Does Your Business Have an Exit Strategy?

Does Your Business Have an Exit Strategy?

Why would I ever need an exit strategy? You may be asking yourself that after seeing the title of this post.

 

In the past six weeks I have been asked that by three separate potential clients while we were meeting. Of course they prefaced it with, “we don’t expect it, but just in case.”

 

They all had a great point. You never know what is going to happen. People move. People die. Not all businesses live forever.

 

For me, with the work ethic I inherited from my dad, I could do this until I am old and gray (ha!), but most likely not. Whether your plan is to have your business for 10 years, 20 years, or build it to where you can merge with another, you need to know what the plan is when that days comes.

 

Having an exit strategy in mind will help you run your business better. After thinking about it, I did a little research and found some great insight into this.

 

Having an exit strategy will make you document everything – including your processes.

 

Imagine trying to explain 10 years of doing things to a person in a week. Without having anything written down. Documenting what you do and how will help in the end – it will also help if you hire people and delegate or if you have to step out of your role short-term.

 

Having an exit strategy will help you know how to value your business in the event someone does make an offer to buy your business.

 

Even if you have zero plans of selling your business, you never know who is watching you. I’ve had a few people over the past six years casually mention the word ‘partnership’ to me, but that isn’t something I am personally in it. I would love to buy another marketing agency and merge into that if the stars aligned (major long-term goal here). THAT would require an exit strategy.

 

Having an exit strategy takes some of the stress off of you, the business owner.

 

I am a plan-for-the-worst type. I like to have all bases covered, just in case. So knowing what my exit strategy is takes some stress off of me because I know what will happen and how things will go. Now, I do not plan for that to happen for MANY, MANY years (my husband has to retire first!) but it’s there… just in case.

 

All that being said, hopefully it’s given you something to think about. So, what is your business’ exit strategy?

 

 

References:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249065

http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/business-planning/5-reasons-why-you-should-start-with-your-exit-in-mind/

THIS is the Facebook Content Your Fans Want You to Post

THIS is the Facebook Content Your Fans Want You to Post

Let me ask you a question, and let’s be honest, how many times have you seen a business post on Facebook and you wished there had been an eye-roll button to click?

 

Don’t lie – there have been times we have all wanted to respond to a post that way. I’m going to be brutally honest – some businesses still just do not get it when it comes to what type of content to post to Facebook. Here is what I am seeing in my newsfeed, and see if any of these match what you are seeing too –

  • Misaligned posts that do not match the brand’s message
  • All sales pitches, aka broadcast messages
  • Posts with spelling and grammatical errors

 

Facebook, in May, released a guide for publishers that clued us into what Facebook is from it’s users. Here is what they found:

 

People on Facebook value meaningful, informative stories.

In their algorithm, Facebook looks at a user’s personal signals, such as “how close someone is to the person or page posting, stories they’d want to talk to their friends and family about, spend time reading, and videos they’d spend time watching.” Also taken into account is the post’s overall engagement. People value content that is informative as well. Think about what you take time to read or share, or even comment on. It is content you find meaningful and informative. You should put yourself in the your audience’s shoes and post the type of content they will spend time on, much like you would.

 

People on Facebook value accurate, authentic content.

With the wave of fake news on Facebook, accuracy is SO important more now than ever. Facebook users have told Facebook that authentic stories are the ones that resonate with them the most, so Facebook ranks those types of posts higher in the News Feed. Some tips from Facebook include:

  • Clear headlines – do not mislead the person viewing the headline.
  • Spam – “do not deliberately try and game the News Feed to get more distribution.”
  • Accurate Information – make sure what you are posting is true.

 

Around the same time as the Facebook release, Sprout Social released its Q2 Sprout Social Index. This edition of the quarterly social media insight report focused on what consumers are looking from from businesses on social media – and it echoed a lot of the Facebook release.

 

Every business wants to be ‘cool’ on social media – they want to relate to their fans, but there is a limit to that. According to the Sprout Social Index, social media users want brands to be honest online, you know, authentic. They also want you to be friendly and helpful, not snarky and sarcastic. You can leave that for your private personal channels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, where else do social media users want to see this honest behavior? Overwhelmingly Facebook. If anyone, professional or not, tells you Facebook is dead and you need to look elsewhere, run and run fast.

 

 

Let’s talk content – what TO and NOT TO post.

 

TO Post: Meaningful, informative stories.

This could include tips, articles – items that are relevant to your fans. What this is NOT is sales pitch after sales pitch or “look at what we do” post after post. I see so many businesses doing that and it’s annoying. Stop the constant self-promotion and build the relationship!

Example: You are a pediatrician office. The content that would be meaningful and informative to your fans would be articles that keep your fans informed on the latest research on vaccines or when your office will be having their annual flu clinic.

 

TO Post: Accurate, authentic content.

Example: You are a restaurant. The accurate, authentic content that would be relevant to your fans would be your updated menu and pricing and any specials you may have.

 

NOT TO Post: Political commentary.

According to the Sprout Index, “Seventy-one-percent of consumers surveyed think political commentary from brands is annoying.” In this day and time, the ground is too shaky to endeavor on posting this type of content. Unless that is your business, steer clear.

 

NOT TO Post: Making fun of customers.

You would think this is a given, but some businesses do it. As seen below, 88% of consumers find it annoying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TO Post: Responses to questions.

It should be a given to respond to questions to that are asked, however you would be surprised how many go unresponded to (and I’ve had this happen to me!). According to Sprout Social, 68% of consumers want brands to participate in conversations they’re mentioned in, and 83% want brands to respond to them.

 

NOT TO Post: Slang.

You may think it’s cool to use the lingo of a particular generation, but most generations find it annoying. See the graph below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what happens if a business is posting content that their fans find annoying or uninformative? They are unfollowed or marked as spam. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Your mom probably has done it too. The problem is that many businesses just don’t care – or they do not know better to know how to correct what they are doing wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a bright side. If you post the right type of content and you are engaging and responsive, your fans will respond. According to Sprout Social’s research, “it may be as easy as being present and providing value–answering a customer’s question on social prompts 49% of consumers to purchase, 45% are swayed by promotions and contests and 42% say they’d be converted by educational content.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tying this all up, if your business is posting meaningful, accurate content that shows you are honest and you are being engaging and responsive online, you are on the right track. Of course, all of this should relate back to your overall social media strategy.

 

What types of content have you seen on Facebook that has made you cringe or made you want to give that business a high-five? Share with us in the comments!

20 Facebook Statistics for 2017

20 Facebook Statistics for 2017

If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know I love statistics, especially statistic posts. And with Facebook reaching 2 BILLION monthly users last month (June 2017), I thought it appropriate we take a look at some of the statistics that make up the world’s largest social media platform.

 

• Americans LOVE Facebook – 79% of American adult internet users are using Facebook. (Pew Research Center)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• 76% of Facebook users LOG IN DAILY. (Pew Research Center)

Image Source: Pew Research Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Almost one-quarter of the earth’s population (22.9%) uses Facebook. (Statista)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Facebook’s mobile app is the most popular app in the United States, followed by their Messenger app and Instagram, which they own as well. (Statista)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Shakria has the most Facebook fans of any musician on Facebook. Two of the top ten are deceased. (Statista)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Facebook spent $3.2 million lobbying Congress in Q1 2017. (Statista)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• People have created over 2.5 TRILLION posts on Facebook. (TechCrunch)
• As of July 2016, there were over 2 BILLION searches PER DAY on Facebook. (TechCrunch)
• Every 60 seconds, Facebook users generate 4 million likes. PLUS, 500 new users join Facebook, 100,000 new friend requests are sent, and 243,000 photos are uploaded. (SumoCoupon, now Dealhack)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Facebook Reactions have been used more than 300 billion times since launched in February 2016. (AdWeek)
• Facebook is the most important platform for marketers. (Social Media Examiner)

Image Source: Social Media Examiner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• 40% of Facebook users have never liked a Facebook business page. (Kentico)
• 39% of Facebook users like or follow a page to receive a special offer. (Kentico)
• 93% of social marketers use Facebook advertising regularly. (Social Media Examiner)
• 85% of video on Facebook is watched with the sound off. (Digiday)
• In the Facebook News Feed, people consume a given piece of content faster on mobile than on a computer. (Facebook)

Image Source: Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• People are 1.5x more like to watch video daily on a smartphone than on a computer. (Facebook)
• Daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts grew 4x over the course of 2016. (Facebook)
• On Facebook, 1 in 5 videos is now a live broadcast. (Facebook)
• In Q1, Facebook earned $7.86 billion in advertising revenue. (Facebook)

 

Facebook is here to stay and we all better just fasten our seatbelts and enjoy the ride! I’ve been a Facebook user for 11 years and it has definitely changed over the years. It will be interesting to see where it is 11 years from now!

 

For some more Facebook stats, check out this post on KlientBoost, which provided some of the sources in this post.

 

 

Your Business Needs a Social Media Marketing Strategy Right Now

Your Business Needs a Social Media Marketing Strategy Right Now

Last year I made the case for social media marketing for small businesses in terms of why they need to even use it. According to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner, 92% of marketers said that social media is important to their businesses (that included business owners as well). So obviously businesses are getting the message.

 

This year, not much has changed, you still need to use social media for your business, however, it’s more important now to have an exact plan, or strategy, about how you are going to implement your social media marketing.

 

Get this – 41% of Americans say it’s important that the institutions they engage with have a strong social media presence and of those Americans who have a social media account, 28% would rather engage with a brand/organization on social media than visit a physical location.

 

So let’s do some math. There are roughly 326 million Americans. According to Pew Research Center, 69% of adults in the U.S. use social media, which makes approximately 225 million people. If 28% would rather engage with you on social media than walk in your door, that means 63 million people prefer interacting with businesses on social media than in-person. And that includes me.

 

The top choice for a customer care channel is social media (Sprout Social) so now is the time to start crafting that oh-so-important strategy to make it all work.

 

Social media marketing is more than just posting content to Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. It’s more than sharing articles or videos. It’s connecting with your audience in a precise manner. To me, there’s an art, or science, to it.

 

Before you start doing anything on your social media platforms, you have to know why you are using it.

 

In the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the top two benefits of social media marketing that were listed were increasing exposure and increasing traffic. 88% indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses and 78% reported positive results for increased traffic. Most are using social media to develop loyal fans (69%) and gain marketplace intelligence (66%).

 

Ask yourself – why you are you using social media for your business? Everything you do online needs to start from your answer to that question. If it does not, then it won’t work. If you are outsourcing your social media marketing and the consultant or company is clueless about this, fire them now and find someone else.

 

You need to know who you are targeting.

 

Not every one of the 225 million Americans (if you are in the US) on social media is someone you should target. In fact, not everyone in a 10 mile radius of your business will be people you target. Think of the perfect person you want to buy from you or hire you for your services and build your targeting around that. I know it includes A LOT of assumptions and stereotypes, but in marketing, it’s just something you have to do.

 

Once you’ve figured that out, have a strategy as to how you are going to reach those you are targeting. Questions you need to answer:

 

What platforms am I going to use?

 

You do not have to use every platform. If you have a marketing consultant tell you you have to be on all of them – run, and run fast. Any social media marketing professional worth anything will know better than to tell you that. Think about that target audience and look at what platform(s) they are using. Start there.

FYI – Facebook is still the choice among every age group. Do not let anyone convince you teens and millennials have left Facebook – they are still there. If it wasn’t the choice, there wouldn’t be 65 million Facebook business pages.

 

What content am I going to share?

 

Think about what your target audience wants to see. Keep in mind 46% will unfollow a brand on social for posting too many promotional messages (Sprout Social). A good ratio to keep is 80% educational/20% promotional. For every self-promotional messages you put out, you need 8 that are not. You can share articles relating to your industry, tips, behind the scenes of your business, etc. Just do NOT publish sales pitch after sales pitch.

Visuals and video go a long way in terms of engagement and being remembered. 85% use visuals in their marketing and 73% plan on increasing their use of visuals this year, according to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. When it comes to video, 61% plan on using live video services such as Facebook Live and Periscope, and 69% want to learn more about live video. With Facebook’s big push this year with video, you just might want to consider wading into this.

 

What advertising will I invest in?

 

Long gone are the days of “post it and they will come.” With all platforms unleashing algorithms that show content based on how much users engage with people and brands, chances are your posts are not going to be seen often without a little bit of a boost.

Facebook ads are amazingly inexpensive and you get a real bang for your buck. Plus you will get a boost in eyes on your content. A surprising 93% of social marketers regularly use Facebook ads and 64% plan on increasing their Facebook ads activities – this applies to businesses as well (Source: Social Media Examiner).

You can read my Facebook Ads primer here.

 

How will I engage and interact?

 

I see SO many businesses (and competitors) just broadcast on social media all day long. They post about themselves, or just post, and never interact with their followers. Comments go unanswered, questions left unresponded to. In fact, 89% of social media messages to brands go ignored and the average response time for a brand to reply on social media to a user is 10 hours, while the average user will only wait 4 hours. (Sprout Social). That’s unacceptable. If you are going to invest the time and resources into using social media for your business, you have to be present and show up.

The majority of consumers buy from brands that are honest (86%), helpful (78%) and friendly (83%). It turns out that at the end of the day, consumers want brands to use social as a customer care channel (Source: Sprout Social Q2 2017 Index).

 

All said, social media marketing is time-consuming. For example, 64% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more and 41% for 11 hours or more weekly. It’s interesting to note that nearly 20% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media (Source: 2017 SMM Industry Report from SME). That’s why people like me have been able to build successful businesses – we take the time to educate ourselves and stay up on the latest so you can do what you do best – run your business.

 

But some businesses choose to handle their own social media marketing – and that’s fine. Any use of social media for business has to have a strategy behind it. You wouldn’t blindly go on a hike in a forest without a plan, so why would you consider using social media to market your business the same way?

 

If you have questions about how to better market your business on social media, or how to even get started, we have answers. Click below to let us help get you on the right path to being successful.

 

Schedule a FREE 30 Minute Social Strategy Consultation Now!

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