SOUTH LOS ANGELES — As COVID-19 continues to impact many businesses, local retailers are struggling to find methods to keep their businesses afloat as the pandemic continues.
Establishing a website and utilizing social media has proven to be one of the most effective methods for attracting new customers, but many business owners lack the funds to hire social media consultants, leaving them with questions about how to effectively use social media to increase traffic to their websites.
Digital marketing consultant Felicia Kaplan, founder of Kstylemedia.com, a social media consulting company, realized that there was a need for social marketing services for local small businesses and startups.
“While I was working for another company, I came in contact with businesses that weren’t able to afford the services of some of the larger marketing agencies,” said Kaplan, who chaired the “Taking Your Business on Social Media” webinar July 15.
“That just made me realize that there was a niche for small businesses and startups who needed access to marketing and training services so that their businesses could excel on social media as well.”
To meet the need, the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation recently held the “Taking Your Business on Social Media” to educate business owners about how to effectively utilize online marketing.
Kaplan held a powerpoint presentation that provided information about how businesses could effectively utilize social media marketing.
“I tell people if you’re not on social media you’re not in business,” said Kaplan, who started her online social media consulting business five years ago. “Used correctly, you can reach more people through social media.
“I compare it to word of mouth advertising,” she added. “With your business on social media, you are leveraging your net worth and exposing your brand to new people as well as building trust with your regular clients.”
Kaplan added that business owners must be consistent on social media in order to grow their clientele.
“As a small business, you are not going to have 100 sales the next day,” she saidd. “It is a marathon. It’s a building process and you have to be consistent in growing your community of followers and customers who become loyal to your brand.”
Kaplan advised business owners to post information about their businesses at least three days a week and that Facebook and Instagram are two of the most frequently used vehicles to advertise products or services.
She added that there are a number of free tools available online to help business owners with their websites. ”Hootsuite is a good tool to use to help you to consistently post content,” she said.
Her advice to business people included creating two spreadsheets. The first should log in what they will post each week and another one should track the content of their website through metrics and analytics, such as how many followers a business has and where their traffic is coming from.
“You’ll start to see patterns to see which posts are working and which are not,” she said. “It will tell you what kind of content works for you so that you know what to ditch and what to keep.
“Spreadsheet tracking will show you your website traffic and the number of clicks and engagement each post generated,” Kaplan said. “If you sign up with Google analytics, you will be able to see where your traffic is coming from.
“Make sure you use hashtags so that clients searching for a specific product or business can find you,” she added.
“Use your Facebook and Instagram accounts to see what days and times your followers are the most active.
Kaplan delivered some bonus tips.
“Post every day if possible,” she said. “Keep the colors and fonts on your website consistent.
“You can access free software such as Canva to create graphics and Pixel to retrieve free stock images.”
“It is a great time to use social media,” said Kaplan, who added that her services have increased since the start of the pandemic. “With COVID-19 still with us, more people are going digital.”
“Felicia Kaplan’s social media webinars have provided incredible direction for our clients during these unprecedented times,” said Joseph T. Rouzan III, president and CEO of the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation. “As business owners struggle to adjust, social media plays a critical role in cultivating a consumer base and charting paths back to stability.”
Webinars that Kaplan will be giving this month for the corporation include “Branding Your Business for Success” on July 28.