Posts Tagged ‘pinterest’
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Friday, March 7th, 2014
Image courtesy of Sharilyn Neidhardt/Flickr.
In order to use social media marketing successfully at your business, you need to use a very focused strategy. This strategy defines how you will use your accounts to reach your markets and achieve your marketing and business goals. But, you also need to adopt some rules, in addition to this strategy, so that your social media use will be effective.
The details of your strategy and rules will depend on your business and goals, but here are some general guidelines to adopt.
Rule #1: Actively Find and Share Content from Others
You already know that you shouldn’t overly self promote on social media, but that doesn’t mean you should remain silent. Actively look for content and posts from others that are relevant to your market and share them.
This serves a few purposes. It allows you to provide more value to your market, make valuable connections with others and establish your brand as one that is part of a larger community.
Rule #2: Have a Purpose Behind Every Post
You need to have a purpose behind every social media post you make. This purpose could be as broad as adding value to a conversation or entertaining your audience. However, some posts should have more specific goals, like driving traffic, sparking conversation or promoting a particular product.
Rule #3: Remember Engagement Starts with You
We often expect engagement, conversations and interaction on social media, but fail to take actions that will make that happen. To get comments, “likes” and shares, you need to reach out and converse with others. This could mean commenting on others’ posts, asking your followers questions and responding to them or thanking people for mentioning your business.
Sometimes, engagement will need to start with you, so find creative and effective ways to spur activity on your page. To do this, you’ll need to track your efforts and results so you can find the best ways to get people talking and interacting.
Rule #4: Respond to User Requests
Make it a rule that you attempt to respond to user requests. Depending on the size of your business, it may not be possible to respond to every single comment, but make a clear attempt to be responsive.
It is up to you to decide how you want to do this. You may decide to respond to people who reach out as you are able to, or make it your policy to respond to feedback from people who need customer support assistance.
When you respond to your followers, you are proving that you are listening to your market and building a reputation as a business that puts its customers first. As your market sees that you are listening, people will be more likely to interact with you, whether they need customer support or not.
These rules will help you get more out of your social media accounts. However, to see the best results, you should combine these guidelines with your own, unique social media strategy that is designed to help you reach your goals.
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Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Image courtesy of Maru Philippe/Flickr.
If you use social media marketing at your business, you are completely aware of how much time it can take. While you can’t get away with spending no time at all on social media, you can do some things to streamline the process and be more productive.
This checklist will help you get things done and advance your Internet marketing tactics without getting sucked into the social media time warp we’re all too familiar with.
1 – Check for Messages from Others
The first thing you should do every day is check for messages from others. If people are contacting you through social media with questions about your business or products or just to provide feedback, you need to respond in a timely manner.
If you aren’t able to help a person through social media, refer him to your customer support line or provide a customer support email address he can use to contact you. The idea is to make sure your market knows you are listening and responding.
2 – See What is Being Said about Your Business and Respond
One of the most valuable things you can use social media for is listening to what your market is saying about your business and industry. You can follow influential people, participate in pages, groups and communities and search for your business on social media sites to find out what people are saying.
Understand what is being said and use the information to make your business better and enhance your Internet marketing plans. When it’s necessary, you can respond to these posts by providing information or thanking someone for mentioning you.
3 – Share Your Own Content
On a daily basis, you should be sharing links to your own content. Posting links to your blog, website, product pages and other online content will help you promote your business, drive traffic to your website and encourage people to respond to your calls to action.
Your content can help you increase sales, build your email marketing list and accomplish so many other things, and sharing it on social media is the first step to using it to reach these goals.
4 – Interact with Others
But, you shouldn’t overly self promote on social media. Interact with others by commenting on their posts and even sharing their content. This is a great way to build relationships and show your market that you are interested in providing helpful information, even if it comes from other businesses at times.
Interacting with others is also a good way to spark some engagement, since when you converse with others, they will be more likely to reach out to you and interact with your posts.
5 – Schedule Posts as Needed
Social media scheduling tools can be used effectively as long as you don’t rely on them. You shouldn’t use them to schedule posts and then never log in to your accounts. Your social media marketing success relies on human interaction. But, you can use these tools to schedule posts for times when you will be out of the office, over weekends or after office hours.
Social media marketing does take time if you want to do it successfully, but this checklist can help you use it productively and effectively.
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Friday, February 14th, 2014
Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
When you use social media accounts, your market follows you with certain expectations. People follow you and connect with you because they are looking for specific information, benefits or perks, and when you can deliver those, your accounts will be much more successful.
Social media marketing can be a powerful part of any Internet marketing plan, and when you use it to convey strategic messaging and meet your market’s needs, you can see big results.
One of the biggest reasons people follow your business on social media is to get timely updates. They want to know about new products, events, promotions and what is going on at your business. Be sure to keep your market updated by posting company news and information that appeals to your followers.
Another thing social media followers are looking for is special perks. By following your business, they want to be in on “inside information” and qualify for things like discounts, freebies and giveaways. Find ways you can include these kinds of perks in your Internet marketing plans to promote your business, make sales and drive traffic to your website, so both your followers and your business benefit.
A Line of Communication
Your followers expect your social media pages to be a line of communication with your business. They expect to be able to contact your business through your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other pages. At the very least, they expect to be able to find contact information for your business on your social media pages.
Meet this need by monitoring your accounts and by making it easy for people to find your phone number, address and an email address.
To be Heard
Along with a line of communication, your followers expect your social media accounts to be a place where they can be heard by your business. They want to be able to voice concerns, give feedback, ask questions and even get some form of customer support.
The level to which you fulfil this is up to you. You may not be able to provide complete customer support through social media, but maybe your social media manager can ask customers who reach out to call your customer support number. Or, you may be able to answer some general questions through social media, depending on your business and what you offer your customers.
Engagement with other Followers
Some social media followers are looking for an online community where they can talk about your business or industry with others who are also interested. They want to connect with other customers, finding common ground, talking about your business and discussing your products.
Foster this kind of community by providing interesting content and even reaching out to users to start conversations. Ask questions and encourage discussion to create an online community that helps you build your business.
When you set up and maintain social media accounts, your followers have expectations. If you are able to meet those expectations and leverage the power of social media, your business will grow and benefit in so many ways.
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Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
When your market falls in love with your social media accounts, people will be attracted to your pages, post comments and engage with you. Your accounts will become a more powerful Internet marketing tool, your site will get more traffic and you’ll make more sales. This sounds like every business’ dream, but how do you make it a reality?
Be What they are Looking For
You already know that if you want your business to succeed, you need to fill a need. The same holds true for social media. To attract followers and get the most out of your social media accounts, you need to provide what your market wants and needs. Through your posts, the content you share and even your photos, you need to be what your market is looking for.
If your market is looking for industry information, provide content about relevant topics. On the other hand, if your social media audience consists of current and potential customers who are looking for a good deal, maybe you can provide coupons and discounts through your accounts.
Provide a Constant Stream of Value
As you start to form an online community you need to provide a constant stream of content that provides value to your market. This will help you build your following and retain your current followers, as people begin to see your account as a valuable resource they don’t want to miss out on.
Start by considering what your market is looking for and then find ways you can create content that is relevant to your followers’ interests and needs. The value you provide will depend on your business and market.
Engage in Two-Way Conversations
Social media isn’t meant to be a platform where you do all the talking. Listen to what your market is saying, encourage interaction, respond to comments and reach out to your followers. People like to be heard and when you demonstrate that you are listening and interact with people, they will fall in love with your accounts.
There are so many ways to encourage interaction on social media, both formal and informal. You can host competitions, ask questions and do giveaways to get people interacting with your account. Or, you can take a more casual approach and simply be involved in conversations and respond to your market. In most cases, you’ll need to use a combination of formal and informal strategies to have two-way conversations on social media.
Show Some Personality
People don’t fall in love with accounts that seem stiff or robotic, they fall in love with social media accounts that show some personality. Let your brand show through when you post and interact on social media.
If your brand is more formal, consider being a little more informal on social media. You don’t need to abandon your brand, but in general, social media is a more casual platform. If your business is already casual, let that shine through when you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your other accounts.
When your market loves what you have to offer through your social media accounts, you’ll gain more followers and build a more involved community, which means your social media marketing will be more effective.
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Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
With content marketing becoming more and more popular, some experts have started to wonder what happens when an audience gets overwhelmed with a brand’s content. When people are bombarded with blog posts, videos, podcasts and social media posts from your business, they could begin to see you as a spammer or start to feel like they can’t keep up, and ignore your content.
But, you can easily avoid this content fatigue by taking a few precautionary steps and using content marketing strategically.
Have a Plan
If you are constantly creating and publishing content without a strategic plan, you will wear your market out. While it’s good to create a lot of content, you need to think about how and when you will publish it.
For example, some of your content will likely be published on your blog, but other pieces could be posted elsewhere. Try to integrate your content marketing with your larger marketing plan, so they work together. For example, if you are having a spring sale on a particular line of products, create content about those products to keep your messaging clear and your market focused.
Don’t Release Content too Quickly
A common mistake businesses make is releasing content too quickly. When you do this, your market can’t keep up and could walk away from your website or blog altogether. Of course, you do need to provide a constant stream of relevant content, but make sure you don’t flood your audience.
Publishing a podcast once a week instead of once a day is a great way to keep your market interested and coming back for more without overwhelming people. Different pieces of content and different publishing platforms all have their own ideal frequencies. For example, daily blog posts work well to keep your audience engaged and to build traffic, while monthly panel discussions might be enough for your market.
Find a Balance with Social Media
Posting too often to social media can drive followers away, as they will begin to feel like you are spamming them and that you are taking over their news feeds. There isn’t a magic number that dictates how often you should post to social media accounts, so you’ll have to do some testing to find out what works for your market.
In general, you should post to sites like Facebook and LinkedIn a few times a day, but you can post to sites like Twitter and Instagram even more often than that. Try different approaches to find out how many posts you need to share to achieve a high level of engagement and make your social media accounts effective.
Listen to Your Market
As with many other Internet marketing strategies, the best way to learn how to provide the best content for your market is to listen to your audience. As you post content, see how people react. Are they engaged and interested? Or are you losing followers and site visitors? Asking yourself these kinds of questions can help you gauge whether or not you are overwhelming your market.
Another way to listen to your market is to conduct surveys or polls. With these tools you can ask people if they like your content, what they want to hear more about and other questions that can help you be more successful at content marketing.
When you are careful not to overwhelm your market, content marketing is an excellent way to get people engaged with your brand, drive more traffic to your website and promote your business.
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Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
According to Deloitte, 72 percent of people in the UK have a smartphone, and what’s more, the Office for National Statistics reports that the number of people using a smartphone to access the Internet has doubled since 2010, from 24 percent to 53 percent.
You know your business needs to embrace mobile Internet use and that to be successful you need to reach your market through their smartphones and tablets. But, how do you do that? Businesses are regularly told to “go mobile,” and these four tactics can help you get started.
Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
A mobile-friendly website will make it much easier for your market to navigate your site, buy products, find information and respond to your calls to action from their mobile devices. Mobile sites are clean, organised and formatted to be viewed on a smaller screen.
We’ve all gone to a website from our smartphone and found it too hard to read or find the information we need. What do we do when this happens? We leave the site. Don’t drive your site visitors away with a site that is impossible to use on mobile devices.
Launch a Mobile Email Marketing Campaign
It’s also important that your email marketing campaigns are designed for a mobile market. More and more people are checking and responding to emails on their smartphones and if your email is easy to read on a small screen, it will be more effective.
Also keep in mind that people reading emails on their smartphones don’t always have time to read long emails, so keep your messages short and capture your market’s attention with your subject lines.
Write to a Mobile Social Media Audience
People use social media quite heavily on their mobile devices, so write for an audience that is on the go when you post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and your other social media accounts.
Short posts, images and links to mobile-friendly sites are easy to read and respond to from a smartphone. You don’t need to use these guidelines for all of your posts, but using them for some of them will help you reach your mobile market.
Produce Your Own Mobile App
Producing your own mobile app is a great way to get your business and products in your market’s hands. If your business can offer some value through an app, seriously consider providing one. Apps that offer entertainment, information, discounts and other perks that your market considers valuable can help you connect with your current and potential customers.
Do some research to find out what kind of app your market would be interested in and then make sure you build one that is high quality and that works very well. An app that doesn’t work well or is too frustrating to use will reflect poorly on your business.
As you develop Internet marketing strategies and tactics, do so with your mobile market in mind. Make sure your website and emails are easy to navigate on small screens and find new ways to reach your mobile audience through social media and apps.
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Friday, January 31st, 2014
A new study conducted by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth reveals why people, specifically millennials, interact with brands on social media. The study can help businesses understand how to leverage their social media accounts and use them more effectively.
The study looked into why millennials, people born between 1980 and 2000, connect with brands on social media. This group makes up an important market for many businesses, as it includes young professionals and teenagers.
This chart shows why people followed businesses on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The reasons people connect with businesses on social media vary by website, but here are some of the most common reasons and what they mean for your business:
To Show Support
According to the research, 86 percent of respondents follow a business on Facebook to show support for the brand. On Twitter, that number is 87 percent and on Pinterest it is 78 percent.
This tells us that people, millennials in particular, view a “like” or follow as a way to support the brand and tell their friends that they like what the business does and stands for. We know that the persuasive power of friends is very important when it comes to getting more sales, so as people show support for your brand, their friends are likely to investigate your business. At the very least, these supportive interactions can help you raise brand awareness.
To Get Regular Updates
The researchers also found that people follow brands to get regular updates. The study found that 78 percent of responders connect with brands on Facebook and 81 percent connect with brands on Twitter to get regular updates from the business. These numbers are significant.
What does this mean for your business? That one of the main reasons people connect with you on Facebook and Twitter is to get updates from your brand, and by delivering that you can retain followers and get even more.
This also tells us that as you post these updates, you are sharing them with an audience who wants to hear from you and that is likely to include returning and potential customers.
To Get a Coupon or Discount
Another common reason people follow brands on social media is to get a coupon or discount. The study found that this is the reason that 64 percent of responders connect with brands on Facebook and that 66 percent follow brands on Twitter.
Knowing this, your business can offer coupons and discounts as an incentive to get more followers, strengthen your relationship with current followers and increase sales.
To Research Specific Products and Services
Respondents also follow brands on social media to do research on specific products and services. This highlights the importance of providing information about your products on your social media profiles.
You should avoid being too self promotional, but providing links, product reviews and information about what you provide for customers periodically can pay off, as people are looking for this kind of information. When they find it on your page, they may be more likely to become customers.
When you understand why millennials are motivated to follow your business on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, you can find ways to use these sites more effectively to benefit your business.
The complete study includes more statistics and data about this demographic’s social media use and how social media impacts sales. You can see more information about the study here.
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Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Image courtesy of Penn State/Flickr.
Are you using social media to its fullest potential? When you get the most out of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media accounts, your social media marketing strategy will be more powerful and your entire business will benefit.
It probably isn’t practical for your business to use all the social media networks out there, but it’s important that you get the most out of the networks you choose to use. When used strategically, here are six things social media can do for you.
Share Your Content
The most obvious thing social media can do for you is help you share your content. All that content you create for your content marketing plan will only benefit your business if you are able to get it in front of your market, and social media allows you to do this.
But, social media also makes it possible for your market to become brand ambassadors and help you share your content. This is very valuable, as referrals from friends are very influential when it comes to making sales.
Drive Traffic to Your Website
As you share content from your website, social media can help you drive traffic to your site and blog. More traffic can help you achieve all kinds of things, from increased search rankings to more sales. To leverage social media for more traffic, the content you share needs to be relevant and interesting to your audience so people will want to click on the links you share.
Engage with Your Market
Social media is designed for two-way conversations, so it can give you something your website can’t: an opportunity for engagement. Through social media, you can talk to your market, customers can give you feedback, you can respond to questions and so much more. High levels of engagement will help you create a strong brand and customer loyalty.
Create an Online Community
Because of its conversational nature, social media can also help you create an online community where your customers can interact with you and each other. This kind of community can help you create a following and gives you a direct line of communication with your market. To create a strong community, attract followers, share interesting content and interact with your market.
Build Your Audience
As you build a community and get more followers, your audience will grow. With a bigger audience, you’ll be able to get your content in front of more people, have more opportunities to drive traffic, see more referrals and get more out of your social media accounts. The larger your audience, the more people you are able to share your messaging with, and the more successful your business will be.
Promote Your Products and Services
As you build a large audience, create an engaged community and share your content, you’ll have greater opportunities to promote your products and services through your social media accounts. Your accounts give you the chance to tell your market about your business, what you provide and what you can do for your customers.
There’s no question that social media marketing can be a valuable way to promote your business and help you find your market online. Start using your accounts to their fullest potential by strategically sharing content, building your audience and interacting with your followers.
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Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Pinterest is a very popular social media network that has grown extremely fast. The site has 70 million users and boasts an average of 2.5 billion monthly page views, so if your business doesn’t already use the site as part of its social media marketing plan, it’s time to consider signing up.
All kinds of businesses use Pinterest to connect with their market and share content, especially content that is visually appealing. Pinterest is a great way to get your content out there and drive traffic to your website or blog. Now, the network has unveiled a new feature that will make it even easier for you to find your market and share your content with the right people.
The new feature, called “Interests,” can be found under the menu next to the search box. When a user chooses this option, she will be presented with a list of categories that she has pinned content in. The categories are visually displayed as boxes, with the largest boxes highlighting what Pinterest thinks the user is most interested in. When the user clicks on one of the categories, she can look at dozens of pins of that topic. This makes it possible for users to browse pins in more narrow topics.
Pinterest already organises shared content with broad topics like gardening, DIY and crafts, home decor, humour, photography, products and other categories. But now, a user may see a personalised category called, “wreaths” for example, and will be able to browse images and content about wreaths instead browsing through the home decor or crafts category, looking for this kind of content.
In its announcement Pinterest explained that as users pin more content, their “Interests” page will change to reflect their current interests and to be more customised. Right now the feature is only available on the desktop site but will soon be available on mobile devices.
How Your Business Can Leverage “Interests”
The “Interests” section will make it easier for your users to find your content. When you produce content about very specific topics and share it on Pinterest, it could appear in these niche categories in users’ “Interests” section. As people find your content, they will be more likely to visit your site and follow your account.
But, you can also use this new feature to find people to connect with on Pinterest. As you use your account to pin content about specific topics, you can use your own “Interests” page to find people who are interested in these same topics. If you do this strategically, and find people with interests that make them potential customers, you can find and connect with an audience that is likely to buy your products or services.
Pinterest is already a popular and powerful social media site you can use to reach your market and this new feature can make it even more valuable. As it becomes easier for users to find content on specific topics, and for you to find your market, Pinterest will become an even more valuable tool for your business.
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Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
The topic of whether or not CEOs and managers should be on social media comes up a lot. Some believe that Internet marketing teams should have full control over social media accounts and that allowing managers to have control over their own, personal social media accounts that are used as marketing tools can be damaging to social media strategies.
However, there are lots of excellent reasons that CEOs and managers should be involved in social media and when this strategy is done correctly, it can bring major benefits.
Another Chanel of Communication
A manager’s social media account is one more channel of communication for your business. Another channel gives you more opportunities to connect with your market, share content, deliver messaging and interact with your audience.
Of course, this channel of communication will need to be used strategically and your CEO may need some guidance and assistance running an account that will effectively reach your market.
With another channel of communication comes another avenue for engagement. Giving your market, customers and potential customers another way to engage with your business can be very beneficial.
This kind of engagement is also different than the kind you can get with general business social media accounts. People may see your CEO’s account as a way to be heard by and hear from someone who is “in the know” and who has more authority than your other social media accounts.
A Bigger Presence
Your CEO’s social media account can also help you build a bigger presence on social media. Let’s face it; accounts with big names or those from people with major titles and large roles can be more attractive to followers. Your market may choose to follow your CEO’s account over your business account, or in addition to it, which gives you more visibility on social media.
As you are able to build a bigger presence with your manager’s social media account, you will also be able to increase brand awareness. As more people tune in to what your business is saying on social media through your manager’s account, your content will have a wider reach, which will increase awareness.
Increased brand awareness on social media is valuable and as you gain that awareness you will be able to use your social media accounts for bigger and better things, seeing even more results.
A 2012 survey by Brandfrog found that 82 percent of people are more likely, or even much more likely, to trust a business whose CEO and managers use social media. This is a remarkable figure and means that your business stands to reap major benefits from using CEO and management social media accounts.
Social media accounts from business leaders lend a sense of credibility and add some transparency to your business, which will enhance the relationship you have with your market. A strong, trusting relationship will lead to more sales, brand loyalty, positive referrals and many, many more benefits.
If you actively use social media marketing, consider whether using CEO and management accounts will help you be more effective. These perks are just a few of the benefits your business could realise when you use a leadership account as a strategic part of your overall Internet marketing plan.
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