Protecting Your Website Against Hackers – What you need to know!

Protecting Your Website Against Hackers – What you need to know!

If you’re paying attention, you know that cybercrime is no joke. In 2015, cybercrime cost $3 trillion annually, and projections indicate that number will double by 2021.


The real question is, what are you doing to protect yourself? A lot of local business owners do the bare minimum and tell themselves it’s enough.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s not enough. If all you’re doing is updating your anti-virus software and filtering out spam, you’re still vulnerable.

Scared? You should be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something to protect yourself. Cybersecurity experts are working constantly to stay ahead of hackers. Here are 8 ways you can protect your website and data.

#1: Keep All Software Updated

Have you ever received a notification that your software needed an update and delayed it because it wasn’t convenient? The answer is probably yes, and yet delaying updates for your website can leave you vulnerable to hackers.

One of the best ways to protect your site is to install all updates and patches as soon as they are available. Yes, it can be a pain to do it. But you need to weigh that against the inconvenience and cost of being hacked. Any software, application, or plug-in you use should be as up-to-date as possible at all times.

#2: Install an SSL Certificate on Your Site

As of 2018, Google Chrome is displaying a warning on any site that doesn’t use HTTPS protocol to protect its data. But that’s only part of the problem.

Having a secure site will build trust with your users. More importantly, it will make it far more difficult for a hacker to gain access to your data or to use it in the event they can break through your other defenses.

There are several types of SSL certificates. You can read about them here and decide which one is best suited to your needs.

#3: Require Strong Passwords

When you log into your site on WordPress, do you use a password that you also use for other sites? When was the last time you changed it? If the answers are yes and never, it’s time to create a new password, one that uses upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special symbols.

At the same time, look at your password requirements for your site’s other users. If you allow clients to sign in on a portal, you should require them to use strong passwords and update them regularly. This is a common-sense change you can make that can prevent hackers from accessing your site.

#4: Hide Your Admin and Login Folders in Plain Sight

Hackers sometimes take the easy way out and scan websites for folders with names like ‘admin’ or ‘login.’ They can focus their attention on those folders and, if they’re successful, gain access to your data through them.

There’s actually a very easy way to prevent this – or at least, to make it more difficult for hackers to find your folders. Instead of giving your folders obvious names, try giving them innocuous names that don’t reveal their importance. A determined hacker may still be able to find them, but at least you won’t have made it easy for them.

#5: Use Double Validation for Form Data

Do you collect data using forms that are embedded in your website? If you do, then the potential exists for a hacker to inject malicious code using the form. And, if your form is in a “one and done” format, you’re making it easier than it should be for them to do exactly that.

The solution is to use double validation for all of your form data. That way, you can accomplish two things:

  1. Help valid users by ensuring that the data they enter on their forms is properly formatted; and
  2. Prevent malicious actors from injecting harmful code onto your website

HTML 5 form validation is now supported by all browsers. You can read more about it here.

#6: Limit File Uploads

If your website has a customer portal where users can upload files, you’ve got to be careful to include extra security measures around the uploads. Why? Because an infected file could easily take your website down. A user might even upload a file they don’t know is infected.

There are a lot of things you can do to protect yourself, but the best option is to quarantine uploaded files outside of your server, so they can be scanned before you allow them in. You should also use secure transport methods (like SFTP or SSH) when allowing files to be uploaded from the internet. Learn more here.

#7: Minimize Administrative Access to Your Site

How many people have the login information for your site? If you have given administrative authority to multiple employees, then you could be opening yourself up to attacks by giving hackers more potential entry points to your data.

Does that mean you should deny anyone access to your site? Not necessarily. But here’s what you should do:

  1. Delete any users who don’t need access to your site or who no longer work for you
  2. Require every user to use a strong password that they update regularly
  3. Talk to your administrators about security and the importance of protecting your data

A lot of big companies use what’s called a “least access” system, which limits employee access to only those systems that they need to use to do their jobs. That’s a method that can work for small companies as well.

Website Security Should Be Your Priority

A lot of small and medium-sized businesses think they won’t be targeted by hackers because they don’t store the same kind of data that big organizations do. Don’t make that mistake. Even a small data breach can do irreparable harm to your business, causing you to lose money. Even worse, it can damage the trust you’ve built with your clients.

The Foolproof Way to Get Around Facebook’s Page Algorithm

The Foolproof Way to Get Around Facebook’s Page Algorithm

In February of 2018, Facebook announced plans to prioritize personal content and de-prioritize content from pages. That means that if you’ve got a Facebook page for your local business, your content is only being seen by a very small percentage of your followers unless you pay to promote it.

Nothing to be done, right? It’s one of those things that you can’t control… or is it?

It turns out there’s a super-easy (and FREE) way to connect with both existing and potential customers on Facebook without paying to promote your content. It involves creating a Facebook group to promote your brand. Here’s what you need to know.

Group Content is Prioritized Ahead of Brand Content 

The first thing you need to know is that Facebook has downgraded content posted by company and brand pages. However, it still prioritizes content from groups.

Why? Well, the short answer is that people must voluntarily opt in to a group.

You might be thinking that users have voluntarily followed your page, too – and that’s true. But Facebook views groups differently than pages. It has to do with the purpose of a group:

A group’s purpose is to promote conversation and build a community.

You might want your page to do that, too, but Facebook assumes that the primary goal of a page is to sell a product or service. That’s an important distinction.

In other words, by creating a Facebook group, you can build your brand and engage with customers without worrying that members won’t see your content.

Not convinced? There’s actually research to support the idea that groups are a better way to reach your audience than pages. A study by Digiterati revealed that groups get approximately 50% more reach than pages.

Creating a Group is Easy

You can create a Facebook group from your personal Facebook page. In fact, the process is very similar to the one for creating a Facebook page like the one you have for your business.

Simply go to the upper, right-hand corner of your Facebook page and click the little down arrow there. You’ll see an option to Create Group. Click it and follow the steps.

It’s important to choose a memorable, brand-specific name for your group. You don’t want to give it the same name as your page, but you do want it to appear in the search results when people search for your business.

The title should be inspired by the content you’ll be posting. So, if you run a dog grooming business, you might offer dog care tips and incorporate that into your group name, like this:

Fancy Dog Groomer’s Dog Care Advice

In other words, combine your business with name with some compelling, buzzy words to make people want to join your group.

Invite People to Join 

You’ve created a group… but what’s next?

That’s easy. It’s time to invite some people to join. Here are some easy ways to jump-start your group and get new members:

  1. Send group invitations to everyone who follows your business page.
  2. Send invitations to your personal connections on Facebook.
  3. Send an email to your list with a link to your group and an invitation to join.
  4. If you have a Twitter account for your business, Tweet an invitation to your followers.

It’s likely that a significant percentage of your followers will join the group. Once they’ve done that, you can also post content in the group encouraging members to send out invitations.

Create Compelling Content

Once you’ve created your group and invited some members, it’s time to create content. Remember, the primary goal of group content is to drive engagement. You want members to be talking to you and to one another.

Facebook has a tool to create Welcome posts. Underneath Members on the toolbar, click Write Post. Facebook will automatically tag up to 100 new members (in this context, new means that they have joined in the past seven days) in the post. If you prefer, you can write a general welcome post and ask new members to introduce themselves in the comments.

Here are some other suggestions for engaging group content:

  1. Inspirational posts can be a good way to engage your members. For example, if you’re a life coach, you might post something inspirational on a Monday morning and then ask group members what they do to keep themselves motivated.
  2. Tips and advice can also make great content. You can share things that you’ve picked up while running your business and then ask members if they have anything to add – or if they’ve tried any of the things you’ve suggested.
  3. Community discussions can drive engagement and make your group page a lively place to be. You might post a question or conversational topic and then ask members to chime in with their answers or opinions.
  4. Q & A posts are great for getting people involved. Creating a post can be a simple as saying “I know people have questions about ______. Post them in the comments and I’ll answer them!” Only do a post like this on a day when you have the time to respond promptly.
  5. Depending on the kind of business you run, you may want to share success stories from members. For example, if you do local marketing, you could share a story from a member who killed it with a marketing campaign. And if you sell a product, you could share photos of members using what they bought.

The content you create will have a direct impact on the success of your group.

Social Learning Groups

Do you have the kind of business that lends itself to the creation of video courses? If you do, you might want to check out Facebook’s new Social Learning Groups feature, which enables groups to add video courses to their group pages.

To add courses, go to the Edit Group Settings tab and choose Group Type. Then, select Social Learning Group from the menu.

From there, you can create new Units for your courses. They can be optional or mandatory, and if they’re mandatory, users will see a progress bar to track their accomplishments.

The great thing about this feature is that you can upload courses or webinars you have already created or create new content. You can find a full guide on how to use this feature here.

Groups Are the New Pages

The bottom line is that Facebook Groups are to businesses today what Facebook Pages were five years ago. They offer an inexpensive but effective way to connect with current and prospective clients, build your brand, and grow your business.

How to Spy on Your Competitors’ Facebook Ads

How to Spy on Your Competitors’ Facebook Ads

What if I told you that you could be the James Bond of local marketing? Would you be interested?

I can’t promise you access to an Aston Martin and Bond’s cool gadgets, but I can tell you how to get a bead on your competitors’ Facebook ads. It’s one of the best ways I know to fine-tune your marketing and outpace your local competition.

The good news? It’s not hard to do! You don’t need a lot of money or a British accent. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Facebook Ad Library?

You’re probably aware that Facebook and its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, have come under some intense scrutiny since the 2016 presidential election due to the use of the social media platform for “fake news” ads. One of the tools that Facebook has made available to address the criticism is the Facebook Ad Library.

On the surface, its intended use is to provide transparency in advertising. You can plug in the name of any Facebook page and see the ads they’ve placed – with a special emphasis on political and issue-based ads.

The search option defaults to issue, Electoral or Political ads, but there are two other options available:

  1. Housing (Facebook has also come under attack for allowing lenders to use ads in discriminatory ways)
  2. All Ads

That last option is the one that lets you peek at what your competitors are doing.

How to Use the Facebook Ad Library 

The key to using the Facebook Ad Library is understanding how it works and what to do with the information you find there.

The first step is to make a list of your competitors. Make sure to note the exact name they use on Facebook – you’ll need that information to view their ads.

Next, go to the Facebook Ad Library. Then follow these steps:

  1. Click the “All Ads” option.
  2. Type in the name of the competitor whose ads you want to see into the search box.
  3. Choose their page from the list that appears.
Once you click the name, you’ll see a page that displays the Facebook ads the page is running. You’ll be able to see:

  1. Whether the ad is active or not
  2. When your competitor began running the ad
  3. The ad content, including copy, images, and video
  4. The ad’s ID number
  5. The URL of the ad, so you can add it to your library for future reference

What I particularly like is that you can see every iteration of the ad that’s running. For example, you might notice that a competitor is running two similar ads with different images or slightly different copy.

The one thing you can’t do is spy on their targeting, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make inferences from what you find.

Tips for Using What You Find on Facebook Ad Library

How can you use what you find with Facebook Ad Library? Here are some tips and best practices to help you make the most of your espionage.

  1. Save any ads you think are useful. As I mentioned above, you can easily get the URL of any ad by clicking on the three dots on the upper right-hand corner of the ad. Click on “Copy Ad Link” to get the Ad Library URL for the link. I keep a spreadsheet to track the ads that I collect.
  2. Look at the images your competitors are using for hints about what their target audience wants. If you know a competitor is doing well and you notice they’re using illustrations or infographics in their ads, it might be a good idea to emulate what they’re doing and upgrade your images accordingly.
  3. Make notes about the types of content your competitors are promoting. Are they using images? Videos? Quizzes? It’s especially useful to note the content that gets used most frequently. If your competitors are paying any attention to the ROI on their Facebook ads, the repeated content is also likely their most profitable content.
  4. Pay attention to how your competitors link the images in their ads to the copy. Most effective FB ads use images that are directly related to the offer in the ad, but there are exceptions. Paying attention to trends among your competitors can help you do a better job of choosing compelling images for your own ads.

Think of the ads you see as a textbook showing you how to connect with your target audience and pull customers away from your competitors.

Dynamic Creative Ads

One of the best ways to capitalize on what you learn from spying on your competitors is to let Facebook do some of the work for you. If you’re not already using Dynamic Creative Ads, which is Facebook’s automated ad creator, then you’re probably missing out on a chance to connect with your audience.

Dynamic Creative Ads will help you create ad combinations you might not have considered on your own. You’ll need to make sure you have the types of content you want to use in your library, but you can do that easily enough after you spy on your competitors.

Basically, Dynamic Creative Ads will mix and match your options to allow you to reach your marketing goals. You can choose goals that include:

  1. Conversion
  2. Traffic
  3. Video Views
  4. Reach
  5. Brand Awareness
  6. App Installation

I think of the Facebook Ad Library and Facebook Dynamic Creative Ads as a one-two punch that will help you to get the best of your competitors even if they have a bigger advertising budget than you do. By using both, you can eliminate much of the guesswork and uncertainty that comes with Facebook advertising.

My suggestion is to dedicate some time early in the new year to scoping out what your competitors are doing with their Facebook advertising. Use what you learn to create the kind of content that’s going to help you divert traffic from them, increase your conversion rate, and grow your business.

5 Ways to Engage Customers on Instagram – That Work!

5 Ways to Engage Customers on Instagram – That Work!

Is your Instagram feed bringing in leads or has it turned into another marketing effort that just doesn’t deliver a good return on the time and money you put into it?

If it’s the latter, it’s time to get serious about customer engagement on Instagram. Instagram, like all social media sites, is constantly changing its algorithms. The latest change is that Likes – which used to be the gold standard of customer engagement – will no longer be displayed on your feed.

DON’T PANIC. You’ll still be able to see your Likes in your analytics, but the new reality signals a sea change in the world of Instagram engagement. Here are 5 things you can do to engage your customers that go far beyond a simple Like.

#1: Organize Your Stories into Highlights

Instagram Stories can be a terrific marketing tool, but they only stick around for 24 hours – or do they?

One of my favorite tips for Instagram Stories is to feature them as highlights on your profile page. Your stories can provide new subscribers with an overview of who you are and what you do. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Log in to your Instagram account
  2. Navigate to your profile page and tap Story Highlights (underneath your name and bio)
  3. Tap the plus sign to add a Story to your Highlights
  4. Tap to choose the Instagram Story you want to feature
  5. Tap Edit Cover
  6. Choose a cover photo for your Highlight
  7. Tap Done

Once you have added an Instagram Story to your highlights, it will remain there until you remove it. This simple move gives new life to your Stories and increases engagement by giving new followers something substantial to view when they visit your profile.

#2: Use Geotags for Local Engagement

For local business owners, the Holy Grail of Instagram marketing is attracting local followers. After all, these are the people who are most likely to patronize your business and turn into loyal customers. One local follower is worth hundreds of followers who only look at your photos and never buy from you.

One of the easiest ways to amp up your local engagement is to use geotags when you post on Instagram. You can create a Geotag specifically for your business, but you can also use state, city, and even neighborhood geotags to pinpoint your location.

As a bonus, geotags can have their own Stories on Instagram. If you use a geotag for your city, your posts will become part of that day’s Story, making it that much easier for local customers to find you and your business.

#3: Post Videos to Get More Comments

In their 2018 Instagram Engagement Report, Mention revealed that videos on Instagram receive 46% of all Likes. Since there are far more photos posted on Instagram than videos, these numbers show that videos are engagement superstars on Instagram.

With the importance of Likes on the decline thanks to the new algorithm changes, it’s also interesting to note that videos get more comments than photographs as a rule. If you haven’t already started posting videos on Instagram, 2020 is the year to start.

The current rules for Instagram video are as follows:

  1. Up to 60 seconds for videos posted on your feed
  2. Up to 15 seconds for videos posted as part of an Instagram Story
  3. Up to 60 minutes for Instagram Live video
  4. Up to 60 minutes for IGTV video

Posting more videos can help you grab your audience’s attention and hold it.

#4: Create More Savable Posts

One of the things about Instagram is that it’s easy to miss posts or to gloss over them. But what if there was a way to keep your audience engaged by getting them to revisit a post frequently?

There is! More brands are recognizing the importance of creating posts that their followers will want to save and return to. That’s unlikely to happen with a simple photograph, but there are ways to create content that’s suitable for Instagram and provide ongoing value to your followers. Here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Create carousel-style posts with multiple images organized around a theme. For example, a boutique that sells clothing could do a “Back to School” carousel or a “Holiday Party” carousel.
  2. Create mini-blog posts that provide information that your followers can use, such as a checklist or packing list.

The key is to think about what your target audience will find valuable and provide it to them, Instagram-style.

#5: Add Instagram Stickers to Your Stories 

Instagram Stories are great for engagement, especially if you let your followers now how you want them to engage with you. One of my favorite ways to boost Story engagement is by using Instagram Stickers.

Instagram Stickers appear on Stories and offer your customers an easy way to interact with you. The options available include:

  1. Question stickers: Ask your followers a question, such as which products they’d like to see from you. The question sticker is a great way to collect valuable information from your followers.
  2. Quiz stickers: Offer your followers a multiple choice question to boost engagement.
  3. Countdown stickers: Add a countdown to your Story to build excitement for a new product launch or a big announcement.
Here are the steps to add a sticker to your Instagram Story:

  1. Add a picture to your story
  2. Click the peeling smiley face icon to bring up your sticker options
  3. Tap to add the sticker you like
  4. Rearrange it on the page – you can make it bigger or smaller and choose where to place it and add a question or countdown

Engaging customers on Instagram isn’t just a numbers game and the new algorithm changes mean that Likes are only the tip of the iceberg. The five engagement tips here will help you take advantage of the updates and make 2020 your best year ever on Instagram.

10 Marketing Ideas You Can Implement for Free

10 Marketing Ideas You Can Implement for Free

Is your marketing budget tiny – or non-existent? It’s a common problem with local businesses who put everything they make into inventory and payroll.

If you don’t have much to spend on marketing, you might wonder how you can ever grow your business. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to attract new customers without spending a dime.

I’ve compiled 10 of my favorite free marketing ideas for you to try.

#1: Facebook Live Video

You might think of video marketing as expensive, and it certainly can be if you hire a professional videographer. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend that money – especially when you look at Facebook Live Video, which is free to anybody who wants to use it.

Because these videos are live, they’re usually held to a lower standard in terms of quality. You don’t need to be scripted – in fact, it’s better if you’re not. You can use Facebook Live to shoot how-to videos, give a behind the scenes tour, or answer questions from your followers. Then, you can edit and post the video to your blog or YouTube channel.

#2: Become a Hashtag Expert

Hashtags are like social media signposts. They’re free to use and they point potential clients in the direction of your content. The key is to choose and use the best hashtags – the ones that are most likely to attract people who’ll buy your products.

One option is to focus on community hashtags such as #ThrowbackThursday or #givingback. Just make sure to use them appropriately. You can also create your own hashtags that incorporate your business name or most popular product, along with locational tags that will help you reach a local audience.

#3: Blog Regularly

Blogging for business is hardly a groundbreaking marketing strategy, but it’s one that you can do for free. Blog posts can be short or long and if they’re relevant to your business, they’re a great way to attract new people to your website.

The key is to choose blog topics that are highly useful to the people you want to attract. For example, you can do a series of blog posts answering common questions about your product or service. Add some relevant images and tags and you’ll be sure to attract some traffic – without spending money.

#4: Cross-Post Everything 

A lot of small businesses making the mistake of creating content for one outlet and not reusing it. That’s not ideal because it limits your scope and means you need to spend more time and money creating content.

Instead, come up with a cross-posting strategy that makes sense. For example, you might:

  1. Share blog posts on Facebook with an image that contains a pull quote from the blog
  2. Share visual content from Pinterest on Instagram
  3. Put pull quotes on images and share to Twitter with a shortened URL
  4. Create a Pinterest board with your most liked images from Instagram

There are dozens of ways to re purpose your social media content and share it elsewhere. The most important thing to remember is to keep the platform where you’re posting in mind. You won’t need hashtags on Facebook, but you will on Twitter and Instagram.

#5: Create Free Graphics

You’ve probably noticed that infographics and other graphic images are popular on social media. While you could hire a designer to create images for you, there are also plenty of tools you can use to create them for free.

One of the best free tools is Canva, which has a ton of templates and tools to create social media posts, infographics and more. You may also want to check out Venngage to make infographics.

#6: Encourage and Respond to Reviews

You already know that online reviews are important. Most people read reviews before purchasing products. You can use reviews to your advantage without spending any money.

First, you can encourage your existing customers to leave reviews of your business by asking them in person or in an email. You can also link to your review pages from your website. Once people post reviews, make sure to reply to all reviews, positive and negative, to show reviewers that you care about their opinions.

#7: Film or Write Customer Testimonials 

A customer testimonial can do the same work as a review in a slightly more formal way. People are happy to be asked their opinion and many of your customers may be eager to help you out by filming or writing a testimonial.

Testimonials can be shared on your website, blog, or social media pages once they’re completed. They serve to inform people about your business and demonstrate what you can do for people who buy your products.

#8: Publish a Newsletter

Email marketing is easy and affordable. If you have a small list, you can manage it using a free version of autoresponder software – and a newsletter is a great way to keep people informed about your business.

Newsletter articles can be very short, even as short as 100 or 150 words. Your goal should be to keep people updated on what’s happening with your business. You can also use it to preview new products and services.

#9: Pair Up with Other Business Owners

Whatever your business does, the chances are good that you know other business owners who sell products or services that complement yours. For example, perhaps you sell furniture and there’s a boutique in your area that sells artwork and decorative items.

Identify business that mesh well with yours and cross-promote each other’s products and services. You can do this for free. You can even offer joint packages or deals to attract more customers.

#10: Get Involved in Local Events

Finally, one of the best ways for local businesses to attract new customers is to get involved in local events. Does your town have an annual tree lighting or charity ball? Participating can help raise your profile and earn you some goodwill from the people who are most likely to buy from you.

You may also decide to:

  1. Sponsor a Little League or soccer team
  2. Raise money for a local charity
  3. Help with a local street fair

The key is to find things you can do that won’t cost you anything. If you decide you can spend a little bit, then do it wisely and in a way that’ll help to attract new customers to your business.

Marketing doesn’t need to cost a fortune – or anything at all. The 10 free ideas here will help you kick-start your marketing even if your budget is non-existent.

How to Bring Your Social Media Presence Back from the Dead

How to Bring Your Social Media Presence Back from the Dead

How long has it been since you did anything with your company Facebook page (or Twitter or Instagram)?

If it’s been a long time, then you might feel stuck. How can you resurrect your social media presence? Is it possible? Should you bother?

The short answer is yes, it’s possible. You’ll need to be methodical and persistent. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Update Your Page

The first step is to update your page. Look at your profile and make sure that it includes:

  1. The full name of your business
  2. Your address
  3. Your telephone number
  4. The URL of your website
  5. Your email address

You should also update any additional information that’s outdated. For example, if you’ve changed your logo then you should add your new one. Have a new sign in front of your store? Take a new picture and post it.

Decide on Social Media Goals

The next step is to set some reachable goals for your social media marketing. Marketing is most effective when you have a clearly defined goals – something you want to achieve with your social media presence. Here are some examples:

  1. Increase your social media following and build your brand
  2. Get more readers for your blog
  3. Increase your views on YouTube
  4. Build your list

By articulating your goals, you’ll be able to steer your social media pages in the direction you want to go.

Create Original Content

If you’re going to reach any marketing goal using social media, you need original content to do it. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on content creation, but you do need to keep your brand and goals in mind.

Original content can take many forms, including:

  1. Facebook status updates
  2. Written content (blogs, articles, white pages, etc.)
  3. Photographs
  4. Graphic content, including illustrations, infographics and cartoons)
  5. Video content
  6. Memes

Your content should always speak to your brand and the way you want your audience to think of you. In other words, it’s not a good idea to create cat memes unless cats are relevant to your brand.

Keep in mind that you can create original content on your own or hire someone to do it for you. For example, you can hire a freelance writer for your blog or commission a graphic designer to make infographics for you.

You should intersperse original content with curated content that you get from relevant websites and publications. Always be sure to put your own spin on the curated content you share.

Create a Content Posting Schedule

Social media marketing is about consistency – and that means you’ll need a schedule to follow when you post social media content. The good news is that there are lots of tools that can help you set up and stick to a schedule.

Facebook has built-in scheduling tools that you can use to set up posts ahead of time. The one thing I don’t like about it is that you can’t share posts from other pages on a schedule. You’ll need to open and copy the link to use the scheduling tool.

If you’ve got a social media presence on more than one site – say Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – then you may want to consider using a paid social media scheduling tool to help you keep track of everything. I like Hootsuite because it allows you to schedule posts and track their performance.

Speaking of scheduling, it’s a good idea to think about your posting frequency as well as your content. You should post:

  1. 1 or 2 times a day to Facebook
  2. 5-10 times a day to Twitter
  3. 1 to 2 times a day to Instagram
  4. 5-30 times a day to Pinterest
  5. 20 times per month (once per business day) to Linked In
  6. 2 or 3 times a week to YouTube

That might seem like a lot but check out the next step for tips on how to keep your social media marketing work manageable.

Eliminate Pages Based on Performance

What if you don’t have time to manage a Facebook page, an Instagram feed and a YouTube channel for your business?

I’ve got good news for you: you don’t need to. You are perfectly within your rights to choose to focus on just a few social media sites and let the rest go. If you have pages set up on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn and only your Facebook and Instagram pages are generating significant income, you can (and should) simply deactivate your other accounts.

Why? Because a dormant or inactive page is worse than no page at all. If people find you on YouTube and see what you haven’t posted a new video in years, it’s not going to impress them. There’s no rule saying you must be active on every social media site – so don’t be. Pick the sites that give you the biggest ROI and let the rest go.

Focus on Engagement

Engagement is what happens when someone comments on your post, shares it with their followers, or clicks on a link. In the world of social media marketing, nothing else matters.

Here are some pointers to help you engage with your social media followers:

  1. Ask questions and respond when people answer
  2. Monitor your social media mentions and engage with people who talk about your company
  3. Use hashtags wisely – for example, getting involved in social media community tags such as #ThrowbackThursday can help attract new followers
  4. Encourage participation by holding contests or requesting user-generated content

The more you can get people to interact with your content, the more organic traffic you’ll get.

Track Your Results

Finally, you should track your results on social media and refine your strategy based on what you learn. For example, you might notice that when you post a video on Facebook, it gets 10 times the engagement of your written content. That’s useful information because it tells you that it’s a good investment to make more videos.

Metrics can also tell you:

  1. What times of day and days of the week your followers are online
  2. What topics your audience wants to hear about
  3. Which social media pages get you the most traffic and sales

Using that information, you can refine and update your overall social media strategy and your marketing goals to give you the best possible chance of success.

The bottom line is that it’s never too late to bring your social media presence back from the dead. The key is to be practical, methodical and realistic – and to listen to your audience!