Archive | June, 2014

Travel Marketing the Social Media Way

30 Jun

You surely love to travel. Whether you admit or not, this is true and you know it from the core of your heart. After weeks or even months of hard work, you feel the necessity to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Even a few years back, you would have spent a lot of time planning the trip and organizing it, looking for agents who can help you out. You would have looked for their advices on going to places they suggest and booking the accommodation there that they would tell you to be the best for you. The advent of the social media seems to have changed this concept completely.

Making Travel Plans from Social Media

As many as 40% of the travelers use social media for travel inspiration and 42% use it for planning their trip, says Trip Advisor. But what seems to be an important information provided by this travel website is that an overwhelming 76% seems to use social media platforms for sharing their travel experiences, Almost 91% of the travelers who take social media into account post photos there. Besides, many others also use social media platforms to post videos or write ups to share their online friends. Therefore, these experiences are surely going to impress others and influence their decisions in future while going for a trip.

Finding the Best Accommodation on Social Media

Worried how to find the perfect place to stay during your trip? Social media can help you in this process as well. Hundreds of hotels and timeshare companies are advertising on Facebook and other social media platforms. This provides you with the option of finding the best options for staying, which can make your trip an enchanting one. While you can go for luxury hotels, there are also budget options, such as timeshares and bed & breakfast inns, which can help you complete the trip within a short time. Check out different social media platforms for advice from the people who have already treaded the route you are planning to travel.

Social Media as a Travel Best Practice

According to LinkedIn, the integration of social media in the travel industry for marketing has been one of the best practices. More and more travel and tourism companies are engaging these days in the process of social media marketing. In fact, different governments are also engaging in advertising the places in their territories as the perfect travel destinations. Besides, these governments and also a few travel companies are providing different types of offers to the travelers. This is driving more and more people with every passing day to use these social media platforms for making their travel plans.

Social Media becoming Important Travel Marketing Platform

Travel companies have already started taking the social media platforms seriously. They are planning special marketing programs on these websites. Many of them are creating pages of their own on social media sites, such as Facebook. They are using these pages to provide information about their offerings. Besides, they are also providing images and videos of these places to make the tourists more interested in them. Hence, many of these companies are finding that a large number of their customers are being mobilized from the social media platforms.

Marketing in the Social Media Groups on Travel

Have you already joined a social media website for making travel plans? Are you worried how to start with the process? You will find quite a few groups, which are engaged in discussions about travel. Join them. You can even ask questions to clarify your doubts or finding the best destinations. This is why many travel marketing companies also join these travel groups on social media. They find these a perfect place to market their plans. When you ask a question, they can answer it and, at the same time, publicize their offerings as well. This is likely to help them increase their business revenues significantly.

Like any other process, travel marketing was also growing and transforming over the years. As social media became an integral part of the life, it entered almost all the industries. The travel industry was no exception as well. Social media has been utilized significantly. Hence, it has helped to take the process of travel a significant step forward.

 

How To Track Your Social Media Marketing

23 Jun

How do you measure social media?

Some people call it metrics. Others call it measuring your marketing efforts. Whatever you want to call it, this measuring stuff can get pretty confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Think about it –  you’ve got a bunch of stats with your Facebook Insights, click-thrus in your scheduling program and your Pinterest analytics telling you which is the most pinned image.

Where do you look? Which number is more important than the others? And what the heck is the difference between a sharing metric and a consumption metric?

I’m not a numbers person. I swear, I just barely squeaked through my Statistics 101 class in college. And honestly, it hurts my head to think about this stuff.

Where do we start?

You start with understanding your goals.

I want you to think about WHY your company is using social media. And how are these social marketing efforts helping you to effectively grow your business?

  • Are you on Facebook to increase your exposure?
  • Do you post on Twitter to grow your website traffic?
  • Or are you pinning on Pinterest to generate more sales?

Your social programs may be different with each of the above questions but those are the type of business goals I’m talking about. It’s about asking the right questions to help you make a decision about what’s working and what’s not.

Let me break down these three types of goals, give you some actionable ideas to try and then show you how to measure your social media marketing.

Increase Exposure:

This exposure stuff is pretty simple. To increase your company’s exposure, you need to spend time where your customers hang out.

I’m not just talking about a post here and there and replying to comments. I mean really pulling together a posting strategy that creates multiple touchpoints where you connect with your fans.

You want to make sure you provide enough positive impressions about your company to connect with the right people.

And how do you grow your exposure?

1. Optimize your profiles with targeted key words to ensure that people running a search on your products can find you.

2. Customize your content – not just for the social program you’re on but for the audience you’re trying to reach.

3. Create shareable content with special offers to grow your followers.

Website Traffic:

Well, this one is pretty obvious. The more people who come to your site, the more they see your stuff, what you do and how to follow your marketing messages.

What are some ideas to use your social sites to increase your site traffic?

1. Use eye-catching images and attention-grabbing headlines in your posts.

I know I’ve said this before but this point is so important that I’m going to repeat myself:

This is how we connect to content online – first we see the image, then the headline and if both the image and headline have caught our attention, then we read the post.

2. Remember to add your site links to your marketing messages. Consistently schedule in your own content mixed with your promotional messages into all of your social media posts.

3. Create custom landing pages on your site. If you want me to sign up for your new online class, don’t send me to your home page so I have to look for it. Give me the direct link to your register page.

Making more sales:

This is always a tough one for people to figure out where their sales are coming from. During the sales process, there are multiple marketing messages that can contribute to the final purchase.

There are quite a few steps that happen from when someone clicks on a social media post to the day when they hit the Buy Here button. The initial post is just the start of the conversion process that takes a retweet from connection to a lead to a customer.

How can you use social media to help with your sales goals?

1. Give your connections a clear call-to-action. Don’t just assume that they know to click this link to register. Tell them what to do and what they’ll get from doing that action.

2. Include valuable content in your posts to give your fans the information they need to make their decisions. Chances are, they’ve been researching answers to their problems even before they connected with you. Why not give them what they want so they don’t have to ask for it?

3. Develop your content and your social posts for your specific target audience. Being everything to everyone may bring you the clicks to your site but they may not be the ones who will convert to a customer.

How do we track all this stuff?

I’ve lost track of the number of times I asked this question. I ran searches on Google and in Pinterest.

I found expensive programs that would run metric numbers for me, confusing spreadsheets and even a few companies I could hire to run my numbers every month.

I just couldn’t find what I was looking for so I made my own. And I didn’t even create a spreadsheet for this. I pulled up a word document, added in a table and some cool graphics behind it and check it out — my own tracking sheet!

Below is my tracking checklist that I run every month. Feel free to use my list and add your own important measurements like sales of a product that your company tracks every month. The point of this is to start tracking your numbers so you can see a pattern of what’s working and what’s not.

1. First thing I do, I log into my Google Analytics every month. In my monthly report, I include the following:

  • Page view numbers – social vs organic
  • All traffic numbers – not just my top referral sites but how many clicks did I get to come to my site?
  • What’s my top content for the month?
  • What are the top content pages on my site?
  • And I break down my top referral social site (which is Pinterest) and I see which pins were the ones that brought me the most traffic.

2. Next thing I do is track my social site numbers:

  • Which site is growing and which one is losing fans?
  • How does my fan numbers compare to the month before?
  • I add in notes to myself about anything that happened that month – did I teach more workshops? Did I do an online webinar? What could have created a change in my social numbers?

3. Then I track my blog subscribers and email newsletter signups:

  • These numbers are even more important than your social site followers.
  • Your subscriber lists are people who are interested in connecting with you on a deeper level than just following your company on Facebook. These are the people who have the greatest chance of converting to loyal customers.

4. I take a look at the big picture of all my numbers:

  • I can see which type of content is resonating with more people by the traffic it brings to my site. Can I expand on this content more or create a series of posts?
  • The numbers tell me where to spend my valuable time. When I watched my Facebook numbers go down for several months, I shifted my focus to Twitter. And when I saw that an increase in my tweets led to more clicks on my site, then I knew how to schedule my weekly social media updates.
  • When I see my subscriber number, I get a good feel for the amount of exposure I’m generating. If the numbers are slow to climb, it prompts me to re-think my content (am I connecting to the right people?). And when the numbers go up quicker, I take note as to what might have caused that (do I need to do more webinars?).

Tracking your social media marketing shouldn’t be about a bunch of numbers. It’s more about measuring your social activity and figuring out how to adjust your marketing strategy to reach the goals that help you grow your company.

By constantly reviewing the behavior and the actions of your site visitors, you’ll start to get more details about how to refine your marketing plans. And the more specific your strategies can be, the better your chances are to convert your connections into loyal customers.

 

Facebook Business Page Relaunch: 4 Facts

16 Jun

Facebook’s redesigned business pages, which it announced in March, will go live this week, the social network said. The redesign includes a more streamlined look to mimic what you see on mobile, a handful of design updates, and a couple of new features.

Facebook will finally ditch the two-column timeline design in favor of the one-column feed that all user profiles already have. Before, posts would render differently on the page than they would in news feeds. Moving to a one-column design changes that: Page posts will now display consistently both on the page and in users’ news feeds.

Admins will have a slightly different view of their pages in the new design: Facebook added key information about the ads you’re running, new likes on your page, and unread notifications and messages, all within the margins of the main view of your page.

Facebook also added new navigation options to the top of the page for activity, insights, settings, audience building, and help. The Build Audience tab will send you directly to your Ads Manager account.

Facebook page admins accessing their accounts will see a tour of the redesign, Facebook said. After you complete the tour you can switch to the new design immediately. If you want to update your pages before switching, you can wait up to two weeks. Facebook will automatically push the new redesign live two weeks after you view the tour.

Here’s a look at four more things you should know about Facebook’s redesign for business pages.

1. Content in the left-side column will vary.
If you’re a business with a brick-and-mortar location, the left-side column will display information about the page’s business, including a map, phone number, hours of business, likes and visits, apps, photos, videos, reviews, posts to your page, and pages your page likes, Facebook said.

If your business operates primarily online, the left-side column will show the same information except for reviews. Soon, admins will be able to rearrange the order in which these sections appear.

2. Where to find your apps.
Facebook said a common question from admins is where applications will move. If your business page uses apps, you’ll find them in two locations: in the left-side column or in the top navigation menu.

3. Where to find your messages.
If your page activated messages, you can view them both in the Activity tab at the top of the page (above your cover photo) or in the This Week box that runs along the right side of your page.

4. Watch list alerts
The newest feature in the redesigned pages is called Pages to Watch. This lets admins create a list of competitors and monitor how they compared to their own pages’ performance regarding total page likes, new page likes, posts this week, and engagement this week.

Facebook said you’ll receive a notification when your page is added to another page’s watch list, but it will not disclose the name of the page that added you.

5 Ways Social Data Can Enhance Marketing Data

9 Jun

The nature of social media – public, real time, immediate – and the abundance of data collected on users, activity and engagement, provide a greenfield of opportunities to use social data to enhance and support marketing data.

Here are five ways social data can be used to enhance marketing data.

1. Use Social Data to Provide Added Value for Ad Selling

Online publishers have been selling ads based on data like visits, pageviews, subscribers, and impressions. But social data can be used to enhance the value of online publishers by proving larger circulation through social profiles, impressions on social networks and increased reach through shares.

Media kits should start to include social data as the added value the publisher provide to advertisers as well as post-advertisement reports that include impressions, reach, and engagement.

Additionally, publishers can add value by providing advertisers with the exact details on engaged-audience including the actual users who engaged with their content.

2. Use Social Data to Enhance TV Ratings Data

Nielsen recently add Nielsen Social as part of the TV rating offering by looking at people who tweet about TV shows and their audience. But social data can enhance more than just simple ratings and provide insight into the type of audience engaged with TV shows as well as the types of engagement.

Networks and cable TV can start looking at social data to make decision about the life or death of their programming beyond the traditional rating system and can provide the social data as an added value for advertisers.

In today’s DVR-heavy watching habits, ratings for live TV only give the networks partial information on how well their programming is doing with their audience. This data might have been able to save Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

3. Use Engagement Data to Test Messaging

Social media provides marketers with a cheap and quick way to test messaging with a highly targeted audience. By crafting several messages you can post to social media and measure the engagement levels each message generated with your audience.

Running simple A/B tests, poll questions, or even just asking your audience via tweets, LinkedIn messages, or Facebook posts, you can garner insight on the resonance of messages before you invest heavily in one message or another.

Companies that utilize social media as a testing field for messages, new product offerings, and validation of strategic direction can be better informed about their decisions by analyzing the engagement data in cross reference to the audience that engaged as well as to the way they engaged.

4. Use Social Ads Data to Test Creative

The emergence of social ads offers brands access to audience without the efforts of building that audience organically. In addition, most social ad platform include ad optimization as an integral part of the platform.

Marketers can utilize these platforms to test ad creative before they roll out major, expensive ad campaigns. Use engagement data to evaluate how well your ads are doing and what creative works better with your audience.

The hyper targeting the social platforms offer can ensure that your test is being done on a select, targeted audience without “tainting” your entire addressable market with test campaigns.

5. Use Social Trends to Research Keywords

Unlike in search, social media provides immediate feedback on keyword trends. Using data from the social networks you can uncover keywords and phrases that are on the upswing before they become completely apparent on organic search and this way create content that will get a head start on organic search.

Use tools like Twitter Trends, hashtag research tools, or social media measurement solutions to learn what keywords are getting more traction with your audience and what keyword trends are forming.

You can later insert these keywords into your editorial calendar and create content that will be optimized for queries and phrases that are already in use by your audience.

Summary

The integration of social data with traditional marketing data can enhance your understanding of trends and user behavior, and also can be used as an added value for publishers and advertisers.

The trend of incorporating social data into other data sources is only beginning; do you have any other ideas on how to use it?

Big #Hashtag Mistakes That Hurt Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

2 Jun

Twitter’s humble creation, the hashtag, was first created by Twitter users themselves to collate Tweets under the same category and has since become an essential marketing tool for any social media maven. The hashtag has found itself taking over many social media platforms showing its face on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr posts. Hashtags have even shown up in advertisements and TV shows and found their way into regular conversation!

What is it with hashtags that make them so popular? Well for starters, it’s a handy social media marketing tool used to highlight the latest trending topics, to tie campaigns to keywords and to segregate conversations. They’re fairly simple and easy to understand and can expertly convey a sentiment with just a couple of words.

Hashtag Blunder #1: Using Trending Hashtags Despite Its Irrelevance

The primary purpose of the hashtag is tie a current or trending topic to your brand. When you see a trending hashtag, you need to find a way to relate it to what you’re talking about in your post. For instance, if a trending topic is #skyhighheels, you can post a photo of a model wearing high heels, offer an outfit suggestion that features high heels or ask your followers to describe how they feel when they wear your brand’s high heels, while adding the hashtag to the end of the post. If #LadyGaga is trending, use the hashtag to highlight a point when she used or mentioned your product.

Some brands simply don’t get this. They use trending hashtags and insert them into their posts, even if the hashtagged topic is completely unrelated. For instance, how would #iPhone relate to a post about how you can cook kale? How would #MileyCyrus relate to a promotion about a book sale? How would #ilovekale relate to a tweet that doesn’t even involve food? It wouldn’t. This is an obvious example of trying to jump on the hashtag train, and your followers will see right through your attempt.

What you can do instead is create your own hashtag and encourage your audience to use it whenever you’re talking about a brand. You can use your brand name or you can condense your company slogan into a hashtag.

Sharpie was able to successfully pull this off when they created #sharpie. Their followers started including #sharpie when they were talking about decorating with a Sharpie, a popular artist using it as a medium or simply whenever they used a Sharpie for a personal project. This created brand awareness, and on top of that, Sharpie had more control over how its hashtag could be used.

When it comes to using your company slogan as a hashtag, it would work well if it were short. But if it’s a long sentence, you may be on a slippery slope to…

Hashtag Blunder #2: Using Long Hashtags

Long hashtags are generally okay, but if you’ve got a hashtag that looks like this: #ilovemysoyajasminemilkteadrink, then you’re keeping people from coherently reading what your hashtag is saying. Phrase hashtags are a useful tool, but if you intend to use an entire sentence in there, chances are your hashtag will be ignored as just another annoying social media gimmick.

When using a phrase hashtag, keep it short and simple. Limit it to three or four words, tops. If the audience can’t read it, let alone retype it, your brand will definitely be the only account to use it. Remember, you can also use popular abbreviations such as #lol or #yolo to convey a certain feeling without having to create a long phrase hashtag.

Hashtag Blunder #3: Too Many Hashtags

#Have #you #ever #seen #posts #like #this? Social media marketers who do this are trying to build viewership by including it in a wide range of hashtag searches to get more attention. However, the audience can tell when a brand is trying to force its way into a hashtag, and the long, confusing phrase makes the caption really annoying to read. This could lead to significantly lowering their online interactions!

Sites that don’t have a character limit, such as Instagram or Facebook, may be a victim of too many hashtags. You’ve probably already seen some brands using up a paragraph’s worth of space dedicated simply to hashtags. In these hashtag parties, they often repeat some hashtags with minor changes to the words they use. For instance, #ilovemycoffee #ilovecoffee #lovecoffee #coffeelove #lovingmycoffee #coffee #love and all sorts of other variations may find their way into a post. If you’re managing the social media of a company, do not do this, no matter how tempting it may be.

Instead, use some targeted hashtags or simply, use more relevant hashtags. As stated time and again on social media, quality matters over quantity. It may not generate as much engagement, but isn’t quality engagement more important?

For example, pretend you own a dessert bar named Lemon Lime. Instead of using too many hashtags like #LemonLime#lime#lemon and others, create your own unique one like #LemonLimeLove to express a great dining experience. When customers dine in your dessert bar, they can add #LemonLimeLove to their posts about their great dining experience to simply show that they’ve eaten at your dessert bar and enjoyed it.

Hashtags are fairly simple to understand and easy to use. Add a “#” to the beginning of a word or a phrase, and you’re almost good to go. A slipup in the world of social media is forgivable, but if you constantly misuse hashtags, not only will you have minimal interaction on your page, but you’ll most likely be unfollowed by people.

The final word on hashtags: #keepitsimple.