The Blog

Social Media 101

What social media is, what it isn’t, and how to decide what platform to use for your needs.

Social media… in less than 10 years, social media has taken traditional media (print, RBD Creative Social Media 101radio and television) and turned it on its ear. Social networking is the #1 activity on the Internet, and everyone from tweens to nonagenarians (the tech savvy ones, anyway) are using social media to connect and engage with the world around them. It’s also been estimated that 1 out of every 4 people use social networking worldwide. Now, with a potential audience of nearly 2 billion people, the question goes from, “Should I use social networking to reach my target audience?” to “How will I use social networking to reach my customers?”

What social media isn’t. It may seem overly simplistic, but the first rule of social networking is to remember two things: 1) it’s social, and 2) it’s networking. While traditional media is static, social media is the complete opposite; the entire point of social networking is to have engagement between your company and its target audience. Engagement drives traffic to your website and grows your branding, therefore increasing sales and likely your customer base.

What platform do I use for my company? There are two things to consider when choosing social media platforms. First, what kind of product or service are you selling, and second, who is your target audience? Let’s take real estate for example. If you’re a residential agent, your product is very visual and you’re targeting individuals. Therefore, you should use a platform that allows you to post pictures and encourages dialogue. Facebook is a great option, as are Instagram and Twitter.

However, if you’re a commercial real estate agent, your target audience are businesses. The best social media platforms for you? Start by using Facebook, as it keeps current and potential clients informed of what your company has to offer in addition to fun things that may be going on within the company. Next, think about using LinkedIn. Not only does LinkedIn offer the opportunity for you to network professionally, it also allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field by participating in LinkedIn groups, “publishing” white papers or by sharing pertinent items of interest with your connections.

You may be thinking at this point, “Why can’t I just use all of them?” It’s tempting, isn’t it, since your target audience most likely uses multiple social networking sites. The problem with trying use every social networking site to broadcast your message is that social media is time consuming. When you’re trying to be everything to everyone, the result is that you spread yourself and your company thin and you transmit a watered-down version of your message. Not only will your audience be overloaded and think of your company as “spammy”, but they’ll also think you’re trying too hard. And let’s face it, if you’re busy shouting your message out, you’re too busy to listen to the incoming messages from your audience, which goes against the very point of social media.

Mobile Responsiveness Facts and Figures

A few weeks ago, we posted an article here on The Blog about how Google’s recent algorithm change is changing mobile SEO. Essentially what it comes down to is this one fact: if your website isn’t mobile responsive, then your mobile SEO rankings will diminish.

As we researched the article, it became more and more obvious: smartphones are changing everything. According to the PEW Research Center:

10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home, and 15% have a smartphone, but say that they have a limited number of options for going online other than their cellphone.

Meanwhile, it’s been estimated that only 40% of the world has access to the Internet. Almost half of those users (48.4%) are in Asia, with another 21.8% in North and South America. The remaining 30% of Internet users are made up of Europeans, Africans, and Oceanians. More Internet user statistics can be found here:

When you consider Americans make up 22% of the world’s Internet users, and that 25% of those Americans are primarily using the Internet through their cellphones, it’s staggering to imagine how those numbers will increase in the next few years, not just here in the States, but throughout the world.

With mobile Internet usage on the rise, the importance of your website’s mobile responsiveness should also be on the rise.

RBD Creative Director Brian Townsend's infographic on Mobile Responsiveness Facts and Figures.

RBD Creative Director Brian Townsend’s infographic on Mobile Responsiveness Facts and Figures.

How To Use Facebook Interest Lists for Business

Your To Do listBill Anderson, a country music singer, once summed up life quite perfectly: “Time is one of my most valuable assets.” You have a business to run, friends and family to spend time with, civic or church obligations, time to spend honing your hobbies, nevermind the daily tasks of laundry, dinner, bills, repeat. What you don’t have time for is to search out each and every one of your competitors on Facebook. But what if I told you that you DO have time to do it and all it requires is the click of a link? You’d want to know what my secret is, wouldn’t you?

Facebook Interest Lists; that’s the secret. Facebook Interest Lists are a great way to cultivate several custom newsfeeds that can keep you up to date with your competition, the news, trends, your favorite teams, favorite restaurants, etc. without the worries of ever missing a post.

How do you start an Interest List? Well, first, you need to use your personal Facebook profile, not your fan page, to cultivate your list. Now.… Go to your competition’s fan page and if you haven’t “liked” it already, do so now. Now that you’ve liked the page, you’ll notice a down arrow right next to the “liked” button. Hover over the down arrow and select “Add To Interest Lists.” Next you’ll select “New List.” With your next option, you can elect to categorize your list or not. If you do categorize your list, you’ll see other fan pages that may be of interest to you to scroll through or you’ll be able to type in the names of any additional pages you’d like to add to your list. If you don’t categorize your list, or if you’re done adding pages to your new list, click on “Next” and move to the final step. With this step, you’ll name your list and then select the security settings for it: locked (where only you can see it), friends only, or public. Make your selections and then click “Done.”

To add more pages to your lists, go to the page you wish to add, hover over the little arrow next to the “liked” button, and now you’ll see your lists in addition to the “New List” selection. Simply click on the list you wish to add the new page to, and you’re done.

“That’s great, but how do I find my lists?” Simple. Return to your homepage, and along the left banner, you’ll see “Interests” towards the bottom along with your list names. If you have more lists than what your current view shows, simply hover over the list names and click on “More” when it appears next to the Interests subhead.

With Interest Lists, you’ll have access to your competition’s Facebook posts at the click of a link. No more checking pages individually, no more worries that you may have missed something important. It’s all right there in your Interest List.

Upgrade Your Mobile SEO

Is your website mobile responsive? Simply put, can your website be easily navigated on whatever device it’s being viewed on, whether it’s an iPad, tablet, desktop, laptop or phone? Does everything fit into the viewing device’s screen without swiping or scrolling to the right to find anything missing? If you’re not sure, go ahead and grab the nearest mobile device and check. I’ll wait. Don’t have a mobile device nearby? No problem. Just plug your website into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test site and it’ll tell you.

Why it’s important that your website be mobile responsive

IMG_0430Today, 64% of Americans who own a cell phone own a smartphone. In February of 2014, it was estimated that U.S. adults spend an average of 34 hours per month using mobile Internet on smartphones, compared to 27 hours in front of a PC. Therefore, it’s logical to assume your audience is more likely to view your website from their phones rather than their computers within the next 3 years.

“Okay, okay. I’ve got it,” you’re thinking. “But what on earth does this have to do with my Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?”

In early March, Google, the number one search engine in the world by leaps and bounds, announced a major algorithm change:

Starting April 21, we (Google) will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

For the layman, Google’s essentially saying that if your website isn’t mobile responsive, your mobile SEO is doomed. Let me repeat: this new algorithm change only affects SEO search results on phones—not tablets and iPads. It makes sense, though: if you’re searching something on your phone, your phone is going to give more consideration to pages it can easily navigate rather than incompatible pages.

So now you’re wondering how soon this will affect your company. The good news is it won’t have an immediate impact. But a good rule of thumb to keep in mind: when companies pay for SEO improvement, it’s estimated that efforts won’t have a direct effect for about 90 days, and it takes around six months to get a true measure of how things have improved.

When you consider the impact mobile responsiveness is going to have on your mobile SEO and then combine it with the number of people who not only use smartphones on a global scale but who use them more than computers, you should make improving your site’s mobile responsiveness a priority. Need a hand? We’re more than happy to help. Give us a call at (734) 927-7168 and we’ll set up an appointment to meet with you and discuss your options.

How You’re Hurting Yourself by Not Using Social Media

A few years ago, I worked with a small local business that had no Internet presence whatsoever. Any new business was acquired through personal networking or referral. However, it wasn’t until after a few new employees were hired that the company discovered the new recruits almost didn’t come to their interviews simply because the company had zero web or social media presence. The employees had, in fact, thought they were going to be scammed.

Remember when you were younger and your mother would say something along the lines of, “The only person you’re hurting is yourself?” This is one of those times (yet again) Mama was right.

How are your current clients discovering your new product offerings? How are you finding prospective clients? How are you learning more about what both your current and future clients need from your product? How do you know what your competitors are up to? What are you doing to establish yourself as an expert in your field? How do you know what people are saying about you, whether it’s clients or your competition, if you don’t have a social media presence?

All of these questions I’ve put in front of you can be answered when you start using social media.

By participating in social media, you’re able to:

  • Engage with your current and prospective clients in real time
  • Easily drive traffic to your website
  • Form and/or participate in groups that will help establish you as an industry expert
  • Deal with a crisis proactively rather than reactively

Best of all? You’ll save money. Social media is, for the most part, free. Upgrading your profile on LinkedIn, for example, will cost some money, as will “boosting” your Facebook posts. If you decide to do any advertising on social media networks, it will cost money. But basic profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., are free. Engaging with clients, both current and future, is free. Participating in group discussions with peers is free. Promoting new products and services is free. Driving traffic to your website, free. Checking out what the competition is doing is free.

You can’t afford to not be using social media.

Putting Our Money Where the Dog’s Mouth Is

Maizie eating peanut butter

Check out the very wonderful Maizie enjoying some of the peanut butter our friends and staff donated in our Peanut Butter for Pups drive!

We talk about “calls to action” all the time here at RBD Creative. Simply put, a call to action is when your marketing concept directly asks the audience to do something. So when we saw the Humane Society of Huron Valley’s call to action on Facebook asking for donated jars of creamy peanut butter, we answered the call in a big way.

For Dorothy, the connection to the Humane Society was a personal one: she had adopted her beloved beagle/basset hound mix, Henry, from the organization. And thus, she issued the rallying cry, asking personal friends and professional businesses to donate creamy peanut butter, even going so far as to leave a basket on the front porch of her home for a quick and easy drop-off location. For RBD employees, she raised the stakes: for every jar of peanut butter an employee donated, RBD would match the donation with 2 additional jars.

Well, folks… calls to action really do work! In just four days, RBD Creative and friends collected and donated 52 jars of peanut butter to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. We are rather certain we made a lot of pups happy. If you contributed, thanks for supporting our effort. We couldn’t have done it without you!

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Who We Are

RBD Creative is a great design and marketing agency located in Plymouth, Michigan and serving Metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Southeast Michigan. We specialize in print and web design, tradeshow and event planning, and social media management.

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RBD Creative
705 South Main St, Suite 220
Plymouth, MI 48170
(734) 927-7168