Building an online presence – Part 1

Whether you are just starting up your cake business or if you’ve been working in this industry a while its equally as important to keep up to speed with all things digital! You may already have some skills in this area or you may be completely new to the idea but one thing’s for sure; it’s never too late to learn something new! This is especially true when it comes to mastering the skills necessary to have a successful online presence which will not only help your business be more productive but it will also help you communicate better with the right type of people.  Done right and you can have a real presence above your competitors too.

Socialmedia

Interesting fact: Today, around 80% of small businesses use social media for marketing purposes!

Yep, I’m actually writing a serious post… not too serious mind, just something I consider important (and quite fascinating) but also something I think I do pretty good at! Whilst I’ve had no background training or qualifications in marketing or similar the tips I’m about to share are purely what I have picked up over the last few years and what I find to be the most reliable and successful. I strongly believe having a cake business is much more than just delicious recipes and a beautiful cake designs and I could go on about this subject for ages so this might be a longer post than usual, but I’ll try not to ramble on too much!

Lets go!

What is Social Media?

Bit of a big question I know, but social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram have evolved to be much more than just social networks — they are now, in my opinion, major business tools with real impact and power.  Yes, we do now have to ‘pay to promote’ on Facebook (it is itself a business too remember) but the potential from even just a few pounds is pretty impressive – I know, I’ve tried it! The first time was a few years back and it really had no impact! The second time I paid £5 to increase likes and reach to my business page but targeted at my area + a 25 mile radius.  Pretty cool right? So that means if you are looking to increase your orders you can for example also exclude people in different countries (not that they are irrelevant or unwelcome, just not relevant for this promotion). Within 24 hours of setting the promotion live I had 32 new ‘likes’ on my page therefore providing me with (hopefully) 32 new potential customers.  My message box had new enquiries – not bad for £5 really. If you create your own tutorials promoting one of these would be a great way to increase presence and create sales.  Oh and the reason I know these figures is because I utilise the Facebook insights – which are very handy and super simple to follow. Sit down with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, take 30 minutes max to familiarise yourself with the content and see what you can find.  Some things can be totally random, some actually very interesting!

Every business with a social media presence should, at some level, have a social media strategy. It can be as simple as having a Twitter account and sharing and tweeting, writing a blog or having a full blown company newsletter or even videos on YouTube – (something I am dying to get on board with by the way).  Start small and work your way up, have a goal and work your way to reaching it.  Just remember, the more you interact with the outside world, the more brand loyalty and presence you build.  It also really doesn’t matter if you miss a day or two, I certainly don’t post every day, some occasions I lag and miss quite a few days even, but at least once or twice a day I will send a tweet, or interact with other tweeters just to keep me in the loop. I also love Instagram and find that you can use this in two ways: either purely related to your business or business with a few personal ‘behind the scene’ images.  My preference is the latter as I think it’s nice to be more personal and show a little insight into your world. I like to share snaps in my kitchen, maybe a photo of me eating cake in fab cafe or even a sneaky little cocktail in the sunshine picture. It all contributes to creating your brand and showing some personality.

Hootsuite is something I find really handy and it links all your social media accounts into one giving you an overall score of how well you are doing. It even compares your score to competitors so you can see exactly how well your social media strategy is working.  Maybe I’m just an analytics geek but I’m sure I can’t be the only one who finds all this stuff really insightful!

If you feel overwhelmed by the number of social media platforms out there, choose one or two that you are comfortable with and dedicate time to building your profile on that specific one. The trick is then to only post your best quality content. As with most things try to keep relevant to your company or post something you think others will find interesting, helpful or funny. One of my most popular Facebook page updates did so well as people found it funny! It was simple, short and to the point and gained me one of the highest reaches in 2015 on my page!

The only detriment to social media is you plan to log on for 10/15 minutes but before you know it you’ve lost 2 hours of your life sucked into a Pinterest rabbit hole of cakes and colour themes! I aim to set a time and then stop and if possible log on at times where more people are online. I post my blogs earlish so people who work 9-5 get to read them in the morning and I post on Instagram in the evenings when more people seem to be online between 7-9pm.

Search Engine Optimisation 

I know, the dreaded SEO word, something you know you should have (if you own a website) but something that just seems so difficult to do and achieve.  I used to think this but now I quite enjoy checking my SEO is set up right, changing the words and search functions, checking our my rankings.  Search-engine ranking is really important for anyone who wants to make an impact with their digital presence and if you use WordPress like me then install Yoast which is really handy and not only points out areas of weakness but helps you analyse each page of your website.

Interesting fact: there’s about a 70% chance that searchers don’t read past the first five results you get from a Google search

Also, I find that the more you interact online with other social media platforms and the more you comment on blogs etc this directs people back to your website hence why the more social media shares you receive, the higher your search ranking will be.  For example, if every person that read this blog post shared it Twitter, it’s more likely to rank higher in Google’s search engine results page. Clever huh? It just takes time and patience which I appreciate can be really difficult to find sometimes!

Google Analytics

Now this is something that took me ages to get my head around but now that I have I am a total convert and rely on it alot! It tells me exactly what goes on with my website, which pages are most popular, the click-pathway of where visitors go and at what point they leave.  If a page has less visitors or a higher bounce rate (bounce = the time people leave your site) then I know I need to improve that page.  GA will also show you what search terms people used to land on your site which is really really helpful! You can also check what the top search terms are in your industry and even narrow it down to area so then you can make sure you have those exact terms embedded in your SEO program and on your website too.  It’s really all quite clever!

I regularly have the normal search terms pop up on mine “Cake maker in Berkshire” “Birthday cake designer in the South East” etc… but for the person who entered “what does it mean if I dream of cupcakes” ummm maybe you are eating too many cupcakes!! ha-ha

I could carry on writing on this subject but this post is probably long enough now!  I plan to write a 2nd installment soon to cover a few more things but in the meantime just remember it’s all about trying to find something that works for you and for your special little business that you work so hard on.  What do you love about Social Media? Which account is your favourite? Feel free to share and comment as usual.

Natalie xx

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