Archive | January, 2016

The 5 Best Social Media Marketing Tools You Aren’t Using

25 Jan

Still tracking tweets, likes, favorites, followers, and comments the old-fashioned way? In 2016, say goodbye to outdated, clunky dashboards and manual social media account management. While you may already be familiar with some of the big names in social media account management like Hootsuite and TweetDeck, easy account management doesn’t stop there.

Here are five my favorite (but often overlooked) social media marketing tools. Add these to your arsenal in 2016.

  1. The ultimate all-in-one dashboard: Cyfe. Cyfe is an all-in-one business dashboard makes it easy to monitor virtually every piece of analytic data about your business (really). Pre-built widgets pull data from popular services like Google and Salesforce. Add you own custom widgets or Push API for integrating addition data. Boom: all the data you could ever need (and none you don’t), all in one place. Track brand mentions, Twitter followers and Facebook demographics from the social media dashboard. Head to the startup dashboard to track the number of new sign-ups, app downloads, subscriptions and other KPIs in real-time. Automate client reporting with SEO, social media and advertising data from the client dashboard. Plus, there’s a web analytics dashboard, sales dashboard, project management dashboard, IT board and about every widget you could ever need.
  2. Unlock the power of pictures: Curalate. With 2.6 billion images shared each day and Instagram the de facto social media network for savvy Millennials, there’s no denying the power of visual content. Kick-start your visual brand management with Curalate. Curalate applies image recognition algorithms to social media conversations and then scours social media sites including Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook to find what people are saying about your brand in pictures. Instantly see what people are visually sharing about your brand, collect and moderate fan photos for user generate content, push content to a fully customizable, shoppable image gallery, and schedule your own images for posting on Pinterest and Instagram.
  3. Connect with your best followers: Social Rank. Social Rank is the easiest way to identify, organize, and manage your followers on Twitter and Instagram. Social Rank sorts your followers based on Most Valuable (highest profile followers), Most Engaged (frequency of retweets, mentions, and replies), Most Followed, and Best Followers (followers who have engaged most recently with you). Add additional filters to find followers based on bio keywords, geographic locations, interests, and activity. Create custom lists for special engagement campaigns and find out who your competitors’ top followers are!
  4. Supercharge your viral linking strategy: Babbly. Babbly is a social sharing tool that boosts your content to reach viral status. Have a link that deserves sharing? Post it to the Babbly community and watch it go viral. Set the number of shares your URL deserves, select a post category, add a simple description for the post, and watch as your URL reaches a huge and diverse audience, thanks to the power of Babbly’s network. The more links you share; the more sharing love your links will receive.
  5. Build a curated content stream: Quuu.  Content curation is one of those time-consuming but necessary evils, especially for brands. You never want to be pumping out a constant stream of your own content, and user-generated content can be hit or miss. Your solution: Quuu, which offers hand-curated content solutions and essential puts your content marketing on auto-pilot. Start by selecting relevant categories that matter to you and your audience. Next, send hand-curated content directly to your Buffer.com account. Manually curate and schedule posts through Buffer. Quuu takes just a few minutes to set up and then it runs itself on autopilot, saving you valuable time and sanity.

Bottom line:

New social media management tools can seem like a dime a dozen these days. Some can end up as just another annoying dashboard to login into a few times and then forget. Don’t settle for one that doesn’t work for you! The right tools make social media content easy to create, curate, manage, schedule and analyze. And with the rise of live-streaming platforms like Periscope in 2016, the right social media management tools will empower your brand to capitalize on live, authentic and spontaneous communication.

Have a social media marketing tool you love but I missed? Share your favorites from your arsenal in the comments below.

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Social Media Marketing: 5 Inspired 2016 Strategies Your Business Needs to Try

18 Jan

Now that 2016 is here, it’s time to take stock of last year’s successes and make sure you are optimizing your marketing strategies for the New Year. Social media continues to be a crucial component of any well-rounded campaign, and marketers are finding that audiences from all demographics are now well-represented online. To make sure you are engaging with, and converting, as many of these potential customers as possible, incorporate these five social media marketing strategies into your 2016 campaigns:

Invest in Marketing Automation Software

With all of the channels available to marketers today, it is nearly impossible to post every piece of content individually while still making sure you are targeting the right audience. For any size business, marketing automation software streamlines the process so that you always have a complete look at your well-integrated and active online presence, without having to sacrifice your team’s time.

Leverage Thought Leadership

While social media is a great way to directly engage with your existing and potential clients, make sure that you are also taking full advantage of thought leadership. Poise your brand as an industry expert by regularly posting compelling content (LinkedIn’s blogs are excellent for this), and engaging with the issues surrounding your industry—don’t just use publishing platforms as a channel through which to plug your business. Consistently posting new content will mean that you stay in the forefront of users’ minds.

Try New Networks

This year, diversify your social media marketing and conquer! While it may seem like new social media platforms are popping up every day, you don’t want to miss out on your target audience because you aren’t on a network. Make 2016 the year that you add some diversity; you probably tried Pinterest and Instagram in 2015, so in 2016, try Snapchat and Periscope!

Be a Curator, Not a Salesman

While you need to make sure you have a presence on major platforms, you also want to be sure that content is appropriately tailored to each platform’s strengths. When planning for Snapchat and Periscope, recognize that these networks take advantage of live and time-sensitive information, whereas, on Twitter, you may be focused on information that is relevant to your audience, industry, or company culture. Don’t saturate your social media with sales pitches, and instead, try and share things that your audience will find interesting.

Integrate

A key thing to remember is to keep your content integrated across platforms and all of your marketing channels. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t tailor content to each particular network, but rather that you should make sure your content is integrated with your goals, so you can note where you are converting sales and where you may need to try a different approach.

 

How to Sell Social Media to Upper Management

11 Jan

Social media marketing isn’t exactly new, but that hasn’t made selling it to upper management any easier. No matter the company or the industry, management cares about one thing: return on investment. To secure your desired budget allocation for social media, you’ve got to prove that it will produce positive return on investment.

How can you do that? By building a business case for social media that’s too strong to ignore! Follow these steps to educate upper management on the benefits of social media marketing.

If management still doesn’t “get” social media, start by identifying networks and conversations where you can add value. According to one recent survey of B2B marketers, 58% of respondents report LinkedIn as being the most effective social media platform. Twitter came in second with 24% naming it the most effective platform for their brands.

Perform searches for buyer-oriented keywords on both of these networks and bookmark the URLs of spirited conversations that relate to your products or services. For example, a medical device company might search for conversations containing the phrase “new imaging machine” while an IT services firm might enter keywords like “need an IT tech.”

The purpose of this exercise is to stop management from writing off social media as something that doesn’t make sense for your brand. By building a dossier of relevant social media interactions, you can offer evidence of opportunities to reach buyers on specific channels. After gathering this evidence, add it to a presentation or report that you present to management in an effort to make your case.

  1. Tie social media into your other marketing activities.

Social media will amplify your existing efforts to increase traffic and capture new leads, but management doesn’t know that yet. You need to show them.

As you prepare your case for social media, document the many ways it can help you meet other marketing goals. For example, it is now well established that:

  • Social media enables increased traffic from relevant visitors and more opportunities for lead generation.
  • Trade publications and their writers are almost universally active on social media, providing additional opportunities to form relationships with influencers.
  • For many B2B buyers, a vibrant social media presence indicates that a company is innovative, modern, and capable of providing valuable solutions.

Upper management already wants to increase traffic, connect with industry influencers, and provide value to potential buyers. Make it clear that social media is critical for meeting those goals.

  1. Show how you will measure success.

Management needs to know what success looks like. Thankfully, it’s possible to measure the success of many social media activities by analyzing specific performance metrics.

If your goal is to increase traffic to certain landing pages, analytics software can track the percentage of visitors arriving at those pages from social media sources. And if you’re trying to grow your email list or increase gated content downloads, marketing automation tools can show you whether social media interactions ultimately compel visitors to provide their contact information.

Some social media metrics (brand awareness, for example) are more difficult to measure. They’re still relevant to your success, but management is usually more concerned with data you can export to a performance report. For this audience, focus on concrete, measureable outcomes.

In the end, your objective is to convince upper management that not investing in social media would be a big mistake. Demonstrate how social media delivers positive return on investment, and it will be difficult for management to look the other way.

6 Top Tips For Implementing A Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

4 Jan

There’s no need for me to argue the value of social media for businesses. Every day, stories crop up about exciting new social channels and the brands that are using them effectively to engage their customers.

However, there are just as many stories about company blunders on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. So if you are putting together a social media marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the basics.

Whether you are promoting a large corporation or a small start-up, the following tips can help you to create and maintain a positive relationship with your target audience.

Pick your channel

First of all, think logically about which social media channels are the best for your business. If you are trying to reach consumers, Twitter and Instagram may be better channels for you. If your company is B2B focused, LinkedIn is where it’s at.

Don’t rely on an intern

The person, or team, you hire to implement your strategy, and measure the results, should be an experienced social media expert trained on how to use the specific channels that your company has chosen to utilise. Placing responsibility on the shoulders of an intern, or a member of staff with spare time but minimal experience, is not good enough. Once you have the right person in place, it is better for them to focus on building an effective social media strategy for a few channels, rather than spreading themselves too thinly. So be selective.

It’s not just about content

Engagement is just as important as the content you push out, so as well as all the beautiful videos and captivating infographics you post, remember to read the comments and queries posted by your followers. Social media is first and foremost about communication and businesses that remember this will undoubtedly reap the rewards. Also remember to tailor your content according to the channel. For example, on Twitter you can only post a few sentences, but on LinkedIn you can post much lengthier pieces.
People buy people

Take steps to encourage as many of your employees as possible to be as active on social media as possible. Of course, there should be two or three main company spokespeople who can be positioned as brand ambassadors, but everyone who works for the company can also be an influencer (as long as they conduct themselves properly). The main reason for this is that people are more likely to engage with individuals than brands, so your social media success increasingly relies on your employees’ interactions. If they share company updates with their followers, it should increase interest in the business from potential customers.

Connect with influencers

Set up search terms to identify people on social media who are popular with your target audience. Then follow them, engage with them regularly via forums or groups and be sure to repost some of their content. You might be able to develop a two way working relationship with an influencers that will benefit both parties. You might also want to pay a key influencer to shout about your brand. There’s no harm in exploring a mix of paid for and organically generated opportunities.

Provide customer service

Use your social media channels as customer service platforms. When people are upset, or when they have an urgent request, they want an answer right away. They don’t want to wait 24 hours for their email to be read. Neither do they want to wait on hold on the phone for 30 minutes. So social media provides the perfect opportunity for marketers to respond on the phone to customers in real time. Set up alerts so that you know when your brand is being talked about and humanise your service by communicating with your customers like a human, not a robot. Also be sure to keep an eye out for mentions of your brand that do not include a hashtag or @ symbol, as these can be easy to miss.

Analysis of social intelligence will also be the key to improvement. Rome wasn’t built in a day and businesses shouldn’t feel discouraged if their first crack at a social media strategy doesn’t quite go to plan. Analysis of social activity allows marketers to learn about what works and what to improve on. But analysis should be carried out daily, not after several months or just at the end of a campaign. Real time feedback allows you to better understand your audience, who you should be targeting, the conversations you should be joining and the problems your customers face. Setting up multiple searches to keep an eye on subjects relevant to the business is also part of this process, as it allows you to contribute any useful insight in good time. Social conversation is an ever moving beast and real time analysis is the key to keeping up.