SSL Certificates - What the heck are they?

If you’re having a new website built, you’ll probably hear the term “SSL certificate” or “SSL encryption” at some point.  And if you’re like most, you probably have a vague idea of what it means, but don’t know exactly how important SSL encryption is to your website.


So what is this three-letter acronym, and what makes it such a vital part of website building?


What does SSL mean?


SSL, short for Secure Sockets Layer, is a level of protection for your website that will help keep your website, and its users, safe and secure.  It makes website hacking more difficult for those who would harm it, and ensures that easy-to-steal data is being kept safe.


When you have an SSL certificate on your website, it acts like a digital agent, reaching out to make safe contact with users via a “handshake”.  The “handshake” is actually a connection that is automatically made between the server and the user’s browser, telling both of them that this is a secure process.  


How does an SSL certificate help your website?


SSL certificates protect credit card numbers, user log-ins and passwords, and other personal information from being able to be accessed by anyone other than the authorized viewer.  This not only makes your website safer and informs users that their information is secure, it establishes a layer of trust with users that they otherwise may not have had.


It’s also good for Google rankings.  The search engine giants made it known in 2013 that SSL certificates pushed a website higher than websites without one.  Other search engines, like Yahoo or Bing, also look for SSL certificates - we all want to be safer online!


What if I don’t have a SSL certificate?


For one thing, you’ll be open to hackers who might wish to highjack important information on your website.  That would not only significantly damage your business through loss of possible sales, but could also cause your website to no longer become trustworthy.


This is bad news, because Chrome doesn’t like untrustworthy websites.  In fact, customers who visit your website while using Google Chrome as their browser will see a pop up when they attempt to go to your page, telling them that the site is unsafe.  This warning will scare potential clients away before they actually see your website - A hacker could damage their computer, or could walk away with private information


You can also lose your ranking on Google, and overall see a drop in SEO.  That means that you won’t be on the first page, and allows for your competitors to take their chance.


With all the protection offered by a SSL Certificate, it makes perfect sense to have this added to your website during its build.  

Quality Over Quantity

Fashion icon Iris Apfel famously stated, “More is more and less is a bore.”  


Nowhere is that phrase more relatable than in the world of social media.  Multiple social media posts a day litter newsfeeds for anyone involved with the profile that’s posting them.  The phenomenon is barely tolerable when it’s your uncle, sister, or old high school buddy - and it’s downright irritating when a company does it.


It’s common for a business to get excited and want to continuously post on social media.  After all, your customers liked your page for a reason - so better not disappoint them! However, the problem with a high quantity of social media posts is that the information you pass through them becomes watered down quickly, and pretty soon you’re going to see less and less likes, follows, and overall engagement with your page.


Don’t worry about Iris Apfel up there - less can definitely be more.  Where the quantity decreases, all you have to do is increase the quality.


Reasons to Post on Social Media


Before we break down how to increase the quality of your social media posts, let’s talk about what qualifies as worthy to your online presence.  Ask yourself:


Will this social media post…

Offer something to a customer that they would find useful?

Interest my customers enough to spark engagement?

Enhance the experience my customers will have with my brand?

Boost my company’s public persona?

Answer a question that my customers may have?


If you can’t answer any of these questions with, “Yes!”, then you may be posting something up just so you can say you posted something up.  Posting just to post is basically interrupting a conversation just to hear your own voice - it not only puts people off, but can seem to your followers as though you don’t respect them enough.


This is something that a lot of companies do, and it always comes back to bite them.  The second you post something that is irrelevant to what a customer wants from your page, they’ll turn off to your brand and may begin actively seeking one of your competitors.  To avoid that, make sure that your posts can answer at least one of the questions above with a yes.


Better Quality Social Media Posts


Let’s stop posting 10 times a day in the hopes you’ll get a like or follow.  Instead, let’s post 2 times a day and watch our audience increase over time!


First, make sure that what your offering answers those questions in the last section.  If it answers only one of them, take time to think on how to make that post of more interest to your customers.  For instance, instead of just posting about the new shoes your store is selling, talk about some of the features of that shoe and how it could relate to the person who buys them.  So your post would go from:


“Here’s the newest addition to our shoe line-up!  Come on in and grab a pair!”




“These shoes come with a memory foam insole to keep your feet from hurting after a day at work.  They’re brand new and we already love them - try them on and see why!”


In one fell swoop, you’ve changed the whole tone of your post from a sales pitch to a conversation.  You’re giving more information that matters to the customer, not just attempting to get your product off your shelves.  It’s a relationship builder that will matter most when the customer finds themselves needing the product or service that you provide.


Once you have the written post down, make sure that you add a photo.  Adding an image to your post can double or even triple your engagement rates - what can we say, people love pictures!  You’ll still want to keep your photos relevant, so you may need to use more than one in your post. In the example above, instead of just using a photo of the shoe, you may use a photo of the shoe and a photo of the interior of the shoe.  


So How Often Should I Post?


With this question comes a somewhat irritating answer:  It depends.


Mostly, it depends on which social media platforms you use.  These are the numbers of posts you should post on several different social media platforms:


Facebook:  1 - 2 times daily

Source:  Hubspot

This can vary depending on the amount of followers you have, but posting more often than that can break up the engagements each post collects.  Facebook will also sometimes recycle your post in their newsfeed depending on each individual user’s other online activity, so a single post may be seen multiple times in someone’s newsfeed.  This decreases the amount of posts you really need to make overall.


Twitter :  5 - 10 times daily

Source:  Agorapost

Because of its simple status system, Twitter is an entirely different beast in the social media world.  It’s easy for users to lose a single post due to the speed at which other tweets pop up in a user’s feed.  New posts with quality content will help to keep your Twitter relevant, especially in comparison to other company Twitter accounts.


Instagram:  1 - 2 times daily

Source:  Union Metrics

Although Instagram’s feed can move as quickly as the feeds on Twitter, people are more likely to scroll through the day’s posts to ensure they didn’t miss anything.  This makes it less necessary for multiple posts throughout the day.


What to Take Away From This


In a nutshell, we’d like to say that Iris was wrong, at least when it comes to social media posting.  Less IS more. As long as you practice quality over quantity, you’ll see your followers continue to grow.

How to Create Return Customers Through Aftercare Marketing

Whether you run a brick-and-mortar shop, online store, or service-based business, it’s easy to assume that you’ve done your job when a customer gives you their money.  After all, they got what they wanted or needed, and you’ve been paid for it! That’s how businesses run, right?


But what happens when that customer needs another product or service that you provide?  Are they going to come back to you? We’ve seen many cases of customers finding other product or service providers than the one they worked within the first place, and it’s usually because the first business didn’t utilize aftercare marketing.


So what can you do to keep customers coming back?  And what the heck is aftercare marketing?


Aftercare:  Not Just for the Health Industry

Aftercare is a term used by health professionals to mean that there is more that needs to be done once the patient gets home.  

Surgeries sometimes require physical therapy, and patients recovering from illness need a comfortable, safe place to rest and restore themselves.  


Because of this, we invented the term aftercare marketing to mean that even though a customer’s original experience with you is done, you still need to market to them, sometimes with more pointed and specific efforts.  

Aftercare marketing refers to the act of staying in close contact with the customer, and making sure that they’re still included in your regular marketing efforts in addition to providing them with a different level of marketing.  

And no, you can’t do this just with an e-blast - these people have bought from you, and when they did, they placed trust in you. Aftercare marketing is more involved and relies on a business’s interest in keeping that customer.


But why should you get so involved?


Aftercare Marketing Saves You Money

With aftercare marketing, you’ll be retaining a customer and spending much less on advertising.  

Don’t believe us? Well, Forbes says it best, “According to a Bain & Company study, 60-80% of customers who describe themselves as satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them.  How can that be? Often it’s due to a lack of connection.”


Nurturing that connection is step one to saving money.


 Think of it this way: You place a $500 ad in a newspaper and get 10 new customers.  Each of those customers cost you $50 each from the ad alone. Now, add in the extra costs to get each of those customers into your database.  That cost includes not only a sliver of the price you pay for your CMS software, but for the time that your employees have to take to get that information together, not to mention the fact that the more time you spend on one customer could cost you time with another customer.


That doesn’t include the marketing aspect.


The ad you placed for $500 is probably not the first ad your potential customers see before they decide to purchase.  Over time, the price of a new customer accumulates, turning every person who walks through your door into a higher-value client.  


According to the Harvard Business Review, studies suggest that you’re paying anywhere from 5 to 25 times more for a new customer over the cost of a retained customer.  That means that for each new customer coming in from our example above, your real price tag would be between $250 and $1,250.


Aftercare marketing helps you keep those higher-value clients so you don’t spend more on them than you have to!


How to Use Aftercare Marketing

When the customer walks in your door, your marketing efforts have worked.  Now you just have to sell your brand to them - they clearly want your products or services, or they wouldn’t have come to you.  Once they reach the decision to buy, that is the moment that aftercare marketing begins.


While you’re ringing up their products or writing your service ticket, you can also be gathering the materials you’ll need to give aftercare marketing to that customer.


Phone numbers, email or mailing addresses, and even just the collection of a business card can all help you forge a connection with that customer that gives them another reason to revisit your business.


All of these points of contact with this customer gives you the ability to use aftercare marketing on them.  For instance, emails and physical addresses are great for requesting reviews. These are also great methods for providing information on referral programs, or sending out holiday greetings.  


Possibly the best form of aftercare marketing is to forge a relationship with high quality customer service.  Along with referral programs, e-mails, and mailers, a phone call within a prescribed amount of time reminds a customer of not just how much they enjoyed their experience with your business, it also makes them think of who else, or what else, your products or services could be useful for.


Aftercare marketing is unique to every business, so get creative and keep those high-value customers!

Value First Marketing

One of our core beliefs at The Social Brand is that social media should really not be used to sell your products or services. Usually, when we tell people this, they look at us like we're crazy. "You are a social media management company and you don't believe that brands should be selling their products and services on social media?" Yep, that's right.

Now before you decide we're crazy too, let me explain.

Why Selling On Social is Bad

Social media is simply a platform to connect to people. Real people, with families, friends, hobbies and passions.  They are using these platforms to talk about those things. So let's think of our posts as conversations, rather than posts. I want you to imagine the scroll of your own Facebook or Instagram feed as you read this... John Smith who you went to high school with is posting a picture of his daughter who just won an award at school.  Your old boss shared a meme (otherwise known as a funny picture) that makes you chuckle to yourself a bit. Aunt Sally posted a picture of the meal she made for her family the night before... and boy, does it look good! Your sister posted a picture of herself, her husband and your nieces on vacation... Aruba is looking good this time of year... Now, let's picture your hard sales pitch in this conversation. "Hey, give me your money!" Does it fit?

If this were a conversation of people, standing in a circle talking, would this be socially appropriate? Standing in a circle at a social event (because that's kind of what social media is like, right?) and everyone is making small talk and then that one guy in the corner starts trying to sell you on this product he invented. That's when you start pulling away and looking around for someone - anyone! - to rescue you.

Brands who don't learn how to fit into the conversation occurring in their customers’ newsfeeds never quite tap into using social media to grow their sales. These brands will see growth on their pages from an ad they run and then a couple months later, they'll look at their numbers and see that they've lost followers.  Or these are the brands that come to us and say, "We've been stuck at a certain number of followers and just can't seem to get over that number. How do we grow?”

The problem with being “that guy” is that your audience doesn't have to look around for someone to rescue them.  They just unfollow you... or unlike your page... or mute your posts… or even ban you. However they rescue themselves, I promise you, the likelihood of them purchasing from your brand in the future just became much, much lower.

What You Should Do Instead

So, using social media to sell is bad. We've got that, right? What should we be doing instead? We've got to make money... we're running a business here, after all!

We've got to find a way to fit into that conversation your customers are already having on their newsfeeds.  We have to find a way to add something of value that doesn’t feel like...well...a sale.  This is where we get one of the very core values of The Social Brand - "Value First Marketing." So how do we start?

Who Are You Talking to?

The first step in joining the conversation is knowing who you're talking to and what they're talking about. Start by looking at who is buying from your company.  Are there obvious categories of customers who you work with? Maybe you sell to a lot of single moms with kids between the ages of 8-12 or maybe it's a lot of married men in their forties who like to golf and have two kids. Each category you identify is what we call a customer profile.

We actually have a free customer profile template you can download to get started!

What is Value First Marketing?

Now that you know who you're talking to and what they're interested in, value first marketing becomes much more feasible!

Find something of value to add to the conversation that they're already having.

So maybe you sell golf balls and a lot of your customers are married men in their forties who have two kids...and are interested in golf. Perfect! Rather than trying to sell them golf balls, just give them content they would already be interested in. Tips for improving your golf swing, a funny golf joke, or even a class to teach their kids about golf. You're giving something to them, adding to the conversations they're already having and building your authority in your field - without ever asking them to buy a golf ball.  But when they need golf balls, who are they going to buy from? Are they going to buy from the company who makes them laugh, who helps them improve their game and has taught their kiddos how to play? Or are they going to buy from the company that has been pushing out sales-y posts without giving them anything first?

Value first marketing isn't something we think should just be applied to social media (although it's a game changer when it is) - it's something we apply to everything we do.  Before you ask them to buy, give them something. Give them something that shows them that you care about them.  A great example of this would be the free download we provided for you earlier in this post! We gave you something for zero dollars in the hopes that you’ll appreciate our knowledge, and that when you’re ready to practice what you’ve learned, we’ll be the service you turn to.