About Robert Martin

I started my first business before I was in high school. I learned most of my lessons at The School of Hard Knocks ™. I'm here to tell you about SEO, marketing, web design, and business in general.

Deciding a Marketing Strategy for Facebook

facebook_adsIn creating ads, keep the customer in mind. Yes, you are trying to build an audience, drive traffic and generate as well as develop those leads into sales, but give the customer more than just a sales pitch. 

This first step to getting more traffic on Facebook is to create a campaign and Facebook Business can give you details. The basic structure is this:

Campaign – A campaign is the building block, an outline of your goals. For example, you want to increase subscribers so you offer a free eBook, or you want to have more engagement for a specific event, maybe a trade show. These are your objectives.

Ad Sets – This category is where you define your audience (demographics, location, etc.), budget and determine a schedule for the release of the ads.

Ad – This area subdivides your ad targets. For example, your company sells vitamins so your target is women age 25-45 for specific supplements. A company that promotes local hikes would aim their ads toward people who are interested in a distinct location.

Maximizing Strategy

marketingThe basic strategy always begins with your audience then follows through with valuable content and finally inspires your followers to share your products organically. Here are a few steps to get you going on this process:

Consider your audience – What do they want to see? What will help them do their jobs better, make their lives easier or make them to feel better?

Attract your audience – Ask your followers questions about how they use your products, have a contest and use trending topics to increase interest or share content they already like.

Call your audience to action – Use frequent links in your posts to encourage followers to click through to your site and add call to action (CTA) buttons on your page asking them to “Shop Now” or “Sign up.”

Expanding Reach

marketing_time_squareFacebook is an advertising friendly platform and it makes the process easy with a click-through tutorial on Facebook Ads. So determine your goals and what you want to promote as well as how best you can promote it. Facebook can show you how to promote your bead business to those who make jewelry in Hawaii, encourage the new moms in their twenties to try your organic lotion or attract your connections to an information security training event in Florida. Looking into Facebook Ads can extend your reach as far as you are willing to go!

Now that you have a campaign, have setup ads and know how to reach your followers with great content that encourages them to become your advocates, you can sell more through Facebook. Check out next week’s post when we will highlight the newest features Facebook has to promote your business and increase your reach.



By |2017-06-26T10:32:37-05:00October 19th, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Deciding a Marketing Strategy for Facebook

Confusing Facebook Marketing Ads Explained!

Online Marketing Decatur Alabama

Take advantage of the growing number of Facebook users with a constructive social media strategy. When faced with Facebook Ads, AdWords and other strategic sales terms, it may seem complicated but there are simple steps to take that make the process easier to handle.

In this post, we will show you the basics of Facebook ads and which ones help sell your products. There are the basic Facebook Ads that appear in newsfeeds. In addition, Ad Sets that let you schedule posts, create a budget and target an audience. A campaign is the umbrella covering both ad types and encourages you to set an advertising objective. Check out the Campaign structure that Facebook Business provides.

What Ad Types?

Initially, you will need to determine your campaign goals – drive traffic, increase brand awareness or do a specific promotion (coupons, discounts, giveaways, etc.).

facebook_iconOnce your goals are defined, determine what types of ads you want to create:

  • Domain Ad – Inexpensive, displays in the right column of the newsfeed
  • Page Post – Large image, most commonly used ad since it can appear in the right column, newsfeed and on mobile; generates Likes and encourages replies to boost engagement
  • Page Likes Ad – Displays on your friends’ pages
  • App Engagement – Displays in the status update and drives people to your mobile app for more engagement

Who’s Your Target?

Having determined your ad type, establish which

  • Location – city, county or state where you would like to do business
  • Demographic – age, gender or education level of those who would be attracted to your business
  • Interests – targets specific hobbies and pages liked
  • Behaviors – purchase habits, devices used, recent life events
  • Connections – reaches those connected to your page, or friends and friends of friends

twitter-292988_960_720Location is very important if you have a local business and want to promote it via Facebook. This platform offers an option to add a map card to your ad and numerous call to action (CTA) buttons such as Get Directions, Call Now and Send Message.

No matter what type you choose, remember that your ads should always have an image or a video to showcase your brand. A high quality image will sell your product more effectively than just text. Keep in mind that even though Facebook has relaxed a bit, the platform still has a ‘20% text in images rule’ and here are some examples. Make sure your image has low text to ensure ad delivery.

If you need more details for the three levels of Facebook Ads, check out Campaigns, Ad Sets and Ads. These let you determine how you want to reach your customers and increase your sales.

And now that you know what ads you want to use and how to present your brand, our next post will focus on marketing strategy.




By |2017-06-26T10:41:02-05:00October 14th, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Confusing Facebook Marketing Ads Explained!

Have you Seen Facebook Marketing Lately?

facebook-box-1334045_960_720How Effective is Facebook Marketing?

Sure, you go onto Facebook to check in, check statuses and share, but Facebook Ads use the power of over 1 billion users to target that audience and market your business more effectively.

Facebook is currently the largest platform for social media marketing engaging 71% of internet users and reaches both men and women ages 24-50. Creating ad campaigns will allow you to take advantage of this audience. And all you need to know to start is what your goals are for building a campaign, what types of ads you want to create and who you want to target. These questions can all be addressed in the Facebook advertising guide. Then once the initial setup is complete, give your customers more than sales pitches; provide them with usable content, something that solves their problems.

Over the next month, we’ll be sharing the latest Facebook for business updates plus a plan to create your marketing strategy from scratch. The best part, it will be affordable.

Check us out in the coming weeks when our topics will include setting a goal, what type of ads you need to create and define your target market. You can use Facebook Live, new ad metrics, and localization to grab an audience and promote your brand.

By |2017-06-26T10:48:59-05:00October 6th, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Have you Seen Facebook Marketing Lately?

Use Instagram for Business – In the Business of Slides, Movies and Metrics

Instagram for Business_1Instagram for Business

Remember those pics from the company’s 4th of July party? Make that into a Slideshow. Need to show how to use a product? Make a 30-second video! How’s your business doing? Instagram Insights can give you details about your audience!

Instagram continues to expand its offerings and over the last year, this platform has added a way to use previously taken pics, make short videos, and check to see how your social media approach is working for your business.

SlideshowInstagram for Business_2 is another way to advertise (you may have seen these in your newsfeed on Facebook!). It allows you to use previously taken pictures and flip through them in succession. This is the best format if you think your audience might have a slow connection.

As far as  videos go, you have between 3 and 60 seconds to record and share your company’s best content with your audience. You can still use the photo features you love, like filters, on the videos as well.

So who’s using video? Oreo. Reebok. Ikea.

InstagramforBusiness_3You’ve shared your Stories, created a Slideshow ad and have now included videos in your marketing strategy, what’s next? Enter Instagram Insights. These metrics show you impressions (number of times your post has been viewed), reach (followers who saw your post), website clicks (accounts that have followed your website link), and follower activity (how often your followers see your content on your profile). You will have access to your follower’s demographic information as well.

As Instagram users are evolving, the platform is, too. This makes for a beneficial experience for both your brand and the customers you serve. So use these tools in your marketing strategy and you will have one more social media platform in your toolbox.





By |2017-06-26T12:26:46-05:00September 29th, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Use Instagram for Business – In the Business of Slides, Movies and Metrics

Tell the Story of your Brand through Instagram

Instagram_BrandingInstagram for Business-Tell the Story of your Brand

Are you being dynamic? Authentic? Spontaneous? Well, Instagram is here to help you with that! With a reach of over 400 million and most under 35, this service must be part of your marketing platform because it is changing to accommodate a new generation of brand advocates!

Instagram’s Polaroid-like instant camera has expanded since it jumped onto the social media scene in 2010. This summer Instagram added Stories as a new way to share photos and videos. Stories can be created and disappear within 24 hours but during that time you can combine other images into a tale about your business.

Companies creating a successful brand narrative using Instagram Stories are:

And, finally, you can see that the space race is running full speed ahead on NASA’s Instagram feed!

retro-vintage-car-instagramSo how can you make the most of Instagram’s new Stories feature?

Show another side of your business. NASA posted details about the Perseids meteor shower and shared research and scientific interviews. Offer behind-the-scenes photos like setup shots or the photos that didn’t make the final cut.

Let your customers follow along. Take Instagram to your next Meetup and take photos of the people who attend and video them having fun. This works for conferences, retreats and team lunches and status meetings as well.

Draw your customers out and photo-post. Turn a blog post into a photo story by adding captions using the pen, highlighter, or marker to draw on images or insert text.

Take customers on a virtual tour. This has worked for realtors for years and now you can use this for your business. Let customers see the inside of your store, your stock room, and what craziness goes on behind the counter. Mark each picture with something interesting about a teammate or manager.

Instagram_link_photoLink and Tag. Got a contest going on or wanting to share volunteer work that your business does? Put a link to your business photo to your company’s site and encourage customers to sign up for the contest. Use a hashtag to promote your volunteer outing and inspire customers to join you. Get Creative! In the next post, those images your company took at the last picnic or retreat will come in handy when using Instagram’s Slideshow…we’ll show you how!




By |2017-06-26T12:38:23-05:00September 22nd, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Tell the Story of your Brand through Instagram

Instagram for Business with Social Media Stories

pexels-photo-24087Instagram for Business with Social Media Stories

Thinking of increasing your business traffic by using Instagram? The platform is ready to help you with that and in this month’s blog series, we will show you the steps you can take – and brands you can follow for inspiration – to make your business dynamic, photo-ready and successful.

Instagram has been likened to Polaroids for the next generation because of its instantaneous nature and the distinctive square shape of the images. Created as a project with a focus on mobile photography, the developers decided to combine the name “instant camera” with “telegram” and the term “Instagram” was born. 20644662435_74ced73b45_zThe service that launched in 2010 and lets users take photos, filter and share them with companion hashtags has grown to over 400 million active users and 90% of those are under 35. Acquired by Facebook in 2012, the service boasts a 23% growth while its parent company has only 3%.

Flash ahead to 2016, Instagram’s biggest news in the last few weeks has been to add Stories to its features and encourage businesses to include this in their marketing strategy. The service also recently launched Instagram Business Tools so companies can gain insights into what posts perform best, update their business profiles, view analytics related to ads and target customers by location. Slideshow was another addition to Instagram’s business offerings. This feature lets users create video content from a series of still photos that the business may already own. The best part: with a recent upgrade, videos can be setup to run at lower connection speeds allowing them to be viewed anywhere!

instagram-1355473_640Instagram now gives you new options to create a successful social media marketing campaign. In the next post, we will have a list of the most successful brands on Instagram, show how you can use these new features and then make the most of your marketing strategy. Pop in next week to learn more about Instagram Stories and find out the best ways to reach your customers!




By |2017-06-26T12:43:48-05:00September 15th, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Instagram for Business with Social Media Stories

Geo filters: Snapchat into the Future of Marketing Part 4

Geo filters:

Snapchat Into the Future of Marketing Part 4

Need to tell the world where you are? Snapchat has geo filters! Today’s post, Part 4 in our series, will show you how to use this fun feature to increase business and drive traffic to your door. In Part 1 of this series, we introduced Snapchat as a tool not just for your kids, but as a way to promote your brand. Part 2 detailed specific benefits available through this app while Part 3 showed how you could create a brand story, save it to memories and promote it on your social networks.
Setting Up the Geo filter
snapchat_geofilterIn February 2016, Snapchat introduced geo filters, which allow users to create their own overlay to show where they are and what they are doing. Create a .png file in your favorite graphics editor. The image should be 1080 by 1920 pixels and have a transparent background. Design your filter, but be sure to leave enough space for a person’s face in the center of the image then upload the image to Snapchat. Select start and end dates and times then you can draw the “geofence” around your business area. The cost of this service starts at $5.00, but the price may vary depending on how long the filter remains active.
As a business, you can use any form of branding except photos of people, URLs, phone numbers or any content you don’t own when creating an On-Demand Geofilter.
Advertising, Engaging and Promoting
Man_handing_out_Advertising_TissuesSpecific ways you can advertise to your audience and get them engaged with your content so they can promote your business for you is for your company to:
Share New Products – Use snaps of your new items or sales promotions and use geo filters to announce the dates, times and any specific details about the launch.
Company Outreach – Do you want to bring awareness to a favorite charity? If you or your employees are volunteering or attending a charity event, create a filter to share this event with your customers and encourage them to participate with you and donate.
Personal Brand Filter – If your company has a booth at a trade show or your employees are attending a conference, snap some pictures and add your geo filter so other attendees can find you. And your customers may see your filter and decide to promote your business for you!
Traveling Geo-Stickers
traveling-by-carFlying to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Honolulu, London, Sydney, Paris, São Paulo and Riyadh for business? In early August, Snapchat improved the app once more by introducing location specific filters. You will need to be in one of these cities to access the filters, but if you are, add a geo-sticker to your snaps and promote your business on-the-go!
Snapchat is not only a great way to share your stories, memories and funny filters for your friends, it also allows you interact with your customers and gives them insight into the daily happenings in your company. This interaction gets them engaged, inspires them to promote your business and drives new traffic to your front door.




By |2017-12-15T16:07:08-05:00August 30th, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Geo filters: Snapchat into the Future of Marketing Part 4

Authentic Product Story Telling

Authentic Product Story Telling – Snapchat Marketing Part 3

In Snapchat’s ever expanding mission to build “a photo app that doesn’t conform to unrealistic notions of beauty or perfection but rather creates a space to be funny, honest or whatever else you might feel like at the moment you take and share a Snap,” the app now includes a way to share a collection of photos and save them past their 24-hour shelf life. This authenticity can be turned into a marketing strategy using Stories and Memories.

Telling a Your Product’s Story

Brands like Gatorade and Sour Patch Kids know exactly how to reach their audience using Snapchat and that means making up stories about their products.

You want your marketing campaign to include all your company snaps over a 24-hour period with such content as employees working on various tasks (maybe ask each employee to take a few snaps to add to the story), clients visiting, lunch meetings, afternoon coffee, a deadline rush on a new product or service and maybe capture some snaps of the team at drinks after work. The key to Snapchat Stories is to show realism (it is recommended to keep content G-rated since the age range for app starts in the early teens) and a day-in-the-life of your company. Add graphics, emojis, and stickers to the images to complement your brand personality and put your business’s experimental, fun side on display.

Some great examples of “Story” telling with Snapchat are:



General Electric

19897191904_27709a854a_bHolding Products in your Customer’s Memory

Not only can you hold your products in Snapchat’s new Memories feature – a shareable, searchable archive of snaps and Stories – a little longer but in doing so you can share them on Snapchat (or on any other social media outlet) to engage your customers and prospective users. Memories also allow you to access your camera roll so if you’ve taken pictures at events that you want to include in your brand story but have not taken them through the Snapchat app, including them is now a snap!

Some ideas on how to mix new and existing content to get the most out of the Memories feature for your business:

  • Showcase a Product Rollouts – Pull in all the images, snaps, or videos you’ve compiled between design and implementation of your products than produce this compilation as a Memory.
  • Use Days of the Week Social Media Tags – Say it’s Throwback Thursday (#TBT), use images you’ve taken when your business was getting started and show a progression of events leading to your success today in Memory format. Wednesday Wisdom and Tuesday Thoughts will allow you to make liberal use of the Snapchat’s text feature!
  • Share Your Company Business and Influencer Access – Do you own a software company? Are you a start-up venture capitalist? A clothing manufacturer? Share a day in the life of your company or a special niche you have such as writing simple code to add colorful fonts to a website or how to wear a seasonal scarf. Use the text feature to allow your customers to gain access to you and your expertise. Ask your customers to send you snaps or videos of their questions!

Snapchat is a deceptively simple app with lots of marketing potential where campaigns can be created and relayed instantly then quickly disappear only to produce more anticipation for the next big ad promotion. Look for Part 4 of this post where we will show you how to advertise your business with geo filters!














By |2017-06-26T13:10:38-05:00August 23rd, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Authentic Product Story Telling

Marketing with Snapchat

IMG_5790Marketing with Snapchat: Part 2

Snapchat has over 100 million daily users, most between 18 and 34 who will be a huge buying force in the next few years (outpacing the Baby Boomers!). To tap into that force, your company needs to use Snapchat effectively to market to this growing group of consumers.

What’s in a Snap?
Snaps are photos or videos that can be sent – or messaged – to friends or contacts and viewed for up to 10 seconds then will disappear. The immediate but short-lived nature of these messages is what makes them fun but most importantly, Snapchat allows the users to live “in the moment” without special filters or perfectly edited video. The brief lives of the snaps carry instant information about the snap chatter and the sharing of stories from their lives with people who are interested. It is the instantaneous nature of the platform that makes it so popular both for the demographic your company is trying to reach and the products you want to share with this group.

How can Snapchat benefit my company?
Christina_Novelli_SelfieSnapchat adds value and lets you provide a real-time, authentic view of your company to your customers. This platform gives you a chance to demonstrate  to the market that your company and products are both  genuine and entertaining!

To get started showing how unique your company is set up an account then post your snapcode to your current social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

By sharing your snapcode on social media, many of your current customers will automatically follow you. Next, import any other business contacts from your customer relationship management system into the Snapchat app.

army_snapchatNow you are ready to share what you do with your customers and new followers by:

  • Sharing Behind-the-Scenes Content – Take snaps of your status meeting agenda to show what you do and who to contact in your organization for specific needs or have your tech team take snaps while working on site
  • Promoting an Event – Are you going to be at a tradeshow or have a new release of a product? You can use a snap to show product launches or one-of-a kind promotions
  • Offering Discounts or Coupons – Share exclusive promotions only to those who follow you on Snapchat, have a flash sale, do giveaways or showcase a new service
  • Create Buzz – Tease a snap a day of a tradeshow, product or event you will be rolling out prior to the release or date
  • Targeting Influencers – Engage your top brand advocates by sharing exclusive content with them and have them spread the ads to their followers
  • Using Timestamp and Other Graphics – Take a snap and add timestamp then use artwork and graphics to convey that it “x minutes” something exciting will be happening and you will have a front row seat!

Snapchat is a deceptively simple app with lots of marketing potential where campaigns can be created and relayed instantly then quickly disappear only to produce more anticipation for the next big ad promotion. Look for Part 3 of this post where we will take the snaps you collected and develop them into My Stories and Memories!











By |2017-06-26T13:24:55-05:00August 16th, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Marketing with Snapchat

Selling on Snapchat


Selling on Snapchat- Part 1

Snapchat has over 100 million daily users (surpassing Twitter!) and of those millions, 63% are between 18 and 34. Still a young demographic; however, this group is becoming a huge buying force that could develop into brand advocates. This channel and its Millennial users will “age-up.” Much like Facebook and Twitter started out reaching those in their teens and 20’s then grew to encompass all ages, this platform will be no different.

enhanced-30108-1461811612-1The best news is that you can get in on the ground floor of this app and reach out to your customers before the platform becomes crowded – like Facebook and Twitter. Started in 2011 as a college project, Snapchat has grown from an app for teens that just snapped photos into a platform that creates videos and sends them to your friends (or business contacts) and lets you decide how long the images will last (between 1 and 10 seconds) upon opening. Your brand images can be filtered using specially lit films or selfies can be enhanced with any number of overlays, emojis or colored text. Following a request from many users to be able to share more than just one image or video, Snapchat added a folder called My Story where the snaps could be saved. This addition allows you to use your media to build a story and share the content unlimited times within a 24-hour period. Snapchat’s other features include text chat and video calling, all of which disappear after opening. The channel also has a paid advertising section called Discover where brands can promote their content on a daily feed.

Snapchat-bitesTune into future posts where we will be discussing how snaps, My Story, and GeoFilters can help you promote your business on this innovative new channel. We will also share how being an early adopter of Snapchat will allow you to attract and connect with an audience with which you can grow and also allow you to reach out to influencers to promote your products to their followers as well.





By |2017-06-26T13:39:12-05:00August 9th, 2016|Post|Comments Off on Selling on Snapchat