The solution is to come up with a way to display a killer image, some compelling text, and call to action whenever anybody links to your website or social profiles.
In other words, it’s time to create some social cards. Let’s talk about what they are, what they can do for your business, and how to create them.
All About Social Cards
What the heck is a social card? It sounds like a Jane Austen-era throwback, something you’d leave on a silver tray in someone’s entryway.
In a way, social cards are the calling cards of the digital age. Just as a printed calling card could show something about the owner’s personality, a social card is your opportunity to show off your business in its best (and most compelling) light.
Basically, it’s a visual “card” that displays whenever someone links to your website or social media profile. They typically consist of an image, some limited text, and a call to action.
One thing that makes social cards special is that the image is clickable. You’ll have room to put a URL at the bottom (that’s your call to action) but clicking the image will have the same effect.
Another way to think of social cards is that they’re amped-up hyperlinks.
What Social Cards Can Do for You
What can social cards for your website and social profiles do for you? The answer is: quite a lot. They offer the combined benefits of a backlink and an ad, and you they’re free to make!
Here are some of the specific things that social cards can do for you.
They Show Your Business in its Best Light
Social cards show your business in its best light. If you don’t create a social card, you run the risk of getting saddled with a lackluster image pulled from the dark recesses of your website.
Think of it as the difference between choosing the perfect outfit for a date and having your closet randomly shoot out clothes for you to wear. Nobody would choose the latter option if the former were available.
They Make Sharing Links Easy
Without a social card, you’ll need to choose an image every time you share a link – or settle for whatever choice Facebook or Google makes for you. On Twitter, you won’t get an image at all if you don’t specify one!
Social cards use images consistently and eliminate the need for you to upload or select an image. Any time you decide to share your link, your social card will display.
They Give People a Reason to Care about Your Business
Perhaps the most important thing social cards can do for your company is giving people a reason to care about your business – and to click your link instead of the next one on their Twitter feed.
When you create social cards, you have the opportunity to share the kind of image and text that will make your business stand out from the competition.
Quick Steps to Create Social Cards for Your Most Important Links
It’s very easy to create social cards once you know how to do it. Let’s walk through the steps you’ll need to follow so you can get it done.
#1: Get the Right Tools to Help You
The first thing you’ll need to do is check to see if your web platform has tools to help you create social cards. WordPress has a great plug-in called Yoast SEO that, among other things, simplifies the process of creating social cards.
If you’re not using WordPress, check to see what tools are available. If none are, you may want to consider switching to a platform that has some.
Another tool we like is AnyImage, which makes it very easy to create images with text to use as social cards. You can also look at tools like Canva or Photoshop if you prefer.
#2: Choose a Killer Image
What image will you use for your social card? It needs to be a killer – something that perfectly represents your business and what it can do for people in your target audience.
You may already have an image in mind. If not, you can use the tools we’ve mentioned above to create one.
Stock images can be a good choice if you select the image you use carefully. You don’t want something that looks posed. Sites like Deposit Photos and Shutterstock are good places to start.
Whichever image you choose, you’ll need to make sure that it’s properly sized for the social media sites you’ll be using it on.
#3: Craft Compelling Text to Go with Your Image
You’ll need two pieces of text to go with your image. The first is a title or headline. It should be larger than the supporting text and compel the reader to pay attention and learn about your business. Just a few words will do – if they’re the right words.
The other thing you need is a sentence or two of supporting text. The goal is to make a strong case for people to click your call to action. What will they get if they do? What benefits will they reap? Those are the things to focus on.
#4: Add a Call to Action
The final step is to add a call to action. If the card you’re creating is just for people sharing a link, adding your URL may be sufficient. However, if you’re promoting a service or building a list, you’ll want to add a CTA button instead.
The button should use strong action words to get people to click. Consider using a contrasting color or a different font to make your CTA stand out.
Social cards can make your business stand out…
If seeing your link is a potential customer’s first date with you, you don’t want the first word that comes to mind when they see it to be “generic” or “boring.”
Creating a social card will help you make the perfect first impression – and get your new customer relationship off to a good start.
But – it’s also subject to a slew of weird glitches called cognitive biases.
Cognitive biases are basically mental shortcuts. They’re hard-coded into our brains, so much so that even people who understand them can still fall under their spells.
The good news for you is that you can use the psychology behind these biases to connect with people in your target audience, build your business reputation, and even convince people to buy your products. Here are 6 ways you can use psychology in your marketing.
#1: Use Emotions to Trigger Decisions
Have you ever noticed that your decision-making process changes when your emotions are engaged? If so, you’re not alone. Most people, even those that think they’re making decisions solely based on logic, can be swayed by their emotions.
Charities know this. It’s why the ASPCA features neglected animals in their ads. They know that animal lovers will want to help when they see those images.
Do you have a compelling origin story for your business? Are you connected with a local charity? Sharing these things can help people form an emotional connection to you – and increase the chances that they’ll turn into paying customers.
#2: Give Potential Customers Something for Free
One of the most commonly-used cognitive biases in marketing is Reciprocity. Reciprocity is the thing that’s triggered when someone gives you a gift and you don’t have something to give them in return. You feel a bit guilty – and you’re more likely to get them a gift as a result.
In marketing, you can trigger Reciprocity by giving people something for free. A lot of businesses use lead magnets, such as a short eBook or template, to entice people to sign up for their lists.
Giving people a sneak peak or a free sample can drive sales. Or, you might want to try offering a BOGO (that’s buy one, get one free) instead. These tactics are simple, but they can increase your profits dramatically if you use them properly.
#3: Frame Your Products or Services with Positive Language
The right picture frame can enhance the image it holds – and the wrong one can detract from it. The same is true of your products and services.
The language you use to describe your company and products can make a huge difference in how potential customers see you. It’s why restaurant menus feature words like gooey, crisp, and fresh. These words entice. If they described their meals with words like unhealthy, calorie-laden, they wouldn’t sell.
Look at how you’re framing your products right now. Is the language you’re using enticing? Are you highlighting the best things about your product?
If you’re not, it’s time to rethink your descriptions. A customer is more likely to buy something that is framed positively than something with a neutral or negative frame.
#4: Use Price Anchoring to Increase the Perceived Value of Your Products
The Anchoring Effect is a cognitive bias that shows that people attach importance to the first price they see for a product. TV infomercials and sales pages for affiliate products tend to use anchoring very well.
For example, they might start off by telling you that the product they’re selling is a $100 value. When they do, that price becomes the anchor price. The product is worth $100.
Then, they chip away at the price. By the time you get to the end of the commercial (or the bottom of the page), the asking price of $29 seems like a fantastic bargain.
You don’t have to be as hype-y as those commercials, but there are some things you can do to anchor your product’s price in people’s minds:
#5: Create a Sense of Scarcity
If you know anything about internet slang, you know about FOMO – the fear of missing out. It turns out that’s more than just a handy abbreviation. It’s a tool that you can use in your marketing.
Scarcity is something that they use all the time on the Home Shopping Network. If you watch, you’ll notice there’s always a count of how many items are left. Watching that number tick down to zero motivates people who might be on the fence to pick up the phone.
You can use scarcity by running 24-hour sales or including a countdown clock. One way to do it is by creating an email series. Even adding a PS (You only have 12 more hours to take advantage of this price!) can be enough to motivate people to buy from you.
#6: Use Social Proof
We like to think of ourselves as individuals, but human beings have a lot in common with herd animals. We stick with the crowd most of the time.
The psychological term for this phenomenon is Social Proof – or, if you prefer, the Bandwagon Effect. It says that people are more likely to go with the popular choice even if they don’t like it (or agree with it) at first.
You can use social proof in marketing in several ways. For example:
Thought control might sound like science fiction…
…but it’s really just a matter of understanding basic psychology and using what you learn in your marketing. These six psychological principles can help you connect with your audience and increase your bottom line.
#1: Local Search Marketing
Local search marketing has a lot in common with local SEO – but it represents an integrated approach to making sure that your company shows up in local searches.
To amp up your standing in local search, do these things. First, seek out and standardize your NAP listings online. It may take a while, but it’s worth the effort. When your listings are all identical, there won’t be any confusion about who you are – or where people can find you online.
Second, create and claim your listings on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing Places for Business, and Facebook. Make sure to use the same name and basic information for each listing. Choosing the right categories is important too. Be as specific as you can be without going overboard.
Third, get your business listed in relevant directories and make sure to standardize your listings. To find places where you’re already listed, clear your cache and cookies and then use local search terms to find your business. If you’re not at or near the top, you still have work to do.
#2: Build Your List
Email marketing might not be on the cutting edge, but we’re always amazed to learn how few local businesses are using email marketing regularly.
Whatever excuses you may have used to avoid collecting emails are holding you back. It’s time to let go of them and embrace email marketing as something that can make a significant difference in your bottom line.
Create a simple opt-in form to use on your website. Consider offering a lead magnet to entice people to subscribe. And, when people come into your business? Ask them for an email address before they leave. Most people will say yes.
Once your list is in place, you can use it to let subscribers know about new products, sales, and promotions. And even more importantly, you can ask them for reviews or to follow you on social media. These things can all help you improve your online reach and drive sales.
#3: Optimize Your Website for Humans and Search Engines
SEO should be part of your local marketing strategy, but it’s important to remember that your customers are not search engines or bots – they’re people.
Increasingly, search engines like Google and Bing are focusing on the user experience as a ranking factor. It’s why Google has added Rank Brain to its algorithm – because doing so increases the chances that searchers will get what they’re looking for.
In other words, you need to think about Google – and you need to know that Google is thinking about people. Your site can and should use local keywords, but you also need:
#4: Advertise on Facebook
Facebook advertising might already be in your marketing mix, but are you using it properly? Recent changes to Facebook’s algorithms have made it imperative for local business to pay to get their content in front of subscribers.
In addition to traditional image ads, here are some of the Facebook ads you may want to try:
#5: Add Video to Your Google My Business Listing
Until recently, Google My Business listings allowed businesses to list their hours and post photos. Now, it’s possible for business owners to add a short video to their listing as well.
Videos are limited to 30 seconds. For that reason, you’ll need to be mindful of what you include – and focus on the things that are most likely to convince people to visit your business.
Here are some suggestions:
#6: Create a Facebook Event
Facebook Events are free to create and provide a way for local businesses to hype upcoming events, connect with potential customers, and increase attendance.
The next time you’re having a sale, try creating a Facebook Event. You can upload a unique image, add details of the event, and post updates to remind people about it. Once the event is created, you’ll be able to send invitations to your followers.
You can also encourage your followers to share the event with their friends. This technique is also good if you’re participating in a community event or sponsoring a charity.
It’s time to turn 2018 into the year that led to your biggest success…
… and these six tips can help you do it. Marketing a local business online isn’t easy. The key is to choose the right techniques – and then employ them to help you connect with your target audience, attract leads, and ultimately, make the sales that will propel your business into the future.
The trick? Knowing how to optimize your website so that each location gets its turn in the spotlight. Here’s how to do it.
First: Set Up Individual Pages for Each Location
You don’t need to have a unique domain name for each location. That’s costly and in many cases, may cause confusion when people search for your company.
Instead, take your primary domain name and then set up unique pages for each of your locations. Think of them as mini-sites.
The URL of each location’s page must include the location. In other words, if your main site is abccompany.com, your location URLs might be:www.your-company.com/redmond/testimonials.
On each location page, make sure to include:
Second: Optimize Google My Business Listings for Each Location
Google My Business listings are essential for optimization and you should have a listing for each one of your company’s locations.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to optimize each location properly, so people can find you:
Of course, there are some other things you need to know about managing multiple locations on Google My Business.
First, you should use consistent names for your locations. If one location is listed as Your Business – Redmond, WA, then other locations should follow the same pattern.
Likewise, you should strive for consistency in the categories you choose. If you own a string of dry cleaners, you should use the same category for each one.
The one exception to this rule is if you have a location that offers completely different services. For example, you might own 10 dry cleaning locations and one tailoring shop. If they’re all using the same name, you should choose the category that suits the location in question.
Third: Manage Your Online Citations for Each Location
You already know that NAP listings (that’s Name, Address, Phone Number) are essential for raising your online profile. Their importance only increases when you have multiple locations to optimize.
Keep in mind that your locations may be listed in multiple places even if you haven’t claimed your listings. You should plan on doing a series of searches to find every citation of your businesses by location.
You may want to start with aggregation sites where listings are common. Some examples include:
Fourth: Manage Reviews for Each Location
Online reviews play a huge role in consumers’ buying decisions. Research shows that more than four-fifths of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business or purchasing a product.
Some of the sites listed above are review sites. Your job is to manage your reviews on every site where they appear. That means:
Fifth: Build Links to Each Location Page
The final step is to build links to each of the locational pages you’ve created. The key is to build high-quality links. It’s not a good idea to spam links or use black hat techniques. Instead, here are some ideas to try:
Managing SEO for multiple locations can be a challenge…
…but it’s a challenge that’s worth the effort. Ultimately, you want potential customers – wherever they are – to be able to find the location that closest to them. Following the steps outlined here will help you accomplish that goal.