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6 Guiding Social Media Marketing Principles for your Campaigns

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Image courtesy of Jason Howie/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Jason Howie/Flickr.

Social media marketing is a must in a time where people depend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites to communicate with friends, keep up with the news and even shop.

Each social media campaign for each business and each set of goals will be different. It’s important to make sure you use social media in a personalised way to build your brand and connect with your market.

However, you can use these more general guidelines and tips to enhance your social media campaigns and get results.

Not all Social Media Sites are Equal

There are so many social media sites out there, but you don’t need to use them all. In fact, you probably shouldn’t use them all. Some sites will be more conducive to your brand and more effective at helping you reach your market than others.

Choose the sites you use carefully according to what your goals are and how you can best communicate with your market.

Have two-way Conversations

Use social media as a two-way conversation tool. Talk to your customers and then listen to what they have to say. You can listen through comments made on your page and by observing what your target market is doing on the site. What kind of content are people sharing? What do they do on social media? Watch for these kinds of habits and keep them in mind as you develop a social media plan.

Social Media is Like Public Customer Support

Social media is very public. People will watch your business and take note of the kind of content you share, but they will also watch how you interact with customers. Remember that as you have those two-way conversations, you have an opportunity to create a reputation as a brand that provides excellent customer support.

It’s Possible to Overdo it on Social Media

Do not use social media to spam your followers and customers. Find a good frequency to post content and status updates and then don’t overdo it. It’s easy to lose followers and even become annoying on social media by posting too often or overwhelming an audience with content that isn’t particularly valuable.

Make Social Sharing Easy, and Content will be Shared

People won’t share your content if it is hard to do. Focus on creating excellent, high-quality content people will want to share, and then make it easy for your market to share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites. The easiest way to do this is to make sure there are social media sharing buttons on your website and every piece of content you publish.

Social Media Should be an Extension of your Online Property

Remember that you don’t have control over the features on social media. Social media sites can change the way they display content, the tools that allow you to reach your market and even close down at any time. Knowing this, make sure social media is an extension of your own online property.

In other words, work to build your website or blog up as the main source of information for your customers and then use social media as an outreach and sharing tool. If you rely too heavily on social media, you risk losing your audience when drastic changes are made that are out of your control.

To get the most out of social media and use it as a powerful marketing tool, keep these tips in mind. Take some time to update your profiles and then create a strategic plan that lets you build your brand and promote your products.

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What is Social Proof and how do you use it for Marketing?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Image courtesy of Sarah Reid/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Sarah Reid/Flickr.

Using a marketing tactic called social proof is a great way to show off your reputation, tell potential customers that people are satisfied with your services and make more sales. But what exactly is social proof and how do you use it?

Social Proof Defined

Social proof is online content from your current customers that helps you promote your business. Sometimes this is organically created as customers are satisfied with a business and other times businesses create it as part of their marketing strategy.

Some common forms of social proof include:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Social Media Interactions
  • Online Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies
  • Statistics about Sales and Customers

The purpose of using social proof is to show your market or potential customers that others are happy with your services. People are often more likely to listen to people like them rather than marketing or sales material.

What’s the Big Deal about Social Proof?

There’s enormous power behind social proof. According to KISSmetrics:

  • More than 70 percent of American consumers read reviews before buying a product.
  • Almost 63 percent of consumers say they are more likely to buy something on a website if it has product ratings and reviews.

These statistics alone show how much user reviews can influence potential customers.

But, social proof can do more than that. It can help you build a reputation as a business with satisfied customers. When your online presence proves to your market that you provide top-quality services and are invested in making sure your customers are satisfied, you’ll reap big benefits.

This kind of reputation and presence can help you grow your business and even make more sales. Social proof is all about showing people what you can do for your customers so people will want to work with you.

How you can Start Using Social Proof

To start using social proof at your business, decide on a few tactics to use. Look at the above list and decide whether online reviews or case studies, or any of the other forms of social proof, would be best suited to your business.

Then, decide how to illustrate that social proof and disseminate it to your market. For example, statistics about your sales and customers could be organised on an infographic you will share through social media.

Case studies could be posted on your website, emailed to your subscribers and shared on social media. Online reviews could also be posted on your site, or you may want to link to third-party review sites. Testimonials could be used in blog posts, videos or just short snippets of text on your website.

You can also leverage organic social proof by interacting with your customers on social media and your blog so that others can see that you value their input and thank them for their compliments. Interaction also shows your market that you are active in listening to your customers and provide excellent customer service.

There are so many ways you can use social proof, so the trick is to decide what kind of information would be most persuasive to your market and then finding the right way to use it.

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Facebook Media: a New Resource for Marketers

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Image courtesy of Marco Paköeningrat/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Marco Paköeningrat/Flickr.

Facebook has announced a new resource, called Facebook Media, that is designed to help marketers find better ways to use the site. Social media marketing can be very effective and when you know how to leverage all the tools available to you, your marketing can be even more successful.

What’s in the Resource?

According to the announcement, Facebook Media will highlight ways brands and public figures are finding success on the social network. It will help marketers find ways they can use Facebook to promote their own business and build their brand.

The new site includes sections like “Get Started,” “Best Practices,” “Success Stories,” “Support” and a blog.

Each of these sections is full of tips to help businesses set up a Facebook page and then grow their audience. They include tips on what kind of content to post, ways to engage followers and how to use various features.

The site has a wealth of resources that will be valuable to beginner social media marketers and experts who are looking for more creative ways to leverage the site.

How can I use the Site?

In essence, Facebook Media is a one-stop shop for tips, tools, ideas and success stories for marketers. It is the perfect resource to go to when you set up your first Facebook page and then as you look for ways to make it a more valuable social media marketing tool.

Because there are so many resources on Facebook Media, you can use the site in so many different ways to enhance your marketing strategy.

Start the Right Way

To lay a strong foundation and set up a Facebook page that will bring results, it’s important that you take certain things like branding, settings and content into consideration. This new resource can help you set up a page the right way.

Learn how to Perfect your Strategy

Even if you’ve been using Facebook for a while, there are always things you can do to perfect your strategy and get better results. Facebook Media lays out some best practices you can use to make sure you are using Facebook to its fullest potential.

Find out What Works for Others

Of course, your business will require its own unique Facebook strategy and what works for one business may not necessarily work for yours. However, finding out how other brands find success on the site can help you get creative and find ideas to try on your own page. You may try strategies or techniques others are using or success stories on Facebook Media might inspire new ideas.

Where do I get Started?

To start taking advantage of this amazing new resource, head over to the new Facebook Media website. You can browse the categories, immediately start reading about others’ success on Facebook, search for specific topics and even sign up to get email updates about Facebook news and best practices.

Using Facebook Media is an excellent way to learn how to get more out of the site. We offer Facebook marketing services; so if you would like social media marketing assistance, contact us.

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YouTube makes More Sales than other Networks: How to Start Using this Power

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Image courtesy of Rego Korosi/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Rego Korosi/Flickr.

New research by Aol Platforms shows that YouTube brings more customer conversions than Facebook, Google+ and other social networks. The report shows that YouTube is a powerful social media tool that brands shouldn’t ignore as they strategize to build their customer base.

The Study

The research used information from 500 million clicks and 15 million conversions. It also tracked social purchase interactions to see which networks swayed people to make purchases and at what point in the decision making process they were the most influential.

After all the data was analysed and all the numbers were crunched, YouTube was revealed as the social network that was the most influential when it comes to introducing new products to consumers and helping people make a decision to buy a product.

Why YouTube Converts

So what is it about YouTube that makes it one of the best networks when it comes to making sales? First, YouTube is highly popular with more than 1 billion unique visitors a month and 100 hours of video being added every minute. But, that’s not all. YouTube reports that 80 percent of its traffic comes from outside the United States and that more than 6 billion hours of video are watched on its site every month!

Combined with a huge user base, YouTube’s ability to help businesses show instead of tell and evoke emotion like few other mediums can, it’s no wonder it’s a powerful marketing tool.

How to Use YouTube to Increase Sales

Now that you’re convinced that YouTube can help you make more sales in a way no other social media network can, how do you use it effectively?

Choose the Right Message and Goal

Video lets you accomplish things images, social media posts and written content can’t. It lets you incorporate movement, sound, audio and lighting to portray feelings and send messages in a unique way. Choose the right messaging and goals for your YouTube videos and use them to complement your social media campaign in ways other networks can’t.

Make Each Video Shine

Each of your videos should reflect your brand and be professionally made. Don’t skimp on things like sound or editing quality. Your videos will tell your market how to think of your business and if they are exceptionally made and high quality, they will be more successful.

Include Appropriate Calls to Action

Just like all of your other marketing materials, your YouTube videos should include a call to action. If your goal is to increase sales, your call to action should encourage viewers to buy a product, visit your store or download a free sample.

All of your YouTube videos should include the right message, be well made and include the right calls to action if you want them to help you meet your goals.

This newest research that illustrates how beneficial YouTube can be for your business gives us some insight into how to use it effectively. Since it is influential as people learn about new products and make buying decisions, you can use your account to promote your products and encourage people to become customers.

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8 Powerful Verbs for your Calls to Action

Friday, August 29th, 2014
Image courtesy of Sara Björk/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Sara Björk/Flickr.

Calls to action are vital to your Internet marketing tactics. Whether you are using social media, content marketing or advertising, most, if not all, of your pieces should include a call to action. This statement should ask people to do something that will help you meet your goals.

But, asking people to call you, make a purchase or “click here” gets old, and frankly, isn’t always very effective. To make your calls to action more powerful, try using some stronger, more creative verbs. Here’s a list of 8 words and phrases to help you get started brainstorming.

“Make a Change Now”

If your products or services can help people make a change, tell them that! Make the phrase more urgent with words like “now,” “right away,” or “immediately.” This is a phrase that will attract a market that isn’t happy with something and is ready to do something different.

“Let us Solve your Problem”

On the other hand, maybe your customers want you to solve a problem for them. Communicate the fact that you are ready and willing to do that with a call to action that tells people to leave things in your hands.

“Recharge”

“Recharge” is a word that stands out and conveys a sense of renewal and energy. Calls to action that are asking people to relax, take advantage of new information or increase their energy are good candidates for a word like this.

“Reclaim”

Another powerful word, “reclaim,” is one to use with people that feel they have lost something you can replace. Some examples of this call to action might be “reclaim your time,” “reclaim your storage space,” or “reclaim your independence.” This is a word that not only asks people to take an action, but also inspires them.

“Make things Easier”

If your business is all about making something easier with a product or service, convey that idea and benefit clearly with a call to action like “make working out easier” or “make keeping your family safe easy with these tips.” One of the major benefits of phrases like these is that they all show value right away, which is attractive to an online audience.

“Save”

People like to save, whether that means saving money, time, hassle or energy. This is a word that jumps out on social media and your website. You can also use this as part of calls to action related to discounts, as in “save 20 percent when you enrol this month!”

“Help”

“Help” can be used in two ways: telling people you can help them or asking them to help you. Use this verb when you want to show people what exactly you can do for them to make the benefits of your product clear.

Or, use “help” to encourage people to reach out to you. For example, post “Help us choose the best poster for our event” on social media and solicit feedback from your market. This can be applied to anything from “help spread the word” to “help us understand what you need.”

“Get Exclusive Access”

Giving people exclusive access can help you build a buzz about a new product or make some online resources more valuable to your audience. People who have exclusive access may be more likely to feel valued and loyal to your brand.

The calls to action you use across your entire strategy and all of your tactics should work together to encourage people to respond the way you want them to. If you are trying to promote an event, your calls to action will be different than if you are trying to increase sales.

Choose some powerful words to make your calls to action more effective and make sure your content is aligned with your brand so you will see more results.

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How to Publish Content that Works on LinkedIn

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Do you publish content to LinkedIn? Is it tailored for that specific market and working for your business? If you want your content to stand out, attract your market and help you meet your goals, you need to know a few things.

LinkedIn Users Read a lot of Content

LinkedIn published a report called “The 2014 Professional Content Consumption Report,” which is full of information that can help businesses learn how to use LinkedIn more successfully.

According to the report, which is based on an analysis of 2,701 LinkedIn users’ habits, people who use the site spend an average of eight hours a week consuming content that is professionally relevant to them. That’s a lot of time, which means you have the potential to get your market’s attention through content marketing.

Another interesting statistic in the report is that 43 percent of unique LinkedIn site visits were from mobile devices. That means nearly half of the people you reach on LinkedIn are expecting content, links and information that is easy to consume on a smartphone or tablet.

Why People Read Content on LinkedIn

Historically, LinkedIn has been used to connect with professionals, meet new people, network and learn about businesses. Those uses are reflected in the list of reasons people read LinkedIn content.

The report found that LinkedIn users read content published there to:

When you know why people spend time consuming content on LinkedIn, you can make sure your are publishing content that meets those needs, making it a more effective tactic.

Content Topics that Resonate

LinkedIn’s study also found what kind of content LinkedIn users spend their time reading across all online platforms. In other words, the researchers found out what kind of content LinkedIn users are reading on blogs, websites and other social media sites.

  • 41 percent of the time is spent reading professionally relevant content
  • 30 percent is spent reading news
  • 29 percent is spent consuming entertainment

Knowing that LinkedIn users are interested in content that is professionally relevant, about current events and entertaining, we can get an idea of what kinds of content businesses should add to their content marketing plan when it comes to using LinkedIn.

These statistics show us how time is spent across all platforms, but what kind of content are people interested in reading on LinkedIn?

According to the report, the content that is clicked on and shared the most is content that falls into one of three categories:

  • New Research
  • Breaking Industry News
  • Case Studies

All of these more generally fall into the category of industry-related content. People on LinkedIn are looking for and consuming content that is related to their professions, interests and industries.

Publishing content to LinkedIn can help you reach your market, but you’ll be much more successful if you know what kind of content to post. The majority of your content should meet users’ needs and fall into one of the three categories with the most clicks and shares.

As you more closely align your content and LinkedIn strategy with these statistics, you’ll find that you will reach more people, get more engagement and increase your presence on the site, helping you meet your business goals.

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Does your Internet Marketing fit Millennials’ Habits?

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Millennials, or people who reached adulthood around the year 2000, make up a large portion of many businesses’ markets. These people are graduating from college, starting professional careers, buying products and perhaps most importantly, using the Internet like other generations don’t.

People in this demographic are tech savvy and know how to use laptops, tablets and smartphones and incorporate this kind of technology in their everyday lives. If millennials are part of your target market, you need to make sure your marketing strategy fits their habits.

What are the Habits?

Content Marketing Institute found some technology-related habits millennials tend to share. These habits tell us about how we can create effective Internet marketing strategies.

Staying Connected

Millennials are always connected. Texting, messaging apps and social media allow them to be in touch with friends, brands and news sources around the clock. Get in front of this market by using the channels they are using.

Multitasking with Multiple Devices

People in this group have a habit of looking at more than one screen at once. They will watch television while browsing social media on their smartphone or even check in with their smartphone while working on their laptop.

Knowing this, you can create marketing plans that use more than one platform. Combine television or video with blog posts, ask event attendees to connect with social media and live tweet conferences.

Taking Control of Content Delivery

Millennials don’t like to be interrupted with marketing materials, even when they are multitasking. Pop-up ads, disruptive social media ads and other forceful tactics won’t work with this market.

Instead, create content platforms like blogs, social media profiles, YouTube channels and apps that let people control how they access your content. When people willingly use your content and recognise its value, they may be more likely to become loyal customers.

Engaging with Online Content, not Just Listening

While millennials are connected and controlling how and when they view content, they are also engaging with it. People in this demographic don’t just read articles, consume information and look at content passively, they actively engage with it.

Millennials like to comment, share content, give their opinions, critique and otherwise engage with online content. Make room for this in your content marketing plan by using tactics, like social media, blog posts, and apps, that allow your market to interact with you, not just passively listen.

Valuing what their Friends Think

People in this age group aren’t very interested in what strangers or businesses think, but they are very interested in what their friends think. Use this to your advantage by getting people to talk about, recommend and review your business on social media. Also use testimonials and advertising tactics that allow millennials to see your business the way their peers do.

Valuing Honest and Genuine Marketing

Don’t bother with dishonest or deceiving marketing tactics. Not only could they be considered unethical, but millennials will see right through them. People in this group value transparency and marketing approaches that are genuine. Be true to your story and use real, honest Internet marketing strategies to get better results.

Millennials are such a large demographic and if they are part of your target market, they are an important segment to reach online. Keep their habits in mind and understand how they use the Internet, social media and mobile devices so you can find ways to enhance your marketing strategy to successfully reach and influence people in this group.

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What makes People want to Watch a YouTube Video?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Esther Vargas/Flickr.

Videos are an excellent way to convey a message and can help you use emotion, images and audio to reach your market in a way few other tools can. The most successful YouTube videos get hundreds of thousands or even millions of views and go viral, creating a buzz about a product or business.

In fact, according to DigitalSherpa, 50 percent of Internet users watch business related videos on YouTube once a week. This means you have a huge opportunity to reach your market.

But, the first step is getting people interested enough in your video to watch it. Then, you can draw people in with content that is so good people will want to share it on social media and on their own websites and blogs.

An Eye-Catching Title

Just like blog posts, articles and emails, YouTube videos require a catchy title that will make people want to watch it. Use the same techniques you use for other content by promising value, keeping it concise and piquing interest without giving everything away.

Keep in mind that your title should use keywords naturally whenever possible so it will appear in search results. You can also optimise your description to make the video more findable.

The Length and Content Keep their Attention

Most people don’t have time to watch videos that are more than a few minutes long or that lose their attention within the first few seconds. Keep your videos to the point and draw your audience along as you tell a story or convey useful information.

Of course, professional videos are also more likely to get people’s attention, so use a good script, lighting, set and editing software so your video reflects your brand and tells people you are an industry expert.

Decision-Making Information

DigitalSherpa also reports that 90 percent of Internet users say that watching a video about a product is helpful when it comes to making a decision about buying something. Use this piece of information to create videos that are designed to give people the information they need to be persuaded to buy your products.

Entertainment Value

YouTube will always be a source of entertainment and you shouldn’t underestimate the value of entertaining your market. Use humour, interesting facts, awe-inspiring footage and other types of entertainment to get people’s attention and get people talking about your brand.

Find a way to tie the entertainment back to your business and goals so that you can raise brand awareness while still making sales or increasing your fan base.

A Social Reaction

As your video starts to get more views and some traction on social media, people will want to watch it just out of curiosity. If all their friends are watching it, there are lots of comments about it and they see it all over social media, they will want to watch it too.

To get to this point you’ll need to start with an excellent video that incorporates the other elements discussed here and then promote it through your own social media accounts.

Use YouTube videos to entertain, educate, inspire and excite your market so you can reach people in a whole new way. Always use content and a call to action that help you meet your goals so your videos will become a valuable part of your Internet marketing strategy.

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Instagram just Became more Business Friendly

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Instagram has unveiled some new tools that will make it much easier to use, and a more valuable marketing tool, for businesses. This social network is one that is very visual and the company reports that it has 200 million monthly active users, 65 percent of which are outside the United States. There are 60 million photos and 1.6 billion “likes” shared on the site daily.

There’s a good chance part of your market uses Instagram and now with new tools, the site is easier for your business to use successfully.

The tools announced by Instagram are specifically for business accounts and you can use them as you post updates or run ads on the site. Instagram says the tools will be launched later this year.

Ad Staging: Collaborate for Better Results

The first new feature is called Ad Staging and allows you, as an advertiser, to collaborate with your creative team, save ads and preview ad campaigns before you even launch them. When your marketing, design, and social media teams can all work together on Instagram ads right inside the platform you can more easily coordinate your efforts.

Ad Staging could also make it easier for you to plan ahead and stay organised. When you can save and preview campaigns, you can make sure everything is ready to go well in advance so each of your campaigns will be more effective.

Account Insights: See Your Results

Most social media networks let businesses see basic analytics related to their accounts, and now Instagram does too. You can log in to see your impressions, reach and engagement, which can give you a detailed look at what is happening on your business account.

When you can easily access and track these statistics for your Instagram posts, you can find out if you are reaching your social media goals, like increasing brand awareness, reaching a larger audience and encouraging your potential and current customers to interact with you online.

Ad Insights: See your Impact

Instagram has also made it possible for you to find out more about how your ads are performing. Ad Insights lets you see impressions, reach and frequency for your ads so you can find out how effective they are and find new ways to be successful.

You can view these statistics for each of your ads, so comparing design, messaging, timing and other factors will be much easier. With this information, your Instagram ads have the potential to be much more powerful because you can learn from each ad and campaign and constantly improve your efforts.

These new business tools are a valuable addition to Instagram and will make using it for social media marketing, whether you are posting updates or using ads, easier and more beneficial.

If your brand is visual and you could capture your market’s attention with images of products, events, services or your location, Instagram could be a great addition to your social media strategy. Start using these tools as soon as they launch for the best results and to find ways you can enhance your strategy.

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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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