are others in your field that give you a stamp of approval.

9. Keep It Simple

We know … you have so many awesome qualities it’s hard to narrow it down. But you have to. Simplicity is key in a great professional social media page. Try to narrow down your descriptors to what you want employers to know.

You may think you are offering a way to get to know you better, but all the extra words only serve as a distraction. Get down to the essentials and stick with it. There will be plenty of other ways for potential employers to get to know you.

10. Dress for Success

This seems simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people fall short with this one. Now, it’s not necessary to wear a tuxedo or red carpet dress in every photo, but your attire should lean toward the conservative, business casual side.

Social media has become a place of validation in our society, and many users look for approval from others in the looks department. Professionally, it’s an entirely different ballgame. Again, be authentic and be yourself, but if ever in doubt, err on the side of caution.

The Payoff

If leveraged correctly, social media has the power to distinguish you from your competition without having to even step foot outside of your home. You can make yourself the most sought after in your field, or you can get lost in the shuffle of mediocrity: The choice is yours.

If social media overwhelms you, it’s OK. You don’t have to do it all. Simply pick whichever social site works for you and stick with it. Something is better than nothing, and as with almost anything else, you get out what you put in.

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Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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