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Sure Signs Your Social Media needs a Boost

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr.

If you’ve been using social media for a while, you are at risk of falling into one of a few common pitfalls. Many businesses find that they start posting the same kind of content over and over, stop attracting new followers and even that their posts are being ignored.

So how do you avoid these problems? By making sure your social media strategy and accounts stay fresh and current. There are some sure signs that your social media strategy needs a boost and that it’s time to make some changes to keep getting great results.

Your Growth is Flat Lining

One of the first sure signs that your social media strategy needs an update is that your accounts aren’t growing anymore. If you aren’t gaining new followers, something isn’t right when it comes to the content you are sharing or the way you are reaching out to your market.

It’s important to track what tactics work when it comes to growing your social media accounts. If you can, look back to when your account was growing and what you were doing to get those results. Also look for new ways to attract more people to your accounts and encourage them to connect with you.

Interaction has Decreased

Social media accounts that spur comments, shares, interaction and website traffic bring the best results. If you have noticed a decrease in engagement, it’s time to give your social media accounts a boost.

Experiment with different types of posts, reach out to others, join groups, start conversations and work to make social media a two-way conversation between you and your market.

Your Accounts don’t Reflect your Current Brand

Another sure sign that it’s time to update your social media accounts is if they no longer reflect your brand. Businesses, products, brands, areas of focus and markets all evolve over time, and your accounts should keep up with these changes.

Make sure your pages are branded with your current look, logos and colours and then assess the content you are sharing and the types of posts you are publishing to make sure they are consistent with your branding strategy.

You are Behind on Social Media Trends

How closely do you follow social media trends? It’s not always wise to jump on the latest trend just because everyone else is doing it, but it is important to keep up with things so you can take opportunities that will help your social media marketing, and entire business, grow.

Watch what new social media networks become popular, how people (especially in your market) use different sites, what kinds of new features are added, what kinds of advertising options are offered and other trends so you can find ways to make sure your accounts are up to date and you are taking advantage of every opportunity to reach your market.

It’s important to make sure your social media accounts and strategies are current and are helping you be as successful as possible. If you recognise any of these signs, it’s time to give your accounts a boost.

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A Checklist for every new Social Media Account you Open

Friday, August 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks/Flickr.

New social media sites are always popping up and the sites that are popular this year may not be as popular next year. But, before you open an account on any new social media site, whether it’s new or not, use this checklist to make sure you are setting yourself up for success.

Decide if the Network Matches your Market and Goals

Not every social media site is right for your business. Do your homework to find out if the people you are targeting use the site. You can do some quick research by looking into the site’s user demographics or go a little further by conducting some surveys.

Also consider whether the site and its features can help you meet your goals. For example, Instagram is a great choice for a business that wants to visually promote products while LinkedIn is a good choice for a business that wants to use long form content.

Set up your Bio, Description, Links and other Settings

Set up your account and make sure things like your bio, description, links and other settings are all complete. Take advantage of things like profile pictures, backgrounds and other features to brand your page so it looks like it belongs to your business.

Explore the Features

Take some time to explore all the features on the site. Look for things like posting options, notifications and extra features for businesses you can use to get even more out of the site. You may also consider looking into advertising options you can use later if the site is successful in helping you reach your market.

Start Posting Quality Content

Once your account is set up and your page looks branded, it’s tempting to start promoting it and building a following. But, before you do that start posting updates and sharing content so your account looks active and valuable before you actively promote it.

This simple step can help you gain more followers and avoid turning off users who take one look at your empty page and decide not to connect with you.

Interact with Others

As you start posting content, interact with other users on the site. Leave comments, join conversations and start connecting with others. This will help you start to build the foundation of your account so you will have some activity and a good start before you officially launch it.

Of course, as you start to interact with others you will probably begin to attract followers. This is great and a good way to begin building your audience.

Promote your Account

Once your account is completely set up and you have shared a few weeks’ worth of content or posts, you can start promoting your account and actively generating a following. By now, your account will look active and users will recognise the value it brings.

Add a “follow me” button to your website and promote your new account through your blog, other social media accounts and any other marketing channels you can.

Whenever you start using a new social media platform you need to do so strategically. Start by making sure the site is a good match for your market, business and goals and then lay a foundation with a complete profile and some quality posts before you start promoting it.

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Simple ways to make your Posts stand out on Social Media

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos/Flickr.

It’s hard to stand out on social media these days. With so many people using it and so many posts being shared, social media is full of content and some businesses find that their posts are being skimmed over or even ignored.

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool if you can stand out and capture your market’s attention. All good social media strategies start with quality content. From there, there are some simple things you can do to stand out on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Remember that Less can be More

Use short, to-the-point posts to get people to stop scrolling through their news feeds and read your posts. In some cases, less can be more. Instead of posting long, wordy status updates, stick to just a few sentences.

This is especially easy to do when you post a picture or a link to content. Use just enough text to lure people in and get them interested enough to click the link.

Use Bold and Interesting Images

Pictures can help you accomplish things and convey messages in ways words can’t. They can also help you get people’s attention and make them curious enough to read your post or the content you link to.

Use images that are bold, interesting, funny, entertaining or that give your audience a new look at your business or products. These kinds of pictures can help your content stand out among all the other social media posts.

Offer Quick, Valuable Posts

Offering value is a great way to get your market’s attention, but on social media you need to do it quickly. Creating posts that provide instant value will help you reach more people and could even help you gain more followers and get more social media shares.

Some simple ways to do this include offering a coupon, announcing sale dates, linking to a how-to video or otherwise providing value in just a few words or one sentence. This tip is similar to the idea that less is more, but takes things a little further by introducing real value to a short post.

Incorporate Two-Way Communication

Don’t just use social media to talk about yourself and at your market. Instead, talk about others and talk with your audience. Do this by commenting on posts, joining conversations and even mentioning and tagging others in your posts.

These kinds of social media posts are more dynamic and interesting because they aren’t fully self-promotional and they make it easy for others to get involved.

Don’t Over Post

Lots of businesses are tempted to post to social media accounts too often. Yes, you do need to post frequently and stay consistent, but don’t spam your followers. If you over post, you could lose followers and people may start to ignore your posts because they are so frequent.

On the other hand, when you post regularly but not too often, your posts will stand out on news feeds and people will be more likely to pause and read what you have to say.

Standing out on social media so your market will see and interact with your posts is important if you want to use your accounts to promote your business. These simple tips are things you can start implementing right away to see better results.

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Go Beyond Simple Link Sharing for more Social Media Referrals

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Most businesses use social media to promote their blog and website. Sharing content here will help you drive traffic to your site where you can convert visitors to customers and even increase your search rankings.

But, simply copying and pasting links from your website to social media can get stale. It’s okay to post links, which on some sites let you automatically show a preview of your content, but when this is the only way you share your content, you aren’t using social media to its fullest potential.

With some creativity and by using some different approaches, you can update your social media marketing strategy to get your market’s attention and see even more social media referrals.

Post a Teaser

One of the most basic ways to generate interest in a link is to post a teaser. Copy and paste a sentence or two from the post itself or write a short blurb that gets people interested enough to want to click through to the content.

An example of a good teaser for an article about how to choose the right laptop would be: “We compared the top five selling laptops to help you decide which is right for you!”

Promise a Benefit

With so much content out there and with so many things to look at and do on social media, people need a good reason to click on your link. If social media users don’t see value in what you are offering, they won’t visit your site.

A post that says something like, “Don’t waste your money on the wrong laptop! Our comparison chart will help you find the perfect fit for you,” tells people what benefit your content provides: advice on how to save money.

Ask a Question about the Content

People like to give their opinion, so ask for it! When you post a link to your content, ask people a question about it. This makes them curious about what is in your content while also encouraging engagement and comments.

When you post a link, ask a question like “Have you tried any of the laptops on our value comparison chart? What do you think? Did we get it right?” This does two things. First, it makes people want to look at your blog post and chart and also encourages them to leave a comment on your social media post or blog post.

Give a Hint

Giving a hint is similar to posting a teaser, but it provides less information and tempts people to click on your link to find out what it’s all about. For example, write a post that reads something like “You will never guess which laptop came out on top in our comparison of the most popular models!” This hints at what your content is all about but doesn’t give too much away so people will still want to visit your site.

Sharing content on social media is a great way to drive traffic to your site and interact with your market. When you use more creative ways to post and share, you will stand out on social media and see even better results.

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7 Easy ways to get More Social Media Engagement Today

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Goldy/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Getting more engagement on your social media accounts can increase brand awareness, boost sales, drive traffic and encourage customer loyalty. Many businesses are constantly looking for ways to get more “likes,” comments and shares on social media.

To get the best engagement and see long-term benefits you will need to use some strategic social media marketing plans. But, here are seven quick and easy ways you can start getting more engagement today to jumpstart your accounts.

Start Asking Questions

One of the quickest and easiest ways to start getting some engagement is to ask questions. Ask for product feedback, opinions, reactions to events or responses on anything that will interest your market. People love to talk, especially about themselves, so use this to generate some responses and conversation.

Participate in a Group or Community

Groups and communities are the perfect place for conversation and interaction and can even help you gain more followers. Find groups that are related to your industry or community and that are likely to attract people who would also be interested in your business. Join existing communities or set up your own groups and start inviting people to join them.

Mention and Tag other Users

Generate responses and conversations by mentioning and tagging other users. Do this with a status update or by sharing content from another business and giving it credit. When you mention others in your posts, they will be more likely to respond, starting a conversation, or even share your post with their followers, helping you reach a larger audience.

Start a Conversation

Start a conversation by asking another user a question or commenting on someone’s post. As you start a conversation with someone else, other users may also join in and before you know it, you will be involved in a conversation with a group of people and eliciting all kinds of engagement.

Post Something Different

If your followers are used to the types of things you post and are no longer interested in interacting with them, change things up. You may want to make some permanent changes to your overall social media strategy, but you can test some different tactics by posting something new.

Post something that is different from what you normally post and go with something funny, entertaining, touching, amazing, awe-inspiring or even controversial. Sometimes all it takes to start generating more comments and interaction is a small change in what you post.

Crowdsource Something Simple

Crowdsourcing something simple, like a photo caption, is a great way to get people talking and involved with your brand. Other ways to do this include asking people to vote on a new blog design, asking people to comment on which of your products they like best, using fill-in-the-blank posts or asking for photo submissions. This tactic is similar to asking questions, but it involves more creative interaction.

Do a Giveaway

Giveaways are popular on social media and they are an excellent way to gain new followers, get comments and encourage people to share your posts. Make sure the giveaway is for something your market values and that it requires people to somehow interact with your brand on social media.

All of these tactics can help you generate more interaction on your account right away. Start using these tips and then when you find what works for your market, consider changing your social media marketing strategy so it will be more effective.

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Simple ways to build Brand Awareness on Social Media

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of smarnad/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Increasing brand awareness through social media isn’t a unique goal. Many businesses use social media, and other forms of Internet marketing, to make their brand, business, products and services more recognisable.

When your market knows who you are and what you provide, you can increase sales, become an industry leader and build trust with your market, which will help your business grow. With just a few easy tactics you can start building this kind of awareness through social media.

Ad Campaigns

Ad campaigns are a great way to promote your business and attract new followers on social media. Design a campaign specifically for people who don’t already know about your business or who have a very limited knowledge of what you do. The ads can be used to drive traffic to your website, increase sales or build your social media following.

Strategic Posting

Your social media campaign should give you direction and purpose. It should help you avoid random or unorganised posts and messaging. Make a plan that outlines what you want to tell people about your brand and what kinds of actions you want people to take, and then make sure your posts will help you accomplish those goals.

Develop a Personality

Part of your brand is your personality. Clearly define if your brand is fun, spontaneous, professional, casual, friendly or serious and then make sure that personality shows through on your social media profiles and posts.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and post monotonous content or updates that are dry and lack feeling and personality. Break out of this by becoming more human and conversational on social media.

Have Conversations

Social media is meant to be conversational, so talk to your followers! Accounts that respond to questions, ask for feedback and interact with others attract more followers. Having conversations can also help you get in front of more people and build your social media presence.

Some easy ways to have conversations include:

  • Asking Questions
  • Thanking Customers for Feedback
  • Commenting on Customers’ Posts
  • Interacting with other Businesses
  • Responding to Comments on your Posts
  • Giving Shout Outs to Partners or Community Members
  • Thanking Customers

As you start having conversations it will become a habit and before you know it your accounts will be a hub for your customers and draw the attention of people who haven’t heard of your business.

Be Consistent

It’s hard to establish a brand and increase awareness when you aren’t consistent. As you start to include these strategies in your social media plans, be consistent. This means posting regularly, continuing to have conversations and maintaining your presence.

When you are consistent you will establish your place on social media and you’ll become part of larger conversations. You’ll also be more visible to other users, which will help you raise brand awareness.

Using social media is a great way to increase brand awareness and by adopting just a few habits and making sure you are using your accounts strategically, you can inform your market about your business and grow your customer base.

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Do these Two Things to Reach 80% of Internet Users

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.

Image courtesy of takomabibelot/Flickr.

When you use Internet marketing to promote your business, you want to reach as many people as possible. Some new research shows that if you include just two things in your marketing strategy, you will reach 8 out of 10 Internet users.

So what are those two things? Social media marketing and blogging.

While these two basic Internet marketing strategies may seem simple, Search Engine Watch reports that businesses that use them reach 80 percent of Internet users.

To widen your audience and make sure you are reaching your target market, you need to use both social media and blogging strategically. If you use these tactics without purpose or direction, they won’t help you achieve results.

Jumpstart your Social Media

When was the last time you reviewed your social media marketing strategy? Reassessing your strategy often will help you make sure you are using each account to its fullest potential and benefiting from your efforts.

Choose your Sites

What social media sites are you using? Look at your accounts and make sure things like your biography, profile picture and contact information are all up to date. If your fans are engaging with you and you are gaining an audience, you are likely using these sites well. Consider if there are other social media sites that lend themselves to your brand and goals.

Share Strategically

The content you create, curate from other sources or even the status updates you post should all help you reach your goals. You can accomplish all kinds of things, from increased brand awareness and sales to more email subscribers through social media. Decide whether the posts you share are helping you be successful.

Take some time to assess your social media accounts and strategies to make sure they are helping you reach your overall marketing goals.

Rethink your Blog

Your blog should also help you achieve your business goals. One of the biggest benefits of your blog is that it is a platform you have full control over. Social media sites come and go, features are always being added and removed and you don’t have complete control over how your page is branded. But, with your blog you know you have a platform that will always be there and will look and function the way you want it to.

Your blog also gives you a unique opportunity to get your own message, facts and information out there, without the risk of it being misconstrued. Media coverage, other blogs and sometimes even social media sites don’t give you full control over your message the way your blog does.

Who is Your Audience?

Think carefully about who your blog audience is. Is it potential customers? Current customers? Other businesses? What demographic information do you have about your audience? When you know who your blog is for, you can leverage it to your advantage. If the kind of content you are sharing isn’t of value to your audience, your blog won’t be very successful.

Social media and blogging are two very important Internet marketing strategies. When you use these two elements effectively, your campaign will be successful and benefit your entire business.

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What to do After your Content Goes Viral

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

We hear a lot of tips for making content go viral and lots of businesses put time and effort into making sure their content gets in front of as big of an audience as possible. But, once your video, article or podcast goes viral, what next? What you do after your content goes viral is extremely important.

Whether your content went viral in the truest sense of the word, or just gained quite a lot of popularity in your niche market, taking a few steps after it has spread can help you leverage the opportunity.

Don’t Disappear

After a big hit like a viral video, it’s important that you don’t disappear. Continue your social media push and your Internet marketing strategies. A viral piece will help you get some attention and could lead to a short-term surge in site traffic or sales. But, if you want to maintain your market’s attention and keep getting results, you need to stay visible.

Continue to use the same messaging from your viral piece on social media, your blog and your website. Don’t let your market forget who you are and that your business was the one behind the viral content.

Ride the Wave

Riding the wave means leveraging the extra sales and site traffic for even bigger results. Doing things like offering special promotions, giving away free resources, promoting your email list and making sure your site is optimised to generate sales leads will help you take advantage of the extra attention your viral content produced.

Understand Why it Went Viral

Analyse your content and the results of it to understand why it went viral. Look at the key messages it included, the medium you used, where you published it and how people reacted to it.

There are lots of ways to find out why something went viral, but the best way is to make notes about the messaging and style you used and watch how people interact with it and share it across social media.

When you fully understand what it was that your market loved about the content, you can learn more about your audience and how you can enhance your marketing plan to hold its attention.

Make a Follow-Up Plan

After some time has passed and you have maintained your online presence, leveraged the opportunity and analysed why the content went viral, it’s time to make a follow-up plan. This plan should include ways you can use the same messaging and even some of the same tactics you used to see success with the viral piece.

For example, if a video did well consider producing another with similar messaging, using the same messaging across other pieces of content or boosting your social media involvement in some areas.

The idea is to assess your success and then find ways to use what you learned to enhance your Internet marketing plan.

Getting content to go viral or to be shared throughout your market is a big step and one that can bring a lot of benefits. But, when you do a few things after the content goes viral you can take full advantage of the opportunity and see even bigger benefits.

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3 Tips for Deciding How Many Social Networks to Use

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Many businesses struggle when it come to deciding how many social networks they should use. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all want businesses to use them as marketing tools, and that’s just the beginning. There are so many social networks already out there with more being added all the time, that it can be hard to decide how many to use to promote your business.

It can be tempting to jump into that new network, but before you do, use these tips to decide how many sites you should be using to reach your market effectively.

Decide how Many Networks you Can Use Well

You might be able to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at once, but can you use all three of these well? Using a social media network to its fullest potential is extremely important if you want to see benefits.

If you aren’t able to use most of a network’s features, facilitate a dialogue, respond to comments, post regularly or really stand out on a social media site, you shouldn’t be using it. Of course, spreading yourself too thin can be frustrating, but it can also be damaging to your brand.

Having empty social media pages or accounts that you rarely update can make your brand look unorganised and your business unprofessional and less trustworthy. Only use as many networks as you can handle and that you can really make an impact with.

Find Your Market and Audience

Using a social media channel your market doesn’t use and where you don’t have an audience is wasting your time. To get the most out of social media marketing and to see big results, you need to find where your market is.

You can use general demographics, like the fact that most Pinterest users are women, to determine what sites your audience likely uses or you can do some research with surveys and polls to find out what sites your target market is on.

This simple step will help you determine where your time is best spent and which networks will bring the biggest returns.

Translate your Brand into a Network

Some networks lend themselves very well to specific kinds of businesses. For example, Instagram is great for brands that can use visual content to promote their business while Twitter is great for a business that can engage with people regularly and may want to post several updates a day.

Think about your business and the kind of content you want to use and then decide which social media networks are best suited to your brand. Make sure you use networks that can help you highlight your business and really make you shine online.

Choosing how many social networks to use is a common challenge. But, when you determine how many networks you can use well, where your market is and which sites will help you show off your business, narrowing down your choices becomes much easier and your social media marketing will be more successful.

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Is your Social Media Audience Listening?

Friday, June 20th, 2014
Image courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of phasinphoto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If you use social media marketing to promote your business you need to make sure your market is listening. If you continually post status updates, share pictures and promote links to your content, but no one is listening, your strategy won’t work. Many businesses struggle to find ways to measure how successful their social media marketing is and calculate their return on investment.

In essence, there are two main categories when it comes to social media measurement. In most cases you will need to use a combination of them to find out if your audience is listening.

Numbers and Statistics

First, you can measure numbers and statistics relating to your account to find out if you are reaching your market and whether people are listening to your posts. To determine what numbers you need to track, consider what your goals are and then ask yourself what numbers you need to look at to find out if you reached the goals.

For example, if your goal is to increase site traffic, you will want to measure the amount of referral traffic you get from social media sites. Some common numbers and statistics you may want to measure include:

  • Followers
  • Likes
  • Referral Traffic
  • Views
  • Clicks

These are just a few examples of numbers you can use to measure how successful your social media marketing is. Set goals that you can measure with these statistics so you can gauge how successful your campaign is.

When you measure this kind of information, you can assess how big your online audience is and you can start to find out if people are responding to your calls to action.

Engagement

The amount of engagement you see on your social media accounts can be a good indicator of whether or not people are listening. When people interact with your posts and respond to your calls to action, you know you have their attention and they are interested in your business.

You can use some numbers and statistics to measure engagement. For example, tracking the number of comments, shares and clicks can help you see how engaged your market is. But, you may also need to use some informal forms of measurement to find out if your market is listening.

Try to keep your finger on the pulse of your market and the kinds of conversations people are having on social media and watch your accounts to see if people are talking about your brand, sharing content from your website and commenting on your posts.

Engaged and active audiences will comment on your posts, “like” photos you share and even act as brand ambassadors, encouraging their friends to follow you on social media too.

This kind of audience will help you be much more successful on social media and can lead to more traffic, sales, brand awareness and a bigger business. Look at numbers and statistics as well as levels of engagement to find out if people are listening, make necessary changes, and take measurements again. After some trial and error you will find what works best for your business so you can stand out on social media and see the results you want.

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