Archive | June, 2016

10 ways to increase your social media engagement like never before

27 Jun

It’s probably one of the most frustrating parts of social media marketing — no engagement.

You post day in and day out hoping to see the social side of social media start to happen. Sometimes, a like or two will pop up, but most of the time, you hear crickets.

It’s disheartening. It’s also costly. Your social media marketing can’t pay off if your audience isn’t getting excited about what you have to say.

Social media is a popular way to use direct marketing. This type of marketing allows you to connect one-on-one with your customer, speaking directly to the person who will eventually open his wallet and buy from you.

With an opportunity like this, you want to capitalize on the connection. Engagement allows you to do that.

Here are 10 of my favorite ways to rise above the noise on social media and engage your audience.

Stop the scroll
The first step in getting someone to engage with your brand is to stop them from scrolling. If you can stop your audience from thumbing their way down the newsfeed, you have their attention. The best way to get that attention (and in turn, get engagement) is to post something they want to see.

Know why your audience is on social media.
Why does your audience log in to a specific social media platform?

Perhaps your target audience loves using Facebook to browse through news stories. If that’s the case, post more newsworthy content.

On the other hand, your audience might log in to Instagram to look at their friend’s pictures. If that’s the case, you’ll have a better chance of stopping the scroll by posting behind-the-scenes pictures from your business.

If someone sees a picture of one of your employees doing something fun, they’re more likely to stop and check out what’s happening in the picture.

Once your audience stops scrolling and reads what you have to say, she’s more likely to engage with your post.

Know what your audience does away from social media.
Another way to stop the scroll is to understand what your audience does when they’re not logged in. Use this to capture their attention.

For example, if you sell outdoor products to dog lovers, use more dogs in your posts. Show a dog on a hike. Or show your team playing with dogs. Regardless, incorporating dogs will make your audience more likely to stop scrolling and look at what you have to say.

Be funny.
When consumers show up on social media, they want to be entertained — not sold to. When a brand forgets this, they lose the attention of their audience. Engagement plummets, and people ignore their posts.

Humor is one way brands can promote on social media while still keeping an audience engaged. One brand that did this well and saw tremendous results was Dollar Shave Club. Their commercial went viral, sharing their brand’s message while at the same time entertaining their audience.

People liked it, shared it and started tagging their friends to watch it, too. Ultimately, the commercial got millions of likes, shares and comments, helping it get viewed over 22 million times.

Inspire a reaction
Four months ago, Facebook unleashed an entirely new way of engaging with people and brands — Facebook reactions.

For years, users were complaining that there was no appropriate way to react to some posts. For example, hitting the “like” button felt inappropriate when someone would share sad news. To give people new ways of engaging with one another, Facebook introduced five new ways to react to posts: Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry.

As a marketer, this opens up a new world of opportunity for you. Your audience is encouraged by Facebook to react to what you share on various levels, which makes engaging your audience easier.

Use emojis as prompts.
One way to encourage a reaction is to use emojis in your post. This sets the tone and shows the reader how you hope they’ll react.

For example, if you share something humorous, include the laughing emoji in your post. This shows your audience that what you’re sharing is funny and deserves a good laugh.

Ask for a specific reaction.
Sometimes, you can get more engagement simply by asking for it. With Facebook’s reaction buttons, you can ask for a specific reaction. For example, host a contest and award people for hitting the “love” button instead of the “like” button.

Ask for a review.
You might not be able to reward people for reviewing your business on most social media networks or websites, but you can also ask for your audience to leave a review in the form of a Facebook reaction.

Share one of your blog posts about an industry topic and ask people to share their gut reaction using Facebook’s reactions. Or post a picture of a product and ask for the review in the comments on Instagram.

Spark intrigue
Social media engagement isn’t all about likes, comments and shares. Clicks are another form of engagement. They’re perhaps one of the most important forms of engagement because they support your digital marketing funnels.

One way to do this is to use social media to spark intrigue among your audience.

Share some compelling data.
People love knowing the facts. Offering survey results or compelling data that gives insight into a topic in your industry is a great way to get people interested in clicking to your website to learn more.

But don’t give everything away on social media. Offer a teaser, and then encourage your audience to engage with you by clicking over to your website.

Unveil a new product.
Do you have a new product release? Did you make some exciting updates to your service offering? Let your fans be the first to know by unveiling it on social media.

Use social media to get people excited about the new release. Tease them with a few new details, and then encourage them to click to your website to learn more.

Give something away.
People love getting something for free. Spark intrigue among your audience by offering the freebie, and use it to gather email addresses from your social media followers.

Stream live videos.
Videos have it all — eye-catching movement, audio, imagery and sometimes text. Combine these elements, add in the excitement of live video, and you have a recipe for engagement success.

Live streaming has become a hot new way for brands to reach consumers. Facebook took a page from Periscope’s playbook and started offering live streaming to brands. Take advantage of it. You can stream industry events, how-tos, exciting milestones for your product, or even your own weekly news report. It’s a great way to get people to pay closer attention to your brand.

Takeaways
Social media marketing is ineffective without engagement. To get your audience commenting, liking, sharing and clicking on your posts, you need to entertain them, inspire a reaction and spark intrigue. The better you do this, the more engaged your followers will be.

How do you engage your audience?

Social Media Marketing Essential, But Difficult, For Marketers

20 Jun

According to the 8th annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner, summarized by Marketing Charts, 9 in 10 marketers say that social media is important to their business, with the most commonly cited benefits being increased exposure and traffic. Based on a survey of more than 5,000 marketers, the study offers insights into the directions social media marketing will take in the near future.

Social Media Marketing, Platform Trends (65% Market B2C; 35% B2B)
Social Media

% Planning Increased Efforts

% With No Plans

Facebook

67%

3%

YouTube

63

16

Twitter

61

10

LinkedIn

61

14

Instagram

57

28

Pinterest

42

33

Google+

35

28

Forums

25

52

SlideShare

22

62

Snapchat

16

74

Vine

11

72

Source: Social Media Examiner, June 2016

 

Social media does present some difficulties for respondents. For example, respondents were more likely to agree (40%) than disagree (33%) that social media marketing has become more difficult in the past year. While two-thirds analyze their social media activities, just 41% agree that they’re able to measure the ROI of those activities, a figure that hasn’t improved in recent years. But, only 46% agree that their Facebook marketing is effective, with more than one-third unsure.

A quick summary of primary findings from the Social Media Examiner Industry Report, shows that:

  • Video has become essential : A significant 60% of marketers use video in their marketing and 73% plan on increasing their use of video
  • Live video is hot : A significant 50% of marketers plan on using live video services such as Facebook Live and Periscope, and 50% want to learn more about live video
  • Facebook and YouTube hold the top spots for future plans : At least 63% of marketers plan on increasing their use of these social networks
  • Snapchat is on a growth trajectory : Only 5% of marketers are using Snapchat, yet 16% plan on increasing their Snapchat activities and 28% of marketers want to learn more about Snapchat
  • Facebook is the most important social network for marketers by a long shot!  When asked to select their most important platform, 55% of marketers chose Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 18%. Plus, 67% of marketers plan on increasing their Facebook marketing activities
  • Many marketers are unsure about their Facebook marketing : A significant 40% of marketers don’t know if Facebook traffic has declined in the last 12 months and 35% aren’t sure if their Facebook marketing is effective
  • Facebook ads dominate : A surprising 86% of social marketers regularly use Facebook ads, while only 18% use Twitter ads
  • Tactics and engagement are top areas marketers want to master : At least 90% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and the best ways to engage their audience with social media

Social channel use and importance varies among B2C and B2B marketers. B2B marketers continue to favor LinkedIn to a greater degree than B2C marketers (86% and 58% using, respectively), with B2B marketers also much more likely to be using Slideshare (21% vs. 6%), says the report. B2C marketers are more apt to be using Facebook (96% vs. 88%), Instagram (51% vs. 33%), and Pinterest (45% vs. 34%).

Those differences show up in marketers’ most important platforms, also. About 2 in 3 B2C marketers name Facebook their most important platform, with Twitter trailing distantly in second (11% share). Among B2B marketers, 40% cite LinkedIn as their most important platform, narrowly ahead of Facebook (37%), with Twitter third.

Despite already being the platform with the broadest adoption among marketers, Facebook (67%) emerges as the one for which the largest share will increase their efforts, says the report. Likely a reflection of its status as the most important platform overall, with B2C marketers (70%) being more likely than their B2B counterparts (61%) to see increased Facebook efforts on the horizon.

Beyond Facebook, 63% of respondents plan to increase their use of YouTube, with Twitter (61%) and LinkedIn (61%) close behind in terms of planned increases. Meanwhile, B2B marketers are more likely to be upping their LinkedIn efforts than B2C marketers (76% and 52%, respectively).

Results for other platforms likewise reveal differences in B2C and B2B marketers’ plans:

  • More than 6 in 10 B2C marketers look set to increase their Instagram activities, compared to fewer than half (48%) of B2B marketers
  • Pinterest is also an avenue for increased efforts more for B2C (47%) than B2B (35%) marketers
  • B2B marketers (33%) are more than twice as likely as B2C marketers (15%) to put more effort into SlideShare.

While only 5% of respondents say they’re currently using Snapchat, 16% expect to grow their activities, more than double the proportion in last year’s survey. Also, 28% want to learn more about Snapchat this year, up from 19% last year, evidence of some growth but marketers are not adopting the platform at quite the same rate as youth. When asked how they respond to new social networks, 51% said they are skeptical and wait and see what happens, says the report.

Currently, there is one and only one leader in paid social media: Facebook. In fact, almost 9 in 10 respondents said they regularly use Facebook ads. Only 39%, are using Google ads, then:

  • Twitter ads (18%)
  • LinkedIn ads (17%)
  • Pinterest ads (15%)

Signs point to Facebook maintaining its dominance in social advertising, says the report. However, it is the only platform in which a majority of respondents expect to increase their paid social media use. By comparison, fewer than 4 in 10 plan to make more use of Google ads.

Social Media Marketing-Paid Advertising Trends
Social Media Ads

% Planning Increased Efforts

% With No Plans to Utilize

Facebook

57%

23%

Google

37

45

Twitter

33

55

LinkedIn

31

56

Instagram

31

59

YouTube

28

61

Pinterest

19

70

Source: Social Media Examiner, June 2016

Turning to social media content types, 74% of marketers identified visual content as their most commonly used, followed by blogging (68%) and videos (60%). Blogging and visual content were essentially tied in terms of the most important content types, though with differences by target audience. Those marketing to businesses name blogging their most important content type, while for B2C marketers visual content is the most important.

When it comes to the near future, though, video gains ground. Almost 3 in 4 plan to increase their use of video content in the near future, just ahead of the 71% planning the same for visual content and leading all content types.

Finally, says the report, while only about 1 in 7 marketers are currently using live video, 39% plan to soon increase their live video efforts, and only 49% say they have no plans to utilize live video.

Social Media Marketing – Content Trends
Content

% Planning Increased Efforts

% With No Plans To Utilize

Video

73%

13%

Visuals

71

8

Blogging

66

13

Live Video

39

49

Podcasting

26

60

Source: Social Media Examiner, June 2016

 

 

 

Learn the 8 Habits of Successful Social Media Marketers

13 Jun

70% of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile. (Statistica)

Social media has become firmly established as an effective way to market almost any business, but there are so many sites, tasks, profiles and publishing to manage every day, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

The most successful social media marketers have several habits that enable them to do it all successfully. See how many you’re already doing, and add those you aren’t to your day to see what a difference they can make.

1. Know your niche

Know what the people in your niche are most interested in, and come up with content that satisfies those needs. For example, any new blogger will want to know how to format their blog, therefore, if you think like beginners and/or intermediates in your niche, you will become a magnet for them as they look for solutions to their main issues.

2. Block time on your calendar

Don’t constantly crank out content with no thought to what’s actually happening in the account. For example, if you have a Tweet that is getting a lot of traction, don’t tweet more items that are just going to push it down the page. Instead, let it ride as long as it can.

No time? Consider outsourcing to a social media manager or assistant.

3. Leverage advertising

Even a small budget can go far with the right content on the right network. Using the example of the hot tweet above, consider turning it into a sponsored tweet. Also consider running a campaign to add more followers while the tweet is prominent, in order to give it more exposure to those interested in your niche but not connected with you yet.

4. Using automation

A growing number of tools will allow you to manage multiple social media accounts, with just a few clicks. Pay particular attention to publishing content during the times you are not online, for around the clock marketing. You can find recommended tools here.

5. Think engagement, not just views

Your content should have a high potential to evoke a response, such as a comment, like or share. Make your calls to action obvious to get the response you want.

Some ideas that will encourage audience engagement include:

* Poll

* Survey

* Provocative or thought-provoking question

* Sharing interesting articles and other niche-related content, and encouraging others to as well

* Creating a range of content at your site and sharing it

* Comment on a recent news item

If you get a comment, reply to it. Stuck with a troll? Don’t engage on their unprofessional level in front of the entire world, just delete their nonsense and block them.

In the post, give a clear call to action, such as “Like or share if you agree.” For more details, invite them to share more with, “Let us know what you think in the comments box below.”

6. Follow others and engage with them

See what others are doing and be helpful in all your interactions online, and people will soon be checking out your profile and starting to follow you because you look like someone worth paying attention to.

7. Connect with thought leaders

“A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”

Connect with the top people in your niche. You can learn from them, and you will be keeping good company, which over time may result in a range of profitable opportunities.

8. Track your results

See how many engagements you get from each platform. If driving traffic to your site is your goal, you may want to create a unique URL for each network campaign so you can track the results quickly.

Bonus Tip

Are you still overwhelmed and feeling you will never get a grip on social media marketing? The great news is you don’t have to do it all yourself! If you’ve decided you can’t do it all, you can outsource your social media to a social media manager.

Debunking the 5 most common social media marketing myths

6 Jun

In today’s day and age, it is safe to say that social media is an all-encompassing and unavoidable part of our lives. No one can stay aloof from it. The same logic applies to the marketing industry as well. Various studies show that 74 per cent of marketeers saw an increase in website traffic after investing just 6 hours per week in social networking.

 

Thanks to global connectivity, communication between companies and their customers has never been easier. However, one cannot deny the fact that social media, as a tool for marketing, is slightly overused, and honestly getting out of hand. Over the years, there have been innumerable cases of social media marketing fails. For instance, there was to commercialise the ill-fated Nepal earthquake last year or the time when Amazon tried to be smart but got instead, ending in a series of internet memes. One might think that these examples would stop companies from making such rookie mistakes, but this list just goes on and on.

Companies over the years have been victims of a myriad of social media marketing myths, some of which are listed here and debunked.

Myth #1: Join every social media network on the face of Mother Earth

Just because a lot of social media networking sites exist, it doesn’t mean that one needs to set up a profile in each of them. Research is key to deciding which one is best-suited for you and your company and will yield the best results. If a particular network does not work, cutting it loose is the only viable option.

Myth #2: Hashtag your life away

Hashtags can’t make your marketing dreams a reality. The point of hashtags is that they join together common conversation threads. So while, including a couple of them in your post is fine, too many of those blue lines only make you look desperate. As they say, too many hashtags can spoil a tweet.

Myth #3: Social media marketing is free

While joining a network might be free but, just like any other marketing channel, adequate investment is required for virtual media, too. However, it is much cheaper than traditional marketing methods. According to HubSpot’s  State of Inbound Marketing Report 2012, 45 per cent of marketeers cite that social media has a below average cost per lead.

Myth #4: Social media marketing can’t be measured

Like all other quantifiable elements of the world, a company’s failure or success on social media can be measured. To do this effectively, one needs a clear objective and planning. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey shows that a majority of companies have difficulty in measuring social media marketing ROI and suggests a host of measures to get it done.

Myth #5: Social media is only for youngsters

One commonly mistakes social media for being a youth hub. However, this is not true. Interestingly, studies show that 40 per cent of Facebook’s active users is over 35. So, if a company discards a particular social networking site thinking that it does not cater to the company’s target audience, they’d be losing out on some major business.

A US-based survey shows that 14 per cent of all startups fail because of lack of a solid marketing strategy of which social media marketing also plays a huge role. To attain an insight as to how social media marketing is to be implemented for your company, a little myth-busting is important. It’s always better to know the whole truth than to suffer the consequences of half-lies.