Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ Category
Monday, May 20th, 2013
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Yahoo! has announced that it will work with Twitter to include tweets in the site’s newsfeed section. Yahoo! has long been a source of news about world events, sports, politics, entertainment and more, and the move seems to show that Twitter is becoming more recognized as an important news source.
In a Yahoo! blog post, CEO Marissa Mayer stated: “Updates direct from politicians, celebrities, media outlets, and other publishers have become an important source of real-time news and information.” The statement seems to reiterate a common theme in social media circles: traditional news sources can’t keep up with breaking news the way Twitter can.
Changes to the Yahoo! Website
Visually, the update is relatively small. In the stream of news articles, users will now also see tweets that contain breaking news or announcements. The tweeted news will include the Twitter handle of the person who shared the post underneath the headline. These posts will also include a “Follow” button, allowing readers to easily follow newsy accounts.
The Marketing Impact
It’s not yet known what kinds of businesses and whose tweets will be highlighted in the Yahoo! newsfeed. It’s likely that tweets from big corporations and news outlets, as well as tweets that are popular and newsworthy will be shared.
More and more people are using Twitter as a source for news, whether it is hard news regarding local, national, or international topics or news from brands, businesses and groups. This means that it is more important than ever that your business shares news through Twitter.
You probably already use press releases, blog posts and earned media coverage to promote your business and share your latest news with your market. But, are you also using Twitter to share news? If you aren’t, now is the time to start.
Even if your tweets aren’t featured on the Yahoo! News page, the move signals a change in the way people expect to be informed about news, and your business needs to follow by using social media to inform its followers. Consider tweeting breaking news, links to blog posts that announce a company change and even finding ways to relate current events to your business.
The idea of using a current event for marketing purposes is known as real-time marketing. You can use Twitter to execute these strategies by staying up to date with current events in your industry and community, and when these stories relate to your business, leveraging them to promote what you do. Be careful not to take over a story, or be insensitive to a situation, which is known as news hijacking, since this approach will only backfire and hurt your company’s image.
Social media and the way news is delivered is always changing, and the latest Yahoo! feature may be one of the first glimpses into how the two mediums could be used together. Businesses can take note and adjust their social media marketing strategies to allow them to leverage the newsy aspect of Twitter.
As Twitter becomes a more common news source, how will your business react? If you don’t already have a solid Twitter following, will this industry change prompt you to build a bigger presence on the site?
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Image courtesy of mkhmarketing/Flickr.
Are you using Twitter to promote your business and increase your revenue? Twitter can be one of the best ways to connect with your target market and to make potential customers happy customers. If you don’t already use Twitter as part of your social media marketing campaign, you may want to consider setting up an account today.
Who Uses Twitter?
First, it’s important to make sure your target market is using Twitter. Chances are that at least a portion of your market is already on the site, but some statistics from Quick Sprout can give you a good idea of what kind of people use Twitter:
- 500 million users send out about 340 million tweets every day.
- 24% of users are between the ages of 25 and 34, 22.5% are between the ages of 35 and 44 and 22.5% are between 45 and 54 years old.
- 60% of Twitter users are women and 40% are men.
- 60% of users have attended some college.
Twitter is a fast-paced social media site that attracts young and middle-aged adults. Many people turn to Twitter for news, information about events and updates from businesses.
The Power of Twitter
One of the things that makes Twitter unique among social media sites is that it has the power to unite groups of people. Brand advocates, sports fans and people with similar interests can connect extremely easily and conversations and entire movements can start with just a few tweets.
Trending topics, often identified with hashtags, can carry a lot of marketing power. If a topic relating to your business trends nationally or among a certain group of people, it receives a lot of attention, generates a buzz and can even drive site traffic and sales.
Twitter can help you directly communicate with your target market in real time, influence conversations and listen to what your market is saying. All of these actions can benefit your business.
Start Using Twitter the Right Way
So how do you start implementing a strategic Twitter plan?
Identify Your Twitter Market
First, find out which of your target markets, or which portion of your customer base, is most likely to be on Twitter. Make sure there is a large enough market on the site to make your involvement worth the time and resources it will take to build a Twitter presence. Knowing which of your markets is on Twitter can help you understand what kind of content to share and how you can use the site to your benefit.
Start Connecting with Customers and Influential People
Next, start following people within your target market and people that are likely to influence them. You may consider following industry professionals, thought leaders, community members and other businesses. If you follow people who are likely to be interested in your business, chances are they will follow you back.
Share Content and Join Conversations
As you build a following, begin sharing content that is relevant to your business. You can share your own blog posts and marketing materials as well as content that others share. Don’t share posts from you competitors, but sharing posts from people who are likely to influence or help inform your market are worth sharing. Sharing relevant content and using hashtags will also help you build a following that includes potential customers. However, don’t just use Twitter to push out information. Have conversations with other users and try to spark engagement.
If your target market is on Twitter, you can make the site a useful and powerful part of your social media marketing campaign. Connecting with the right people and sharing relevant content can help you build your presence on the site so that you can use Twitter to reach and influence your market.
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Last week YouTube announced that it would start offering new paid channels as part of a pilot program with a small group of partners. The fees will start at 99 cents per month and each channel will offer a free 14-day trial.
Some of the paid channels that have already launched include National Geographic Kids, PGA Digital Golf Academy, Pets.TV, UFC Select, and more. There are currently 54 paid channels (there are more than 1 million channels on YouTube) and the company says it will be adding more.
Currently, users subscribe through their account and once they have paid for a channel, they can watch it from their computer, TV, smartphone or tablet. YouTube also says that additional viewing options will be available in the future.
In a YouTube blog post the company states that the paid channels are a response to requests from video posters who are looking for more ways to monetize their videos and channels.
Can Businesses Create Paid YouTube Channels?
Businesses that are interested in creating their own paid YouTube Channel can fill out a sign up form. Currently, all submissions will be reviewed and may or may not be accepted as a paid channel partner.
Since the paid channel program is currently a pilot program, it remains to be seen how YouTube will develop it and how businesses will get to use the new option. However, assuming the service becomes more popular, businesses will likely get to be a bigger part of the program.
Will Your Business Benefit from a Paid Channel?
If your business already has a successful YouTube Channel it may very well benefit from a paid channel, since you could earn revenue from subscriptions, not just advertisements. If your business and products are conducive to things like previews, how-to videos, product reviews and event videos, it may benefit from paid YouTube Channels.
However, the benefits of a paid YouTube Channel aren’t just monetary. Businesses with successful videos and channels benefit from things like increased exposure, viral ad campaigns, social media buzz, raised awareness, increased site traffic and more sales.
How will Users React?
As with any major social media change, one of the biggest questions being asked is “How will users react?” YouTube users aren’t likely to leave the site in droves, since the site has become an Internet video staple, but will they be wiling to pay for content? Many feel social media should be free to use, much like email. Normally, businesses are able to profit directly through ads on the site, whether that be the social media business or the businesses that use the site. However, some sites, like LinkedIn do offer paid features, which seem to be successful.
Much like any other product or marketing tool, paid YouTube Channels will likely be successful if the content being shared is valuable to the audience, helpful, entertaining and useful. Channels that are able to provide the best content may find it easy to gain subscribers. Will you apply for a paid channel? Do you think the new feature will benefit your business?
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
What kind of social media marketing does your business use? Do you use paid marketing or do you use social media in the more traditional way, writing posts, adding pictures and connecting with other users? Both of these approaches can be very successful ways to market your brand, and each has its pros and cons.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Paid social media marketing encompasses any social media marketing tactic you have to pay for. Some common examples include:
- Promoted tweets and posts
- Social media ads
- Sponsored posts
- Promoted accounts
Businesses that use paid social media often do so with very specific goals in mind. Sometimes these goals include raising awareness, but more often paid social media is used to drive traffic, promote an event, gain customers, publicize a contest or generate leads.
One of the main advantages of paid social media marketing is that your content is almost guaranteed to be presented to your target market. Most social media networks allow advertisers to select specific demographics, allowing them to control where their content goes.
The downside to this is that some users are wary of ads and don’t respond to them at all. Some members of your public may be less likely to trust ads than they would be to trust traditional social media posts.
Traditional Social Media Marketing
For the sake of this post, traditional social media marketing is defined as tactics like status updates, pictures, comments, responses and social media shares. This type of marketing is similar to the way social media is used by your target market, except you should have a strategic campaign behind the way you use your accounts.
Traditional social media marketing allows your business to have conversations with and interact with your market. As customers or potential customers comment on your content or ask questions, you are able to respond. Paid social media marketing doesn’t allow for this.
Using social media this way is also more natural and may be more effective for an audience that is prone to tuning out advertisements and content that is too sales oriented. With traditional social media marketing, your brand can become part of larger conversations and a community, which can be extremely beneficial.
Much of marketing and sales is based on relationships. Traditional social media marketing allows for the growth and fostering of these relationships. If you are seeking to add a level of transparency or approachability to your company, these kinds of tactics can help.
However, traditional social media marketing often takes more time and requires you to work harder to build an audience and to get your message to the right demographic.
The Best of Both Worlds
Most businesses use a combination of paid and traditional social media marketing. Both strategies have their place and both have strengths and weaknesses that can compliment each other. According to Nielsen, advertisers and agencies use the free social media tools slightly more than they use the paid tools. But, 64 percent of these businesses plan to increase their social media spending in 2013.
The way you use social media marketing to promote your brand will depend on your business and your goals. As you decide what kinds of results you want to get from your social media involvement, you can decide if paid or traditional social media marketing is best for you.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of Jason Howie/Flickr.
If your business doesn’t use social media marketing or if it is not using it very successfully, it can be overwhelming to try to build an online presence. Some businesses are tempted to start using all social media channels available, only to find that their efforts aren’t paying off.
By strategically implementing a social media marketing plan, you can make sure you are using the channels available to you to their fullest potential and reaching your target market with the correct message.
Prioritize Social Media Networks
Not all social media networks lend themselves to all businesses. It’s very likely that there are two or three networks that are better for your business than others. Consider your business goals, where your target market is likely to be, and what kinds of messages you want to send through social media. Then, prioritize social networks starting with the ones that are most likely to help you reach your goals.
Start Small and Focused
Start with the first few networks on your prioritized list. Set up complete and optimised profiles for these accounts, post to them often, build a following and engage with other users. You should also promote these accounts on your website and blog and through other marketing channels as appropriate.
The idea here is to build very strong accounts on a few networks and to get very good at using them for social media marketing.
Translate Your Tactics
Once you start to see results from a few social media channels, you can branch out and begin to use others, using some of the same tactics you’ve already practiced. Of course, each channel will require slightly different tactics, but the things you’ve learned about how your company, target market and social media work together can help you be successful on new social networks.
Follow Your Market
As you decide with additional channels to add to your strategy, follow your market. Remember that where your market is and where your business has an online presence need to be the same. For example, just because you build a very strong presence on LinkedIn, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to reach your target market if it is more likely to use a service like Twitter.
Slowly Build a Larger Presence
The businesses that are the most successful on social media slowly build a presence, rather than spread all their resources too thin. By focusing on just a few channels to begin with, and then slowly joining other networks and expanding your social media marketing efforts, your business will gain more from social media. Businesses that try to take on too much in the beginning may have a lot of social media accounts, but they generally don’t have a very strong presence in any of them, meaning none of their accounts are especially valuable in helping them reach their goals.
Creating a strong social media presence that brings rewards takes time. It will take strategy to reach your target market and then build a following and to build accounts that will help your business reach its goals, grow and be successful.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Creating websites that are optimised for mobile use is a current marketing trend, and for good reason. More and more people are browsing the Internet from their smartphones, meaning the small screen is an excellent place to reach your target market.
One of the most popular smartphone uses is accessing social media. Fast mobile browsers and various apps make it possible for people to reach out to their friends, post pictures and status updates, and connect with your business, all from the palm of their hand.
Making your social media marketing campaign mobile-friendly is relatively easy, considering the number of social media apps that already format social media sites for a small screen. But, there are still some things you can do to make your campaign more effectively reach a mobile audience.
Use Mobile-Ready Apps and Landing Pages
If you use Facebook apps, make sure they are mobile ready. If a user accesses your app from the Facebook app, and lands on an app that is not optimised for his screen, he’ll likely exit the app.
Likewise, make sure your landing pages are mobile optimised for the same reason. Any page you send social media followers to should be mobile friendly, whether that’s your own site or a landing page.
Keep it Simple and Short
People who access social media from their smartphones are usually on the go. They don’t have a lot of time to read long posts or follow complicated directions. Your social media posts should be short and to the point and your campaign should be designed with this in mind.
Another benefit to keeping things short is that short messages and campaigns are often more memorable than long, complicated ones.
Use the Mobile Aspect to Your Advantage
Since mobile social media use is so popular, you can integrate the mobile aspect into your campaign. Smartphones and apps make it easy to make things like check-ins, photo contests and QR codes a major part of your campaign. You can make mobile work for you by creating a campaign that utilizes the fact that your market is on the move.
Enhancing your social media marketing campaigns by making them accessible to mobile audiences can make your strategy even more effective. Using mobile-friendly apps and landing pages, keeping your messaging short and using the fact that your audience is on the go to your advantage are simple ways you can start mobile optimising your campaign now.
Friday, April 26th, 2013
Image courtesy of Widjaya Ivan/Flickr.
Google Plus is an excellent content marketing tool from both a social networking and search engine optimisation perspective. The growing user base allows you to get your message in front of a bigger audience that can also help you share your content. From the beginning, it became clear that Google was going to use Google Plus to help it determine where a page appears in search results. You can leverage these benefits by using Google Plus wisely.
If you haven’t already set up Google Authorship for your blog, you’re missing out. Google Authorship links your blog posts to your picture and profile, links all of your content together and ranks pages linked to your name higher. Have you ever noticed a Google search result with someone’s name and picture next to it? This is Authorship in action.
Enabling Authorship on your blog links your Google Plus profile to your content, so when one of your posts appears in search results, your name and picture will be next to it. This is a great branding opportunity, and it also helps with SEO efforts, since Google ranks Authored content higher than other content.
Another benefit of Google Authorship is the related content listing. When someone stumbles across one of your blog posts on a page of search results, he may also see links to other content written by you. This can help you build your brand and increase traffic to your content.
Google favors legitimate content, and it uses Google Authorship as one way to differentiate between genuine content and spammy content. Using Google Authorship will help your page rank higher as Google recognizes it as natural, high-quality content.
Build a Google Plus Audience
Just like any other social network, the audience you build on Google Plus can help you gain more traffic, which can increase your page rank. When you have a large, engaged audience that clicks on the posts you share and that passes your content on to their connections, you’ll start to see results. You can grow your audience by using hashtags and participating in Google Plus communities.
Depending on your business, you could even start your own Google Plus community to create another channel you can use to reach your target market and communicate with it on a regular basis.
Use Links and Keywords Wisely
Google Plus allows businesses to use links in their about section, an opportunity you should take advantage of. Of course, these links are very helpful for your audience, but they can also boost your rankings. Use keywords as the anchor text for links that go to your website, but make sure your content is still people-friendly and doesn’t look spammy or forced.
Your keywords should also be used in your Google Plus posts, so that your posts will appear in search results when your connections search for those keywords, thanks to Google’s Social Search.
Google Plus is a growing social network with an added advantage: it very directly impacts search results. You can optimise your content marketing tactics by using Google Plus features to gain more traffic and better search rankings.
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Measuring social media can be difficult. How do you know how all those posts, shares, tweets and “likes” are impacting your bottom line? While there are lots of ways you can estimate the affect your social media marketing has on your business, one recent study claims to have found the dollar value of each Facebook “like”: $174.17.
The study, by Syncapse, researched how 2,000 Facebook users’ “likes” impacted 20 major brands. It took into account brand loyalty, page recommendations, product spending, media value, brand affinity and acquisition cost. Interestingly, the $174.17 value is a 28 percent increase from the value reported from the same study in 2010.
Syncapse also found that people who “liked” a business on Facebook spent $116 more, per year, on the brand than those who did not “like” it. People who “like” a company on Facebook spent 43 percent more in that company’s industry than those who do not “like” the company. The research also revealed that when a Facebook user believes his or her opinion shapes a brand he or she is more likely to react positively on social media.
How You can get the Most Value for Your “Likes”
So what does this research mean for your company? How can you get the most out of your Facebook “likes?” Perhaps most obviously, the study means your business could see more sales if it is able to attract more Facebook “likes.” Of course, this isn’t the only factor that will help boost your sales, but the research shows that people who “like” your business on Facebook are likely to spend more money on your brand than those who don’t. You could also benefit from “likes” at other companies in your industry.
One of the most important factors in Facebook marketing success is finding the right market. If you are able to find your potential customers and encourage them to “like” your page, this study suggests you will see a change in your sales.
Image courtesy of GOIABA – JOHANNES FUCHS/Flickr.
Getting more Facebook fans can sound easier than it is. To successfully build an audience, your business needs to post interesting and useful information. Social media users are already overwhelmed by posts, pictures and marketing noise, and if you don’t have a good reason for people to follow your brand, they probably won’t.
As the study suggests, showing your social media followers that you value their opinions is extremely important. This strategy can help you gain a loyal following and build a positive reputation. Listening to your market can involve reaching out to potential customers, responding to posts on your social media accounts and asking for your followers’ opinions. Remember, if you do ask for your fans’ opinions, be ready to show your market how you are listening. Even if you aren’t able to implement every suggestion, find other ways to let your audience know you are listing and take their comments seriously.
Facebook, with its huge audience and long list of features, can be a very powerful marketing tool. When you know how to reach your market and make them feel valued, your Facebook marketing can have a direct impact on your business’ bottom line.
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Image courtesy of tungphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Has it been a while since you’ve read the about sections on your social media accounts? When was the last time you changed your profile picture? Business social media accounts need a spring-cleaning every year so they continue to be useful in your digital marketing efforts.
Decide Which Accounts are Worth the Investment
You likely have several different social media accounts; but are you using all of them? Is each account benefiting your business? Hopefully you’ve been tracking your movements and successes on each social media account, but if you haven’t, go back and assess the success of each one. Social media management takes time and resources, and part of your social media spring-cleaning should include deciding which sites are worth the investment.
When you know which sites are helping your business the most, you can put more effort into those ones and slow down on, or even stop using, the others. A word of caution: be very careful if you discontinue the use of a social media channel, as you may abandon or confuse a portion of your target market.
Edit the About Section and add Keywords
The about section on your social media accounts is very important. Read your current description and make sure it accurately portrays what your business does. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated this, the goals or even services at your business may be different.
You should also use keywords in your social media biographies. Not all social media sites are crawled by search engines, but keywords can help users find you within the site.
Upload Branded Images
Some believe you shouldn’t change your social media profile picture often, to avoid brand confusion. Others believe that updating your picture periodically will keep your account fresh and prevent it from fading into the background noise of social media. Only you can decide if you should change your profile picture, but, if your picture is outdated or doesn’t fit with your current brand, it’s safe to say it could use an update.
If the accounts you are using allow for additional pictures, like Facebook’s cover photo or Twitter’s background image, make sure the ones you use speak to your brand. The colors, messaging and type of image should all enhance your business’ social media presence.
Use Every Applicable Feature
Social media sites add new features quite frequently. Look over your accounts and see if there are any features you aren’t using that you should be. If you are able to link to your other social media sites, add any accounts that are missing. Also check to make sure things like categories, business hours and URLs are all correct.
Reassess Your Strategy
Are you using your social media accounts to their fullest potential? Are you successfully reaching your markets and reaching your goals? Now is a good time to reassess your strategy, making changes where necessary to make sure your strategy is as efficient as it can be. Also keep in mind that changes in your services or traditional marketing efforts could trigger a change in your social media marketing strategy.
Spring-cleaning your social media sites can help you decide where to focus your efforts and how to best use your accounts. You can start now by updating your accounts and then making sure you are using all the features that will help you build your online presence.
Image courtesy of Charlie Trotter/Flickr.
If you’ve been tweeting for a while, and have yet to see your efforts pay off through increased traffic and sales, these tips are for you. Twitter is fast-paced, conversational tool that has the power to bring groups of people together and spread news very quickly. When you understand how to leverage its features and benefits, each of your tweets will work for your business, improving your traffic and sales numbers.
Use Hashtags to Tap into the Right Crowd
Hashtags are more than a way of categorizing tweets, they are a way of connecting to other people. When you use hashtags that relate to your business, product, or market, the followers you gain will be in your target market and will be much more likely to click on the links you share.
When you add a hashtag to a tweet, you are in essence adding your voice to a conversation. If you join the right conversations, the people tuned in will make up a valuable market of people who are potential customers.
Promote Your Site Strategically
When you tweet links to your site, do it strategically. Be careful not to overly self-promote your business, but strive to share links that are likely to help you make more sales. For example, your lead form and product pages would both be great places to send potential customers.
Tweeting links to your new, and old, blog posts can help you establish yourself as a resource and an expert in your industry, which can also help you increase your sales.
Engage with Influential People and Customers
Twitter is a more valuable tool when you use it to have conversations with other people, not just to send self-promoting tweets. Connect with other people in your industry or community that could influence your customers and engage with your market by retweeting their posts or responding to what they share.
This will help you gain a presence on the site, which will help your account be more recognizable and encourage your followers to interact with you. As your followers click on your links and converse with you, they will be more likely to visit your site and buy your product.
Write Attractive, Enticing Tweets
Writing tweets is similar to writing subject lines for email marketing campaigns. On Twitter you only have 140 characters to encourage someone to click on your link, so use your words wisely. Remember that these few words could be the only thing standing between your site and more Twitter-driven traffic.
Leaving a little room for people to add their own thoughts to your tweets, by using less than 140 characters, can encourage retweeting, which will get your message in front of a bigger audience.
Make Sharing Your Content Easy
Don’t forget to include a link to your Twitter profile on your website and to add Twitter sharing buttons to your blog posts and other content. The easier it is for your site visitors to share your content, the more likely they will be to tweet links to your website. It goes without saying that the more tweets with a link to your site, the more Twitter traffic you will get. This strategy is also a great way to involve influential people, since potential customers may be more likely to be persuaded by a friend who tweets about your content than by you.
These strategies can help you make the most of every tweet you send, so that you can use Twitter to increase traffic to your site and make more sales.