Posts Tagged ‘social media’
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
A strategic content marketing plan has the potential to help your business earn higher search engine rankings, get more website traffic, raise awareness and increase sales. When you recognize the power of content marketing and are ready to start using it as part of your digital marketing strategy, how do you know where to start?
Content marketing is a large industry with many tactics. The exact strategy you implement will depend on your brand and goals, but the following steps can help you start creating a content marketing plan.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
First, ask yourself what you want to accomplish with content marketing. Do you want to reach a new audience or follow up with your target market? Or, maybe your content marketing goal is to get more leads or to create a social media buzz about your brand. Content marketing can help you accomplish all kinds of marketing goals, so decide what you want to get out of this strategy.
Step 2: Locate the most Beneficial Channels
Once you have identified what kinds of goals you hope to accomplish, you can choose which channels will be the most beneficial in helping you reach them. For example, if you want to reach a specific market, you can use the social media networks, websites or blogs that they are most likely to visit.
Keep in mind that while you may use a specific channel for other marketing efforts, that channel may not necessarily be the same channel you should use for content marketing. The channel you use will also depend on the type of business you have and the type of content you want to share.
Step 3: Create Quality Content
Of course, the foundation for your content marketing plan should be quality content. Focus on creating content that is geared toward your audience and that will help you reach your goals. Calls to action should be used wherever possible and your content should always be unique, helpful and engaging. Think outside the box and find new ways to get your audience’s attention and share your brand’s message.
Step 4: Measure Results
As you begin executing your content marketing strategy, measure your results. The things you measure will depend on your goals, but some numbers you could track include the number of shares or comments a piece of content gets, how much your audience engages with it, how many page views it has, how much it is shared and how many visitors respond to your calls to action. Some measurements are harder to track than others, but tracking the success of your strategy is vital to creating future plans that will help you reach your goals.
Step 5: Adjust Your Strategy Where Needed
Analyze the results of your content marketing efforts and decide if your tactics are helping you reach your goals. Then, determine if you need to make changes to your plan. You may have to try a few different strategies before you find the one that brings you the best results. You may also consider testing a few different strategies at the same time, so you can more quickly find what works for you. Your content marketing strategy will also likely change periodically depending on your current goals, your product offerings, your target market and industry changes.
Content marketing is a great marketing strategy that can help you build your brand and meet other business goals. The most successful plans are revisited often and adjusted as needed.
Monday, May 20th, 2013
With 10.4 million users, Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social media networks. With that growth, the company has added new features, like bigger pictures and a better mobile app, that benefit both everyday users and businesses. The latest of these new features is the addition of Rich Pins that include more details about products, recipes and movies.
More Information Attached to Rich Pins
The new feature brings pinning to a whole new level. Instead of acting as just a page full of saved images and links to web pages, users’ Pinterest boards can now hold more useful information and businesses can share more details about their products through pins.
When someone clicks on a Rich Pin for a product, he will see a bigger image of the product and information about where it can be purchased, if it is in stock, the item’s price and a link to the seller’s website.
Rich Pins for recipes include information about the ingredients needed for the dish, the number of servings it makes and even cooking times. Rich Pins for movies show the film’s content rating, details about the cast and even its Netflix rating.
In the Pinterest feed, Rich Pins will be noted with an icon so users can quickly see which pins in their feed have more content. Pinterest has stated that where applicable, any pins users have already created will be updated with the new features.
Businesses will Benefit
Rich Pins have the potential to help businesses get even more out of Pinterest. As businesses post products with more information, users may be more likely to visit company websites and make purchases. Pinterest is an extremely visual social media network and businesses that take advantage of this by posting images of products now have one more feature at their disposal. Rich Pins can help businesses enhance their Pinterest boards and their Pinterest marketing strategies.
Currently, eBay, Etsy, Neiman Marcus, Sony, Martha Stewart Living, Nestle Very Best Baking, and Netflix, among others, are all using the new Rich Pins. However, any business on Pinterest that has an account specifically designated as a “business account” can use the new feature.
How to Implement Rich Pins
Rich Pins are automatically populated with information about products, recipes and movies. To allow Pinterest to do this, your business will need to use meta tags correctly. Pinterest has a resource page that can help businesses set up Rich Pins, and if you have a web developer, he or she may be able to help with the technical aspects of the new tool.
Of course, after you set up Rich Pins for your business, you should use them strategically. Map out what you want to share on Pinterest, and then follow through by posting products with complete meta tags. You can also get more out of the new feature by making sure your pins are easy to find, which will inspire users to visit your site or buy your products. Using detailed descriptions, keywords and organized boards can all make your pins more visible.
Many brands are already using Pinterest to promote their products and services and to raise awareness of their business among their target markets. The new Rich Pins have the power to take Pinterest marketing to the next level by making it possible for business to include more information about their pins, encouraging users to take action and become customers.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Yahoo! has announced that it will work with Twitter to include tweets in the site’s newsfeed section. Yahoo! has long been a source of news about world events, sports, politics, entertainment and more, and the move seems to show that Twitter is becoming more recognized as an important news source.
In a Yahoo! blog post, CEO Marissa Mayer stated: “Updates direct from politicians, celebrities, media outlets, and other publishers have become an important source of real-time news and information.” The statement seems to reiterate a common theme in social media circles: traditional news sources can’t keep up with breaking news the way Twitter can.
Changes to the Yahoo! Website
Visually, the update is relatively small. In the stream of news articles, users will now also see tweets that contain breaking news or announcements. The tweeted news will include the Twitter handle of the person who shared the post underneath the headline. These posts will also include a “Follow” button, allowing readers to easily follow newsy accounts.
The Marketing Impact
It’s not yet known what kinds of businesses and whose tweets will be highlighted in the Yahoo! newsfeed. It’s likely that tweets from big corporations and news outlets, as well as tweets that are popular and newsworthy will be shared.
More and more people are using Twitter as a source for news, whether it is hard news regarding local, national, or international topics or news from brands, businesses and groups. This means that it is more important than ever that your business shares news through Twitter.
You probably already use press releases, blog posts and earned media coverage to promote your business and share your latest news with your market. But, are you also using Twitter to share news? If you aren’t, now is the time to start.
Even if your tweets aren’t featured on the Yahoo! News page, the move signals a change in the way people expect to be informed about news, and your business needs to follow by using social media to inform its followers. Consider tweeting breaking news, links to blog posts that announce a company change and even finding ways to relate current events to your business.
The idea of using a current event for marketing purposes is known as real-time marketing. You can use Twitter to execute these strategies by staying up to date with current events in your industry and community, and when these stories relate to your business, leveraging them to promote what you do. Be careful not to take over a story, or be insensitive to a situation, which is known as news hijacking, since this approach will only backfire and hurt your company’s image.
Social media and the way news is delivered is always changing, and the latest Yahoo! feature may be one of the first glimpses into how the two mediums could be used together. Businesses can take note and adjust their social media marketing strategies to allow them to leverage the newsy aspect of Twitter.
As Twitter becomes a more common news source, how will your business react? If you don’t already have a solid Twitter following, will this industry change prompt you to build a bigger presence on the site?
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Image courtesy of mkhmarketing/Flickr.
Are you using Twitter to promote your business and increase your revenue? Twitter can be one of the best ways to connect with your target market and to make potential customers happy customers. If you don’t already use Twitter as part of your social media marketing campaign, you may want to consider setting up an account today.
Who Uses Twitter?
First, it’s important to make sure your target market is using Twitter. Chances are that at least a portion of your market is already on the site, but some statistics from Quick Sprout can give you a good idea of what kind of people use Twitter:
- 500 million users send out about 340 million tweets every day.
- 24% of users are between the ages of 25 and 34, 22.5% are between the ages of 35 and 44 and 22.5% are between 45 and 54 years old.
- 60% of Twitter users are women and 40% are men.
- 60% of users have attended some college.
Twitter is a fast-paced social media site that attracts young and middle-aged adults. Many people turn to Twitter for news, information about events and updates from businesses.
The Power of Twitter
One of the things that makes Twitter unique among social media sites is that it has the power to unite groups of people. Brand advocates, sports fans and people with similar interests can connect extremely easily and conversations and entire movements can start with just a few tweets.
Trending topics, often identified with hashtags, can carry a lot of marketing power. If a topic relating to your business trends nationally or among a certain group of people, it receives a lot of attention, generates a buzz and can even drive site traffic and sales.
Twitter can help you directly communicate with your target market in real time, influence conversations and listen to what your market is saying. All of these actions can benefit your business.
Start Using Twitter the Right Way
So how do you start implementing a strategic Twitter plan?
Identify Your Twitter Market
First, find out which of your target markets, or which portion of your customer base, is most likely to be on Twitter. Make sure there is a large enough market on the site to make your involvement worth the time and resources it will take to build a Twitter presence. Knowing which of your markets is on Twitter can help you understand what kind of content to share and how you can use the site to your benefit.
Start Connecting with Customers and Influential People
Next, start following people within your target market and people that are likely to influence them. You may consider following industry professionals, thought leaders, community members and other businesses. If you follow people who are likely to be interested in your business, chances are they will follow you back.
Share Content and Join Conversations
As you build a following, begin sharing content that is relevant to your business. You can share your own blog posts and marketing materials as well as content that others share. Don’t share posts from you competitors, but sharing posts from people who are likely to influence or help inform your market are worth sharing. Sharing relevant content and using hashtags will also help you build a following that includes potential customers. However, don’t just use Twitter to push out information. Have conversations with other users and try to spark engagement.
If your target market is on Twitter, you can make the site a useful and powerful part of your social media marketing campaign. Connecting with the right people and sharing relevant content can help you build your presence on the site so that you can use Twitter to reach and influence your market.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
As you’ve probably heard, Google just wrapped up its developer’s conference known as Google I/O. The annual conference is the venue for new product releases, major updates and announcements that have the potential to impact consumers and businesses.
Here are the biggest announcements from the conference:
New Google+ Design
Google+ has been gaining momentum, and Google unveiled a new design to go along with all the growth. It’s true that Google+ may not exactly be Facebook, but it does have 190 million users, and the value it can bring to search engine optimisation campaigns is no secret.
The new multi-column layout displays posts in an entirely new way, which is reminiscent of Pinterest, and boasts bigger photos and makes it easier to use hashtags. Google Hangouts has updated messaging features, notifications and saved conversation features.
Faster Chrome Speeds
Google’s browser, Chrome, has more than 750 million users. At Google I/O the company announced that users will now see faster video speeds and payment processes. It has also launched a few experiments and projects that show off just how fast Chrome is and to give businesses an idea of how they can benefit from the speed.
Talking Search and Google Now Geographical Reminders
The way users use Google’s search engine has changed: people can now ask Google a question (vocally) and the site will speak an answer. This feature is available for laptop and desktop computers using Chrome. Google Now also received a major update with the ability to provide geographical reminders. Users can now get a reminder at a specific location (like at the office or at the store) on their mobile devices.
Google Play Music All Access and Google Play Leader Boards
This new product may signal that Google is interested in competing with companies like Rhapsody and Spotify. Google Play Music All Access is a subscription-based music service that lets users listen to millions of songs for a flat monthly fee.
Google Play was updated with real-time multilayer leader boards, so players can more easily compete with their friends.
Enhanced Google Maps
Google Maps has been enhanced with added features, and better images, that are intended to make the service more personal. Users can star favorite places, write reviews, and see business descriptions on maps. Google Maps is already a powerful app and it was widely celebrated when it debuted on the iTunes store, making it available to iPhone users. More personalization and more unique features will likely make this app even more popular.
This year’s Google I/O updates didn’t disappoint and developers, businesses and users everywhere are excited about the changes. Will your business benefit from these announcements?
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Last week YouTube announced that it would start offering new paid channels as part of a pilot program with a small group of partners. The fees will start at 99 cents per month and each channel will offer a free 14-day trial.
Some of the paid channels that have already launched include National Geographic Kids, PGA Digital Golf Academy, Pets.TV, UFC Select, and more. There are currently 54 paid channels (there are more than 1 million channels on YouTube) and the company says it will be adding more.
Currently, users subscribe through their account and once they have paid for a channel, they can watch it from their computer, TV, smartphone or tablet. YouTube also says that additional viewing options will be available in the future.
In a YouTube blog post the company states that the paid channels are a response to requests from video posters who are looking for more ways to monetize their videos and channels.
Can Businesses Create Paid YouTube Channels?
Businesses that are interested in creating their own paid YouTube Channel can fill out a sign up form. Currently, all submissions will be reviewed and may or may not be accepted as a paid channel partner.
Since the paid channel program is currently a pilot program, it remains to be seen how YouTube will develop it and how businesses will get to use the new option. However, assuming the service becomes more popular, businesses will likely get to be a bigger part of the program.
Will Your Business Benefit from a Paid Channel?
If your business already has a successful YouTube Channel it may very well benefit from a paid channel, since you could earn revenue from subscriptions, not just advertisements. If your business and products are conducive to things like previews, how-to videos, product reviews and event videos, it may benefit from paid YouTube Channels.
However, the benefits of a paid YouTube Channel aren’t just monetary. Businesses with successful videos and channels benefit from things like increased exposure, viral ad campaigns, social media buzz, raised awareness, increased site traffic and more sales.
How will Users React?
As with any major social media change, one of the biggest questions being asked is “How will users react?” YouTube users aren’t likely to leave the site in droves, since the site has become an Internet video staple, but will they be wiling to pay for content? Many feel social media should be free to use, much like email. Normally, businesses are able to profit directly through ads on the site, whether that be the social media business or the businesses that use the site. However, some sites, like LinkedIn do offer paid features, which seem to be successful.
Much like any other product or marketing tool, paid YouTube Channels will likely be successful if the content being shared is valuable to the audience, helpful, entertaining and useful. Channels that are able to provide the best content may find it easy to gain subscribers. Will you apply for a paid channel? Do you think the new feature will benefit your business?
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Facebook has unrolled a new feature: the ability to comment on posts from Bing search result pages. When a Facebook user searches for a term, Bing displays relevant posts from the user’s friends on the right-hand side of the page, where searchers can now add a comment. Another new feature is the ability to add a new Facebook post from Bing.
Last year, Bing added social search results from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, but today is the first time users have been able to interact with those results from Bing. For users to use the new features, they will have to login to Facebook through Bing.
Are Social Results Helpful?
Social search results aren’t anything new; Google has been offering it for years. But, how useful are these results? If someone is searching for information through a search engine, does he care what his friends think?
There may be cases where social search results are helpful, but it may be more likely that the results are more for fun, adding a new dimension to social media. However, even if a searcher doesn’t think he cares what his friends have to say about a topic, he may still see related posts and be influenced by them.
Studies have shown that people value their peers’ opinions. When someone’s friends are all talking about a new product, that person is bound to become interested as well. People’s friends and family members also have a tremendous influence on one’s decisions.
For example, if a searcher is researching a product, and sees a post from a close friend that speaks highly of the product, the searcher is more likely to purchase that item.
How Can Marketers Use the New Feature?
Perhaps the biggest way your business can use Facebook and Bing’s new feature for your marketing campaign is to bolster your social media marketing efforts. Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and with social search results, it becomes even more powerful. Knowing that your target market may see social media posts that mention your brand when they use a search engine, you can make an effort to create more of a buzz about your business on social media. As more of your customers post about your company, your business will be more likely to appear in social search results.
Encouraging customers to post positive messages about your business, products, services and events can have a big impact on your overall success. Taking advantage of this feature can help you leverage people that are influential over your target market, so you can gain more customers.
Another benefit of this feature is that it adds one more way companies can earn search engine results. If you are using a search engine optimisation campaign, you can add this feature to your list of tools that can help you earn higher rankings. While these rankings may not directly bring traffic to your website, they can help raise awareness about you brand and spur people to seek out your company.
Facebook and Bing have worked together in the past to bring new features to users, and this latest update is just another example of how the two companies are influencing the way social media and search work. Your business can take advantage of this feature by recognizing that your social media presence is growing increasingly important, that you can leverage comments from influential people and that you now have one more way to gain search rankings.
Monday, May 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
What kind of social media marketing does your business use? Do you use paid marketing or do you use social media in the more traditional way, writing posts, adding pictures and connecting with other users? Both of these approaches can be very successful ways to market your brand, and each has its pros and cons.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Paid social media marketing encompasses any social media marketing tactic you have to pay for. Some common examples include:
- Promoted tweets and posts
- Social media ads
- Sponsored posts
- Promoted accounts
Businesses that use paid social media often do so with very specific goals in mind. Sometimes these goals include raising awareness, but more often paid social media is used to drive traffic, promote an event, gain customers, publicize a contest or generate leads.
One of the main advantages of paid social media marketing is that your content is almost guaranteed to be presented to your target market. Most social media networks allow advertisers to select specific demographics, allowing them to control where their content goes.
The downside to this is that some users are wary of ads and don’t respond to them at all. Some members of your public may be less likely to trust ads than they would be to trust traditional social media posts.
Traditional Social Media Marketing
For the sake of this post, traditional social media marketing is defined as tactics like status updates, pictures, comments, responses and social media shares. This type of marketing is similar to the way social media is used by your target market, except you should have a strategic campaign behind the way you use your accounts.
Traditional social media marketing allows your business to have conversations with and interact with your market. As customers or potential customers comment on your content or ask questions, you are able to respond. Paid social media marketing doesn’t allow for this.
Using social media this way is also more natural and may be more effective for an audience that is prone to tuning out advertisements and content that is too sales oriented. With traditional social media marketing, your brand can become part of larger conversations and a community, which can be extremely beneficial.
Much of marketing and sales is based on relationships. Traditional social media marketing allows for the growth and fostering of these relationships. If you are seeking to add a level of transparency or approachability to your company, these kinds of tactics can help.
However, traditional social media marketing often takes more time and requires you to work harder to build an audience and to get your message to the right demographic.
The Best of Both Worlds
Most businesses use a combination of paid and traditional social media marketing. Both strategies have their place and both have strengths and weaknesses that can compliment each other. According to Nielsen, advertisers and agencies use the free social media tools slightly more than they use the paid tools. But, 64 percent of these businesses plan to increase their social media spending in 2013.
The way you use social media marketing to promote your brand will depend on your business and your goals. As you decide what kinds of results you want to get from your social media involvement, you can decide if paid or traditional social media marketing is best for you.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of Jason Howie/Flickr.
If your business doesn’t use social media marketing or if it is not using it very successfully, it can be overwhelming to try to build an online presence. Some businesses are tempted to start using all social media channels available, only to find that their efforts aren’t paying off.
By strategically implementing a social media marketing plan, you can make sure you are using the channels available to you to their fullest potential and reaching your target market with the correct message.
Prioritize Social Media Networks
Not all social media networks lend themselves to all businesses. It’s very likely that there are two or three networks that are better for your business than others. Consider your business goals, where your target market is likely to be, and what kinds of messages you want to send through social media. Then, prioritize social networks starting with the ones that are most likely to help you reach your goals.
Start Small and Focused
Start with the first few networks on your prioritized list. Set up complete and optimised profiles for these accounts, post to them often, build a following and engage with other users. You should also promote these accounts on your website and blog and through other marketing channels as appropriate.
The idea here is to build very strong accounts on a few networks and to get very good at using them for social media marketing.
Translate Your Tactics
Once you start to see results from a few social media channels, you can branch out and begin to use others, using some of the same tactics you’ve already practiced. Of course, each channel will require slightly different tactics, but the things you’ve learned about how your company, target market and social media work together can help you be successful on new social networks.
Follow Your Market
As you decide with additional channels to add to your strategy, follow your market. Remember that where your market is and where your business has an online presence need to be the same. For example, just because you build a very strong presence on LinkedIn, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to reach your target market if it is more likely to use a service like Twitter.
Slowly Build a Larger Presence
The businesses that are the most successful on social media slowly build a presence, rather than spread all their resources too thin. By focusing on just a few channels to begin with, and then slowly joining other networks and expanding your social media marketing efforts, your business will gain more from social media. Businesses that try to take on too much in the beginning may have a lot of social media accounts, but they generally don’t have a very strong presence in any of them, meaning none of their accounts are especially valuable in helping them reach their goals.
Creating a strong social media presence that brings rewards takes time. It will take strategy to reach your target market and then build a following and to build accounts that will help your business reach its goals, grow and be successful.
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Creating websites that are optimised for mobile use is a current marketing trend, and for good reason. More and more people are browsing the Internet from their smartphones, meaning the small screen is an excellent place to reach your target market.
One of the most popular smartphone uses is accessing social media. Fast mobile browsers and various apps make it possible for people to reach out to their friends, post pictures and status updates, and connect with your business, all from the palm of their hand.
Making your social media marketing campaign mobile-friendly is relatively easy, considering the number of social media apps that already format social media sites for a small screen. But, there are still some things you can do to make your campaign more effectively reach a mobile audience.
Use Mobile-Ready Apps and Landing Pages
If you use Facebook apps, make sure they are mobile ready. If a user accesses your app from the Facebook app, and lands on an app that is not optimised for his screen, he’ll likely exit the app.
Likewise, make sure your landing pages are mobile optimised for the same reason. Any page you send social media followers to should be mobile friendly, whether that’s your own site or a landing page.
Keep it Simple and Short
People who access social media from their smartphones are usually on the go. They don’t have a lot of time to read long posts or follow complicated directions. Your social media posts should be short and to the point and your campaign should be designed with this in mind.
Another benefit to keeping things short is that short messages and campaigns are often more memorable than long, complicated ones.
Use the Mobile Aspect to Your Advantage
Since mobile social media use is so popular, you can integrate the mobile aspect into your campaign. Smartphones and apps make it easy to make things like check-ins, photo contests and QR codes a major part of your campaign. You can make mobile work for you by creating a campaign that utilizes the fact that your market is on the move.
Enhancing your social media marketing campaigns by making them accessible to mobile audiences can make your strategy even more effective. Using mobile-friendly apps and landing pages, keeping your messaging short and using the fact that your audience is on the go to your advantage are simple ways you can start mobile optimising your campaign now.