Category: Social Media

Picture of laptop with Google on screen

Optimizing Your Google My Business For COVID-19

Everyone looks to the internet for answers. They’re also shifting their searches to be more localized (e.g., “Grocery store near me.” or “Grocery store in my city.”). To adjust to this reality, businesses need to modify their digital marketing strategies.

With the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) causing major problems in the economy and daily life, it’s more important now than ever to have up-to-date messaging and profiles. Here are a few quick tips for communicating with your customers:

  • Add a banner or update on your website with a message (This could be a link to a page with a longer message from the company owner).
  • Share messages and regular communications and updates on every appropriate social media channel.
  • Update your Google My Listing through the COVID-19 section and “special” hours section.

Our primary focus for this blog will be Google My Business. If you’re completely new to Google My Business, please read this blog post first. If you’re familiar with Google My Business and are ready to learn more, let’s dive in!

Using Google My Business During COVID-19

Businesses around the world are feeling the impact of COVID-19. They’re implementing changes to their cleaning processes and hours of operation, along with shifting to remote work and delivering products and services through online channels. Customers are increasingly looking online for the status of local businesses, and their first stop is often Google My Business and Google Maps. Here are some tips:

1) New Google Post type for the COVID-19 update section. Add a message and update every 14 days.

Here’s an example of the copy we write for these posts:

“Just a friendly reminder: As of 5/11/2020, CG Marketing Group remains open during our regular business hours (M-F, 7:30 AM – 4 PM). We’re taking necessary precautions to keep our staff and customers safe, but we’re here for your business during this difficult time.”

Businesses are also allowed to update their name with “delivery only” or “curbside pick-up only”.

2) The Temporarily Closed feature is available in the info section of the dashboard. Using this feature does not affect visibility or rankings. This is especially helpful for gyms, eye clinics, and other businesses that can’t currently operate under COVID-19 restrictions. Here’s an example of a temporarily closed listing:

Google My Business COVID-19 Changes & Updates

If you’ve been fairly active with your Google My Business profile, that’s great! However, there have been some changes since the pandemic started. Here are some temporary updates and changes Google has made so far:

  • April 7th Update: Google restored the ability of business owners to respond to reviews.  Review functionality is partially back (While business owners can respond, there is a lag time in publishing them). Reviews left should be published in the coming weeks.
  • April 8 Update: Google started temporarily limiting GMB functionality due to COVID-19.  The Google team took precautionary measures to protect their team members, which means they’re operating with a limited team. In other words, things might be slow-moving for a while, so patience will be necessary.
  • May 11 Update: This update gives retailers the ability to add a donation link, gift card link, or both to their profile. They can also make personalized posts to inform customers how funds will be used.
  • The Questions & Answers section was “removed” but should be back live in the coming weeks.
  • The Suggest An Edit option for listings is paused and any suggested updates will be delayed until further notice.
  • A new alert banner now appears in the info section of your GMB dashboard that says “Based on recent updates, this business has been marked as closed (Yes/No).” When you select “Yes”, there will be a new option in the info section under the header “Reopen This Business On Google”. You can then select “Mark As Open”.
  • Essential businesses are getting the most attention right now. Non-Essential cannot claim a new listing or update their listings other than the COVID update at this time.
  • If you manage multiple locations, you can update Special Hours via bulk upload or API, but with the Temporarily Closed feature, you will need to manually enable this function.

Don’t Forget Bing

Bing Local also now has a specific COVID update option as well. The Bing Places portal has launched some new features to help your business respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with updates for your customers on your Bing search listing.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

There has been a lot of disruption to regular business operations and there will likely be more to come. That’s why it’s crucial for your business to communicate effectively with your current and potential customers through all social media channels, Google My Business, and Bing. 

About Us

CG Marketing Group is a talented team of creatives and strategists who can make your business awesome. We like to have fun, but we’re very serious about digital marketing.

To sum us up in a single word — Scrappy. We’re always eager to branch out and apply new tactics to create successful campaigns. Our crew works hard to bring value, get results, and keep our clients happy.

Learn About Our Digital Marketing Services

4 Ways to Market a Small Company

You ever look at marketing advice and feel like you’re not the target audience?

“Simply put a video on YouTube and get thousands of views and boosted website traffic!”

Ok, great. Now all your small business has to do is rent equipment to create a quality video and use your staff’s time to create the video when they’re already stretched too thin with existing responsibilities. Not to mention it’s hard to go viral, especially when your company is still trying to become established.

How To Market A Small Business

There are numerous examples of exaggerated marketing advice online. Everyone’s an expert, but the tips don’t always match the realistic possibilities of small companies. We work exclusively with smaller businesses, and there are a variety of practical marketing strategies. Here are four of the many options.

1. Google My Business and Bing Places

Google+ didn’t end up working as a social media platform, but Google My Business is a huge factor when it comes to local SEO. On Google, you can have a profile page for your business, much like a Facebook or LinkedIn profile.

Google My Business is free to set up. You can list your name and description, add photos, adjust where you are on Google Maps, and even post updates or events. When people type in your business in the search engine, they’ll see this information in the search results without needing to click to your website.

Picture of the Creative Graphics GMB listing.

2. Social Media Paid Ads

This strategy is fairly inexpensive depending on your target audience and your industry. Often, small businesses can spend less than one dollar per click.

Facebook and LinkedIn are the two most popular social media platforms we use for advertising. LinkedIn can be great for targeting professionals, though it’s often more expensive than Facebook.

social media advertising backend facebook ads

3. Local and Community Sponsorship

People like it when a company embraces its city and wants to make a difference. Sponsoring local events or sports teams is a great way to get your name out there and plant yourself in your community.

Engagement is one benefit of sponsorship, but a digital benefit is that you get links back to your website. Event other websites and landing pages will have your logo listed as a sponsor with a link, which will send referrals to your website.

4. Promotions

Do you want more customers? Give them incentives to take a chance on you. Host large sale events with discounts or offer free products and services every now and then. Taking a small hit in revenue is worth it if you can gain more long-term customers as a result.

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About Us

CG Marketing Group is a talented team of creatives and strategists who can make your business awesome. We like to have fun, but we’re very serious about digital marketing.

To sum us up in a single word — Scrappy. We’re always eager to branch out and apply new tactics to create successful campaigns. Our crew works hard to bring value, get results, and keep our clients happy.

Learn About Our Digital Marketing Services

5 Tips To Not Suck At Social Media Marketing

Greetings and salutations. Sorry, that doesn’t look as cool in text format as it sounded in my head. I was trying to do a Christian Slater voice but…nevermind. What am I doing here? Oh right, social media advice.

Look, social media is fun and all, but if we’re being honest, it’s a bloated mess at times. The companies that do best with social media marketing are the ones who seem real and give their audience helpful content.

If you’re craving some social media tips, here are some tasty treats.

1) Taper your expectations

It’s not very common for a post to blow up and generate thousands of views overnight. It’s a great goal to have, but you shouldn’t expect all your posts to go viral.

This is definitely true if your company is a small business in an industry that doesn’t generate much interest outside of its own niche.

What should my expectations be?

It all depends on the size of your audience and the quality of your content. We’ve seen small businesses get a couple of clicks and “likes” per post, but we’ve also seen companies get dozens per post.

If your company has ten followers, it would be ridiculous to assume that every post would generate a ton of website traffic. In this case, you’d want to work on gradually building up your social media presence and expecting traffic to grow over time.

2) Have something to offer

What are you posting about? Your blogs? Coupons and promotions? General advice or information? It’s totally up to you! Whatever you’re posting about, it needs to be relevant and helpful for your customers.

For example, there could be three companies promoting their services, but the one most likely to get clicks is the one that offers a coupon right in the post.

If you’re not doing a promotion, sometimes the best thing to offer is your own personality. One of our clients offers a fun, humorous tone on their website and in their social media posts. Here’s a sample of how this can bring positive results:

3) Don’t go overkill with hashtags

#If #your #post #looks #like #this, #it #probably #won’t #have #the #intended #result.

Okay, that’s a very extreme example and I’m guessing nobody’s ever done it. Then again, social media can be a cesspool sometimes, so we can’t rule it out. (Is Cesspool a Deadpool villain? If not, it’s a lost opportunity.)

Sorry, I digress. Hashtags can be very helpful, but don’t overdo it. Use them strategically (understand what the hashtag actually means or links to) and sparingly (maybe a couple per post).

If you end your post with 50 hashtags, it probably won’t get you any more views. Think of it like keyword stuffing, an old SEO strategy that should be avoided at all costs.

4) Link back to your website

Don’t automatically assume that you’ll generate traffic by simply saying something like, “Check out our new blog on our website!”

You need to include a link on every post you make (♪♪ every step you take… ♪♪). If you’re promoting your blog, include the link right in the post. If you’re promoting a content offer, include a link that takes the user directly to the promotions page.

People might be interested in your post initially, but if you don’t include a pathway to your website, they most likely won’t seek it out on their own.

5) Wear your flame-resistant clothing

People are brutal on social media. Like, really damn brutal. Even if your company didn’t do anything wrong, you could get torched simply by being in the same industry as a company that did royally screw up.

As Mac Davis thoughtfully pointed out, it’s hard to be humble. But you know what? Tough cookies! If your company screws up, own up to it right away. Acknowledge your mistake and do what you can to make it right.

People appreciate companies that are transparent, responsible, and human. The more you can relate and build trust, the more likely you’ll be to have success on social media.

About Us

CG Marketing Group is a talented team of creatives and strategists who can make your business awesome. We like to have fun, but we’re very serious about digital marketing.

To sum us up in a single word — Scrappy. We’re always eager to branch out and apply new tactics to create successful campaigns. Our crew works hard to bring value, get results, and keep our clients happy.

Learn About Our Digital Marketing Services

Why and How Influencer Marketing Works

With new innovations like the internet and social media come new ways to advertise. One way is by partnering with influencers—social media stars who have big selling authority toward their viewers. Take a look at why advertising with influencers is beneficial for any company.

Influencers: Mini-Celebrity Endorsements

Think of it like celebrity endorsements for social media, but these celebrities aren’t as famous as A-list movie stars. Before social media, the only people you’d pay to hold and talk about your product in an ad would be the biggest and most recognizable celebrities (cue Tom Hanks holding a hotdog).

But with the rise of social media—especially YouTube—anybody with a camera and something to film or discuss can become a celebrity if hundreds, thousands or even millions of people want to watch. These mini-celebrities are called “influencers.”

For example, Bob Clagett started filming himself woodworking and metalworking on his YouTube channel I Like to Make Stuff and now has over 1.4 million people who subscribe to watch his weekly videos.

Why Influencers Work

1. Direct Interest

Users follow influencers when they’re specifically interested in what the influencer is talking about, so product promotions are instantly relatable.

If a seamstress has a YouTube account about sewing, you know that each of his or her followers are interested in sewing, too, otherwise they wouldn’t be following them. Pay that influencer to promote your line of threads and you know that everyone who sees that promotion will already have an interest in threads.

pinterest influencer social media advertising professor pincushion

This is unlike a TV commercial where you need to hope that most people watching The Big Bang Theory would enjoy a Pepsi.

2. Trust

The younger generations—Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z—are the most active groups on social media.

These generations are showing more trust in influencers who are prominent in their craft rather than celebrities who have little to do with the endorsed product (a seamstress would know more about threads than an actress from a romantic comedy).

This puts trust at the forefront of advertising, which is something that isn’t easy to do.

3. Immediate Purchasing

The great thing about social media (and the internet in general) is that purchasing is just a click away. Influencers on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook can include a direct link to your website from where they push your product.

You can also include a promotional code to track how many customers come from that influencer. Take for example @alabasterfox, a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in Poland. She has 139,000 Instagram followers and gets thousands of reactions to each of her posts.

In one of her Instagram posts, she shows a skirt and bag from NA-KD where viewers can use the code ALABASTERFOX20 for 20% off their purchase.

instagram influencer social media post dress bag flowers advertising code

4. Smaller Price Tag

Though some influencers have millions of followers, most aren’t as popular as big movie and fashion stars, so their rates are much lower. Many request just a few hundred or few thousand dollars per product post (whether it be a video, photo or text link).

Compared to the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars required to book a famous TV star or model, that’s a pretty affordable spend.

5. One For Every Niche

There are 1 billion users on Instagram, 191 million on Snapchat, 1.8 billion on YouTube and 2.23 billion on Facebook. With numbers this dense, there are mini-experts on everything from cheeses to airplanes. And with each of those mini-experts come hoards of fans that follow them.

You won’t have trouble finding somebody talking about your product or industry who won’t take a payment in exchange for showing off your latest gear.

Do you own a boutique shop in Maple Grove? Reach out to Claudia Camargo (@milessmilesblog) on Twitter. Want to push your dog training classes past the borders of St. Paul? Send an offer to Franky (@franky.dood) on Instagram. (Even dogs can be influencers!)

instagram influencer social media franky.dood advertising product promotion

About Us

CG Marketing Group is a talented team of creatives and strategists who can make your business awesome. We like to have fun, but we’re very serious about digital marketing.

To sum us up in a single word — Scrappy. We’re always eager to branch out and apply new tactics to create successful campaigns. Our crew works hard to bring value, get results, and keep our clients happy.

Learn About Our Digital Marketing Services

Why Google+ Failed

Google has announced it will shut down the consumer version of its social network, Google+, by April of 2019. While the ultimate reason for pulling the plug is because of a data breach, the social media site has been struggling since its introduction. Here are the other reasons why Google is bidding farewell to Google+.

The Data Breach

The official and final reason Google is shutting down Google+ is because of a data breach. Back in March, a piece of software was published that could have been used to view “non-public information.”

While the breach could have affected up to 500,000 accounts, Google said they found no evidence that private information was actually accessed.

Lack of Activity

Though launched around the same time as other successful social media sites like Snapchat (2011), Instagram (2010) and Pinterest (2010), Google+ never met the level of use as other social media sites.

social media stats number of monthly users google+ facebook twitter youtube instagram snapchat reddit askfm pinterest

At the time of the data breach, active monthly users numbered around 100 million. Though sizable, that audience is small. LinkedIn has more than double the active monthly users, Instagram as 800 million, and YouTube and Facebook both have billions.

With the low number of people using the site even after seven years, it’s hard to imagine Google being able to increase activity. Google even admitted it themselves this year: “[Google+] has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption.”

Lack of Niche

It’s often been said that Google+ was only an attempt for Google to compete in the social media realm instead of being able to offer something unique.

Successful social media sites generally have a specific niche for users to connect with each other. (This usually excludes Facebook since its very general format may be a reason why the site became so popular.)

pinterest social media

Twitter: quick, short communication

Instagram: easy photo editing

Snapchat: quick communication by photo and video

Reddit: sharing and voting on images and ideas

LinkedIn: communication for business professionals

Pinterest: sharing craft and design ideas

Not Worth Reviving

With a low number of users and no solid differentiation on top of the data breach, it’s easy to see why Google is opting to shut down Google+.

From their announcement: “Given [challenges in creating and maintaining a successful social media site] and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.”

Google will, however, continue to offer the enterprise version of Google+ for internal communication among co-workers in the workplace.

Where to Promote Your Brand

Now that Google+ will be shutting down, marketers can focus their attention on other more successful social media sites.

Need help with social media management and advertising? We’ll help your company connect and reach customers on the social media sites where your target demographics are active.

About Us

CG Marketing Group is a talented team of creatives and strategists who can make your business awesome. We like to have fun, but we’re very serious about digital marketing.

To sum us up in a single word — Scrappy. We’re always eager to branch out and apply new tactics to create successful campaigns. Our crew works hard to bring value, get results, and keep our clients happy.

With Google+ Out, Here Are The Most Popular Social Media Sites

Now that Google+ will be shutting down in August 2019, we want to take a look at the more successful social media sites that attract millions (and billions) of users and advertisers every month.

While the data varies (who really knows how many Russian bots are out there?), here are the most popular social media sites in the US by the number of active monthly users.

1. Facebook

facebook icon

Despite the controversy that Facebook has been dealing with since the 2016 US presidential elections, 2.2 billion users still log on to the social media site each month.

Facebook also has one of the most robust advertising platforms that the average business owner can use. You can target specific demographics, from gender and job title to interests and habits.

2. YouTube

youtube icon

Launched in 2005, YouTube was a first-of-its-kind platform to host videos. It has since grown to host over 50 million video creators who are being watched by 1.5 billion monthly viewers.

As of today, the most viewed video on YouTube is Despacito by Luis Fonsi with over 5.5 billion views.

With all those views, YouTube is a great place to advertise. From their advertising page, YouTube boasts “over the last two years, the number of small- and medium-sized businesses advertising on YouTube has doubled.” and “In an average month, 18+ year-olds in the United States spend more time watching YouTube than any television network.”

3. Instagram

instagram icon

It only took 18 months from Instagram’s inception for Facebook to scoop it up for $1 billion. Turns out it was a good investment since 800 million users use the photo-sharing site every month.

And because Facebook owns Instagram, business owners can use the same in-depth advertising platform to target specific sets of customers.

4. Twitter

twitter icon

At just over a decade old, Twitter has become one of the most common ways to share opinions, promote ideas and communicate in short bursts of text and images.

Every month, 330 million users log on to the site, making it a coveted social media site for advertising. With its advertising platform, businesses can spread awareness, promote products, gain followers or send traffic with ease.

5. Reddit

reddit icon

Reddit is one of the best social sites for content aggregation. Users can post images, ideas, discussion-starters, videos and more where other users vote on the content’s popularity. Seen a viral meme or video on the internet? There’s a good chance it was first posted to Reddit.

While organic promotion on Reddit is almost always hit with backlash (the site’s users share a heavy anti-corporate sentiment), businesses can still use the site for pay-per-click ads.

And with over 140,000 separate areas of interest (subreddits) and 325 million monthly users, advertisers can pinpoint users who share very specific interests, for example, inexpensive male apparel.

6. Snapchat

snapchat icon

Though Snapchat is one of the few social media sites that is only usable via mobile phones, businesses can still place ads to its 300 million monthly users.

Snapchat is a great place to advertise because there is very little “fluff”—often only one photo or video will take up the entire screen at a time, meaning an advertisement won’t have to compete for attention.

7. LinkedIn

linkedin icon

Founded in the earlier years of social media (even before Facebook and MySpace), LinkedIn has long been a space for professionals to connect with colleagues, share industry news and search for jobs.

LinkedIn—often called the Facebook of the business world—has similar advertising opportunities as Mark Zuckerberg’s site. Business can reach the 260 million monthly users within newsfeeds, on the sidebar and even in its private messaging.

8. Pinterest

pinterest icon

Pinterest is described as a “catalog of ideas.” Users (200 million each month) can post and save (or “pin”) everything from images of outfits and decorations to recipes and heartwarming quotes.

Advertising on Pinterest works well because users are used to sifting through catalog-quality content. A well-crafted ad will often blend in with the other content, which avoids users tuning out intrusive ads.

9. Ask.fm

askfm icon

Never heard of Ask.fm? It’s okay—the Q&A social media site’s anonymity fits its user experience. On Ask.fm, the 160 million monthly users post questions and responses to each other anonymously.

While companies can advertise on Ask.fm, the lack of user data makes their targeting less effective among other social media sites.

Google+

google+ plus icon

The soon-to-be-defunct Google+, by comparison, has 100 million monthly users, which—while large—just can’t compete with more popular social media sites. In addition to its small size and recent data breach, these other sites are generally more niche, offering a unique space for users to connect.

About Us

CG Marketing Group is a talented team of creatives and strategists who can make your business awesome. We like to have fun, but we’re very serious about digital marketing.

To sum us up in a single word — Scrappy. We’re always eager to branch out and apply new tactics to create successful campaigns. Our crew works hard to bring value, get results, and keep our clients happy.

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