Setting Goals To Grow Your Business

3 Online Goals To Grow Your Local Small Business

Setting Goals To Achieve Online Success

Many of my small business clients have asked me to help them with a social media plan or an SEO plan. They want to dive in right away to all the “sexy” online things, and drive lots of traffic to their Website, or grow awareness of their business fast. The problem with all of this is, without the right foundation being set prior to working on an SEO or social media plan, the plan simply won’t be successful. Before any strategic plan is put into place for anything online–whether it is your Website, your social media channels, or what content is written–you need to first set goals. What are you trying to achieve online?

Setting Big Goals For Online Success

Setting Big Goals For Online Success

Guy Clapperton, author of This is Social Media, says
“Set yourself a target.
Is it about mindshare?
Is it about what you must have in a business plan 
and expected business outcome?”

A good online consultant or freelancer will not even begin work until they understand your goals and YOU should not either.  You should not write, blog, post, or sell anything online until you know your goals. And if you are paying for ads or search traffic without goals—stop doing that right now. We need to take a step back. First, define what you want to achieve online, and prioritize your goals.

Defining Goals

What are the actions people would take that would make you happy, and help grow your business? First you have to figure out what you are looking for, and then drive a strategy around it. Are you an established business looking to increase your revenue? Or are you new and looking for clients? In general, most locally-based businesses, such as yoga studios, salons, and skincare facilities, rely on a steady foundation of loyal customers. Increasing loyalty for those customers is key–and a good goal to set online. Other goals might be setting your business apart from the crowd. If there is a lot of competition in your city or town for services that you also provide, you’ll want to differentiate yourself so that clients know why they should come to you.

3 Suggested Goals For Small, Local Businesses

1.    Get Appointments: Find new customers who will book an appointment with you, and increase the number of appointments booked with current customers. A sub-set of this might be to fill last-minute cancellations.
2.    Differentiate Your Business: Knowing your special sauce and understanding what makes you different is key to developing your content, your branding, and the services you offer.
3.    Increase Loyalty: It’s hard to always be searching for new clients, and one of the best ways health and wellness businesses can grow their business is to focus on current customers coming in more often. Encouraging those clients to also recommend you to friends and family (referrals tend to be loyal clients as well) is an achievable goal online—in fact its one of the best things about social media.

I have  found that in general, these are some good online goals for small, locally-based businesses, particularly health, wellness, and beauty businesses. Once you’ve set your goals, you’ll start making a plan to achieve those goals, and you’ll want to look into your online branding, and how and where to reach your ideal audience online.

In December 2013, the B2 Small Business Boost online tutorials will be launching with in-depth training on precisely how to establish a solid online brand, and reach your target audience online. In the meantime, take this time to write down and prioritize your goals for online.

Path to success--5 simple steps to social media

Social Media And Small Businesses: 5 Simple Steps For Success

5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Social Media

Social Media Success in 5 Simple Steps

1. Have a Clear Goal (or Goals)

Before we judge “success” or ability to perform well with social media, we need to have clear goals aligned to the work. Many times I am contacted by small and large businesses alike to “fix” a flawed social media campaign, and if I had a dollar for every time I’m asked something like this; “I’ve been posting on Facebook every day for a year, but we have no new fans and nobody does anything. What’s wrong?” I’d have multiple homes in some choice places. 😉 When I ask, “What is your goal?” the businesses often don’t know…and that my friends, is the #1 problem. What exactly do you hope to achieve with your social media? Is it to drive new business? It is to sell more product? Or is to help people be healthy? You have to know what the goal, or goals are, before you even write a single post. And when you write, the most important things are…

2. Have a Purpose With Your Posts

What is wrong, in 99% of the channels I have seen, is a lack of purpose with the post–even if it has an overall goal aligned to your business, the post just doesn’t have a point. Do you want people to share something with you, such as a story, or a photo, or a comment? Would you like them to use a code and buy something? Do you want them to share the post? Each post, each tweet, each Instagram picture needs to have a point to it.

3. Stay on Brand

Understanding your brand, and knowing how to stay “on brand” is really difficult to do when your brand has an identity crisis. It’s the reason I generally won’t work with clients unless they have a solid understanding of their business brand. A client of mine who runs a successful skincare business is an example of a strong brand–she knows what differentiates her not simply in terms of services or products, but her overall mission of the blend of high-tech and organic. Plus, she believes in nutrition, fitness, and general appreciation of the arts as keys to looking and feeling good. That’s a brand, and any time she does anything, whether it is sending an email or posting on Facebook, she embraces the mission statement of her brand.

4. Be Consistent

Next up would be lack of consistency–when the channel posts are all over the place not only in terms of what they say/content, but the timing. For example, posting at 9am one day, but 11pm the next…going for weeks without posting…and then two weeks straight of daily posts. Oh, no! It is inconsistent. Be careful to not only stay on brand, and be consistent with your topic types (you can have multiple types of “themes” that you post, but stay aligned with your brand), but also with your frequency and schedule of posting.

5. Build a Relationship

Broadcast posting is common–almost as if you are a newspaper and just talking, without engaging your fans in a conversation. The whole beauty of social media is that it is instantaneously interactive! I’m assuming you actually do want to know what your fans think and want…so be sure to include them in your posts. Have a conversation with them, and write back to them if they comment on a post, or start a post. It is a two-way street online.

Real-World Example of Dos and Don’ts

I’m going to give you an example of a health company (company name withheld) with some issues with their Facebook channel that I was asked to assess, because I find that examples can help showcase principles in action. After just three days I was able to identify 99% of the problem, and, they came down to three of the 5 things listed above.

  • No Relationship Building: On Monday, the business posted about healthy recipes with a link to an article on a major newspaper. Good content, but there wasn’t any opinion about why they liked the article, or were posting it in general. And there was no call to action, or relationship building. An example call to action could be “What are your healthiest recipes?” or “What foods do you love that keep you healthy.” Or even, “What do you think?” You want to ask something of your fans, and it really can be as simple as asking their opinion. You want to engage your fans, rather than simply telling them something.
  • Inconsistent Frequency: The next day, no post at all. No worries in general–every day posting isn’t needed. The problem I had with this (because I had a problem with it), is that for the prior three weeks, they posted daily Monday-Friday. So skipping a day when a post would normally appear is inconsistent. In general, your fans rely on consistency from you. I’ve often equated this to a relationship or a friendship. It’s fine if you know to expect you’ll hear from someone a few days a week–but when you hear from someone daily….and then you don’t…it can be jarring. You are building a relationship on your social media.
  • Brand Identity Issues: The following day, a post about technology–which had no alignment with the company brand, goals, or purpose. It felt like a random post, and it was. When I asked the business owner why that was posted, they said most of their audience works in technology. That’s great, knowing your audience is important. But an article on say, why working on your computer 10+ hours a day can be detrimental to your health would be more aligned with the company brand and mission…a random post is just a random post. Your fans are smarter than that and they can sense when you are posting random articles in an attempt to appease them. It feels almost manipulative, and manipulation never works in relationships.

Three days, three issues around things that are relatively easy to fix. Instead of hiring me or another expensive consultant to help you see immediate results in your social media, try these 5 things first, and let me know what happens. You’ll be surprised at how quickly these 5 things will give you results, and meet those goals that you’ve now established.