Has "Authenticity" on Social Media Become Another Box to Check?

Has "Authenticity" on Social Media Become Another Box to Check?

Each Tuesday Morning I sit at my desk, sip my coffee, and catch up on my favorite political podcasts. While talking about the number of people adding their name to the list of Presidential Candidates, Jon Lovett uttered the words, “Authenticity is all about seeming honest.”

This sentence struck me so abruptly and so sharply that I had to rewind, pause, and write it down. Then write it down again. And again. And this time in red marker.

After watching the Fyre Festival documentaries on Hulu and Netflix, the candidacy announcement speeches of every Democrat in the country, and countless bloggers post “real” captions under fake photos, these were the exact words I wanted to formulate, but couldn’t.

How and Why to Start a Facebook Group for Your Business

How and Why to Start a Facebook Group for Your Business

If you’re wondering if you need a Facebook group, or if it would have a positive impact on your business, I want to start by asking you a few questions...

  1. Would you like to position yourself as a go-to expert in your field?

  2. Would your clients and potential clients benefit from interacting and collaborating with each other?

  3. Are people uniquely passionate about your products or services?

  4. Are you operating your business on a tight or bootstrapped budget?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, a Facebook group might be the perfect addition to your digital marketing funnel. After all, the entire point of a funnel is to establish familiarity and trust with potential customers or clients and to “warm” them enough to entice a purchase. What better way to do that than by creating a community where you curate and serve content that’s valuable to them?

How is Social Listening Different from Online Review Monitoring ?

How is Social Listening Different from Online Review Monitoring ?

You care about what people are saying about your business. Whether your business is mentioned on Facebook, Google, Twitter, or an industry-specific site like Healthgrades, knowing what the online universe is saying about you is important.

So important that you want to take steps to monitor all these mentions of your business, right? You’ve heard terms like social listening and review monitoring. They seem pretty similar. And well, they kind of are … and they kind of aren’t. First of all, let’s clear up this confusion by defining both.

5 Tips for Using Instagram in 2019

5 Tips for Using Instagram in 2019

Instagram is quickly becoming the ruling Queen to Facebook’s king consort of Social Networks. Hopefully, you are already implementing an updated Instagram strategy for your business in 2019, but we want to share some additional tips for having your best year EVER on Instagram.

What Is SEO? (And Why it Matters For Your Business!)

What Is SEO? (And Why it Matters For Your Business!)

If you have a website and are interested in monetizing it, then you’ve probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO). The world of SEO is expansive and can be a little intimidating, but fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to make it work for your business.

As digital marketers, SEO is a core competency of The Caruana Group, both for ourselves and our clients. We help make websites more visible through advanced SEO tactics, and by offering content creation for companies to post to social media and their websites. Here’s a quick inside look at how we do SEO…

Easy Tips for Better Photos

Easy Tips for Better Photos

High-quality visuals are not optional if you want your business to be successful on social media, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take great photos for your audience.  Whether you’re taking photos on an iPhone, Android or point and shoot camera, here are a few ways you can up your photo game in 2019.

Will Using Scheduling Tools Impact Organic Reach on Facebook?

Will Using Scheduling Tools Impact Organic Reach on Facebook?

Will Using Scheduling Tools Impact Organic Reach on Facebook?How to Use 3rd Party Apps to Your Advantage When Posting on Social Media

For a long time, marketers have been told to fight against 3rd party scheduling tools out of fear that your posts’ organic reach would be compromised. The idea was that Facebook would favor posts who used their native tools to post content, therefore spending more time on the site. For a while, Instagram would even punish those who used scheduling tools to publish by banning accounts and hiding posts.

Lucky for us, the game has since changed.

Facebook Ad Relevance Score: What it Means and How to Get a "Perfect 10"

Facebook Ad Relevance Score: What it Means and How to Get a "Perfect 10"

Before we break down the details about ad relevance scores, I’d like to mention this is NOT always the best way to measure an ad’s success, nor does a simple number between 1 and 10 give you any information on how to improve your ad’s performance. Your ad’s relevance score should simply act as a starting point for further analysis, such as a deeper dive into metrics like cost-per-lead, return-on-ad-spend (ROAS), and other key performance indicators.

Having said that, you know this metric matters greatly when you work with clients. It’s a number that’s easy for clients to see when they are poking around in their reporting, and Facebook makes it just approachable enough for them to understand the basics. Therefore, it’s important to be able to explain the relevance score of your ads to your clients.

Even more importantly, you NEED to have a specific plan to share with your clients (or just to implement for your own business!) if you launch an ad that comes back with a low relevance score.

Everything You Need to Know about Using Hashtags for Your Business

Everything You Need to Know about Using Hashtags for Your Business

So how do you find the right hashtags to use?

There are two general categories of hashtags you want to pick from: branded and community. Branded hashtags are those unique to your business. They can be simple, like something related to your business’s name or tagline, or something kitschy and creative used for inspiration, to promote a campaign or to collect user-generated content. Community hashtags are those used by like-minded Instagrammers to collect similarly themed photos. This is where you’ll connect with other users, improve the SEO of your post and gain followers.

34 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Facebook Ads Manager [Full List]

34 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Facebook Ads Manager [Full List]

Most business owners know that Instagram and Facebook advertising can help to grow both their customer base and their sales. It’s likely they’ve taken courses, watched videos, or looked to other resources for help to hone in on a strategy.

Here’s the thing: It’s EASY to get started with Facebook and Instagram advertising.

Here is a checklist of questions you should be asking BEFORE you outsource any digital advertising; Whether it be Facebook and Instagram, or any other paid platform.

Three Ways to Increase your Organic Reach on Instagram

Three Ways to Increase your Organic Reach on Instagram

Instagram can be a beast to understand. Sometimes it feels like you are posting content for an audience of none or that the right people are missing your posts entirely. While there are a number of other methods you can use to increase your reach (that we’ll talk in-depth about in the near future), here are three easy steps you can implement to your Instagram strategy right now that will make a world of difference in your reach.

3 Crucial Steps You MUST Take When a Client Campaign Fails

3 Crucial Steps You MUST Take When a Client Campaign Fails

The thing I love MOST about marketing is when a campaign takes off. Celebrating successes with clients is the kind of satisfying high that draws people into the industry in a constant stream. The HARDEST thing about working in this field, though, is when an advertising campaign or initiative completely flops.

Looking a client in the face (thanks to our friend video chat) and telling them you won’t be hitting your numbers after spending their hard-earned dollars is what keeps folks like us up at night. It’s the reason for that little voice of doubt in the back of every freelancer's mind telling them they’ll hit “publish” on their campaigns and hear crickets. Telling them that they don’t have what it takes to make it in this space.

Voice Search: The Future of The SEO Landscape

Voice Search: The Future of The SEO Landscape

Did you know Google updates it's search algorithm at least once per day? Crazy, right?

Usually, these are minor updates and don't have a major impact to your online ranking. Either way, it's still important to be in the know with the ever changing SEO landscape out there today. Especially, since having a proper SEO strategy can mean the difference between life and death for your business.

The Power of Mobile Marketing

What if you could connect with your audience right on the devices they stare at for nearly a third of their day? Better yet, what if you could specifically target that same audience right at the moment when they're looking for the services or products that you offer?

More importantly, how would it impact your budget if you could virtually eliminate wasted marketing spend?

Mobile Marketing can make all of this happen through the use of Geofencing Technology. Geofencing is a software feature that uses GPS or RFID to define geographic boundaries. So, what does that mean to you as a marketer? It means that geofence marketing allows for advertisers to reach their target audience wherever they go, including your competitor's locations, your own store front or even special events.

Pretty cool, right? It gets better...

Now, it doesn't matter if you're a small single location business, giant corporation with multiple locations across the globe or even just an eCommerce store with no physical storefront. Geofence marketing allows you to connect with your audience at a local level and serve them ads that are more likely to convert. Why? Because, they are already looking for what you have to offer.

Here's how it works:

  • A virtual geofence is traced around an event or location where the advertiser wants to build an audience based on their visit to that particular location during a set, scheduled timeframe.
  • When people enter the geo-fenced location during the set timeframe, they will then become a part of an audience that can later be targeted following the event.
  • As the user visits various apps downloaded on their phone (Angry Bird, Weather Channel, Emoji Keyword, Words With Friends) or browses the internet on the mobile browsers, they begin to see ads from said advertiser.
  • User can see those Ads for 1 day and up to 30 days after he/she has entered the geofence.

Here's the best part! In addition to being able to track impressions and detailed reporting, you can setup a conversion zone that actually allows you to track people who have visited your location as a direct result of seeing your advertisement.

Hows that for tracking ROI and eliminating wasted marketing spend?

Geofencing marketing is the perfect solution for companies that want to target a group of people attending a specific event and get more reach out of their ad spend rather than simply zip code targeting or city-wide targeting.

Stack geofence marketing with your social media marketing strategy and you'll have yourself a well armed automated marketing machine that produces results.

Now that you know a little more about geofence marketing, think about how this strategy could apply to your business. If you want to create a well rounded advanced geofencing strategy that incorporate programmatic display and social media marketing, giving you the chance to target just your core audience, feel free to inquire about our technology and services here at TCG.

- CC

The Secret to Selling More Homes!

This blog is for my Real Estate Agent friends and readers! How many of you are currently taking advantage of digital marketing and social media platforms? And if you are using these platforms, are you using them to identify new buyer/seller leads? Are you using these platforms to sell properties for your existing clients?

Hopefully, the answer is "YES! All the above!"

Now, when I use the term "digital marketing" I'm not just talking about the service sites like Realtor.com and Zillow offer. As a matter of fact, if you're relying on those sites to support your digital marketing efforts then you're blowing your marketing budget on a pipe dream.

Sure, you may get a worth while lead here and there that may actually have some substance to it.

But, here's the the realty of it...

Digital marketing platforms like Realtor.com and Zillow get X number of leads per zip code. Realtors, just like you, also buy the same zip codes you do and get the EXACT SAME leads you do at the EXACT SAME time.

What gives, right?!

Now, it becomes a race to reach out to the leads. Lots of times, by the time you connect with the potential customer of your's, they're usually pretty angry and not very pleasant to speak with. Why? This is because 15-20 realtors have already started hounding them for their business.

Sound like a familiar scenario?

Listen...it doesn't need to be this way. There are much more effective digital marketing options out there for real estate professionals. I'm talking about digital marketing strategies and platforms that will increase your lead flow, increase your closing ratio and EVEN shorten the sales cycles for your existing inventory!

There's an old saying I always like to reference..."If you continuing doing what you've always done, you'll always get the same results you've always gotten."

This holds true for the real estate industry.

Why would you want to continue following the SAME EXACT methodologies and sales cycles that the other real estate professionals in your industry our following anyways?

Isn't the goal to stand out, reach more clients and expand your real estate empire? Hopefully, the answer is yes or you probably shouldn't be in an industry such as this that pays commission only.

It's time to rethink how you invest your time and your hard earned money into your marketing budget.

If you're interested in learning more about how you can help you with this, sign up for our mailing list below and I will make sure we get you an invite for our next training webinar.

Don't want to wait?

Schedule some one-on-one time with me here: https://calendly.com/ccaruana/introduction-call

Harness The Power of Online Business Reviews

With the world of business revolving more and more around social selling, It’s no secret that online reviews can have a significant impact on your business’s success. With the plethora of review sites at their disposal these days, your customers essentially control the reputation of your business, based off their “customer experience” when engaging with your establishment. 

There is no doubt that customer reviews help other potential customers determine as to whether or not they should do business with you. As a result, 92% of customers read online reviews, and 68% trust a local business more if it has positive reviews.

Customers value customer review’s because they consider genuine shared experiences from their peers to be more trustworthy than potentially biased information provided by the business itself.

Can reviews really make or break a sale? Can the quantity or quality of the reviews you receive have that big of an impact on your company’s bottom line?

The answer is yes…

So, as a business owner, how do you take advantage of this as an “opportunity” rather than treat it as a threat?

Simply by focusing on what your business does best…deliver perfection at every touchpoint of the customer journey. If you do this, customers will become loyal brand advocates, bringing in more customers - lots of them.

You need to own the customer experience. Customers don’t care about catchy taglines and pushy ads. They care about great experiences. They don’t want to be sold to, they want to be understood and cared for. When businesses make their customers happy, their customers do their marketing for them. Your customers are the most powerful and untapped source of revenue.

It’s time to say hello to customer-driven marketing.

Customer experience drives ratings. Ratings drive revenue. TCG has the power to give businesses complete control of both, to hardwire every business decision around the customer and scale revenue and growth.

We do this by utilizing a comprehensive platform that turns feedback into insights, insights into action, and customer happiness into revenue.

Oh and by the way…customer reviews also helps SEO!

Since customers find reviews important, search engines do too. The goal of an online search is to yield accurate, easily accessible information. Since online reviews are considered to be user generated content, relevant keywords will start to trickle into your business pages, scooting it up in search rankings.

Search engines aim to connect customers with relevant information as quickly as possible. Each subsequent search becomes more specific as the customer grows increasingly informed–by the time customers come across online reviews, they already know what product or service they want. They just need to find the best business to fulfill their need.

To learn more, please feel free to contact me directly at ccaruana@thecaruanagroup.com 

5 Simple Steps To Providing Value

Added value is an important tactic that can be used by small businesses, consultants and direct sales reps to acquire and retain customers, increase brand awareness, and differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Have no clue where to start? It’s much simpler than you would think. Below are a few pointers on how to create a sense of value for your prospects.

Always Consider Your Customers’ Perspective

Creating added value starts with the ability to see your business through the eyes of your customers.

Consider what’s important to your target market and how your product or service will benefit them. What problem does it solve, how will it help them overcome obstacles or do their jobs better? Many businesses miss the boat by focusing on features instead of benefits. Don’t do that! By shifting your focus to providing content that focuses on your customers’ needs you can start helping and STOP selling.

A good tool for structure here is a “customer persona” outline. This is helpful to provide insights about your current and future customers, what’s meaningful to them, and gives you a roadmap of the kind of content you can create and share to provide added value.

Consistently Work to Improve Customer Satisfaction

Lack of customer satisfaction is a sure-fire way to keep people from coming back.

Soliciting honest feedback through short surveys on a regular basis allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs. It’s also an opportunity to monitor your brand’s identity and a great resource to constantly evaluate yourself as a business and make the necessary adjustments to stay relevant in the marketplace.

There are plenty of free survey tools available for you to use. Reach out to us and we’ll be happy to provide you with a few different options.

Implement Marketing Models Into Your Strategy

The use of popular marketing models can help your strategy take shape. Some examples of these models are: The Four C’s Model, Brand Essence wheel and my personal favorite, the SWOT Analysis. These tools will help you develop your brand’s value statement, define your unique selling point, and most importantly forecast customer demands.

Develop a Memorable Customer Experience

Word of mouth referrals and positive online reviews are indispensable resources that lead to obtaining new customers and retaining existing customers. Businesses with unforgettable customer experiences are more likely to benefit from this.

When getting started, you’ll need to consider all touch points of your business, from initial lead capture to post-purchase communication and how to properly maximize the added value for the customer throughout the process.

Providing an exceptional customer experience allows you to develop relationships with your customers so you can connect on new levels. Most importantly, memorable customer experiences models aim to deliver unexpected intangible value that cannot be packaged or sold. This includes personalized service, attention to detail, and showing a sense of urgency to address concerns as they arise.

Never Underestimate The Value of “Free”

Whether it’s a free guide, a printable PDF, or information through a blog post, free resources are a great way to create added value and showcase your ability to offer a little something extra to customers. Free resources can also serve as useful tools to help grow a small business’s brand awareness and expose your target market to various products and services.

For retail locations, consider promotional materials featuring your company’s logo that can be given out in-store. Online businesses can use a customized form to encourage visitors to sign up to hear more about special offers and promotions.

These five tips will help you think about a few ways you can add value now and in the future for your prospects and customers. If you like what you’ve read here, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss out on future posts. Don’t forget to check out our previous blog posts and share with your friends and business associates. Education is a beautiful thing. It helps us learn and grow, so that we can continue to be relevant in this ever changing world of business we work in today.

 - CC