“Social Media sites creates an illusion of connectivity.” –Malay Shah
An influencer is quite simply someone who carries influence over others. Social media influencers are someone who wields that influence through social media. The form of influence can vary and no two influencers are the same. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great places to engage with your family, friends, and favorite celebrities, but where should you go to connect with influencers in your industry? LinkedIn of course!
One of the great things about LinkedIn is it isn’t the same kind of networking that happens at conventions, where you’re wearing a name tag, trying to meet strangers, and awkwardly attempting to make small talk. LinkedIn is networking without the pressure. Here’s how to get the most out of it.
Influencer marketing is the best way for brands to spread the word about their product, but whom a brand chooses to represent their product is often the key to a successful influencer campaign. Influencers come in all shapes, sizes, and industries, and one of the niche verticals includes “social media influencers“.This term is often confusing because, depending on the context, a social media influencer might include any influencer who falls into one of the influencer verticals. Other times, “social media influencer” refers to influencers who make their mark in social media due to their business, tech, and social media expertise.
Social media is always exciting and playing a vital role in everybody’s life this era no matter you are an entrepreneur,celebrity,tech geek, social media evangelist & the list goes on. New social media channels are budding every day along with the new features for the existing one. Keeping up with the pace to track all the latest updates across the giant of networks is humanly impossible.
2017 is slated to be a big year for influencer marketing, and it’s important to know the who-what-where of the industry. Today’s article lists the top 30 social media influencers you need to know in 2017.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Become a Triple Threat with your Facebook Fan Page
First, create a custom landing tab, otherwise known as a welcome page. This is the #1 mistake I see most people making with their Facebook presence. Either they do not have a fan page or they have no opt-in gateway on their fan page. You can give your potential follower a free gift in exchange for their email address. This provides you an opportunity to introduce the amazing benefits they’ll receive in liking your page and you can continue to share your content with them through your newsletter.
Second, use the photo slider at the top of your page for picture advertising. For instance, one picture could read, “Click here for a free ___.” The picture then takes the follower to a link on your website with the free offer.
Third, use the @mention option when you reply to comments. Not only does this promote specific dialogue and engagement, but it also, allows you to reach a wider audience. When you @mention a follower in a post, your comment also appears on their page or wall. The way you mention someone is simple, type the “@” symbol and start typing the name of the person that you wish to mention. Facebook will start to give you choices as you type in the name. Select the one that is the correct one and that will ‘tag’ them in your comment.
2. It’s Time for a Twitter Party!
If your target market isn’t finding you on facebook, be sure to get involved on twitter. You can use sites like www.twellow.com, www.listorious.com, www.triberr.com and www.twitterfeed.com to find and connect with key people in your niche.
Likewise, creating and saving searches is a great way to take focused action on twitter. Each time you visit, you can get involved in the latest conversation on your topic, and share the love with @mentions or retweets.
As you build a community on twitter, host an hour long twitter party. This can be especially useful if you have a product launch, or if your audience has a lot of questions. To set up a twitter party, decide upon a short and relative #hashtag that “partiers” can use to communicate with you. Then, have fun answer questions, giving away prizes, offering discounts, and promoting your products.
3. Don’t Leave Out LinkedIn!
Because LinkedIn is not as fast paced as Facebook or Twitter, entrepreneurs tend to put it to the back burner. This is a mistake.
You want to utilize LinkedIn for its group opportunities and recommendations feature.
Overall, testimonials are still one of the most influential selling points. If you don’t already have 3 recommendations (the required amount to have a complete profile), then ask clients, colleagues and joint venture partners to submit one. Or, simply write recommendations for others. linkedIn will automatically ask the recipient to reciprocate.
Don’t forget the groups! Groups are NOT for selling or promoting your products. But, they can create amazing networking and joint venture opportunities. Imagine if you could reach your audience through an interview, webinar or podcast that someone else put on?
4. If a Picture Says 1000 Words, Imagine the Power of YouTube…
If you haven’t started to create videos that showcase your expert knowledge, or help you launch a product, then you are missing out.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a camera, or feel overwhelmed by the recording process, you can now record and edit right on youtube itself.
After you upload your video, supercharge it by adding keywords to your title, description and tags. Be very specific, here. Think about the phrases your target market will type into the search box.
Likewise, put your website link in the description box FIRST. Then, describe the video. Most viewers won’t read past the first 3 lines of text. So, if you’re website is NOT in those first 2-3 lines, you’re missing out on potential customers.
Once you’ve created a video, be sure to use it on all of your social media platforms.
5. Schedule your social media posts
Use a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to schedule your posts. Consistency is key with social media, and scheduling your posts can be a huge help.
6. Be authentic
Stand out from the competition by being honest, real and transparent.
7. Always use a call to action (CTA)
Regardless of which platform you are using, it is important to always use a clear CTA. Let your fans and followers know what you want them to do next!
8. Build relationships with brand advocates
Spend some time nurturing relationships with your “super fans” and they will continue to sing your praises and help you grow your online presence!
9. Be responsive
Tweeting, pinning and posting aren’t enough. Read and respond to comments and questions in a timely and professional manner.
10. Think about how social media fits into your marketing funnel
How will all your efforts on social media help you accomplish your marketing and sales goals? Spend some time figuring out how social media fits into the bigger picture.
Michael A. Stelzner
Connect: On Twitter
Rethink is the keyword here. Rethink your posting strategy on social media – Less is actually more!
2. Live video is the flavor of the day
Live video is currently the flavor of the day with algorithms and so figure out a way to do it. We have nearly 13 sessions on live video at Social Media Marketing World 2017. We’ve got some preliminary research that marketers are all in on live video and so it’s time to do it – do not delay.
Refocus on the reason why you have a social community in the first place. There’s a community there and so it’s important to refocus on community development. Stop worrying about the numbers and stop worrying about the traffic. Start focusing on cultivating the right people to build a strong affinity and relationship with your business so that they become evangelists.
4. Social Media Planning & Discovery
Before embarking on your marketing mission, Stelzner advised that you should be clear with your vision, develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals, and set your business course trajectory. You should also look for role models to emulate. Ask around you to see if you’ve got any knowledgeable peers and industry experts.
Alternatively, study how big brands do it or seek insights from your community of followers.
To augment your knowledge, you could set up “idea vaults” and create a discovery system. This would allow you to find influential people and experts, discern industry trends, and locate interesting content.
Sources of information to populate your idea vault include Google Alerts, bookmark services like Delicious.com, Twitter Search, conferences, Amazon’s Hot New Releases list, and other online repositories of knowledge.
5. Three Groups of People to Work With
There are three groups of people whom you should work with to launch your business online.
a. Customer/Reader Community
- Develop detailed personas for your ideal reader base. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who should these people or businesses be?
- How are their daily lives likely to be?
- Which industries/companies would they belong to?
- What are their topical interests?
- What job titles do they hold?
- Probing more deeply, you should also identify the problems that they face, their familiarity with your topics, as well as their desires, needs and wants.
- This would apply to both their roles as consumers as well as potential clients for your business.
b. Outside Experts
- These are the folks with the experience, training and knowledge to take things up a notch.
- They can help to expand your network through mutually beneficial arrangements, add credibility, attract other experts and help your business to stand out.
- To provide value to these experts, offer to expose them to your crowd, promote their projects, and make it easy for them to work with you.
c. Fire Starters
- The “superheroes” of your industry, fire starters are experts with direct access to a highly engaged reader base. Their profiles would closely match the customer base which you are trying to target and acquire.
- Often, these experts have incredible influence. However, they need to be provided with unique opportunities to be part of something big.
6. Gifts, Social Proof and Calls to Action
True gifts engage people and build relationships. In the social media world, your content must be genuinely helpful and valuable.
Don’t wrap them up in sales or marketing messages. Such cloak and dagger practices are anathema to your community!
Beyond free content that helps people solve their problems, you should publicly recognise the outstanding efforts of other industry players, promote other people’s content, and provide social proof (eg Facebook Fans, Tweet numbers, Email subscribers, etc) to show how popular your content is.
A Call To Action (CTA) is a “suggested activity that guides people toward an outcome”. Often, the use of pop-up subscription boxes and integration of a CTA button in your navigation bar helps.
In the book, strong CTAs include action-oriented phrases such as the following:
- Register for our free newsletter;
- Click here to access special content;
- Join us on Facebook;
- Please leave your comments in the box below; and
- Purchase now by clicking here.
7. Great Content + Other People – Marketing Message = Growth
Most people are repelled by marketing messages. They don’t like to be marketed to, and I think anybody who is listening or reading what I’m saying right now can understand that we are attacked by marketing messages in our car, airports, bathroom stalls — and literally everywhere. The problem is that people tune out and they don’t pay attention to those ads. So that creates a real quandary for us who are business owners and marketers. How can we get in front of people when they’re not paying attention?
People don’t trust us anymore. Edelman did a study that showed that only one in three people trust businesses. Those are two serious quandaries. So what do you do? Well, we should focus on the needs of people, and if you can figure out how to provide what people want for free and can figure out how to scale that by hundreds or thousands or millions of people, then you can rapidly grow a following upon which you can grow a business, and you do that with content.
Content provides the ultimate scalability because a single article can work for you in a way that a human being on the phone never could. And it’s something that if done right, people will end up sharing the content with their peers, which will drive more traffic back to it, and it creates this awesome feeder mechanism. So that’s the great content you need. You also have to bring in people outside of your organization if you want to grow — these experts that we refer to earlier. And the last thing is put away the marketing messages.
When you do all three of those, you end up creating content that is highly valuable and not perceived as bait designed to convert. And when I receive a gift that I know has no strings attached, I’m going to love you as a result of it. I’m going to want to keep reading your stuff and tell my friends about it. And what that does is create a big, big following upon which you can ultimately begin the process of selling, and that’s the elevation principal. You first need to own the audience so that you’re not reliant on middlemen anymore who cost you a ton of money.
8. Importance of producing “Nuclear Content”
There are two kinds of content that can bring people to your business. Primary fuel is the content you produce regularly (e.g., your average blog posts). Nuclear fuel is the kind of stuff that’s really complicated but is stuff that people go crazy over (e.g., reports that they normally would have to pay for but are free).
And the upside to nuclear fuel is mass exposure. You’ve given a gift to people. You know what I mean? And it empowers them to make decisions about what they’re going to be doing in the future. And that builds stronger relationships between your readers and your brand. But it’s also something that demonstrates the value of your website.
You could argue that it’s a form of marketing. Yes, it costs a lot of money actually — a lot of time to analyze and produce a survey, hire a graphics designer to create a nice cover, etc. But at the end of the day, I would probably have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the equivalent number of press mentions about the report. You know what I mean? Just think about all the advertising I would have to buy and all these different mediums just to get the word out about that report. It’s free because now I’ve got thousands and thousands of people who are sharing this thing everywhere.
9. The power of social media giants will increase
It’s no secret that the giants of social media world want people to spend more time on their networks and not your own website. As user numbers grow and internet users spend an increasing amount of time on social, it’s time for social media marketers to work out how this will affect their strategy in 2017.
“Algorithms, bots, artificial intelligence and people working for very big companies will destroy the business models of people who produce content by disrupting the free flow of information. In the very near future, information flow will be filtered and measured and censored in the name of “reducing clutter” and revealing “only what’s important.” Facebook will decide what you see. Google will serve up only that content that complies with its rules and is housed on its servers. Email solutions like Gmail and Yahoo will tighten their own algorithms so even reaching the inbox is at risk.
The information distribution highway will have toll stations that must be paid for by the those who create content. If you want your content seen, you’ll need to house it inside the companies that control the toll stations. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and more will incentivize content creators to not link to off-site content. These large businesses will become the equivalent of the 1990s America Online–a type of “Hotel California,” where you can enter but never leave. Traffic to websites will decline and blogs will shut down. Gone will be the days of information flow and true information freedom. The future will only be more controlled, more filtered and less open. Are you ready for the change?”
10. Marketing and Selling on Social Media
Finally, to monetize all the followers and fans you’ve built up over the years – you are running a business after all – you should tactically weave your marketing in through the following approaches:
- Create marketing messages that drive people to your content – not your products and services;
- Generate leads by asking people to register and sign up for free valuable content;
- Promote free content as opposed to products and services; and
- Market through your subscription channels like emails, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts.
Through the Velocity Launch approach, you can market your products and services to your subscribers and reader base by “building anticipation and momentum that excites (your) reader base about (your) products or services while also moving them closer to a purchase decision”.
This can be considered a type of Drip Marketing approach. Such tactics are commonly used in digital marketing efforts involving information rich products and services. The key here is to infuse your content with subtle marketing messages while guiding readers towards your offerings.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Avoid being self-promotional
These are self-promotional messages: “Check out our product!” and “Here are five reasons our product is great!” If you don’t put yourself in the shoes of your prospect or customer, then you neglect their point of view and how they’d be receptive to your messages. Your customer doesn’t want to know 10 reasons why your product is better than everyone else’s. They’d rather have an ebook on ten ways they can do their own job better.
2. Share third party content
50 to 80% of the content that you provide through your social networks should not be about your company at all. Find relevant, credible websites and blogs and share their content more frequently than your own. This demonstrates that you’re helpful, builds relationships and proves that you’re doing more than trying to sell.
Social selling is about building relationships, offering good content, engaging, and providing yourself as the resource. In doing so, when someone is ready to purchase, you’ll be the first person they turn to.
3. Create fresh content
You want to put your content out there, not necessarily promotional content, but content that you create that helps your audience boost their own job performance. This approach promotes you and your company as thought leaders in your industry.
4. Create product groups on LinkedIn
In addition to your LinkedIn company page, create a group around your product or products as well. If you have something to sell, you want customers to have a place to talk about it. Product groups enable your product users to engage with each other and share best practices. As long as you have the resources to manage it, consider creating a LinkedIn group for each product so you can be more focused.
5. Launch targeted ads
LinkedIn is great for B2B companies because it’s a common space for business buyers and influencers to congregate. It’s often easier to reach this audience on LinkedIn versus Facebook or Twitter.
LinkedIn is also one of the better platforms for targeting your audience with paid ads because you can segment by direct contacts, locations, job titles, company name, etc. There are many options from a B2B perspective that enable you to hone in and get really targeted.
6. Create and share real-time content on Twitter
Today, you can’t be at a conference and not be on Twitter because there are conversations happening all around you. Twitter is like background buzz where you can talk about your products, share best practices, or put content out there. Whether you’re at a conference or not, it’s a place to always find a conversation around any products and topics.
7. Get visual
Graphics and visuals stand out on social media, and custom design is a great way to drive engagement around your social posts. On certain social platforms, such as Twitter, visuals automatically expand and will show your audience a lot more about your content versus just sharing text or a link.
8. Engage at the point of need
My good friend, Mike O’Connor, used to call it, “Engaging at the point of need.” If there is an opportunity on social media, such as a request for a product or service similar to yours, you can jump in and help them. This is an opportunity to guide the user toward purchasing your product or service. Do this carefully and slowly. You don’t want to scare them away.
9. Create events on Facebook
With Facebook focusing more on company pages vs individual pages when it comes to selling, event pages are a great way to stand out. Create an event to bridge the gap between personal and professional lines by inviting friends to your event. They can do so without liking your company page, if they choose.
10. Hone in and focus
With all the social channels out there, be mindful of your time and resources. It’s hard to keep up with ten different social networks at a same time. Therefore, it’s important to focus where it counts. Start by taking your sales cycle, whether it’s four to eight or more steps from opportunity to sale. Then, matrix that information with your different personas. For instance, if your audience is in IT, you might target a user, an IT manager, a CIO or a CEO. Draw your sales cycle across the top, and put your personas across the side. Now you have a matrix of every single person that might be involved in the purchasing decision for your organization and also each step of the sales process.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Think Progress Not Perfection
Marie Forleo‘s weekly videos preach this simple (much needed) motto. If you focus too much on perfectionism you’ll stall your progress. “Perfect” is like “normal.” There is no such thing.
Give up the impossible ideal of “being perfect.” While maintaining professionalism and high standards allow for progress to happen with an attitude of moving forward as a work in progress that can evolve.
2. Create Quality Not Quantity
Cranking out a bunch of junk isn’t going to help your blog or bring business to your company.
Short, unfocused fluff will provide no value to your readers or clients. Strive to become the resource in your industry and provide information to inspire people to consume, comment on, and share your work.
The other side of this coin is creating content that reaches your social media goals.
Focus on developing a social media marketing plan to provide high quality materials that help reach your SMART marketing goals.
- specific – who are you trying to reach?
- measurable – how will you measure your activities?
- achievable – do you have ability to complete your plans?
- realistic – do you have talent and/or team to complete your plans?
- timely – can you reach your goals on time?
More isn’t better for social media content. Take the time to develop your goals and designing specific pieces of content [blog articles, live videos, produced videos, webinars, etc.] to create winning marketing to help your clients and attract people to your website.
Google rewards original content by bubbling it to the top of relevant searches. This must be earned by creating stellar work.
3. Tell Your Story
Stories make your content interesting and unique. Each person or brand has their own story and distinctive way to tell it.
I have certain parts of my social media journey that I talk about which are mine alone. The short version is that Twitter was my first social media love, I was super excited to tweet and converse with authors which lead to my starting a Twitter chat called #MyBookClub. I love to read so this brought me particular joy.
This story is specific to me and people love to hear about it.
Find pieces of your story that you can share with writing, visuals, or video. My friend Brian Scott is a farmer in Indiana and he creates really great media of his activities on his family farm.
Brian shot with his son has SIX MILLION views on Facebook. Brian takes photos, shoots video, and does some great stuff with drones. He’s a fantastic ambassador for the modern farmer. Who knew they used so much high tech equipment? Not me! By the way, I met Brian on Twitter years ago in a blogging chat.
4. Great Visuals Matters!
Visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
It’s important to create something unique and not copy the style of another blog, brand, or social media personal brand that you love. You will not stand out and you will look like a jerk.
Need help with design? Find a professional designer to help you build your brand’s style. Don’t be a copycat.
Create unique social imagery to share. According to Twitter, tweets that contain images receive an average 35 percent boost in retweets.
HOW TO ADD VALUE WITH VISUALS:
- Create easy-to-read infographics
- Share tips for your industry
- Create quotes with helpful ideas from relevant thought leaders
5. Build with Consistency
Remember the stellar content in point #2? This needs to be done on a regular basis. Can you commit to post bi-weekly on your blog and once a week on your YouTube channel? When you’re making your plan be realistic with your goals and follow through with actions.
When people know that you’re posting something new every Monday at 9 am or going Live on your Facebook Page for a Friday video, they’ll anticipate and appreciate your efforts.
6. Be Agile
I know this is scary but social media marketing moves quickly. Create smaller content plans by the quarter and be ready to reevaluate based on changes on the social marketing platforms. We’re held at the whim of the changes that are made on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Pay attention to the platforms that you’re investing time and money into and adjust accordingly.
7. Think Bigger
Thinking of your social media and blog as a publication and creating an editorial calendar for your content will help keep you on track. Being organized with overall themes, post ideas, and using your analytics to keep your followers happy can make your life easier.
You won’t reach your business goals if you don’t have a plan. Start by creating a solid editorial calendar so you can keep the ideas flowing and always have things planned ahead.
It seems overwhelming but my most consistent social media is planned and prepped ahead of time.
This allows for more time to engage with people and respond to comments which is the true success of your social media. Just posting and never checking doesn’t work.
8. We trust our friend’s opinions
Only 33% of buyers believe what a brand says about itself. In contrast, the same study showed that 92% believe what their peers have to say about a brand. —Nielsen Survey on trust in advertising
HOW TO ADD VALUE WITH TESTIMONIALS:
- Ask current customers to share their experiences on video
- Create graphics with testimonials
- Design social marketing campaigns with client testimonials
- Share social media posts from your happy clients
9. Load your social media content calendar
Publishing to social media is an important part of any social marketing strategy. Sharing social content helps boost reach, increase following and establish your brand as a thought-leader. If you have no process in place, check out this webinar on building a social content calendar. When filling up a social media calendar, make sure your team satisfies the content needs of each individual network. Since no two social media audiences are the same, there are no hard-and-fast rules about how often to post. However, there are guidelines out there to use as a jumping off point:
- Post six to nine times to Twitter
- Post one to two times to Facebook
- Post one to two times to Google+
- Post one to three times to Instagram
- Post one to two times to LinkedIn
10. Be Interested
Being interested in other people to help you maintain your connection online. Remember people’s names and read their content.
Sprout Social has a great feature that you can see all the interactions with a person when you click on their profile. This is super helpful when you haven’t had a conversation with someone for a very long time.
A FEW TOOLS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS:
- Trello keeps my life organized and you can color code! It’s an essential item for people working on a team.
- Adobe Spark let’s me create gorgeous graphics on the go. It’s free and super fun to use. Everything looks 100% professional and they have free images that you can use in your designs. I used it to design my social media graphics for this article.
- Planoly is my favorite tool for Instagram management. You can create your posts as well as track and respond to comments.
- Buzzsumo is a great place to find content to share on social media.
There’s always a shiny new toy or tool popping up but you don’t have to spend a lot of time testing things – don’t pull your focus from getting real work done. It’s more important to be consistent and engaging on your social media than it is to spend too much time testing tools unless that’s the focus of your job or blog. If not, read reviews and fill in the holes in your social media plan as needed.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Create a plan.
Figure out the exact type of engagement you want from the content you are creating (Hint: The answer is NOT ‘whatever’s easiest to measure’).
2. Create engaging content.
After you have figured out the type of engagement you want, focus on creating content that’s valuable to your audience, and that moves them toward the type of engagement you want with them.
3. Make it easier to get the type of engagement you want.
If you’ve done the first two, this step will be easy. Think about how you can not only motivate your audience to engage in the way you want them to, but make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Also, remember that every social media tool does better or worse at facilitating certain types of engagement, so consider the tools as well.
4. Start tracking which of your customers are using social media.
There’s several different ways you could do this, but the main thing is that you want to create a way to start interacting with your customers online, plus you want to be able to follow them as well. You especially want to do this for your satisfied customers. Whenever someone is communicating to you that they are happy with your business, that’s a great time to ask them what their Twitter handle is! Or if they bring up social media, ask them if they are on Twitter or Facebook.
5. Post coupon codes to each social media channel you are using.
And you want to make sure these codes are specific to each site. For example, one code for Twitter, one code for Facebook. This helps you track which channel works best for driving sales. Run a separate code for each site at the same time on Monday. Then by 5 pm Friday if you had 15 redemption’s of the Twitter code for the week, and 3 for the Facebook code, that’s a possible indicator that your Twitter audience is more receptive to coupon codes than your customers on Facebook are.
6. Rethink the Punch Card.
Many small businesses offer punch cards, especially restaurants. They give you a card, and each time you make a particular purchase, your card is punched. After your card is ‘full’ (typically 5-10 punches), you get a free item. For example, the Pizza Hut here has a lunch buffet punch card. After 10 punches, you get a free lunch buffet. But what if you gave your customers a way to earn punches besides just purchasing a meal or product? For example, let’s say you are a hairstylist that offers customers a punch card for haircuts, and they get a punch for each haircut. After 10 punches, they get a free punch. What you could do is offer them an additional punch if they would take a picture of their haircut and then post it on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram! Or maybe if they RT your tweet about this week’s promotions, that earns them a punch. You can play around with it and figure out what works best for your business, but you may find that a picture posted on Facebook might drive in more business than you’d ‘lose’ by giving up a punch on a card.
7. Use Twitter to do ‘real-time’ local marketing.
If you are a small business that’s active on Twitter, one of your best friends is a site called Monitter.com. What I love about Monitter.com is that it not only lets you search Twitter for specific search terms, it then lets you target those terms based on geographic location. So if you own a pizzeria in downtown Nashville, you can set Monitter.com to tell you whenever anyone tweets ‘pizza’ within X kilometers of any zip code you set, down to 10 km. So when I tweet ‘Lunch time! Hungry for pizza, where should I go?’, you can reply and tell me about your specials you are running on pizzas for lunch, and that if I’ll tweet you the pizza I want, you’ll have it ready for me when I arrive!
8. Reward your fans and best customers.
This ties back to the first point about tracking which of your customers are using social media. Let’s say you have built a list of 50 of your customers that are using social media. You can then go in and segment these users and then give them unique offers based on their activity.
For example, let’s say that 10 of those 50 customers are promoting your business on a weekly basis. These could be your ‘fans’. So you might want to create a special sale or event just for them. And when they arrive, make sure you communicate to them that they were chosen because they were helping to promote you and that you wanted to thank them for being your fans!
9. Be a rock star brand
Often when I talk to someone about or speak on Think Like a Rock Star, they will say ‘I love the concept, but we’re not Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. They are actual rock stars, we’re just a brand. We can’t have fans like they do.’
When I started writing the book, I set out to answer that question. Do actual rock stars simply have some natural advantage that brands do not? Are actual rock stars able to create fans, passionate customers that literally love them in a way that most brands cannot?
What I discovered, to my delight, was that rock stars do certain things to create fans that are easily replicated by brands. It’s not that brands can’t do the things that rock stars do to create fans, it’s that most brands aren’t willing to do the things they need to create fans.
Here’s your primer to becoming a rock star brand:
- Understand the business value of your fans. Your fans are your brand’s best sales people. They are the real rock stars, treat them as such.
- Focus on ways to increase interactions with your biggest fans. This galvanizes them and validates why they love your brand to begin with. Plus, it gives them a better understanding of your brand and your brand a better understanding of your fans.
- Communicate to your fans how they can help you. Remember that your fans are different from your average customer. The average customer has little to no interest in helping you spread your marketing messages but your fans are actively looking for ways to help you grow your brand. They want to help you, work with them to make that happen.
- Ask your fans for feedback. Ask them what they think about your brand, and ask them what they are hearing from other customers they talk to. Specifically, ask them what reasons other customers are giving them for why they do not want to buy from your brand. This is incredibly valuable feedback that you need to seek out. Once you learn why some customers don’t want to buy from your brand, you can work to correct those issues, and drive more sales.
- Remember this is doable. There’s no reason why your brand, no matter what industry you are in or products you sell, cannot have passionate fans that love you. It’s not about the product, if it were you would never see companies that create commodity products like scissors and industrial lubricants with passionate fanbases. It is about how you relate to and understand your customers. This is exactly why rock stars place a premium on having constant interactions with their fans and being as close to them as possible.
- Build the stage for your fans. They are the real rock stars.
10. The Two Most Important Words
Don’t make this stuff harder than it needs to be.
Want to instantly get more comments on your blog? Get in the habit of saying ‘thank you!’ when someone comments.
Want more people to share your content on Twitter? Get in the habit of saying ‘thank you!’ when someone RTs you.
Reward the type of behavior that you want others to engage in. In other words, appreciate and thank the people that are helping you, and they will probably keep doing so.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Post Like a Fan, not a Marketer.
On any platform, when you are looking for what you should be posting and what will resonate with your audience, look at your audience and see what they are posting, what they are sharing. People are not on social media (for the most part) to buy your stuff. They are on Facebook to hang out with friends and be entertained. They are on Instagram to share moments in life… whatever the platform, take a step back and look at what native content your fans are posting. Then stop posting like a marketer, and start posting like a fan.
2. Use Tools that help you Create Visual Content Quickly and Easily.
We have access to so many great tools now that anyone can be creative, and quickly and easily create content that catches attention and drives traffic on any platform. I recommend starting with Easil, Canva or Relay on a desktop. On mobile, some great tools for iOS and Android are Adobe Spark Post, Over, Studio, and Typorama.
3. Create Core Content
A trend that is growing yearly is “content overload” resulting in more algorithms across all social channels and making it harder for brands to get content seen. Rather than jumping in to create more content for the sake of it, instead create quality “core content” on key platforms like a blog or podcast that helps your audience solve a problem.
4. Provide massive value.
When I think of evergreen marketing and advice that never goes out of style, I immediately draw upon what has worked in my “offline” brick and mortar businesses over the past 20 years. It all comes down to one thing – providing massive value to your clients. Strip away all the bells and whistles and “tools” and think about how you can help or inspire your clients.
According to Forbes, it takes 5 x more effort to attract a new client than to keep an existing customer, and 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. What does this mean? Love your customers, get to know their values, provide massive value and empower them to share.
Word of mouth hasn’t changed…it’s just supercharged by the power of social media. A customer that loves you and wants to rave about you to his friends is worth more than any Twitter, Facebook or Google+ following. Think of your customers as being on your marketing team and it will change your perspective.
5. Handling yourself with Integrity
If you have someone come to you online with a complaint, it can be an opportunity to show exceptional customer service and build your business. Huh?, I hear you say! Sure, a complaint online for the world to see can be daunting, and perhaps your initial response would be to run and hide, not respond or even react defensively (not always a great idea, by the way). But imagine if you took the opportunity to show that you care? Just by showing that you have “heard” the complaint can make a huge difference to the customer (Hi Sarah – we are sorry that you have had a bad experience at our showroom), but then taking it further can really win you some brownie points. Ask for their input ”˜(Do you have any suggestions for how we can make it better?” and even offer them an experience to replace the initial one (Can we offer you the chance to come down for a free lunch and chat with us at our next client day because it’s people like you that help us to make our business better). Imagine if you did that in front of hundreds of “followers”. What message would that send?
6. Get Started With Short Video
By short video, I am referring to short video snippets under 30 seconds up to 1 minute in length – short, snappy, engaging and not the full, edited, professional quality longer-form video you might see on YouTube. Long form video is still a hugely important strategy, but start with short video.
It’s about getting you out of your comfort zone and not about you embarking on setting up a video production studio. Short is short for a reason it catches attention and encourages engagement. We are consuming stories in 10-15 second snippets on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, so it’s important for marketers to learn how to tell stories in this way.
7. Customer is the King.
I often say that it is important to focus less on attracting new customers and focus more on romancing the ones that you have. A satisfied customer will refer their friends, so never underestimate the power of giving your current customers a lot of attention and value. If you do this right they will bring in new customers for you!
8. Empower your team to market your business.
Educate them about how to talk to clients, educate them on how to use and post on social media and empower them to advocate for your brand. They are your most powerful marketers next to your happy customers.
9. Delegate what you can even if it is the smallest of jobs.
The sooner you can focus your time on doing the things that really matter in your business the faster your business will grow. Think about what you would pay yourself to do the task you are doing – if is a task you can pay someone else less to do, consider handing it off. This is hard to do in the beginning if you have low cash flow but it could be as simple as asking a team member to work one more hour per week or to have an intern or work experience student on a project basis. Freeing up just 1 or 2 hours per week to let you work on the business rather than being in it can be a huge boost to your confidence and productivity. Think laterally!
Social media and algorithms are always changing. Test and check what works on different platforms for different audiences. What works now on Facebook and Instagram is very different to what worked 2 years ago. Listen, watch and be prepared to adjust how you create, share and engage on digital platforms.
Connect: On Twitter
Branding is all about being consistent across channels. This means that the same naming, color scheme, and imagery that is part of your branding guidelines needs to be applied to social media.
The challenge, though, is that most branding guidelines don’t include “voice,” perhaps the most important part of your social media branding.
Here’s another perspective on social media “voice”: Nearly 84 percent of employees surveyed believe that CEO social media engagement is an effective tool to increase brand loyalty, while 68 percent think that C-suite social media use enhances the perception that a company is honest and trustworthy.
With that in mind, who represent (or represents) the voice of your company in your social media branding guidelines? And what will their tone(s) be?
If social media users are communicating and sharing information in social media, what is your company going to talk about? Content provides the medium to help you engage in conversation – and creating content that is truly resourceful and shareable can have many long-term benefits to your company’s social media presence.
Content isn’t just about blog posts, photos, and videos: Think outside of the box! Presentations, infographics, memes, and even discussions (such as in a LinkedIn Group) are all types of content that should be considered for your social media strategy.
That being said, 62% of marketers blog or plan to in 2013 – and I’ve been blogging since 2010 as to why a blog should be a part of your social media strategy.
Has your company started blogging – and is it completely integrated in your social media strategy?
If you’re just talking about yourself in social media, no one wants to listen. It’s only when you begin to curate content that is of interest to your followers and promote it together with your own content that your social media accounts begin to breathe new life. In addition, did you know that 85% of marketers surveyed stated that content curation is an important tool for establishing thought leadership?
Does your social media strategy include which sources you plan to curate from – as well in which ways you plan to leverage your content curation activities? Don’t forget that crowdsourcing content is also a great way of curating – especially if it is from your own fans’ tweets about and photos of your products.
There are more than 50 social networks having at least 10 million members. Which of these social media “channels” will your company include as part of your social media strategy?
You can’t – and shouldn’t – have a presence on every social media channel, but deciding which social networks to engage in – and creating internal best practices and tactical plans for each of these networks – will form a sizable part of your social media strategy.
While most companies concentrate on the more established social networks, depending on your industry the new emerging social networks of Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram, or even more niche social networks, might be equally important.
No two social networks are alike, and with limited resources you need to decide how much time you are going to spend doing what on each platform. This will also help you measure how well you are doing as well as maximize your ROI for time and resources spent on each platform.
More frequent posting doesn’t necessarily make your social media more effective. Post strategically. For instance, one data point shows that when a brand posts on Facebook twice a day, those posts only receive 57% of the likes and 78% of the comments per post that a single post receives.
Are you using data to properly tweak your frequency strategy for each social network so as to maximize the effectiveness of your posting?
Engagement should be considered in both its proactive and reactive forms. While most companies do well at proactive engagement with their own content, proactively engaging with new social media users and reactively engaging with those who engage with your updates are equally important to create an effective social media presence.
One thing to keep in mind about engagement, though, is that engagement should be a tactic to help you achieve your objective, not the objective itself.
It’s interesting to note that 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend those brands since becoming a fan or follower.
Is the engagement with your fans on each of your social media profiles worthy of being followed?
Listening has more meaning than merely being on the lookout for complaints. Every engagement with a social media user is a golden opportunity, and being a good listener can also help you reap the benefits of utilizing big social data to help understand potential future trends for your products and services.
Here’s two stats that indicate the importance of implementing a listening strategy as part of your comprehensive social media strategy plan.
- 67% of 23,000 consumers surveyed said they had used a company’s social media site for customer service.
- A recent study showed 71% of customers who complained via Twitter were not contacted by the company.
Does your company have a listening strategy in place?
Readers of Maximize Your Social will get a fresh look into how I redefine what a “campaign” is in the age of mainstream social media. Think of it less as a promotional marketing campaign and more of an experiment to better understand and more effectively engage with your social media followers.
That’s why I believe, as part of a comprehensive social media strategy plan, that it’s important to create campaigns on a regular basis – and remember to make them platform and/or content-specific to help give you more precise data for your future planning.
We all know the many potential benefits of campaigns. One stat that I like is that 39% of Facebook users who click on a “pick your favorites” ad campaign post go on to share it with friends.
Is your company experimenting not only with different campaigns on different social channels, but different types of campaigns that are best suitable for each channel?
Amplification of your message via influencers can help make your social media more effective – if you are engaging with the right influencers for the right reasons in the right way. The task of determining who an “influencer” is is not a trivial one: The social scoring service Klout has scored 400 million users and analyzes 12 billion social signals on a given day.
Are you targeting the right influencers – for the right objectives?
10. Brand Ambassadors (including Employee Advocates)
Whether they are the long-forgotten brand ambassadors that are your current employees, alumni of your company, or loyal fans to your brand, your social media strategy should always be looking for ways to engage – and reward – brand loyalty and amplification in social media.
Brand ambassadors are critical because we all know of the famous stat that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all forms of marketing.
I believe one of the biggest untapped opportunities for businesses is to leverage their own internal employees as brand ambassadors.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Build a small stage – your platform – that you’re going to stand on and get people to come to your. Pick one place where you want people to find you and play your best ‘show’ there for as long as it takes to build a solid following.
2. Twitter is a current chat. You don’t have to catch up; you don’t have to read everything from everybody. You pop on, look around, and jump in…There is no ‘right amount’ to tweet. No one can tweet too much or too little because it’s your account. When you have something to say, tweet it. When you see something of interest, reply to it.
3. Social media isn’t media at all – it is simply a conversation with two or more people. It’s an action. Not a site. Social media isn’t Twitter. Or Facebook. It isn’t the new web site flavour of the week. It’s the ability to have conversations online with others, whether it is your market, customers, colleagues, or anyone who happens to come across your conversation.
4. You’ve got to invest in something before withdrawing. investing your social currency means giving your time, your knowledge, and your efforts to that channel before trying to withdraw monetary currency.
5. Once I’ve gotten to know someone on Twitter, we can go to the next level on either of those two sites (Facebook and LinkedIn) because I now “know” them.
6. Storytelling is important in marketing, but it can’t be the brand telling the story. The brand should give the tools and ingredients to customers and let them tell the story. Branding is the message the customer or client says you are; it’s not what you say you are.
7. Change their attitude by listening to feedback and comments on social media, and then responding quickly. “If somebody complains about something on Twitter … we have to realize it’s a pivot point. They are vulnerable, no matter how petty it might seem, “When people complain they are actually saying, ‘I want you to fix this.’ Because if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t say anything.”
8. You can’t stop mistakes from happening, but you can affect the outcome by how you respond. When it hits the fan, it’s not time to hide behind the fan. It’s time to be awesome.
9. For content to go viral, it has to create emotion, whether that’s excitement, anger, humor, or sadness. “Nobody shares mediocre. We share extremes. If you want to have word of mouth, you have to do something worth talking about.
10. Marketing is every employee’s job. Marketing likes to keep tight control over a brand’s messaging, but every employee is a representation of the brand. Instead of muzzling employees on social media, for example: show them how much of an impact they have on the brand. Show them how their social activity matters.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Only Focus On 2-3 Social Channels:
As I’ve argued in the past, it’s much better to be really active in a meaningful way on just two or three social channels than to be semi-active on all of them in a lackluster fashion.
Nobody will notice if you’re not there, but they will notice if you are there and do it poorly.
Think about people you admire and would like to emulate in your industry. Do they all seem to congregate on certain channels?
Chances are they do, and that’s where you should focus your efforts.
Also, think seriously about choosing a platform that allows you to publish directly. A personal blog/site is no longer an absolute necessity to self-publish.
LinkedIn (a very natural choice for most professionals) has an incredible publishing tool that’s easy to use and allows for distribution of your content once published.
In addition, Twitter plays very nicely with Medium (Ev Williams founded both), which is another way to focus on creating interesting content related to your career and ensure it is easy to promote.
Take your time with this choice in the beginning, but you can always change your mind and approach again in the future to abandon a channel that isn’t working or experiment on a new one.
2. Identify, Engage And Befriend Other Professionals:
Any industry, no matter how niche, will likely have a few established voices that garner respect.
After deciding on your industry, platforms and topics, find the people with clout in your vertical and actively interact with them.
Connecting with like-minded professionals in your field will provide you with opportunities to learn more about your craft, build rapport with luminaries in the industry, showcase your skills and passion for the sector by helping others and increase the visibility of your personal brand overtime.
To start, browse Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and elsewhere to find people that consistently share interesting content related to your career interests and aspirations.
Reach out to some of the professionals you’ve found on social media to spur meaningful conversation with them about the field by commenting on your shared interests, as well as expressing your genuine willingness to help them succeed in advancing their own career.
Simply saying you appreciate their work isn’t going to get you far as it’s unoriginal, while asking them for something is too selfish.
Instead, review their book, quote one of these experts in your article, interview them for your video series and more to network with them more deeply through content and leave a memorable impression.
3. Strategically Repurpose:
Although an active social presence is very important for building and honing your personal brand, if you don’t approach the project intelligently it can begin to become an outsized investment of time and energy.
Ideally, throughout this process, you also want to be making contacts and find promising leads for new jobs or business opportunities.
Repurposing is absolutely necessary if you hope to make the most of your content efforts.
This way you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you’re ready to share content on social media.
Again, it is important to stress that this entire process is time consuming as a brand isn’t built quickly.
4. Every audience is unique:
No two audiences are the same, which means the preferences of your customer base are unique to your company alone. Therefore, it’s important to not get caught up in the hype associated with joining the latest and greatest social networks for the sake of joining. Some social networks aren’t for everyone.
Even though your competitors are active on certain social networks, doesn’t mean your business should be too. It is important to monitor your competitors activities across social media, but don’t simply follow their lead. Instead, watch what they are doing on social media and react accordingly with your own unique approach to the channel.
It’s important that you’re on a social channel to reach your audience online, not just because you’re obligated to by common trends in your industry. Your audience might be extremely active on Facebook, but not YouTube or Tumblr. It’s all about being where your audience is active.
You’ll learn where your customer base is active online over time by listening in on some of the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, to see if your audience is there and communicating their interests in your type of offerings. This is where having an accurate customer profile comes into play to ensure you’re monitoring the right types of users that are most likely to be interested in your organization’s products or services.
5. Develop a Concise Strategy with Consistent Timing, Post Structure, and Series:
Start by creating a concise plan that is structured around the goals of your organization when it comes to actively communicating with your audience across channels. It becomes easiest to continue to grow your existing efforts on social media when you’ve identified some key processes that your organization can rely on and your audience can come to expect.
Begin by creating a consistent schedule based on an editorial calendar of when you’ll be creating, optimizing, and then sharing certain types of content and on what channels.
Once you’ve developed a baseline for your content with this calendar, it’ll be much easier to understand what sharing more content will involve in the future since you’ll have a clear vision of what you’re doing now and what resources, staff and time it takes to produce results at the current quality and quantity.
6. Use Appropriate Tools to Scale:
With a concise plan in place backed by a strong bank of topics to cover in the form of series, it’s now important to match your business with the right toolkit to execute against these ideas as you continue to scale.
Selecting the right tools is important for your business to be able increase how much content you’re producing and publishing on a regular basis, since there are limits to how much your team can do in a day.
Automating some of the more repetitive processes that are involved with publishing on social is the first step to saving time and resources to spend on growing your efforts.
7. Focus on Adding Paid Advertising to the Mix:
In a sense, paid advertising is a tool to help scale your social media content to the next level as well but with a goal of reaching a new and much larger audience than you’d typically be able to organically.
With the major changes to the Facebook’s news feed and the constant increase of messaging on all other social platforms, it’s difficult to scale to your social content to a larger audience without also continually applying your budget to pay for reach on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other social platform that make sense for your business.
Used paid advertising as one approach to your social media marketing mix to help scale your best organic content, while also creating paid specific content to be shared with a healthy balance of your existing fans, customer base, and potential customers.
8. Hold contests, giveaways and sweepstakes on social media to drive your followers and non-followers to sign-up to your email list in order to enter the promotion. This is one way of converting people interacting with you on social media into long-term subscribers interested in viewing your future content, if they opted in when they initially signed up for your contest.
9. Provide world-class customer service across your social media channels to help nurture your relationship with your social following and existing customers. Reacting to the concerns, comments and complaints of your customers across social media in a friendly and timely manner will go a long way towards building trust with potential leads and existing customers.
Moments of delightful customer service often help fuel word of mouth marketing for your business from existing customers. According to Forrester Analyst, Zachary Reiss-Davis, “people you know and respect online are the most important sources of discovery when you’re looking for new things to buy.”
Use social media to help turn existing customers into your most vocal advocates, generating more leads for your business.
10. Host a Twitter chat, a Facebook chat or a Google+ Hangout on Air to create a real-time interactive experience with your audiences online. Create an engaging session on a valuable topic for your target customers; invite industry leaders and customers alike to join in on a moderated discussion. Showcasing a human face during these sessions can help your business better foster trust amongst your audience, which will likely help you gather more leads from your social community.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Stop, think, and Listen:
The human race is a population of people watchers. We learn from watching other people. We learn from doing for ourselves, but it doesn’t hurt to ask questions both online and offline. Stop and think about what you want to ask or say though. Be open to new ideas, because no idea is a bad idea unless in contradicts what you are trying to accomplish. But even those that contradict are opportunities for gained knowledge. Keep in mind to always be respectful of others ideas and thoughts.
2. What do you want to accomplish:
First figure out why you want to utilize social media as a marketing plan. Second, understand that once implemented, there must be a planned for updating the content or your site will grow stale. Nothing spells epic fail like failure to have fresh new content on your site. Lastly, determine if you are going to measure response to the social marketing campaign. Some of the most popular reasons for creating a social media strategy is to humanize your company, increase awareness, be more responsive, and incorporating public opinion.
3. Technological functionality:
Social media does not need a technology guru to work or run it. Most laymen are adept at using the social media network. Keep in mind that in order to market in social media, these networks cannot be hidden behind firewalls and that opening your company to the social media also allows access to these forums by your employees. Compromises can be made by implementing a “social media” break.
4. What do your employees want:
Employee interest is a big consideration. Be aware of the level of understanding and determine if additional training is needed. A good idea is to have approved messages for your employees to utilize. Use keyword rich content that allows the replier to respond to a specific post. A clear understanding of when and how to participate in social media is needed. Develop job aides to help your employees in this endeavor.
5. Relationships with influencers:
Always make it about the other person..what’s in it for them.? If you offer great value and nothing about yourself, people will be drawn towards you and want to help you out..works every time. Also, don’t be cheesy and pour on the fake adoration…people can see through that..be yourself and natural and let them know why you are contacting them. We find most influencers are pretty willing to share content, but it has to be GREAT…don’t expect people to share average content….that’s everywhere!
Awareness is the cornerstone of social media. You can’t take a sales order from social media sites, but you can definitely get the word out, get some attention, and provide direct access to your website from them. The main goal here is to let people know that you are available. You can converse and interact with potential clients and customers and let them know you are available to help them with their needs.
So, you’ve got them hooked, now what do you do with them? You need to let them know that you are better than your competition. Give them examples of your work. Provide samples of your product. You need to keep their interest.
You’ve made your potential customers aware; you know they are interested, now you’ve got to stoke their desire. Once the customer is at your website, make sure its user friendly. How many of us have gone to a website only to leave because it was too difficult to navigate? No matter how many discounts you give or how great your product is, if your website is difficult to use, people will simply give up and go. Create a testimonial area so people can review you and your products or services. Remember, your site is a reflection of you and your business; make it as accessible as possible.
This is where your website is your best ally. You can influence the customers to a certain extent with the use of social media through the previous levels, but here you need to make it an easy and painless transition for the customer. Here is where you are going to be able to see the bottom line of how much your marketing has actually impacted your bottom-line.
With the advent of social media the marketing funnel has changed; loyalty and advocacy are the new levels in the traditional marketing funnel. You want your new customers to buy from you again, so provide a follow up message to your customers via the original contact method. If someone contacted you via Facebook or Twitter send them a message or a tweet thanking them for their business. You can also provide a discount code for their next purchase to help promote loyalty.
10. The future is here:
Where once cafés, bars, restaurants, etc., were the main hubs of communication, social media is fast taking their place. As the public becomes more technically advance, companies are adjusting their strategies to meet the rapidly progressing public. More and more companies are turning to social media for their advertising and marketing needs. Complete planning, execution and integration are key to creating a successful social media strategy.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Empathy and understanding:
If you can’t understand the people you are hoping to serve, then you won’t be able to deliver what they really want and need, in the way they want it. You need to be able to solve real problems, you need to get to the root causes, and communicate in language people understand.
You need to be able to communicate (as mentioned in the previous item), especially written, but speaking too. It doesn’t matter if you are an entry-level employee, a solo entrepreneur, or a CEO of a large corporation, clear and compelling communication is vital. The days of having a room full of typists is gone. Nobody will be able to escape email, but of course there are all the social networking tools too.
3. Networking, relationship and people skills:
So I mentioned networking in the previous point. I mean actual networking, not spamming Facebook and Twitter with your links! Human interaction. Building relationships. Getting to know people, and having them get to know you. It’s difficult to get anywhere without other people around to help you. People who can build and grow teams will have an advantage over people who burn out relationships almost as soon as they connect. I realised you don’t need technical or craft skills yourself if you can partner and communicate effectively. Let me know if you disagree …
The willingness and ability to fail repeatedly is an odd one but I really believe it. I was talking to Ben last night and he was telling us about a talk he gave at a school where he said it was one of the most important things to learn. Ben is an engineer and inventor but I think it applies to everything. See projects as experiments, not pass or fail, and you will have a much better time.
5. Stamina and staying power:
A lot of people give up too soon. Seth Godin calls it “The Dip”. When it gets difficult is often right before you succeed. Of course, you also need to know when to give up. Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, as the song goes.
6. Reap What You Sow:
What are you aiming for? What is your goal?
If you want to get yourself known, social media is a great way to build visibility and a platform. Getting known might be your goal or it might be a means to an end. Again, social media can help you build connections that pay off in terms of opportunities and offers.
At the very least, when you do the right things in social media, you’re building a profile that represents you in the best possible light when anyone wants to look you up. It is a rare potential employer who will not do a quick Google search, and apparently even potential dates now do this routinely!
7. Model Real Life:
Social media grew out of real-world social rules and therefore what works in real life works well in social media, but with wider distribution and accelerated cause and effect.
Often people say to me that social media does not work, but what they really mean is they tried to extract value before they put any in. In fact, at the time of this writing I almost got into a protracted debate on Twitter about this very thing. Because this one person didn’t see any results, he believed social media “didn’t work.” The problem is, social media does not work for people who just want to take and be selfish, so he is setting himself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You can’t withdraw very long from an empty social capital account. Essentially, if you want to get out value, then you need to start putting value in.
8. Be Likeable:
Another aspect of social media engagement is that your basic interactions are communicating more than the 140-character status updates. People also read between the lines. Again, this can work for or against you.
Brands are built through experience just as much as what you say and any image you create. The brands you love and hate are much more about how they have treated you than their logos and corporate mission statements!
The same is true on a personal brand level. It’s about treating people well and giving them a positive experience with you. It really helps if you like people because you are going to need to be consistently a good person to know. Using light humor, being kind, sharing about more than just your work—including your interests allow people to connect with you on a human level as well as a business and technical level.
9. Share, Share, Share:
Tactically this is about sharing good stuff. If you want to position yourself as an expert, then share what you know.
The more you share good stuff, the more people will want to listen to you. Even better, if you share your expertise with good stuff from other people mixed in, it shows you’re generous and have your followers’ best interests at heart rather than pure self-promotion.
- Answer questions in LinkedIn.
- Share links, videos and anything useful that you find in Facebook and Twitter.
- Post your slide decks to Slideshare.
- Upload advice videos and demonstrations to YouTube.
- Write valuable content in your blog and answer comments.
- Invite people to ask you questions on your Facebook fan page, Twitter and your blog.
10. Conduct a Whuffie Audit:
Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing fame invented the futuristic reputation, or social capital–based currency, of Whuffie. Some days I wish Whuffie really existed and that just by looking someone up we could see what kind of person they were and how much they added to society. Unfortunately we do not have Whuffie yet, but you can “audit” yourself to see how much social capital you are generating.
Keep an eye on your key metrics to see if they are growing and what behavior is influencing them:
- Followers, friends and subscriber counts—How many people you have following you is not the best metric, but it does tell you if you’re attracting versus annoying people!
- Retweets, clicks and shares—If people want to share your stuff, it’s a hint that what you are putting out is valuable.
- Comments, favorites, discussions—Can you spark discussion and debate? That’s value right there.
- Key contacts, referrals, recommendations and testimonials—Are you reaching people and are they telling others about you? What do people say about you behind your back? Will people publicly connect their name, and reputation, to yours?
Connect: On Twitter
1. Get creative with user-generated content:
Holding a content or sweepstakes where you ask customers to submit a type of content and then share it with their friends will bring new impressions, an influx of content, and potential close-to-purchase leads.
2. Tidy up your targeting:
Reaching the right people on the right networks, without breaking the bank, is how your business will be successful with its ad campaigns. Focus on maximizing many, smaller, and more targeted social media campaigns.
3. Analyze your insights:
Even if you aren’t investing in a social listening or monitoring platform, you can analyze each post’s reach. Using tools such as Facebook Insights, Hootsuite (the free version), and Pinterest Analytics, you’ll gain insight into the type of content that is being shared, and therefore reaching new customers.
4. Whatever You Do, Do It Well, and Don’t Overdo It:
A series of well-placed, well-thought out posts will do far more for your brand than simply barraging your followers with a torrent of posts. Different industries can get away with posting more often than others. But, no matter what industry you belong to, your content should always be high quality, original, and data-driven.
Creating a great social media campaign is not easy. It requires diligence, analysis, time, and intelligence. There are no shortcuts, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Industry- and platform-general data can only get you so far. So, if you want to be the best, you’re going to have to make up the difference yourself.
5. Decide What Success Looks Like:
You can only work out your ROI if you have an idea of what a successful campaign would look like. Think about what you want your campaign to achieve – perhaps it’s generating a particular number of leads in a set period of time; maybe it’s converting a certain amount of people on your landing page; or driving traffic to your website’s online store.
Failure to connect tangible business goals to social media campaigns is probably the reason behind Altimeter’s claim that only 34 percent of businesses feel that their social media strategy is connected with their business outcomes.
Some key metrics to monitor include: reach, traffic, leads, customer, and conversion rates. Keeping a close eye on how your social media campaign affects these should give you a good understanding of whether or not it’s effective – whether or not it’s making you money.
6. Publish Only Your BEST Content:
My hottest business tip is that your content should be the kind you could sell to your clients for $2,000! In other words, don’t be afraid of giving away the know-how you would otherwise sell for a living.
That advice comes from experience. A long time ago, I was a lawyer and I started blogging content that my colleagues would sell for a fee. They looked at me like I was nuts.
Three years later, they were still fighting hard to get a couple of new clients, whereas I was getting many more incoming calls than I could handle, thanks to my blog!
They thought giving away content and advice you would otherwise sell was taking away your business. But in reality, people don’t “steal” your content, they just use it to make sure you’re the expert they’re looking for!
7. Social strategy:
You need one! Post with intent and consistency. Know your audience and how to balance the promotional messaging with the helpful information. (If you want to see how it’s done, check out VaynerMedia and Gary Vee on any and every social channel!)
Lots of it! Start with a plan and implement it. Analyze results and then tweak. Analyze again. Don’t settle for what you think might be working… Experiment with variables until you hit the jackpot!
9. Selling is a combination of techniques:
There are many ways you can get your business from. Public relations, social ads, content marketing, SEO searches, collaborating with other bloggers the choice is endless. Use your advocates and influencers to help you get your word out there. They can mention you in a blog post or on social media. Create a system where you store a database of your network and leverage them. They already know, like and trust you – they are your best asset.
10. Get Google Analytics and AgoraPulse:
There are quite a few options available to you when it comes to monitoring your social media campaigns. But be prepared, to get the most from these you may have to track pages by adding tracking code to URLs, build tailored landing pages, and record and integrate the data you receive.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Be selective:
Your early foray into social media might seem a bit daunting and it can indeed quickly overwhelm you if you try too much, too soon. Don’t make this mistake. There’s no need to dive headlong into a long list of networks, or even the top four, right out of the gate.
Pick just one or two. Each will have a learning curve, but none is so complex that you won’t be able to grasp the basics and begin.
Naturally, the question on your mind now is, which social media networks make the most sense for you? The answer: the networks your customers prefer. Dig in a bit to find out which networks they’re using. Visit their websites. Or simply ask them.
2. Track competitors:
It’s likely your competitors and professional peers can steer you in the right direction. Identify a handful of companies in your space that are active in online marketing. Visit their sites. Are they blogging? The number of shares they get on their posts may indicate the most active media channels.
Do they have social media icons? Look for the f, g+, in, P, bird, and camera logos (that is, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram). These are the likely suspects.
Click through to their social media pages. Do they have sizable followings? Is there a lot of activity there or do things look a bit static?
You want to be where the conversations are happening. After looking into several competitors, it won’t be hard to figure out where the action is. Go along with the crowd. Get started with the one or two networks where you’ve determined competitors and the market at large are connecting.
3. Factor in influencers:
In addition to competitors and customers, it’s helpful to consider the social media activity of other influencers. The most influential social media players are generally writers and publishers. Which websites, bloggers, and authors have authority in your industry? You might discover some are active with video and podcasting as well.
The experts in your field are likely to have established audiences, which should help you make smart choices—and provide good examples of how to interact in various media.
4. Create a thoughtful profile:
Every social media network offers you the opportunity to create a profile. You can get by with just completing the required fields, but you’ll be sabotaging your success if you do. Take your profile seriously and do your best to fill it out completely.
Of course, the rules vary widely across social media profiles—from Twitter, where you’ll have only 160 characters to work with, to LinkedIn, where you can write a lengthy bio and post any kind of media you choose. So I won’t be able to give you specific guidance per the channel of your choice. However, consider the following when writing your profiles:
- Use the keywords that are most relevant to your profession to enable others to find you via search. Frequently, you’ll find hashtags (the # symbol) preceding keywords.
- Be professional, but personable. Your profile plays a large part in swaying others to follow you (or not), so be authentic and interesting.
- Avoid applauding yourself unnecessarily. Be humble, but confident.
- Post links, where possible, to your website.
In social media, the word “listen,” really means “look.” Translation: though it’s tempting to being posting immediately after joining a social network, you’ll do yourself a world of good by observing how others behave and interact. You’ll pick up on nuances of the network. You’ll form conclusions about what is good and bad protocol. There’s no formula for how long or how much listening you should do, but you will indeed learn a lot by watching from the sidelines to begin with.
The best thing you can do to build relationships via social media is to share the content you discover and enjoy. Social media is very much reciprocal. People will notice and appreciate you have taken the time to share their blog posts, images, video, etc., and will likely return the favor.
Social media experts often claim as much as 80% of your updates should be shares. I don’t wholeheartedly agree, but do suggest thoughtful sharing is a regular and large part of your social media activity.
Endorsing other people’s updates may be slightly less significant than sharing, but it’s thoughtful and won’t go unnoticed. It’s also easy and can be done with just a click.
Of course, the most well known of all endorsements is the Facebook “Like,” a thumbs-up icon. Each network has one or more forms of endorsements including a + on Google, like on LinkedIn, and “favorite” on Twitter. Don’t endorse every update you read, but do it when you mean it. You’ll find plenty of content and comments worthy of a click.
The heartbeat of social media is conversation, so while sharing and endorsing can be thoughtful and smart, commentary is better still. When you get rolling and your network grow into the hundreds or thousands, you won’t have the time to comment on every update you see. However, the best content you come across will provoke thoughts, just like any conversation.
Express yourself. Agree. Disagree. Answer questions. Ask questions. Cite examples. Offer links. Say thank you. Again, at its best, social media is a conversation and when you put something into it, you get something out of it. It’s fun. Enjoy it.
9. Be consistent:
You need to budget time to do social media. How much is up to you, but understand you’ll be taken far more seriously if you’re active on a daily basis. Yes, you can shut it down for a day, weekend, or take a break without threatening your good standing. The caution I aim to make here is if you merely check in with a post now and then, you probably won’t be taken seriously.
10. Don’t pitch:
If you want to buy advertising on social media, do it. Most will accommodate you and many are quick to attest to its effectiveness. However, outside of the “sponsored” opportunities some social media offer, relentless sales messages are not tolerated. The more you pitch your products and services, the more you’ll be rejected.
However, you need not conclude social media isn’t for marketing. In fact, it is. The trick is to market with a utility mindset. When you teach, advise and help people, your contributions will be embraced.
Promoting an event, special offer, sale, new product or the like is all fair game. You simply need to strike a balance so as to not put people off. Your updates should be valuable. Try a softer approach to selling. Think of your offers as friendly invitations. It’s far more effective to pull than push on social media.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Define Your Purpose and Goals:
Creating a solid purpose and definitive goals is the first step. It doesn’t matter if your business is new or have been operating for a few years, knowing exactly what you want to achieve from social media and keeping your goals in check is fundamental.
In my humble opinion This is one of the most difficult task when you’re just starting out. Why? Because it forces you to figure out why you wanted to be on social media in the first place?
Often times, the reason why companies struggle to measure their results is because they are uncertain with their goals. It’s either they have a really broad goal or they focus on not-so-important goals like number of likes, shares, comments and whatnot.
Remember this: Without proper goals and objectives in mind, measuring success is obviously impossible.
2. Create a Buyer Persona:
For those who don’t know what Buyer Persona is, it’s basically a semi-fictional representation of a business’s ideal customer based on market research and real data about their existing customers.
Why is it important?
You might know WHO your ideal clients are or maybe you already have existing customers, but my question for you is, have you taken an extra mile to dig a little deeper and learn more about them?
For example, do you know what keeps them up at night? Do you know where they spend their time online? These are some of the questions that you need to consider.
You see.. DETAILS MATTER! And If you don’t nail down your buyer persona, your strategy may turn out ineffective and you won’t get the results you wish to see.Just imagine the time and money you’ll waste.
A buyer persona will help you identify where your ideal clients spend time on the internet so instead of just sharing your social media content everywhere hoping that your potential customers will find it. A defined buyer persona will help you identify where you have to be, and exactly where to put that content.
Moreover, a clear semi-fictional depiction of your target audience helps you create the right content. The right content will most effectively attract your ideal customers, convert them to leads and close them into sales.
A few tips in profiling your ideal customer:
- Conduct interviews (Ask your current customers)
- Create a survey
- Create a poll
- Don’t have customers yet?
No problem, You can use educated assumptions for the mean time. Close your eyes and think of a person you wanted to work with. Is this person a man or a woman? Is he around 30 to 40 years old? Does he live in Manila? Again, details matter, so you have to be specific.
3. Set metrics ahead of time:
According to Adobe, 52% of marketers cite difficulties in accurately measuring ROI as their biggest source of frustration in social marketing. But why do they struggle so much on it?
One of the reasons that I can think of as to why many struggle is that sometimes they get too excited when they see how many likes or retweets they’re getting.
If social media marketing is a fairytale book, they’re like the vain queen in Snow White who’s so beauty obsessed and constantly asks her mirror who’s the fairest of them all. I personally call it the ‘vanity metric’ virus and I’m telling you, it’s highly contagious.
According to Lars Lofgren, a KISSmetrics marketing analyst, vanity metrics are all those data points that make us feel good if they go up but don’t help us make decisions.
Define your Key performance Indicator (KPI)
Social media channels are equipped with a handful of metrics and it is hard to set realistic expectations when you’re not aware of the metrics that you want to track. Thus, defining your key performance indicator(KPI) is important.
When defining your KPI, there’s nothing wrong with starting by saying that you wanted to track your number of shares and likes but try to find the most hyper relevant metric that will keep your strategy in check.
4. Assessment – Figure out where you stand presently:
We’ve set up your goals. We’ve define your audience and KPIs. Now it’s time that we analyze your current social media status.
This step will help you quickly spot any anomalies that need to be investigated and corrected to stop them from hurting your full potential so make sure not to skip this one.
5. Competitor/Influencer Analysis:
Now that you’ve analyzed your current status, you will need to check out what your competitors and influencers are doing. Check out their activities and see what works for them. That may become handy on our end later.
How to perform a quick competitor analysis?
- List down your competitors – You probably have a good idea who your competitors are but I have a bad feeling you haven’t listed them down yet! 😛
- Determine if your competitors have presence on:
Note: There might be some other social networks that are important to you – Pinterest, LinkedIn and Youtube for example. You may audit them as well but try to focus on 3-4 channels that marketers are utilizing the most.
Now for each social media network, try to analyze the following:
- Number of fans & followers
- Engagement rate
- Frequency of posting
- What kind of content are they posting?
- Month over month growth
I pretty much agree with Kristi Hines when she said that competitor research will help you determine where you should focus your social media marketing campaign, so better not neglect this one.
6. Set targets:
Just like what Gary Viray mentioned in his presentation at the GDI SEO Training camp, setting targets is absolutely important. Yes it seems complicated and heartbreaking at some point but it really is helpful in many ways. How? It gives you an idea whether your campaign is successful or not. Knowing if your campaign is working forces you to think of ways on how to make it better. It helps you see the big picture.
Targets are not just numbers you assumed. They should be based on your social media assessment. Always ask yourself these? Are these expectations realistic? Are they achievable? Try to come up with a number that will not embarrass you and your team.
Always come up with a number that you know you can achieve. You don’t want to disappoint your clients and embarrass your team if something goes sour due to false targets.
7. Outline the channels you’ll use:
Now that you’ve completed your assessment, it’s time to ask yourself which channels will help you support your plan?
Here are few things for you to consider:
- Time – How much time can you devote? Do you have a social media team to handle it?
- Resources – Choosing a channel may depend on the resources that’s available to you. Some channels require great quality videos, photos and content. Do you have the resources to create what’s needed?
- Your audience – Where do your ideal clients spend their time? (Tip: You can use your buyer persona and competitor research to decide.)
Remember, you don’t have to be on them all but you need to figure out which channels would be most beneficial for you to use.
8. Be Tactical:
Now that we know which channels we are going to use. Create a daily and weekly action step of what you plan to do on each channel. List down what you will do in order to get from point A to point B.
9. Re-assess and revise:
This last part is often overlooked by many. Whether you’re hitting your targets or not, it is important to analyze your data from time to time. Try to isolate and compare subsets of data to be able to see which segment is underperforming.
10. And voila!
You’re done. It’s a lot of work but remember that it’s going to be worth it. Start right and it will render you the best results in the end.
Connect: On Twitter
1.Audit your social media presences across platforms:
If you’re part of a global corporation, this may be a difficult process. Each location may have its own presence. The objective is to list every social media site, track their location, names and visuals.
2. Determine how you want your business presented on social media:
Your goal is to be consistent yet relevant to each platform. If you don’t have branding guidelines for social media, create them. Include brand images, logos and other messaging.
3. Set objectives for your social media activity:
What are you seeking to achieve on social media? Where will you send visitors to on your site? Do you have targeted landing pages for your social media visitors?
4. Decide the focus of your social media content:
What do you want to be known for? How does this relate to your content marketing? What other companies are active in this category? How do they relate to your competitors?
5. Have a strategy for social media content curation:
You can’t use social media as a promotion platform. You’ll lose your fans. Give credit to others where appropriate. Don’t copy other people’s work.
6. Create a business page or profile on major social media platforms:
Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.
7. Determine when you’ll be active on social media:
You can’t just set it and go. Who will be responsible for content distribution, engagement and office hours (including customer service.) Don’t forget time zone differences.
Create social media guidelines for how your employees can communicate on social media with regard to your business. I recommend having a set of social media guidelines. If it’s not documented, don’t assume your employees will know the right thing to do.
9. Decide who will represent your business on social media:
Will you allow all of your employees to participate? If so, do provide special training to ensure they know your expectations?
10. Promote your social media presence:
Let people know where they can connect with you on social media in your emailings, blog, on business cards and other places online and offline.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Start with a strategy:
Your first tactic for attracting new followers happens before you draft your first post, and before you even claim your social media profiles. You have to come up with a strategy for what type of followers you’re going to attract and how you’re going to attract them. Who are you trying to target? What types of platforms do these users rely on for communication? How do they use those platforms? What content do they need to read? The more specifically you can target a niche, the better. Plus, you’ll need to consider your competition, differentiating yourself as much as possible so you stand out in the crowd.
2. Fill out your profile completely:
When you move to claim your brand’s profiles on various social media sites, make sure you’re filling out your profiles completely. If you just have a company name with no description, people won’t have any idea what to expect from you, and they probably won’t end up following you. On the other hand, if you have a profile that’s completely filled out, not only will users have a greater volume of more accurate information with which to make a decision, they’ll also see that you take your presence seriously. This isn’t a difficult or time-consuming process, so there’s no excuse not to do it.
3. Optimize your profile for keyword searches:
As you’re filling out your profile, you’ll want to spend some time optimizing it for keywords and phrases that your target audience might search for. For example, if you run a pet store, you might use phrases like “pet store in Seattle,” or “best pet supply store in Seattle.” Most users rely on Google and other general-form search engines to conduct their searches, and you’ll get some potential ranking benefits here, but this is more targeted to users looking for brand profiles on social media sites specifically, using their respective search functions.
4. Include links to your social presence everywhere:
If you want people to follow you, you need to make it easy for them. Most people won’t go out of their way to find a company on social media, but if they see a convenient link to a company’s profile page, they might take that bit of extra effort. For starters, make sure you include links to your social profiles on your website, both on the homepage and on your contact page (and you can check out Audience Bloom as an example). You’ll also want to include these links on as many outbound communications as you can (such as email footers), and display your social presence on any physical, tangible marketing assets you may have, such as business cards. The more exposure you give yourself, the better.
5. Include social share icons on your blogs:
Along similar lines, it’s far less likely that someone will copy and paste the link to your article on their personal social profiles than it is they’ll click a button to share your article directly. Encourage more people to share your material by featuring social share icons on all your blog posts—and don’t worry, it’s easy to do. This won’t allow a person to follow your brand directly, but it will generate much more exposure for your brand on social media channels, which should lead to the pickup of at least a few extra interested followers. Just look at any of the posts on the AudienceBloom blog and you’ll see our social share buttons, which include counters that show how many times each post has been shared.
6. Promote your social presence via email:
If someone has willfully subscribed to your email newsletter, they’re interested in your brand. If they weren’t, they would have unsubscribed by now. Therefore, everyone on your email subscription should have a vested interest in following you on any social media platforms where your presence exists. Take advantage of this by promoting your social media presence via email; start by including links to your main profile pages, but also create calls-to-action such as “be sure to follow us on Twitter for more special offers and the latest updates,” and consider embedding social content, such as your brand’s latest Instagram photos.
7. Use social listening to monitor brand mentions and take action:
Social listening software is a way to “tune in” to the conversations of your followers and target audience on social media. On the surface, you can use it to figure out what people are talking about and what topics are popular, so you can create more focused, relevant content for your audience. However, you can also use it to see what users are saying about your brand by plugging in your company or product names and monitoring social mentions. It’s a great way to find new people interested in your company (and gather some stealthy feedback while you’re at it). Personally, I use Google Alerts and Buzzsumo Alerts for this purpose.
8. Get your current clients, partners, and vendors to follow:
In this same vein, you can make a callout to people with a vested interest in your business, such as clients, partners, and vendors. Depending on the nature of your business, this may be essential to your collaborative operations; for example, clients can get updates about when your app is undergoing maintenance, or your partners can stay in the loop with your latest marketing promotions. Hopefully, you’ll be able to pick up at least a few dozen extra followers here, especially if you pledge to follow them all back.
9. Be consistent in your brand voice:
Your brand voice may not seem like it’s an important feature of your presentation on social media, but it can have a massive impact on how people interpret your messages. For starters, you’ll need to develop a brand voice that’s both appealing and distinct from your competition; what makes you unique? What makes you valuable? This could be anything from a wicked sense of humor to an air of almost-overconfident grandeur. Once you settle on a brand voice, keep it consistent across all your platforms and everything you post—any deviations here could make people unfollow you.
10. Engage with influencers:
Influencers are social media users who already have access to lots of followers and command a ton of admiration in their respective fields. Even getting mentioned by an influencer could potentially expose you to hundreds of thousands of new users, so it’s in your best interest to find out who these people are and keep track of them. Keep an eye on how and when they post, and jump on any opportunities you see to engage with them directly. For example, if they involve themselves in a discussion, you can debate them or back up their points with your own data. Or, you could go the direct route and ask them a question of your own. The key is to get yourself noticed, and hopefully mentioned. You can use BuzzSumo to find influencers quickly and easily in any niche.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Understand Who Your Ideal Clients Are:
The very first thing you need to do when creating your social media strategy is to know exactly who your ideal clients are. You can’t plan an effective strategy without being crystal clear about exactly who you are marketing to.
So it is extremely important that you first determine who you want to market to. There are a number of questions you will want to answer:=
- Who is your ideal client?
- What is the common language of his or her business, industry, or organization?
- What kinds of challenges does he or she face?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use your industry jargon rather than the language used by your clients when they are discussing their needs or problems. It is essential that you do your homework and address those needs and speak the language that your ideal clients use. By doing this you will ensure that your message on social media will resonate with them.
2. Create Clear Goals & Objectives:
Next you need to decide what specific goals and objectives you have for using social media in your business. You also need to be realistic as to whether what you would like to happen can actually be achieved. When determining your goals and objectives ask yourself these questions:
- Are you planning to find and connect with potential prospects?
- Do you want to nurture new and existing relationships?
- Would you like to enhance your visibility and credibility to be seen as an authority on your topic?
- Do you have a sales team that you would like to incorporate a social selling strategy with to reach more leads, prospects and clients?
Perhaps it is a combination of all of these things. Your goals will play a large role in the selection of social media platforms that you choose to use and how you choose to use each one.
When writing out your goals, be as specific as possible. This means setting actual numerical targets and dates. These are important later on when you are tracking your results and determining your ROI (return on investment).
3. Choose the Right Social Media Platforms:
Which social media platforms do your prospects spend most of their time on? Blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or You Tube? There is no point in spending your time or money on a social media platform that is not regularly used by your ideal clients or one that makes it hard for you to reach them and connect with them.
Once you know which platforms they use most, you need to combine this information with your goals and objectives and decide which of the platforms will be the most effective.
For example, if you want to connect and build relationship with executive level professionals, LinkedIn would be your best choice. But if you are a restaurateur and want develop a local following, you want a platform which will allow you to share content in a fun and engaging way with people in your area. A platform such as Twitter or Facebook might be the best choice as you can focus your efforts locally.
4. Have A Professional Presence:
Once you have decided which social media platform(s) will be of most use to you, you will want to create a professional, uniformly branded presence on each of them, which should look similar to your website.
Uniform branding across all of your social media sites not only looks more professional but also helps your prospects or ideal clients to easily identify you from one platform to another.
5. Create A Daily Plan:
Having a daily plan or checklist to follow is absolutely essentially for your success. It will keep you on track and help to ensure that you complete the most essential social media activities that need to be done each day, in an efficient manner.
Your checklist must include each of the social media platforms that you participate on and the activities that are to be completed under each platform. The focus of your strategy should be to do the highest leveraging activities that add value to your target audience, connect you with your ideal clients and build relationships with them. Make sure you are specific.
On LinkedIn under your daily activities for example, you might include “Connect with 5 new people/prospects”. This activity is specific, actionable and measurable. An example of a daily task on Facebook might look like “Reply and/or engage with all comments or questions from your daily posts”. Again, this clearly lays out what is to be accomplished.
Along with your checklist, depending on your goals and the platforms you choose to use, you should also create a monthly content calendar. A content calendar will help you plan out what kind of content you will create or curate to post on the different social media platforms as well as your blog. It is also helpful and a big time saver to create message scripts for those platforms that you receive or send a lot of messages on that you can use as a template. While message scripts should always be personalized with a name and other relevant info, they can help you to streamline the process and save time.
6. Vary Your Post Types:
For increased success on social media, vary the types of posts you are sharing.
For example, on Facebook you might find that you are getting very little engagement when you just share links to your blog or other content.
Try mixing in images and videos (which get better views and engagement) to keep your followers interested and engaged.
Keep in mind – posting just videos or images can also get monotonous.
Different people prefer different types of content and even this can change based on how much time they have to invest and what information they are looking for at that moment.
Sometimes people want to read something in-depth on a topic they are interested in and sometimes they have less than 30 seconds to invest to watch a video clip or read a meme.
7. Create Specific Posts For Specific Platforms:
Do NOT copy and paste the same post on each platform.
The platform and the audience using each, are unique and as such require a unique post.
That does not mean that you cannot create similar posts for each platform – but they should be formatted to meet the requirements (i.e. 140 characters per tweet on Twitter) and needs (i.e. appropriate hashtags on Instagram) of each platform and audience.
8. Pick The Right Automation Tools:
Whether you are picking tools to help you efficiently schedule your weekly posts or to help you better collect and understand the metrics collected from each post, you want to make sure you are picking the best tool for the job.
Which tools you choose will depend on a combination of factors such as:
- Your budget
- How many users will be using the tool
- How many accounts will be connected to the tool
- The social media platforms you are using
- The metrics you are trying to measure
- And of course…personal preference
- While many tools might do the same job, you will find you are likely to be more inclined to use one in particular, even if others have come highly recommended by people you trust.
Depending on your choice of platforms you may also need to consider more than one tool, which will also affect your choice.
Most tools offer a free trial and it is a good idea to test out each of the different tools that might work for your needs, to help you find the right fit.
9. Measure and Refine:
Using the goals you set and tracking the results of your daily plan, you will be able to see what kind of ROI your social media efforts are producing. It is important to review your efforts and results every couple of months. You should be able to answer questions such as these:
- Is your network or audience growing?
- Are they engaging with you?
- What are they saying?
- Has my market shared a need with me that I could fulfill but am not currently?
- Is your sales funnel converting?
- If not, where am I losing them?
- Are there activities that are not producing results?
Once you have answers to questions such as those above, you will need to use those answers to improve your daily plan and/or modify your goals as necessary. You do not want to keep activities which are not producing results nor do you want to ignore a possible activity or avenue that you had not previously thought of, but that has been identified by your market.
10. Take It Offline:
A good social media strategy will not only save you from wasting time and money but it will also improve your lead generation efforts by creating and building relationships with your ideal clients. My final piece of advice for a successful social media strategy is to take the relationship offline whenever possible. For many businesses sales don’t happen online, especially on social media, unless you are selling a low cost item or online item (such as a book or online course). If you are a B2B company or professional your goal is to move the relationship forward to an offline conversation via phone, Skype or an in person meeting.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Identify your target and your goals:
Who has an interest in the product or service you provide? Which geographic location are you targeting? Any specific industry or skill set? Take the time to drill down. This is critical for breaking through the noise! Also, consider your goals – what do you want to accomplish on social media?
2. Determine your social media channel(s):
First, consider which social media channels you already use – and how you can leverage them to find your target. If you’re a LinkedIn user, you may want to join some of the groups or try to play around with the search tool to see how your target may be using the channel. If you’re a Twitter user, try typing a few items in search or research a popular hashtag for your target. Set up some lists and start watching what’s being tweeted.
If you’re not currently active on social media, have no fear! You may want to do a little research and see where your target audience spends their time. Also, consider that you can also search by keyword of any of the social media channels and monitor the conversations. With enough effort, you’ll find where it is you may want to start.
3. Get your profiles in working order!
Make sure that your social profile(s) are up to date and complete! Be sure you have a recent photo and accurate contact information. Try to complete the profiles as much as possible, so that contacts will have a sense of knowing who you are, before they’ve even met you.
4. Build your community and integrate!
Did you go to a networking event recently? Meet someone new? Consider sending him or her a LinkedIn connection request or following on Twitter. This is a simple ways to integrate offline marketing with social media and build your audience.
This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s time to get active on the networks by becoming a member of the community and providing thoughtful contributions.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Participating in relevant discussions on LinkedIn
- Monitoring and responding on tweet chats
- Reading, sharing and even commenting on the blogs you subscribed to
- Tweeting about and tagging companies that are relevant to your target
This takes time and effort. How much time? Well, that depends. It’s easy to push it off and it’s just as easy to get sucked in. Start with 10 minutes a day and monitor the interactions.
Once you feel comfortable and you’re starting to gain traction, go ahead and rev up to 20 or even 30 minutes. A word of caution, though – be careful not to spend more than an hour (in one sitting) on these activities or you could risk sacrificing progress and productivity. There’s a lot of eye candy on social media and it’s easy to get distracted. Set a time limit for yourself, if you need to, but do get started! Relationships don’t happen overnight, but the sooner you dip your toes in the water, the closer you are to generating sustainable relationships that will lead you to your end goal.
6. Don’t jump on the bandwagon:
Social media sites like to create new features, apps and tools in order to stay ahead of the competition. My short advice is to avoid the shiny new object syndrome. Blab is an example. Even my most respected colleague touted Blab as the next big thing – and now it’s gone. The current battle in the trending war is Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories. I don’t know who is going to win, and frankly, I don’t care. As a general rule, don’t put a lot of resources into the newest trend until you’re certain it will be more than a passing fad.
7. Create a central space:
Facebook is great, but you don’t own it – and if you’ve been active on the channel the past few years, you know they change the rules all the time! Own online space – such a blog on your website – and make that the core of your efforts. You can promote your space on any channel you want, but make sure you have control of it. Otherwise, as channels evolve and dissolve, your central space goes right along with it. Feel free to play the game of loading it to the LinkedIn long-form publishing tool or Facebook Instant Articles, but keep it on YOUR space, too!
8. Allocate resources:
If you’ve been active on social media, you may have realized that there are a lot of pieces to this social media puzzle– and you may not be certain if your business is equipped to execute all of it efficiently. It’s said that an organization that realizes its importance… invests in it. But that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. This could take the form of paid part-time staff dedicated to social media. It could also be an outsourced consultant or social media manager. (Wink!) The bottom line is that social media takes work – time, money and people.
Broken record time! H-u-m-a-n-i-z-e. Humanize! HUMANIZE. No matter how we say it, the principal remains. If you are not sure why this is critical, just check out this link to dozens of past blogs on the topic. I have always advocated the importance of being human and encourage our clients to incorporate the human element in their business brand. Why? People form relationships – and relationships are built on trust. Yes, it’s true. People buy from people they know, like and trust. You do not have to share every detail about your life, but please share something about what makes you, well – YOU!
10. Keep at it!
It’s easy to get busy and forget about social media, especially when there is no tangible or immediate result. The key here is to track your progress over time – and stay the course. You may have to make multiple shifts in your approach, but you’ll know when you’re making leeway and when you’re just wasting your time.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Know Your Target Market:
Social media usage varies from one demographic to the next. Take the time to research and understand exactly how, when and why your target audience is using social media.
It is also vital to identify a target demographics’ preferred social media platform so that your strategy can be focused and direct.
2. Take the Time to Craft Your Content:
Before diving in and creating content online, carefully think through the message and goal of each post.
Whether it is a Facebook post or blog article, every word you write should support your end goal.
Is your goal to drive traffic towards your latest product? Maybe you have a service that you are spotlighting this month. Whatever the case, do not lose sight of the end result you are working towards.
3. Create a Cross-Platform Strategy!
The most successful companies leveraging social media are expanding their influence to several platforms.
Apart from being on Facebook and Twitter they’re enriching their brand with Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ Tumblr, blogs, and LinkedIn.
4. Keep Your Branding Consistent!
When setting up accounts on different social media networks, make sure your logo, color scheme, fonts and graphics are consistent.
You want to ensure that no matter where people connect with you, your personal brand is easily identifiable.
5. Mix it Up:
Don’t just stick with the same old “picture with a caption” format.
The best social media strategies mix up tactics when it comes to posting, whether the content is a link, image or text only.
Try changing things up and incorporating Infographics, quotes from your latest post or answers to questions. The objective here is to generate content that people will interact with by clicking on it, commenting, or sharing it with their friends.
6. Engage Your Audience:
Once you begin to catch the attention of your audience, make sure they feel special.
Respond to comments, soothe concerns and answer questions. It is important that you stay consistent in your messaging and maintain a professional demeanor.
7. Follow the 70-30 rule:
The 70-30 rule follows this strategy: maintain seventy percent engaging content and thirty percent promotional.
The seventy percent should be fun, interesting and useful to the online user. Let your audience get involved in the conversation, rather than feeling as if they are being “sold” every time you post.
This keeps your audience interactive and engaged, so that way when you do promote, they are far more likely to value whatever information comes their way.
8. Check Your Analytics:
Research should be the backbone of any social media strategy.
Google Analytics offers a rich database of statistics and analytics that can (and should) guide your posting and strategy decisions.
Leverage this information to learn as much as possible about which content is making the biggest impact with your community. Evaluate how and why some content works and some falls short.
9. Keep Up with Industry Trends:
Maintaining a finger on the pulse of trending topics and stories relevant to your target market should always be at the top of your to-do list.
10. Reassess, Revise, and Rework:
Take the information you cull from your analytics and adjust your strategy. Social media is fluid. This means your strategy must remain agile and flexible.
Don’t be afraid to change things up!
Connect: On Twitter
1. It’s worth it, so make the time:
Does social media feel like a chore? Do you think of social media marketing as just a fad? It is disappointing when brands discount social media, refusing to see it as a means to boost their business and sales. But there are no quick solutions to social media success, invest your time and budget to generate results.
2. Plan ahead, and make it special:
Value social media and make it part of your budget planning. Before you start, determine your goals and metrics, whether it is engagement or re-tweets. Make sure your social channels and website is dressed for window shoppers. Ensure that your page is fun, informative, and engaging so that it will pull your audience in and keep them there! Not sure that putting money towards social media is worth it? Create your strategy.
3. Be creative, take your time, and get noticed:
I noticed a plethora of brilliant autumn images on social media this season. I’m not trying to sound unappreciative of Mother Nature, but after seeing one leaf or tree, they all seem to blur into one. Try to set your image apart by challenging yourself to position your brand differently from the rest of the masses.
Dress your social channels with eye-candy. The more interactive and eye-catching your material is, the more buzz and positive results you’ll receive for your efforts. Do not replicate your competition, but rather uncover what sets you apart from your industry in the sea of social media. Remember, you don’t need to share all your images on the same day. Keep an inventory of content and distribute across your channels leisurely. Be original in your captions, and don’t be afraid to reminisce about events through your images. Don’t rush to post!
4. Don’t wing it, schedule it:
Implement a regular and persistent schedule with your social media activities. Pay attention to what is current on social media. Be visible and keep up the energy in your posts. You must harvest it daily to grow your brand and community. This can be tough, because social media is non-stop and 24/7. Remember to practice a “Digital Sabbath” so you don’t burn out.
5. Don’t jump on the bandwagon:
Keep up with all the new marketing tools being launched on a monthly basis, but you don’t have to be the early adopter for everyone. Sit back, and observe what not to do. Share your knowledge with others and figure out if the new tool is a fit with your brand and your client’s brand. Team up with influencers who are leading the way on the social channels that fit your campaign’s needs.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Get clarity on your target audience:
This means not only knowing the demographics but the social profiles and the personas that lay beyond the sterile data and this means asking some questions.
- What are their key problems and fears?
- Where do they get their information?
- What are their aspirations?
- What primary social networks do they use?
- What media do they consume?
2. Set goals:
What are your goals and their priorities for your social media marketing? These could include:
- Increase Facebook likes
- Improve brand awareness
- Drive traffic to website, blog online store
- Increase sales leads
- Grow your email list
- Customer engagement
Once that list is done then the priorities need to be assigned.
3. Create content:
After you have defined your audience and the prioritised goals are identified then the content can be created that will resonate with your potential prospects and customers to meet those marketing goals.
This will include but not limited to:
- Blog posts
- YouTube videos
- Images for engagement on Facebook
- Twitter updates to drive traffic to online stores or websites
The content creation will vary depending on your target market and also whether your are a consumer or business brand.
4. Marketing tactics to achieve the goals:
You may have many goals but you need to pick your most important ones. Here are a couple of examples.
Goal: Build an email list
This can be done a few ways.
- Offer a free e-book on your blog that requires an email address to download
- Create a custom tab on Facebook that captures an email to download a whitepaper or watch a free video
- Run competitions on Facebook that require registering with an email address
Goal: Increase your social networks fans and followers
The importance of developing your own online distribution network that bypasses the traditional media model of paying for attention is becoming paramount.
So here are a couple of tactics for possible implementation.
- Offer free premium content for a Facebook “like”
- Follow the “followers” of other online influencers on Twitter in your niche
5. Monitor, measure and manage:
The digital web has one big advantage over the old analog world. You can measure.
So what are some key components to measure, monitor and manage?
- Social network growth
- Leads generated
- Retweets on Twitter
- Shares on Facebook
- Comments on your blog
- Website and blog traffic
And that is just the start of the metrics. Finding out what works and what doesn’t means you can adjust your tactics for optimal results.
- Produce inspiring, educational and awesome content that is so compelling that people want to share it, this is the foundation of your marketing. All media is about good content and social media is no different
- Write regularly and consistently, people will then come and visit regularly and keep coming back because they know it will be new and topical (that is why magazines have regular publishing time frames)
- Learn to write a headlines that make people want to read the rest of your article
- Use ‘list’ posts (eg 50 Fascinating Facebook Facts and Figures) regularly. They may be a bit passe for some, but they work and tend to get passed around online
- Place a Retweet button on your blog at the top of the posts (WordPress plugins make this really easy to do)
- Place a Facebook share button at the top of all posts
- Include a Facebook ‘like box’ near the top right side of the blog so people can ‘like’ your Facebook page even while they are on your blog
- Place a LinkedIn share button on your blog (LinkedIn has over 100 million users and they are typically high earners and influential)
- Comment regularly on other bloggers in your niche
- As you grow your traffic and followers, highlight this on your blog and demonstrate some ‘social proof’. This could even include the number of Twitter followers you have or awards you have won or your website grade or even your Twitter grade
- Make it easy for people to subscribe via email (email marketing may be perceived as old school but it works big time!)
- Offer to guest post on a another influential bloggers blogs and provide a link back to your blog as part of the agreement
- Provide subscribe buttons so people can follow you on your other web properties (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc)
- Provide a subscription button via RSS so people can have your posts pushed to them in their ‘Google Reader’ account after they are published.
- Update your Facebook ‘Page’ with your blog posts straight after publishing
- Provide content and links on your Facebook page that will make them want to share and like your updates
- Include Twitter in your menu (This is available as a standard setting on your Facebook fan page)
- Run polls using the standard Facebook ‘Question’ feature (above the ‘Write something’ box) to engage your audience and involve them
to your Facebook page in your email newsletter
- Run a competition on Facebook
- Use a reveal tab that is set up as your landing page that provides access to unique content, this could be a video a content or even a voucher
- Respond to all comments on your Facebook page in a timely fashion.
- Acquire Twitter followers – quantity is important
- Engage and develop Twitter followers within your niche using Tweepi (Tweepi.com makes it easy to follow followers of influential bloggers on Twitter) or Twellow.com (Twellow provides a tool that enables you to find powerful Twitter follower lists in your niche) – this is the quality part of the Twitter equation
- Share the content of influential Twitter people and let them know by including their Twitter name eg @Jeffbullas
- Automate the tweeting of other bloggers content that you trust and add value to your followers with other peoples articles and content
- Tweet regularly and consistently the posts of other influential bloggers in your topic category
- Automate the retweeting of your great content so it is not forgotten and buried in the archives (SocialOomph professional can be setup to do this)
- When tweeting your posts include # tags that deliver the Tweet to # groups/lists eg #SocialMedia.
- Interview influential people in your topic category on video and post them to YouTube
- Include your website/blog link in your profile
- Automate sharing after posting (available under ‘Account settings” then ‘Activity Sharing’ , then choose the social accounts and as a minimum select Facebook and Twitter (Reader, Orkut and MySpace are also able to be enabled)
- Write a headline that is ‘keyword’ rich for your industry and niche
- Write a tempting and teasing headline that makes the potential viewer want to ‘hit’ the play button
- Place a link to your blog at the beginning of each description for each video and make sure you write a description that includes keywords and inviting description
- Include keyword tags for each video.
- Use all three website or links that LinkedIn allows in your profile (these can point to your website, blog and Facebook)
- Make your LinkedIn profile ‘Public’ in your settings
- Pose questions in the Q&A section of LinkedIn with links to your possible answer as a post link
- Setup a LinkedIn profile for your blog (not just your personal profile)
- Integrate your Slideshare into your LinkedIn account using the ‘Add an Application’ button at the bottom right of your home page
- Integrate your Blog post feed into your LinkedIn account using the ‘Add an Application’ button at the bottom right of your home page
- Add your Twitter feed into your LinkedIn account using the ‘Add an Application’
Connect: On Twitter
Don’t treat your social media activity as something separate from your other marketing initiatives. Feature links to your social media profiles in your email signature, on your business cards, in your ads, and as a standard block of copy in your weekly HTML email newsletter. In addition, make sure that links to your educational content are featured prominently in your social media profiles and that Facebook fan page visitors and blog subscribers are offered the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter and attend your online and offline events. Make your social media profiles a part of your address copy block and you will soon see adding them to all that you do as an automatic action.
Use your social media activity to create awareness for and amplify your content housed in other places. This can go for teasing some aspect of your latest blog post on twitter or in your Facebook status, creating full blown events on Eventful or MeetUP, or pointing to mentions of your firm in the media. If you publish a bi-weekly newsletter, in addition to sending it to your subscribers, archive it online and tweet it too. You can also add social features to your newsletter to make it very easy for others to retweet (tweetmeme button) and share on social bookmark sites such as delicious and digg. I would also add that filtering other people’s great content and pointing this out to your followers, fans and subscribers fits into this category as it builds your overall reputation for good content sharing and helps to buffer the notion that you are simply broadcasting your announcements. Quality over quantity always wins in social media marketing.
Taking content that appears in one form and twisting it in ways that make it more available in a another, or to another audience, is one of the secrets to success in our hyperinfo driven marketing world we find ourselves. When you hold an event to present information you can promote the event in various social media networks and then capture that event and post the audio to your podcast, slides to Slideshare, and transcript (I use Castingwords for this) as a free report for download. You can string 5 blog posts together (like this series) and make them available as a workshop handout or a bonus for your LinkedIn group. Never look at any content as a single use, single medium, act.
4. Lead Generate:
So many people want to generate leads in the wide world of social media, but can’t seem to understand how or have met with downright hostile reactions when trying. Effectively generating leads from social media marketing is really no different than effectively generating leads anywhere – it’s just that the care you must take to do it right is amplified by the “no selling allowed” culture. No one like to be sold to in any environment – the trick is to let them buy – and this is even more important in social media marketing. So, what this means is that your activity, much of what I’ve mentioned above, needs to focus on creating awareness of your valuable, education based content, housed on your main hub site. You can gain permission to market to your social media network and contacts when you can build a level of trust through content sharing and engagement. It’s really the ultimate two step advertising, only perhaps now it’s three step – meet and engage in social media, lead to content elsewhere, content elsewhere presents the opportunity to buy. To generate leads through social media marketing, you need to view your activity on social sites like an effective headline for an ad – the purpose of the headline is not to sell, but to engage and build know, like and trust – it’s the ultimate permission based play when done correctly.
One glaring exception to this softer approach for some folks is twitter search. I believe you can use twitter search to locate people in your area who are asking for solutions and complaining about problems you can solve and reach out to them directly with a bit of a solution pitch. People who are talking publicly about needing something are offering a form of permission and can be approached as more of warmed lead. The same can also be said for LinkedIn Answers – if someone asks if “anyone knows a good WordPress designer”, I think you can move to convincing them that you are indeed a great WordPress designer.
One of the hangups I encounter frequently from people just trying to get started in social media marketing is the paralysis formed when they stare blankly at twitter wondering what in the world to say. The pressure to fill the silence can be so overwhelming that they eventually succumb and tweet what they had for lunch. If you find yourself in this camp, I’m going to let you off the hook – you don’t have to say anything to get tremendous benefit from social media participation. If I did nothing more than listen and occasionally respond when directly engaged, I would derive tremendous benefit from that level of participation. In fact, if you are just getting started this is what you should do before you ever open your 140 character mouth. Set up an RSS reader and subscribe to blogs, visit social bookmarking sites like BizSugar and delicious and read what’s popular, create custom twitter searches for your brand, you competitors, and your industry, and closely follow people on twitter who have a reputation for putting out great content. And then just listen and learn. If you do only this you will be much smarter about your business and industry than most and you may eventually gain the knowledge and confidence to tap the full range of what’s possible in the wild and wacky world of social media marketing.
6. Follow up with prospects:
I love using social media tools as a way to follow-up with prospects you might meet out there in the real world. So you go to a Chamber event and meet someone that has asked you to follow-up. Traditionally, you might send an email a week later or call them up and leave a voice mail. What if instead you found them on LinkedIn, asked to be connected and then shared an information rich article that contained tips about the very thing you chatted about at the Chamber mixer. Then you offered to show them how to create a custom RSS feed to get tons of information about their industry and their competitors. Do you think that next meeting might get started a little quicker towards your objectives? I sure do.
7. Stay top of mind with customers:
Once someone becomes a customer it’s easy to ignore them, assuming they will call next time they need something or, worse yet, assuming they understand the full depth and breadth of your offerings and will chime in when they have other needs. Staying in front of your customers and continuing to educate and upsell them is a key ingredient to building marketing momentum and few businesses do it well.
This is an area where a host of social media tools can excel. A blog is a great place to put out a steady stream of useful information and success stories. Encouraging your customers to subscribe and comment can lead to further engagement. Recording video stories from customers and uploading them to YouTube to embed on your site can create great marketing content and remind your customer why they do business with you. Facebook Fan pages can be used as a way to implement a client community and offer education and networking opportunities online.
8. Keep up on your industry:
Keeping up with what’s happening in any industry is a task that is essential these days. With unparalleled access to information many clients can learn as much or more about the products and solutions offered by a company as those charged with suggesting those products and solutions. You better keep up or you risk becoming irrelevant. Of course I could extend this to keeping up with what your customers, competitors, and key industry journalists are doing as well.
Here again, new monitoring services and tools steeped in social media and real time reporting make this an easier task. Subscribing to blogs written by industry leaders, competitors and journalists and viewing new content by way of a tool such as Google Reader allows you to scan the day’s content in one place. Setting up Google Alerts and custom Twitter Searches (see more about how to do this) or checking out paid monitoring services such as Radian6 or Trackur allows you to receive daily email reports on the important mentions of industry terms and people so you are up to the minute in the know. (Of course, once you do this you can teach your customers how to do it and make yourself even more valuable to them – no matter what you sell.)
9. Provide a better customer experience:
It’s probably impossible to provide too much customer service, too much of a great experience, but you can go nuts trying.
Using the new breed of online tools you can plug some of the gaps you might have in providing customer service and, combined with your offline touches, create an experience that no competitor can match.
While some might not lump this tool into social media, I certainly think any tool that allows you to collaborate with and serve your customers qualifies. Using an online project management tool such as Central Desktop allows you to create an entire customer education, orientation, and handbook kind of training experience one time and then roll it out to each new customer in a high tech client portal kind of way. This approach can easily set you apart from anyone else in your industry and provide the kind of experience that gets customers talking.
10. Network with potential partners:
Building a strong network of strategic marketing partners is probably the best defense against any kind of economic downturn. One of the surest ways to attract potential partners is to build relationships through networking. Of course you know that, but you might not be viewing this kind of networking as a social media function.
If you identify a potential strategic partner, find out if they have a blog and start reading and commenting. Few things will get you noticed faster than smart, genuine blog comments. Once you establish this relationship it might make sense to offer a guest blog post. If your use a CRM tool (and you should) you’ve probably noticed that most are moving to add social media information to contact records, add your potential partners social media information and you will learn what’s important to them pretty quickly.
If you know how to set up a blog already, offer to create a blog of network partners so each of you can write about your area of expertise and create some great local SEO for the group.
So, you see, you don’t have to bite into the entire social media pie all at once. Find a tool, a technique, a tactic that makes your life easier today and provides more value for partners, prospects and customers and you’ll be on the path to getting some real ROI on your social media investment.
Connect: On Twitter
We often receive emails from Entrepreneurs and small business owners about how best to use Facebook for Business. They’ll ask questions about data or strategy, which is definitely important when you want to implement a sustainable and long term marketing plan, however, we want to ALWAYS start with the basics. Have you considered the images you’ve selected for your Facebook Business page?
As the saying goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. More than ever before, this truth applies to your businesses’ Social Media Platforms. Here are three simple things you need to focus on when it comes to ensuring your Facebook Business page images will stand out from the rest.
- Ensure your cover photo is relatable and powerful, and your profile picture is simplistic and appropriate – like your logo, company icon or if you have a personal brand, a great photo of yourself.Remember, less is more and there are plenty of tools to help you generate fantastic Social Media Images online.
- If your images are the incorrect size, they often appear stretched or distorted. Image Dimensions must be:
- Cover photo: 851px x 315px
- Profile Picture: 180px x 180px
- Respond to seasonal or promotional events by changing your cover photo monthly.
- Establish your Social Media presence by maintaining the same profile picture for at least 2-3 months at a time. Make sure the logo; icon or image is used cohesively across your Social Media platforms.
2. Twitter Basics:
Twitter is currently leading the pack when it comes to real-time digital conversation and is most predominantly used on mobile. Therefore take these tips into careful consideration:
- Your ‘about’ section should be concise yet interesting. This platform is all about being succinct, so don’t elaborate. Make your point and be compelling.
- Include hashtags in your ‘about’ section. Ensure these hashtags are relevant to your brand and searchable. Also, to avoid potential PR fails, ensure you have researched exactly what the hashtag is referring to, if you are getting creative.
- Ensure your header image and profile picture are cohesive with your other Social Media platforms. You want your digital image and voice to be consistent.
- Because of the nature of this platform, use a link shortener to include long links such as bit.ly, bit.do or tiny url.
3. Use Data Tools:
Often, small business owners and entrepreneurs say they know they need a strong social media strategy, but they simply do not have time to devote to it.
Considering that social media platforms are free, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of the huge marketing potential to target your desired demographic.
We’re all about working smarter, not harder, and by employing the use of a few very intelligent digital tools, your time investment can be cut in half.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite monitoring and publishing tools to help set you up for a digital win:
- Facebook Analytics
This tool is will enable you greater insight into who your key demographics on Facebook actually are. No need for great investment into expensive market research activity, simply head into ‘insights’ and a comprehensive breakdown is available to you. The best thing about Facebook analytics? It is entirely free.
- Twitter Analytics
Also free, Twitter analytics allows you to see comprehensive information into the performance of your tweets, including the total number of impressions, their engagement rate and how many people clicked through to links.
- Sprout Social
This platform allows you to draft, schedule, queue and post messages to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. You can also shorten links, attach photos and target specific audiences.
A fantastic platform for complete social media management, HootSuite is a great option if your staffing resources are minimal. One of our favorite features is ‘Auto-scheduler’, a feature that automatically posts on your behalf at an optimal time.
4. Brand Influencers:
Consumers today aren’t as influenced by big-budget advertising as they once were and are much more likely to be swayed by word of mouth recommendations. Social Media is an incredible driving force of what we like to call ‘Social PR’ and you can make a powerful impact to your marketing efforts by implementing an easy brand influencer strategy.
Here are some ideas to help you get your brand influencer campaign underway:
- Think about your objectives. Be clear about what it is you want to achieve with your campaign and come up with a strategic list of those who align with your brand and goals.
- Rather than trying to recruit one A-list celebrity or blogger, think about the ‘magic middle’. Several strategic connections on Social Media will have the same if not more reach than just one notable personality.
- What can you offer potential influencers? As an entrepreneur or small business owner you are trying to keep costs down, so think about different forms of reimbursement like services, products, contra deals or a combination of all.
- Come up with a one-pager of on-brand verbiage that they can easily copy and paste to their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms. The easier it is for them, the more likely they will be willing to do it.
Instagram has over 700 million active monthly users and more and more brands are taking advantage of the platform to share their distinctive point of view.
It is an incredibly visual platform that focuses on captivating imagery and allows you an avenue to tell your brand’s story in a way no other social media channel can.
Make sure your Instagram is optimized with these tips:
- Choose an account name that appropriately represents your business name. Try not to use numbers or other characters that might deter your customers from finding you.
- Just like your account name, your profile photo should be readily recognizable as attached to your brand. Keep it simple, perhaps a logo or your headshot (if you represent a personal brand). Image dimensions should be 150×150 pixels.
- When posting, try to include relevant hashtags that appeal to your chosen demographic. In our opinion, there’s no point over utilizing hashtags, it can appear as though you are desperate for followers and it also doesn’t hone in on your specific target audience.
- Remember that although Instagram performs differently to any other platform, it is still SOCIAL media. Ensure you engage with your likers, followers and with other accounts that are relevant to your industry.
6. Never lose sight of the fact that social media is meant to be a discussion:
It isn’t like going to a party and dropping your business card off and leaving. People need to engage with each other and talk with one another as if it were an actual conversation — plus, you’ll get free exposure as you interact with others. On Facebook, for example, when you engage with a person or brand, it gets pushed back into the newsfeed. Liking something will put it back into the newsfeed, but commenting will give it even more traction. This creates added marketing for you or your brand.
7. Don’t overcommit:
Stick to one form of social media and nail it before you start building out your other platforms. It’s much more effective to excel on one platform than be subpar on many. Be wise about which platform you choose to focus on. Instagram or Facebook extremely popular for businesses. Pinterest might be more preferable if you’re launching a brand that sells a product. If you’re just starting out from scratch, pick the platform where you are most likely to find your target customer.
8. Don’t push content without a story:
Storytelling will be absolutely paramount to social media marketing in 2017. Instead of just pushing content on your followers, show them a narrative: give some backstory about where your product came from, who the founders are and what it’s like to work with you behind the scenes. Make your content feel insider-y.
9. Don’t be salesy:
If Facebook thinks brands’ native content looks at all like advertising, their algorithms will hide it from their followers to protect the user experience. But, if a brand posts a lot of engaging content on its feed, Facebook’s algorithm will open up the brand to its audience a bit more. Facebook algorithms are surprisingly good at maximizing valuable content.
10. Never forget the big picture:
When it comes to Instagram, you want to make sure the whole palette looks appealing, not just each post. You need to think about what the experience would look like for someone who is landing on your feed for the first time, as well as the people who already follow you. If you’re just telling that story haphazardly as you go, it won’t work. You’ve got to make sure it all ties together.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Your profile photo matters!
Don’t use your high school photo or the photo of you in a dress with a lot of skin showing. Keep the photo professional yet real. Spend the time and money to invest in a professional photo if possible. Make sure your photographer is familiar with best practices for online photographs.
You don’t have to have a boring photo. Instead, get creative and have fun during your photo shoot! Your photo should be simple yet memorable. It should help establish trust and build relationships from first look.
In addition, be consistent with the profile photos used across the social networks. Select 1-3 photos that you use regularly. It will help people remember you and help leave good brand impressions at each brand touch point.
2. Choose a social profile user name and stick to it:
Select an online user name that can be used consistently. It’s best to use the same name when possible. If not possible because someone else or another brand has already taken ownership of the name, select one as close as you can.
3. Brand architecture:
Your brand is so much bigger than your logo or a set of colors. Your brand is everything you tweet, post, pin, +1, say and do! Take the time to develop your brand identity. Develop a brand architecture that serves as a foundation for you to execute your digital brand.
Your “social brand” is not unique to your overall brand. Your digital social brand should be an extension of your overarching brand. If you are not sure where to start with this, ask for help. There are many agencies and consultants that can help you quickly and cost efficiently. Our agency, Marketing Nutz helps organizations of all sizes develop and execute their brand architectures both online and offline.
4. Message architecture:
Develop a message architecture that will help you communicate with your audiences and communities both online and offline in a consistent and relevant manner. Your mission with social media should be to figure out where your audience is hanging out online and then figure out how to have the most relevant conversation with them you possibly can. Doing such is going to take research, commitment and a structured messaging and content marketing platform.
We help our clients develop what we call a “message house” which basically serves as their messaging bible and platform for conversations and content development. Create once, use many is a mantra all marketing leaders should try.
A message architecture provides a consistent platform that enables you to build dynamic, inspirational and meaningful conversations while still being consistent and based upon your brand architecture and promise.
5. Bio and description:
Your bio and description is very important when it comes to social media. Use the message house to help you write your bio, description of services offered, mission, vision, value proposition etc. Do not “wing it” each time you sign up for a new social network. Also, keep the content fresh on your social network profiles. Be certain that the way you describe yourself and your business is always accurate of your current state of business and life. It’s a good habit to get into checking and if needed updating on a monthly basis at minimum.
6. Images properly formatted:
Take the time to understand the guidelines for images provided by each social network platform. Don’t create one image and then force fit it into each social network profile. Instead create your brand and message architecture. Then work with your designer or outsource the work to someone who can properly size and optimize the images to display properly. Don’t skip this step. It is a very important first impression you don’t want to mess up!
7. Stay on brand and don’t be lazy:
The fastest way to mess up your digital social brand is to be lazy. When you get lazy with execution of design or content marketing, it’s easy to get “off brand.” Using the message house and creating the brand architecture will help you stay within the framework of your existing brand. Take time to slow down to speed up but don’t get lazy. Focus on quality yet don’t let perfection keep you from ever launching. Embrace the imperfect perfection and do the best you can.
8. Create supporting images:
Focus on more than just your profile image, cover images and logos. Create a set of supporting images that you can use for call to actions, Facebook tab icons, posts on Facebook, images to support blog posts and more. Don’t wing it when it comes to selecting images for your online profiles or for your content marketing and communication efforts. Instead as part of your brand architecture select images that can be used on an ongoing basis to help you inspire and connect with your audiences, properly represent your brand and build lasting relationships. We live in a visual world and images are a great way to share your brand story.
9. Create a memorable experience:
Think about the most memorable experience you have ever had with a brand. Why was it memorable? What is it that makes it meaningful? Make it a goal to inspire and connect with your community in a real and emotional way. Connecting emotionally often becomes memorable because it is purposeful and meaningful. To do this you must know your audience, know yourself and know how to inspire and connect with them.
10. Be human:
There is only one you so be that person, period. Social is not going to transform your organization, but instead it will reveal it. Focus on being you and being human from day one. Treat your audience and social communities as human beings. Care about them, and speak to them as human beings, not as robots. Bottom line, you can never go wrong by investing in communities and the human beings within them.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Set Up Goals:
You need written goals in order to understand results and map out what next steps are best.
If you haven’t determined your goals, it isn’t enough to say you “see” results because that’s not real data. You’ll never know your Return on Investment (ROI) without goal setting and strategy.
2. Clarify Your Message:
One of your most important goals will be to engage people. The best way to engage more people is to have a clear message.
When you connect what you’re selling to an ideal of how things should be, you create a greater value for your product. This could even apply to selling you!
Become a problem solver. Speak to the practical, external problems customers are facing, as well as the internal fears and motivations they may have.
3. Know Your Audience:
Recently, an organic skin care company was able to lure me away from their competitor. How? By understanding me at a deeper level than their competitor did.
Get out a piece of paper and describe your target customer. Who are they?
- Where do they live?
- What are their interests, concerns and issues?
- How can you help them come to a purchase decision with the content you publish?
- Don’t forget about those fans who are not in-market. What can you offer to keep them engaged?
4. Establish a Budget:
Social media is not free, it’s pay to play.
Facebook ads are ideal for growing your fan base and promoting your content, but you need to know at the outset what you’ll need to spend to get to your goals.
Determine the budget it will take to get your content seen. If you’re a beginner company, $500-$1,000 per month should be sufficient. But, keep in mind that if you’re paying someone to manage the ads for you, there will be an additional fee involved.
5. Utilize a Content Calendar:
I know it might not seem like it but a content calendar will be your best friend.
The content creation process can be overwhelming, especially when you’re new. It can seem like everything is all over the place. A content calendar helps keep everything in one place with an outline to plan your posts.
Even I once thought content calendars were merely a suggestion but now I’ve proven to myself (and my clients) that they are invaluable. The world is a crazy place and it’s nice to have a touchstone where all your ideas live.
6. Plan out Your Content Mix:
With video becoming more and more the go-to type of content that customers enjoy, it’s crucial to plan out the types of content you’re going to produce.
A good content mix if you’re new to social media is:
Planning your content mix allows you to map out all the players needed to produce it and the tools and equipment you’ll need. As time goes on, you’ll discover what your audience is engaging with the most and adapt your mix to their liking.
Pro Tip: Show a side of your business that’s consistent with your “personality”:
Content that unmasks a more intimate or fun-loving side of your business.
Tell a story: the genesis of your business is a great place to start.
It’s perfectly ok to showcase your products and services but do it in a way that doesn’t annoy.
7. Schedule Engagement Into Your Day:
I was recently speaking with a great Facebook ads manager about the sometimes-ignored subject of engagement. Social media is social. If people are connecting, you need to engage too! Social ads are great but they are only part of your social media strategy.
Community management is vital. Some customers prefer to communicate via social channels and it’s your job to be there with customer support. Take at least 10 minutes in the morning and evening to listen, respond and be their guide.
As your page grows, so will the comments. You’ll want to engage people as often as possible to build rapport. If you’re the boss, designate at least one person to listen, respond, ask questions and engage with your audience.
8. Plan How You’ll Promote Your Content:
Once you’re fan base begins to grow and you’ve done a good job of engaging them, your next step is to plan how you’ll convert them into customers.
Due to the massive growth of Facebook ads, managing them correctly is becoming more difficult for beginners. Depending on your budget, please consider outsourcing Facebook ads management.
But this doesn’t let you off the hook of planning your promotions. Recall the work you did so far, especially with respect to knowing your customers. Now, design a promotion that will attract their attention.
- What’s the offer?
- Why should the customer care?
- What do you want them to do?
- How long will it run?
- How much will your budget be?
- What would success look like?
9. Measure and Analyze:
You’ll need to determine the KPI’s (key performance indicators) that matter most to your social media success. Here are the top Facebook 8 KPI’s that we measure and analyze at Kruse Control:
- Audience growth
- Audience profile
- Audience engagement
- Content reach
- Engagement by content type
- Response rate and quality
- Negative feedback
10. Give Yourself a Break:
I hear from a lot of overwhelmed people whose source of frustration is social media.
Frustration can come from being stuck in outdated, long-held beliefs. Take a look at what you’re holding onto and identify what you’re willing to let go. It only takes a small step to welcome a whole new world.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Brand recognition:
While the purpose of the official website of a brand is to deliver information about the products, the social media platforms are the main channels to spread the word about your brand. When people access their social profiles, they primarily seek the connection with their friends and family. However, personal interests cannot be switched off, especially when the use of such platforms is not for work. Thus, the users are always in search for the next interesting bits that may improve the quality of their life.
This is where your brand comes in. The sharing of information stands at the basis of any social platform, and your brand can be among these topics. If the company brings value to the community, the word of mouth will be activated in this online environment. Happy customers can be encouraged to talk about the brand, and their posts can be in return seen by their friends and followers. And this is how the brand recognition is getting stronger and stronger. You can help this phenomenon by using social media amplification on your website. Plus, there is not needed a high budget to make your brand popular throughout these platforms.
2. Brand loyalty:
The frequent social posts are not only meant to bring new leads for the sales departments but also maintain and increase the loyalty of old customers. Studies show that 53% of Americans are developing a loyal behavior towards the brands they follow on social media.
The official social profile of a company holds more than just the opportunity to deliver quality content. It also nourishes the connection between brand and customers. The ability to directly reply to the posts of your favorite brand and play a role in its community keeps the interest in the brand alive.
3. Cost effective targeted ads:
The social media is not only an access point to 2 billion consumers, but it can also be used to send your campaigns to the exact target audience. The social ads are the most inexpensive promotional methods and yet one of the most effective strategies for high ROI. Social media is vital to the business success when it comes to online advertising. Facebook Ads, for example, offer audience segmentation that fits the profile of your marketing persona. If your present campaign is suited for the California motorcycle riders than Facebook knows exactly where to deliver your sponsored posts.
4. Customer persona:
The social media platforms are ultimately a valuable source of information about your target audience. Just by simply analyzing the profiles of the brand followers opens up a tap of insights. You can get to know what the preferences, hobbies, working fields or demographics of your ideal consumers are. These details will enable you to create more targeted marketing campaigns.
Moreover, the followers can provide constructive feedback for the business. They may prefer writing on social media about their issues with the brand activity rather than contacting customer service. While the feedback shouldn’t be hidden or altered, its negative connotation can be turned into proactive improvements of the brand itself.
5. Higher conversion rates:
One main reason that the consumers choose to interact more with the brand on social platforms is the humanizing effect. Behind any purchasing decision stands the reason of brand trust. Often times, the website of a company provides a lot of bodies of information to the detriment of originality or entertainment. However, a social profile can be used as the voice of a brand, which has originality and authenticity.
This voice of the brand tackles only issues that correspond to a set of values that are shared by the entire community. Once the consumers identify their own values with the ones from the company, a relationship of trust is created. From here to the purchase decision is just a matter of time.
6. A bridge between social followers and website:
Once the consumers identify their needs with a brand, they usually start some research about the company. And what better way there is to do so, but the official website of the brand? So, between the social interaction and website activity is just one small step.
The website can be easily tracked down in the social profiles if made visible and the traffic gathered on social channels can get redirected to the website itself.
7. Upgraded Customer Service:
Even though they can be used for a lot of different personal and business reasons, social media platforms are a communication channel. But unlike the more traditional ways of online communication, like e-mail or chats, this type of platform is transparent. This means that everybody can see the public series of replies between the customer and the brand.
This can be used to the advantage of the brand if it is wisely handled. The complaints can be dealt with proactive measures, like publicly assuring the unsatisfied customers that they will receive a brand new product without extra costs. Or the brand can over deliver and repay all the comments of a popular post with personalized gifts.
8. Partnering / Networking:
Networking online to build relationships and partnerships that can benefit both parties is the quickest and strongest way to really ramp up online once you have your foundation in place. Find near-product/service partners you can do joint ventures with. Share their content, and have them share yours!
9. Promise and Create Value:
You make a promise of value when you make a value proposition. It can help you stand out from the competition. And whether you want to promote a product using Instagram or Facebook, you need to distinguish your product and company from similar ones. For your value proposition to be valid it has to be relevant, visually appealing, clear and concise and include a call-to-action.
Creating an effective value proposition on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin will motivate users to click your ad. You could offer a free eBook or offer a download to a printable coupon…or anything that details the unique value your product provides.
Creating an effective value proposition on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin will motivate users to click your ad. You could offer a free eBook or offer a download to a printable coupon…or anything that details the unique value your product provides.
10. Create a Content Strategy:
Every social media strategy needs a strong foundation of well-crafted, carefully chosen content. Content adds substance to social media, and developing a content strategy that’s effective for your target audience, and effective when assessing your competitors, will have the most success.
An important part of your content strategy is to develop and maintain a consistent tone of voice to guarantee the ongoing quality of your content no matter who is creating it. It’s also helpful to be consistent. You need to post regularly so your audience gets accustomed to the times and opportunity to interact with you.
It’s wise to create different types of content, both written (articles, blog posts), and visual (tutorial videos, infographics, podcasts, etc.), and track what content is most effective on your social media networks.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Clear Goal:
If you do not know what you want to achieve, you are probably going to fail. So much depends on your goals like your target audience, the brand perception you want to communicate, the content that you should use etc.
Be careful to set realistic goals. If a client in the second week of working together shows me the profile and blog of one of the top 10 Forbes social media influencers saying “They get it right. I want to do what they do and achieve what they get. Show me how.” – they are shocked speechless when I answer “No problem, invest 5 years of brilliant copywriting and persistent social media marketing with the methods I am showing you right now.”
The big success does never come for free! And it certainly does not come over night.
2. Provide real value on your social accounts!
You cannot expect people to follow you if you do not provide anything of value. The simple existence of any social account will not make followers and fans flock to it. Make your accounts worth to be followed first – otherwise you are going to fail.
Most often it is the information, which you share and the content you provide which makes people interested in following you. It is not necessary that every piece of information or content is your own content. In this case content curation is a legitimate way of providing more value to your followers without having to create the content all by yourself.
Never forget that social media is about what your audience wants and not about what you want to sell them. Before you can even think about selling anything via social media (yes, selling in social media is totally possible) you need your audience to listen to you first.
3. Make yourself (and your accounts) visible!
When you are starting out you have one big problem: No one knows you exist. You have no audience to speak of. So even the best value on your accounts will pass by totally unnoticed. No, I do not believe that good content will rise to the top automatically. I have seen too many social media accounts and blogs talking to themselves for ages without knowing what they are doing wrong.
You need to hustle like hell to change that and get yourself in front of an audience. There are multiple ways of doing it and all take effort, time and persistence to really make an impact.
Here are a handful of ideas for finding an audience: Take part in conversations, follow some people you want to connect to, guest post on established blogs to borrow their audience (make sure to include your social accounts into the bio).
4. Provide real value on your site!
Most of us do not simply do social media for having fun on the social networks. We want to get people to our own site and have them consume what we provide there.
But why should people visit your site, if your site is not interesting to anybody? Having a “buy” button is seldom enough. Especially if your product and brand is new, it rarely is sufficient to simply exist to get people to buy. You need to build trust and brand recognition. And one way to get there is to provide an endless stream of good informative content directly on your site. (Think about a blog, if you do not have one yet).
5. Make it easy to share!
You cannot expect people to spread the word about your business or content if you make this hard. Lacking share buttons, not providing brand messages people can use, no social accounts shown, … do you really expect people to do all the work for you?
Social Media marketing success is not only based on the number of followers and fans you can reach by yourself. To a large part, it depends on other people spreading the word for you. But while you yourself will hopefully be willing to go a long way to share your own stuff, other people will not. Making it easy for them to share your content is a must – otherwise, they will simply not do it. Even if they were willing to do it in the first place.
6. Make your own site visually appealing!
This sounds like a given. But it seems not to be. If you have a website and you want it to give you results, then make sure that the people who find it don’t turn around in disgust.
You can have the best content on your site if it is barely readable people will turn around and never bother again. And they will definitely not share it.
7. Have a Call To Action!
You would be surprised how many sites I visited (and left for good), where I never found out what they wanted me to do. Even the aforementioned Share buttons fall into this category. Whatever you want people to do: Make it clear! It is up to you to tell people what they should do. Do not expect them to be interested enough to use their own brains. More often than not they will not bother.
It is a science in itself to perfect the call to action. Sometimes the color of the button or the placement of the button on your site can make a huge difference. The story you tell and how you present it is crucial. Once you manage to get people to your site, make sure to optimize on your end to get the most out of these visitors.
8. Use keywords and hashtags:
I am not an overly strong fan of using hashtags. I am also not an overly strong fan of keyword optimizing. But the most commonly used keywords that describe best what you provide should be included in your activity. People need to see the words they are familiar with and expect for your area of interest on your social accounts to identify you as the valuable source of information you want to be.
It still seems to be a well-kept secret that search on social media is huge. In fact search in social networks is the second largest search engine right behind Google (YouTube).
By making sure that your account and posts can be found via search you can attract a huge audience. There are even some social networks like Pinterest where optimizing your posts for search is by far more important than how many followers you have if you are looking for views on your posts and traffic to your website via clicks on your updates.
Never underestimate the power of hashtags and keywords in social media. They may well be the key to your social media marketing success.
In some social networks, a straightforward way to grow a targeted audience is to follow people you want to follow you back. The principle is simple: If you provide value to your target group some of the people you will follow are interested in what you provide, they will take a look at your account and if they like what they see they will happily follow you back.
By choosing the people you follow, you have it in your own hands to target people from your target audience. This can be slightly tricky. A good starting point is often your competition or influencers from your niche– if they have a considerable following in social media. If their followers like what your competitors provide they are likely to be interested in the value you can provide and will eventually follow you back.
However, this is not a concept that you should overindulge in. Aggressive behavior is considered spam in most social networks. So you have to make sure that you know the limits and the best practices for the networks.
And in some networks (Facebook for instance) this concept does not work. That is simply due to the fact, that Facebook is based on friendship rather than following people.
10. Be active:
I have seen many beginners make the same mistake: They post if they have new content. That is a post once a week or even less. That is simply not enough to stay on people’s radar. Even worse, in some networks people will unfollow accounts that stay inactive for more than a few days.
In most social networks activity is crucial. To stay on people’s radar, you have to post constantly. The frequency of posts varies in the different networks, but for most networks, it is a good starting point to post at least once a day. If you do not have enough own valuable content, there is nothing wrong with sharing great information that others created (the concept is called content curation).
Connect: On Twitter
1. Deliver value — not just advertisements:
Your social media audience members initially connect with your brand because they are interested in what you are offering. They might want to stay up to date on happenings or be aware of future sales and promotions. So, be interesting on social media — mix in some company culture posts, alongside promotional offers.
The last thing you want to do is push away followers because you post only predictable advertisements. Instead, be memorable and deliver value to ensure you keep your followers engaged and interested.
2. Leverage the reach of social media influencers:
Using social media influencers is hands-down the most effective strategy on social media. Now, there are always exceptions, but for the most part, almost every brand can use influencers to their advantage.
You will want to identify the social networks that your target audience lives on, then identify potential influencers who would be a great match for your brand. It’s extremely easy to get started — simply reach out to the influencer and make a deal.
This is big business now, and I can say, from firsthand experience, that the influencers willing to play ball will have contact information visible in their bios.
3. Think beyond organic reach:
If you really want to win at social media, you have to be willing to pay to play. Facebook organic reach is nothing like it was in the beginning, and now Instagram is playing around with a new algorithm, as well.
Combining the massive audience that platforms like Facebook and Instagram can put you in front of, along with their advertising targeting options, provides you with a huge opportunity to generate instant traffic, leads and sales. It’s also highly scalable once you develop a winning campaign.
4. Post consistently without overwhelming your audience:
Plenty of automation tools are available to help you manage your social media marketing, but don’t let extreme automation be your downfall. I actually experienced this the other day: I followed a brand on social media, and that move resulted in my newsfeed being flooded with promotional posts.
Those posts hit on the hour, every hour. It was obvious that whoever was handling the brand’s social media was overdoing it. I quickly unfollowed that brand.
So, the message there is: You want to be consistent, keeping your brand fresh in the minds of your followers, without being annoying and overwhelming.
5. Address issues and/or complaints immediately:
Social media has become a customer-service portal — it’s rather easy for consumers to get the attention of a company on social media. Sending a tweet or Facebook post takes customers seconds, rather than having to track down a phone number, wait on hold or speak to what’s likely to be an outsourced call center.
So, you need to learn to respond, and quickly. If a consumer posts something on your social media feed, ask him or her to contact you ASAP to resolve the issue quickly and painlessly. Don’t delete or ignore it — that can set off a complete storm of you-know-what.
Want proof? Visit the social feeds of any major national brand, and you’ll see complaints and pissed-off consumers — read through some of them to see how those brands handle adversity.
6. Dedicate time to learn how social media works:
There are a lot of social media marketing tips available online, from free content on websites like this one to paid courses you can complete at your convenience. It’s not very complicated if you take the time to educate yourself.
7. Listen to your customers:
When you listen to your audience, you open the door to other opportunities as well. For instance, when my influencer marketing agency plans campaign strategies for a brand, we often audit their social media followers to identify key influencers. Learn to listen to your audience — it can provide you with valuable information.
8. Use automation for consistency:
There is smart automation and then there is spammy, ineffective automation when it comes to social media marketing. You don’t want to blast out promotional offers all day long — that’s a quick way to lose all of your followers. Use social media as a way to communicate with your audience and provide them valuable information. When you do that, you create happy brand supporters you can eventually convert into sales.
9. Understand your analytics:
It amazes me that so many brands don’t dive into their social analytics, yet say, “Social media just doesn’t work for us.” Resources like Facebook Page Insights and Twitter analytics provide you with all the information you need to see what is working and what isn’t.
Check these daily and stay on top of your campaigns. You can’t just throw up random posts and expect results. What type of content receives the most engagement? What types of content drives the most clicks back to your website? Learn how your audience members react on social media and optimize your efforts to cater to their habits.
10. Don’t be a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none.’:
It’s nearly impossible — and almost always ineffective — to be active on every single social media platform. I always suggest new brands should start with two or three social media platforms they are certain their target audience is active on. Master those, and then expand your social reach as the business grows and more effort can be allocated to additional social platforms.
Connect: On Twitter
1. Quality over quantity:
When it comes to posting to social media most marketers simply post the first things that they feel would be nice for their community.
By being more selective and having a high standard in the content you are sharing on social, you will have a better chance of standing out from all the noise and be able to build a loyal fan base that sees you as an authority in the space.
A good way to do this is to collect a lot of potential posts and then filter it out until you have the best things from your collection. Yes, this approach is time consuming but your posts will have a bigger impact and will result in much higher engagement levels.
2. Use images when posting to social:
We are social creatures and can relate much easier to visual content then text-based content. [Tweet “According to Facebook and Hubspot, image posts on Facebook receive 53% more likes”] and attract 104% more comments than other post types.
The easiest way to increase engagement on your social profiles is by adding more posts with images. Make sure you don’t fall into some common social media bad habits when using images in your posts and always look at your posts with the fan in mind.
3. Leverage user generated content:
User generated content is your best friend. Not only does it save you time in finding or creating content, but content created from your customers is golden for a number of other reasons. User generated content or UGC can have a very strong impact on social media because it is easier for your fans and potential customers to connect to content generated by people that are similar to them.
UGC is tough to get hold of but thankfully there is a great service out there called Yotpo which helps online merchants generate tons of product reviews (also a form of UGC) and makes it easy for them to use these reviews to increase traffic and sales. Yotpo is available on 18 different eCommerce platforms and is free.
4. Use the POST framework to maximize your efforts:
Just getting started with social can be tough for some people because it is such a large world that is constantly growing. I developed the POST framework specifically for eCommerce store owners that want to maximize their efforts on social media and are a bit stuck. The framework has 4 parts to it. They are:
- Pillars of content – Define 3-5 categories of content you want to post.
- Outreach – Actively reach out to individuals through social and provide them with value, this builds context and a growing following.
- Scheduling – Schedule your post using tools like Buffer or Sprout Social.
- Timing – Analyze the engagement of your community and schedule your posts at optimal times.
I recommend reading through the entire post linked above to get a better idea of how each of these pieces fit together and how the framework can be used to supercharge your social activities.
5. Make it easy for your customers to spread the word:
One of the most powerful aspects of social media is that it allows the single individual to reach hundreds or even tens of thousands of individuals. As a market you want to tap into this capability by making it easy for individuals to spread the word about your products and brand.
There are a number of 3rd party services out there for every eCommerce platform that makes it easy to add share buttons, special social coupons, social reviews and a number of other social integrations that will help make your site more social friendly and result in more free viral traffic directed to your site.
6. Monitor and track everything you can:
Most social media tools and even within some of the social networks provide free analytics on everything from engagement levels to clicks and even breakdown by country and age.
Information is power and it is important that you have instant access to the stats which matter the most. Below is a list of what I consider the most important stats that you should be tracking.
- Engagement levels per post with a breakdown by post type
- Number of clicks per post
- Total purchases by social, with breakdown by channel
- Total visitors by social (compared to other traffic channels)
- Performance of social traffic (time on site, pages per view)
- New vs returning for social traffic
- Performance of social traffic that comes from 3rd party tools like Yotpo, Mailchimp etc.
7. Earn the right to advertise:
There is a simple but very powerful mind trick that you can play with yourself that will help you approach social media as you should. Social media, from a business-to-consumer perspective, is all about providing value to individuals in the hope that a context between the brand and the individual is formed. Once that context is formed, that individual will support you in a number of ways from helping you spread the word to actually buying your stuff.
One powerful way to approach social media with this approach in mind is to say to yourself that you need to earn the right to advertise. By putting this requirement in place you are forced to provide constant value to your community and then once in a while you would have earned the right to push your products or service onto them in the hope that they will make a purchase. Remember, you want to earn the right to advertise.
8. Think out of the box:
One of my biggest influences in the online marketing space is Seth Godin who wrote a now famous book called Purple Cow. The premise of the book is that if your business isn’t remarkable it is invisible and I have to agree with this idea. One of the ways to make your business remarkable is in your marketing. This could seem like mission impossible, but by simply executing on ideas that are different to how others in your space are conducting their marketing, you will be on your way to making your marketing remarkable.
I recommend that you take some time each week and brainstorm ideas which are unique and don’t require too many resources.
Try at least once a month to run a short campaign that is out of the box. You may find that these “out of the box” ideas bring you your largest return on investment.
9. Adopt the social mindset:
Being active on social media is not enough, you need to adopt the social mindset when it comes to your business. We are social creatures and thanks to the social media revolution, we have all become very use to seeing social signals all over the Internet. The more you embed social within your website and business as a whole, the faster your online following will grow, the better your returns will be on your social marketing activities and more likely your brand is to spread across the Internet.
Below is a list of some of the ways you can ingrain social within your website and business:
- Place social buttons on all your pages and in your email signature, and share buttons on your product pages.
- Encourage visitors to check you out on social for discounts, promotions and other information.
- Leave no engagement behind (AKA respond to every tweet, comment, post and mention).
- Run special promotions for your social communities (see #10 below).
- Embed widgets on your site that show your most recent activity on your social profiles.
10. Run social campaigns:
Running social marketing campaigns could fit into a number of the items I mentioned above, like thinking out of the box for example, but I feel that it deserves special mention.
There are a number of resource online to help you run a social marketing campaign but I think that there are 3 main things that you have to take into consideration.
- Speak the language of your target audience – If you aren’t using basic, everyday language in your marketing campaigns your audience won’t connect with your messaging and you will lose them.
- It needs to be special – Most online brands today are trying to run campaigns through social and this has resulted in an overabundance of online competitions and promotions which usually don’t excite. If you are going to run special social campaigns then it really needs to be special. The good news is that if it is remarkable, the viral element of social media will make it spread like wildfire.
- Money is no longer a strong influencer – This may sound strange to most but when it comes to online competitions, having a prize which is simply financial is conceived as boring. Put yourself in your community’s shoes and think of something that they would die for and use that as your prize. Sometimes simply being recognized and put as the center of attention is enough to make the campaign interesting.
There are a number of themes which are common in the 10 tips I have mentioned above. Some of these themes are 1) be remarkable, 2) put yourself in your target audiences shoes and 3) the environment is highly competitive and fast moving. If you can remember these themes and use them to help you grow your business through social, you will be in a very good place.
This post is a part of a blog series on Marketing Success by ReportGarden, an ad agency client reports & dashboards automation software.