Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’
Friday, June 14th, 2013
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
If you’ve ever been in the position of trying to persuade the management at your business to use social media marketing, you understand the challenges it entails. Some businesses that have relied on traditional marketing tactics may feel that there is no need to try new tactics.
Managers at these businesses have successfully grown their business through traditional marketing, and may not understand the need to incorporate social media into their marketing strategies. So how do you persuade them that social media marketing will benefit their business and the bottom line?
Provide Numbers and Facts
If you are already using social media at your business, prove its worth by showing numbers and facts. Managers like to see evidence that strategies are working, and it can be hard to prove that social media has an effect on the business. Collect data that illustrates benefits like site traffic, product sales and increased awareness.
If you aren’t using social media, look for general statistics and case studies and find ways to apply them to your business. Market studies on how your markets use social media can also be helpful in proving how social media marketing can benefit your business.
Set Measurable Goals and Objectives
When you propose social media marketing plans to your manager, come with measurable goals and some specific objectives. Explain very clearly what social media can help you accomplish, how you will use it and then how you will measure the results.
Measurable goals have deadlines and outline how success will be measured. For example, one of your goals could be: “In six months, our social media efforts will increase our site’s traffic by 10 percent.” This goal is specific and measurable. An objective to help you reach this goal could include plans to share links to your website on a regular basis through social media.
Share What People are Saying About Your Brand
Even if your business isn’t already using social media, there is a chance that your market is already talking about your brand on social media. Do some research to find out what is being said, whether it is positive or negative conversations, and then come up with a plan to join or sway that conversation. When your management sees that your market is already talking about your business, they may feel it is important to add the brand’s voice to the conversation.
Present a Budget
Advertising and marketing can be expensive, so the lure of relatively inexpensive social media marketing can help you persuade your management. Social media marketing is by no means free, but it is substantially more affordable than things like television spots, billboards and print ads. Present a social media budget and compare it with your business’ current marketing budget. The idea here is to show your manager how he or she can get big benefits for a smaller investment. A side benefit of this approach is that it can help management feel that trying social media marketing won’t be expense, so it will be worth a trial run.
Convincing your management to invest time and other resources into social media marketing can be challenging. But, by doing some research and presenting some solid facts and goals to your manager, you can prove social media’s worth.
Monday, June 10th, 2013
Image courtesy of emptyglass/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Using social media to broadcast live events, like conferences, new product unveilings and trainings, is almost expected by some markets and in some industries. For example, big Apple fans recently tuned into live blogs and video footage that covered the Worldwide Developers Conference. Industry conferences often encourage attendees to use specific hashtags while they tweet about the event as it is happening.
Would your business benefit from live social media coverage? Even if your company isn’t as big as Apple, your market may respond to this type of social media use. If you hold events and if you have a social media following that has a vested interest in these events, live social media broadcasting could help your business.
If you’ve already built a social media presence and already have a strong following, how do you take the next step and begin using social media for live events?
Recognize the Opportunity
First, recognize when an event lends itself to social media broadcasting. Remember your goal of broadcasting events and as your business hosts or participates in events, identify which ones should be broadcast. Things like new product reveals and events that your market is invited to are great for social media broadcasting.
Make sure the event you want to broadcast appeals to your social media audience or to a market that uses social media. If your market isn’t interested in the event, or isn’t likely to tune in on social media, broadcasting the event won’t be very beneficial.
Choose the Right Channels
The social media sites you use to broadcast your event will depend on the event itself and your market. Video broadcasting is great for things like conferences and showing off new products. Twitter can work for these kinds of events as well as events that are held over several days. If your event is especially visual, consider using Instagram.
Make sure you already have a presence on the site you choose. This will help you get more engagement and will help you reach a larger portion of your social media audience.
Generate Buzz and Encourage People to Tune In
Several weeks before your event starts, begin publicizing the fact that you will be broadcasting it on social media. Do this through your social media accounts and other marketing tactics where appropriate. Get your market excited about the event and make sure people understand how they can follow the event and participate through social media.
As you broadcast your event, make sure your followers understand what they are looking at or reading. Make it very clear that the updates, pictures and video clips are from the event. You can do this with the words you use, by using hashtags or by setting up a specific page or channel (like a YouTube channel or a Twitter account) for the event.
If you choose to broadcast an event through social media, be consistent with it. Post through the entire event and make it easy for your market to follow along. There are few things more frustrating than incomplete broadcasts. If, for example, you post a few pictures or a few tweets at the beginning of the event, but then suddenly go quiet, you will frustrate your audience and harm your reputation and brand image. This approach also won’t hold your market’s attention, so broadcasting your event won’t benefit your business.
Broadcasting events through social media is an excellent way to raise awareness of your brand, connect with your market, involve your social media followers and promote your products. These tips can help you use your social media accounts wisely so you can successful broadcast your next event.
Monday, June 3rd, 2013
Facebook currently offers marketers 27 different ad unit options, a number that is overwhelming and sometimes includes redundant options. In an effort to simplify the ad creation process, Facebook has announced that it will change its offerings over the next several months to reduce the total number of options to less than half of what it offers now.
The new options, which Facebook says it has created in response to feedback from marketers, will make the social media site’s ad offerings much simpler. Among the changes, businesses can look forward to:
Several of the current ad options overlap and accomplish the same thing. This is unnecessary and can make Facebook advertising more complicated than it needs to be, so the update will remove these redundancies.
This change should help marketers wade through the ad-creation process and can make choosing the right ad for your business easier. Instead of wasting time comparing ad units only to find that some overlap, businesses will now be able to quickly choose the ad that is best for their campaigns.
Best of Sponsored Stories in All Ads
Now marketers will no longer need to buy ads and sponsored stories. With the new system, businesses can simply create a Page post photo ad and Facebook will automatically use social context to help the ad be more successful. Facebook says that research from Datalogix, comScore and Nielsen reveal that social context can make online ads more effective, so this update is good news for businesses.
More Consistent Appearance
Currently, Facebook’s ads each have a slightly different look. With the new system, all ads will fit an overall theme and have the same visual elements. Facebook says this will be beneficial to businesses as they test different ads and for users as Facebook becomes more visually appealing.
According to a post on Facebook’s newsroom, the social network’s goal is to build a system that will suggest ad tools based on what marketers say they want their ads to achieve. This new type of advertising system could help businesses find the right ads for their campaigns, which will help them be more successful in marketing to their target audiences.
Facebook advertising is a major part of social media marketing for many businesses. If your business uses these ads, the coming changes could help you focus your advertising efforts and simplify the way you create Facebook ads.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Image courtesy of Mindy McAdams/Flickr.
It’s important to carry your company’s brand across all your social media accounts. When your market visits any of your online properties, it needs to be able to immediately recognize it as part of your business. Your social media brand must be strong, highly recognizable and convey the proper messages to your audience.
If you have already established your brand on your website, making sure that same brand is visible on your social media profile pages can be relatively simple. The key is to leverage all the options each social media site has and find ways they can work for your brand.
Profile pictures, cover photos and backgrounds are all visual elements that you can manipulate. Social media sites have their own layout and design, but they all let users personalize their profile to some extent. Carefully choose what kinds of images you upload and use to represent your brand on social media.
Some businesses use their logo as a profile picture. This can help with branding, but some argue that a person’s face is more effective in garnering interaction and traffic. You can experiment with both types of profile pictures to see which works better for your business and audience.
Tone and Voice
The way you use social media can also help you build your brand. Social media in general is more relaxed and casual, but you can still use your brand’s voice. If your brand is more professional and serious-toned, use that same type of writing on your social media profile. But, if your brand is more casual, let that show through on your biography, description and even each social media post.
You may not realize it, but the type of content you share on social media can help you create your brand. For example, if your company strives to establish a reputation as a resource that provides information about your industry, you can share helpful and useful content. On the other hand, if your brand is more visual and you are all about teaching your market how it can use your products, you could post more pictures, product details and even how-to material.
Both your own, original content and other peoples’ content that you share has an impact on the brand image you convey on social media. The content you create yourself may be easier to align with your brand, but in the end, your audience will associate your business with the content you share from others just as much as it will with the content you create.
Engagement and Customer Service
These days social media is a huge part of customer service. Many brands answer questions and even provide limited support through Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Even if your business decides not to provide social media support, the way you interact with users speaks to your brand. Being open and approachable will help your brand become more transparent. In general, it’s a good idea to be open and engaging on social media, since that is the main purpose of the medium. However, you can decide how much you respond to one-on-one questions and posts.
Bringing your brand to your social media accounts is a matter of carefully choosing how you set up your profile, the tone you use, the content you share and how you interact with your audience.
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Facebook has unrolled a new feature: the ability to comment on posts from Bing search result pages. When a Facebook user searches for a term, Bing displays relevant posts from the user’s friends on the right-hand side of the page, where searchers can now add a comment. Another new feature is the ability to add a new Facebook post from Bing.
Last year, Bing added social search results from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, but today is the first time users have been able to interact with those results from Bing. For users to use the new features, they will have to login to Facebook through Bing.
Are Social Results Helpful?
Social search results aren’t anything new; Google has been offering it for years. But, how useful are these results? If someone is searching for information through a search engine, does he care what his friends think?
There may be cases where social search results are helpful, but it may be more likely that the results are more for fun, adding a new dimension to social media. However, even if a searcher doesn’t think he cares what his friends have to say about a topic, he may still see related posts and be influenced by them.
Studies have shown that people value their peers’ opinions. When someone’s friends are all talking about a new product, that person is bound to become interested as well. People’s friends and family members also have a tremendous influence on one’s decisions.
For example, if a searcher is researching a product, and sees a post from a close friend that speaks highly of the product, the searcher is more likely to purchase that item.
How Can Marketers Use the New Feature?
Perhaps the biggest way your business can use Facebook and Bing’s new feature for your marketing campaign is to bolster your social media marketing efforts. Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and with social search results, it becomes even more powerful. Knowing that your target market may see social media posts that mention your brand when they use a search engine, you can make an effort to create more of a buzz about your business on social media. As more of your customers post about your company, your business will be more likely to appear in social search results.
Encouraging customers to post positive messages about your business, products, services and events can have a big impact on your overall success. Taking advantage of this feature can help you leverage people that are influential over your target market, so you can gain more customers.
Another benefit of this feature is that it adds one more way companies can earn search engine results. If you are using a search engine optimisation campaign, you can add this feature to your list of tools that can help you earn higher rankings. While these rankings may not directly bring traffic to your website, they can help raise awareness about you brand and spur people to seek out your company.
Facebook and Bing have worked together in the past to bring new features to users, and this latest update is just another example of how the two companies are influencing the way social media and search work. Your business can take advantage of this feature by recognizing that your social media presence is growing increasingly important, that you can leverage comments from influential people and that you now have one more way to gain search rankings.
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.
Friday, April 26th, 2013
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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.
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.
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.