Posts Tagged ‘instagram’
Monday, May 6th, 2013
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.
Thursday, April 25th, 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.
Wednesday, April 17th, 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.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Real-time marketing is being used by more and more businesses as a way to engage with markets and leverage current events, turning them into marketing opportunities. If the whole point of real-time marketing is that it is spontaneous and dependent on what is happening in the moment, how can you plan for it? How can you successfully use real-time marketing in your business?
Understanding Real-Time Marketing
In essence, real-time marketing consists of tactics that are employed in response to a current event. Sometimes these tactics are aimed at a large audience; think billboards, press releases or social media posts. Other times the tactics are aimed at individuals in the form of customer support or social media comments and responses.
Because social media allows for timely responses and lets companies get a message out to a huge audience in very little time, social media is a popular channel for real-time marketing.
An excellent example of this type of marketing is an image Oreo tweeted during the U.S. Super Bowl. The much-anticipated game was being watched and followed by 108 million people when the power in the stadium went out. The game was delayed for 34 minutes, and Oreo jumped on the opportunity with the following tweet:
Oreo’s well-known Super Bowl tweet.
While this response was spontaneous and wasn’t completely planned, it’s clear that Oreo was prepared to launch a real-time marketing tactic through social media.
How to Implement Real-Time Marketing
You can’t always plan real-time marketing in advance, but you can take steps that will make it possible for your brand to use these tactics when the right time presents itself.
Identify the Best Channels
As with many other marketing strategies, you need to identify which channels will be the best for this type of marketing. Social media is commonly used for real time marketing, but you can also use your blog or even more traditional channels like billboards or press releases. When you have identified the channels you want to use, listen to the conversation or news that is being talked about on that channel so you can identify real-time marketing opportunities.
Be Aware of Opportunities
Being aware of real-time marketing opportunities may be one of the biggest preparations you can make. Know when an event is likely to pave the way to launch one of your tactics and then be ready to act. For example, big events or industry developments can provide opportunities for your business to react with a marketing message. One way to find these opportunities is to follow blogs, news sites and to use Google alerts.
Image courtesy of the waving cat/Flickr.
Have a Marketing Team at the Ready
Just like Oreo did with the Super Bowl, you can have a marketing team ready during previously identified real-time marketing opportunities. During large events, new product launches, or holidays, this team can be ready to deploy a message through the channels you have chosen. Your marketing team can also constantly listen to your channels to watch for and respond to these opportunities.
Engage with Individuals in Public Forums
Real-time marketing doesn’t have to be targeted at huge audience. In fact, some very valuable marketing opportunities happen between a business and an individual. However, in order to use these interactions as marketing opportunities, they must take place in a public forum like social media sites or on your website or blog. Some easy ways to implement this type of marketing include responding to your customers’ questions, responding to comments and thanking people for mentioning your brand on social media.
Real-time marketing can be a fresh way to reach your audience and when done correctly, it can resonate with a group of people. Your business can plan for these tactics by identifying channels, becoming aware of opportunities, having a marketing team at the ready and engaging with individuals in a public forum.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
Image courtesy of Toa55/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Social media is quickly becoming one of the most-used channels when it comes to announcing news. All kinds of businesses, from small start-ups to large corporations are turning to sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to announce company news. Is this the path your business should follow?
Who is Your Audience?
If the intended audience for your announcement includes heavy social media users, making your announcement this way could be beneficial. If your market depends on your social media accounts for all the latest information about your business, products and services, making that big announcement online will ensure this audience hears the news.
On the other hand, if the audience for this particular piece of news spends more time reading the newspaper, watching television, listening to the news or tuning in to other marketing channels, you may want to consider making your announcement in a different way.
Is Your Brand Predominantly Social?
If your brand is social, your audience will likely expect announcements to be made through social media networks. For example, if you develop apps, sell software or if most of your marketing is done through social media, an announcement made elsewhere may seem out of place. Considering your brand and the way you market your company can help you decide if making an announcement online will be beneficial.
What Kind of News are You Announcing?
The type of news you are announcing can have a big impact on deciding whether you will announce it on social media or somewhere else. If the news is of interest to your customers, social media may be the right channel. However, if it is aimed at your community, business partners or investors, you may want to consider using a press conference, press release, blog post or company email to make your announcement. Also, keep in mind that some news may not be relevant to the audience you reach on social media, and shouldn’t be announced there.
Will People Miss Out?
If you make your announcement on social media will people miss the news? If the answer is “yes,” and you don’t want that segment of your market to miss what you have to say, social media probably isn’t the best choice for the announcement. If your audience isn’t on social media or doesn’t expect to receive company updates this way, an important part of your market will be oblivious to the announcement.
All things considered, the best route for making company announcements often includes a combination of social media and traditional media tactics. Using several channels will help you reach your entire market and can help your business make industry or local news. Many businesses decide to break news through more than one channel. You may want to use social media first, and then follow up with other tactics. Or, you may want to use all your channels at the same time.
These factors should all be considered when deciding whether making a company announcement on social media is the best decision for your business.
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Making your social media accounts more likable, creating a brand personality and connecting with you followers, can help your accounts grow and benefit your business. In general, people are more likely to engage with accounts that start and participate in conversations, that are useful and that are more than tools that push out self-promoting information.
Find Your Voice
Your brand probably already has a voice, but the trick is to find it and use it in social media. Identify whether your voice is casual, authoritative, professional or fun. Many times, brands use a more casual tone when using social media, but that doesn’t mean you should completely abandon your brand. Find an appropriate way to mix the casual tone used on social media with your brand’s voice. Incorporate you chosen voice into your account with your posts and with the type of content you share.
Share what Your Followers Want to See
Find out what kinds of information your followers want to see and are more likely to respond to and then share that type of content. Of course, you still need to share your own content and things that will help you reach your goals and persuade your audience to respond to your calls to action. However, if all of your content is too sales oriented, your account will be less likable. Followers will be less likely to connect with your account and probably won’t interact with you as much as you would like them to.
By openly conversing with your followers, asking questions, responding to comments and listing to input from your audience, your account will become more likable. Fans of your brand and brand advocates like to be heard and want to interact with your business. This strategy also creates a welcoming environment for new followers and creates a positive reputation for your company.
Actively Communicate with Other Users and Followers
It’s easy to become passive on social media, and while there is some merit to listening to your market, being actively engaged with it can help your account be more likable. Seek out and follow accounts that your followers may also be interested in. You can also connect with community accounts or other businesses that you work with. Then, as you form these online relationships you can start conversations, share content and actively communicate with others.
This strategy can help you be more likable on social media because it helps followers see your account as one that is interested in what others have to say. Be cautious though, and only share things that aren’t from your competitors.
By finding your voice, sharing content your followers want to see, becoming approachable and actively communicating on social media, you will be able to make your accounts more likable. More likable accounts will gain more followers, foster more interaction, and will be more effective digital marketing tools.
Monday, March 25th, 2013
Image courtesy of jcburns/Flickr.
Link bait, which is often used in digital marketing strategies, is content that is shared by a brand with the hope that the audience will click a link to view it and share it with others. This strategy is a way to build search engine optimisation links, create a buzz on social media and drive traffic to a company website.
The most successful kinds of link bait is content that is compelling enough for your market to share on their social media accounts or blogs. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what makes good link bait and continue to share mediocre content that doesn’t get shared as much as other types of content. Thinking outside the box and looking for, or creating, content that makes the best link bait can be extremely beneficial to your brand.
Whether you regularly do surveys to study your market or not, you can use survey results as link bait. The types of results that get shared the most are humorous, interesting or surprising statistics. If your company doesn’t have its own survey information, do an informal poll on your blog or social media profile or find some interesting and relevant findings from another source to share with your audience.
Annual Review or Report
While annual reviews may be more popular among your current customers, donors or investors, they can also interest potential customers. Annual reviews can be long and text heavy, so consider sharing just an excerpt or turning some information from a report into a visual representation like an infographic. This approach is a good fit for businesses that sell products or services or that have hard numbers to share.
Videos have the potential to be spread around the Internet in way few other types of content are shared. Instead of going with the expected funny YouTube video, advertisement or product review, give your market an inside look at your business. You can do this by taping a tour of your facilities, interviewing one of our employees, letting people see one of your processes (like packaging products) or announcing news through a video.
Who doesn’t like a free sample? Offering a free online resource, download or tutorial can be an excellent way to drive traffic to your website. When people hear about your free offer, they’ll likely share it with their friends. You can also maximize exposure by requiring your followers to share a link to your free offer before they can claim it. This tactic is also a good way to build a positive reputation and relationship with your market, who will begin to see you as an industry expert.
Resources for Reference
If your brand can create and share a valuable resource that your audience will want to refer back to, you’ll likely see an increase in traffic. Valuable content is shared more often and gets more views than content that lacks purpose. The content used in your resource will depend on what type of business you have, but concepts that are informational, useful, include training and are detailed are usually well received.
No matter what kind of link bait you include in your strategy, be sure to use it to drive traffic to one of your online properties: your website, blog, social media account or lead collection form, for example. Good link bait is compelling enough to entice viewers to view and share the content and is hosted on, or includes a link to, your company website.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of Michael Dales/Flickr.
Between all the pictures, videos and funny status updates on social media sites it’s easy to forget why you logged in to begin with. While social media can serve as a distraction for your public, if you become distracted while using it for your marketing campaign, you probably won’t be taking full advantage of the medium.
So how do you stay focused and use your company’s social media accounts as marketing tools?
Have a Purpose Before Logging In
Before you even log in to your social media accounts have a purpose in mind. Maybe you plan on sharing a new blog post or posting pictures from your last event. Sometimes your main purpose for using social media is to engage with your audience. While that is a somewhat abstract goal, it is a goal that can help you stay on track.
Set a Time Limit
When you start using social media, look at the clock and decide how much time you’ll spend on your accounts. This tip can do two things: keep you on track and help you save time. If you know you only have 30 minutes to post to your accounts and respond to comments, you’ll be much more productive. Setting aside a set amount of time will also prevent social media from taking up too much time.
Use a Social Media Calendar
Create a social media calendar that can help you stay on track. The calendar can include things like company events, new product launches, promotions, community activities and holidays, and how your social media accounts will work around those things. Some things, like current events and the way your market reacts to your posts or brand, can’t be planned, so leave some space in your calendar to account for these things.
Align all Your Goals
Your social media strategy should have goals that are in line with the rest of your marketing goals. If your strategy is well planned, social media is just one of the tools you are using to improve your business. Remember this and make sure each time you use social media your time is spent working toward these aligned goals. One excellent way to make sure this happening is to include all your marketing strategies on your social media calendar.
Stay on Message
It would be impossible, and likely impractical, to infuse your brand’s message into every single one of your social media posts. However, a good portion of the content you post should include your message and calls to action. Keeping this in mind as you use social media can help you stay focused.
These tips can do more than help you stay focused while using social media for marketing purposes. In fact, when you have a purpose, set a time limit, align your goals and incorporate a calendar and messaging, your social media account won’t be the only thing to flourish. You will likely notice that your digital marketing strategy in general will grow stronger and more focused as you use these tips.
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
Technorati has published its 2013 Digital Influence Report with some very interesting findings. The report covers information about consumer behavior, how brands can create influence and what kinds of media channels are most successful in achieving different goals.
The entire report is 34 pages long and is packed with very useful research digital marketers can use. Some of the significant findings include why consumers follow brands, where content is most likely to be shared and which sites are most trusted by consumers.
Why Consumers Follow Brands
Technorati studied Facbeook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram users to find out why they follow brands. The results were interesting and can help brands better understand how to leverage their social media accounts.
The number one reason consumers follow brands on:
- Facebook is to learn about products and services.
- Twitter is to keep up with activities.
- Pinterest is to learn about products and services.
- YouTube is to learn about products and services.
- Instagram is to keep up with activities.
The most popular reasons for following brands are to learn about products and services and to keep up with activities. By understanding why your target market is likely to follow your brand on different channels, you can use your accounts to fill that need and use each channel more effectively.
The results of this study also serve as a reminder that consumers view different social media sites differently. For example, your market may see your Facebook page as a great place to learn about your products but not the best place to find out about your company’s recent activities. When you understand this concept, you can use each channel to fill those expectations and provide the type of content your market is looking for on each channel, more effectively sending your message.
Facebook is Most Shared From Website
Technorati’s report also found that Facebook is the most shared from website. It beat out blogs, news sites, retail sites, other social media sites, and several other types of websites. Interestingly, brand sites are the least shared from type of website. What does this mean for your business? It means that if you want your users to share content you need to focus on Facebook. Posting interesting and shareable content to your Facebook page may be one of the best ways to leverage online word of mouth and encouraging your customers to act as influencers over their friends.
Facebook Second Most Trusted Behind News Sites
A related finding revealed in the report is that Facebook is the second most trusted site, second only to news sites. This statistic is an amazing finding, considering all the sources that were also studied: retail sites, online magazines, brand sites, blogs and other social media sites.
If your market trusts Facebook more or just as much as news sites your brand has an excellent opportunity to reach its customers. Building trust is essential to a successful digital marketing and social media marketing strategy and this statistic shows that it is very possible to build trust through your brand’s Facebook page.
Knowing and understanding these statistics, and the many others included in the report, can help your brand use social media more effectively.
Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPotos.net
Before you start using social media as part of your digital marketing plan you need to do some research. Smart brands do research before implementing any type of social media strategy to find out more about their markets, messaging and reputation.
Chances are your business has already done some market research, so you may already have the information that will shape your social media plan. On the other hand, you may need to do some additional research to get the vital information you need to make your social media strategy as successful as possible.
Find Out Who Your Audience Is
You likely already know who makes up your target market. But, do you know who your audience is on social media? Do some research into which members of your markets will be most likely to connect with you on social media. Also take into account what demographics each social media channel attracts.
Knowing who your social media audience is can help you use the channel more effectively. It can also help you determine what kind of message to use and even which channels will help you reach your goals. Depending on who your audience is, it may not be appropriate to use the same messaging on your brochures and your Facebook page.
Find the Right Call to Action
Consider your company’s call to action and decide if it lends itself to social media. Of course, the call to action you use on social media should benefit your brand’s overall goals, but it should also be social media friendly. For example, your normal call to action may not apply to your social media audience or people using social media may not be able to respond to your call to action.
Do some research to find out how your social media audience will react to various calls to action. You can do some basic research by simply experimenting with different types of posts and monitoring which ones get the most engagement and are the most successful in fulfilling calls to action.
Find Out What Your Current Reputation Is
By finding out what your market, and even the public in general, is saying about your brand, you’ll know how you can use your social media accounts to sway public opinion. Listen to your target market and even ask some questions through social media to find out what people are saying about your brand. Then, take that feedback seriously as you create a social media plan.
Doing research before you start using social media as part of your digital marketing campaign is extremely important. By finding out key information about your audience, calls to action and reputation, and then using that information to make a plan, you will be starting your strategy on the right track.