Archive | November, 2016

Social Media Marketing Tips for New Businesses

28 Nov

Social media platforms and the methods of using them as a marketing tool are constantly in flux. As a new business owner, a million things cross your desk — or phone — each day, leaving you little time to keep up with today’s most important marketing channel.

If there’s one bit of information that you need to begin with, it’s this: Don’t jump in headfirst. It’s important to understand why you’re on social media beyond “because everyone is these days.” This is a matter of determining what your goals are in detail.

Once that’s sorted out, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to achieve your social media marketing goals. Check out these four tips before you get started:

Tip No. 1 – Know your audience

Social media is a popular communication tool, but not everyone uses it. This should be a major consideration in determining how much money to invest in it.

For example, 89% of those aged 18-29 use social media while the same can be said for only 49% of those aged 65-plus. The number of 65-plus-year-olds is impressive, but you might want to adjust your financial investment in social media based on your target market and the product or service your business offers.

From there, it’s important to understand where your target audience likes to hangout online and what their more detailed habits are. For this, dig into your social media analytics. The two most crucial platforms for most businesses — Facebook and Twitter — both offer analytics directly.

Tip No. 2 – Understand how each platform works

Each social media platform serves a different purpose. If this wasn’t the case, there wouldn’t be so many. This is why it doesn’t make sense to post all Facebook content to Instagram, all Twitter content to LinkedIn, and so on.

This is why I always advise my clients against connecting their social media platforms for the purpose of spreading all content across all networks. Doing this will almost certainly push your target audience away and limit results for your business.

Tip No. 3 – Focus on engagement, not followers

Too often do businesses and online marketing agencies place a heavy emphasis on growing its social media following. They do this because they lose sight of the most proven method to attract real followers: increasing engagement rates.

The higher engagement your content attracts, the more people see your content and your page. Heightened engagement can also be an indicator of legitimate followers — people who are interested in your business and your content as opposed to those who are simply looking for a follow back.

Tip No. 4 – Use Facebook ads

The fact that social media is free allows people to reach your brand online — your business’ investment in social media advertising ensures you connect with them.

When I got started in social media marketing, Facebook quickly became and still is my preferred avenue for social media advertising for most clients. It has provided them with the best results in reach and engagement, increased turnout at events, and is easy on their pocketbook.

Knowing what you want to accomplish with your social media marketing efforts and how you will achieve those goals go a long way in determining your online marketing success.

 

7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2017

21 Nov

Every year, I make predictions about what the coming year’s potential developments in the world of social media marketing. And every year, I have to think back and chuckle at all the people who claimed social marketing was just a fad—as little as a few years ago.

It’s clear now that social media marketing is here to stay, and its massive staying power is attributable to one key characteristic—the fact that social media keeps evolving. It responds to new tech like mobile devices, constantly exceeds users’ expectations, and competes within itself to bring us more and better features.

So what does 2017 have in store for us social media marketers?

1. Snap’s Evolution Will Result in Interesting New Opportunities.

First up, I’d like to mention the enormous evolution Snapchat—now called Snap—has undergone, and where it may be headed in the future. Already, Snap has transformed user expectations and major trends in the social marketing world. It’s helped bring back a more moment-focused view of communication, leading to more in-the-moment and live content, it’s facilitated more mobile-centric app developments, and it’s introduced vertical videos into the mainstream. But now, it’s looking to develop products outside its main means of exchanging messages, introducing real-world glasses to help users capture first-person visual information. Expect big things from this recently-renamed company in 2017, and huge marketing opportunities to go along with them.

2. Twitter Fatigue Will Worsen.

Twitter isn’t doing so hot. People have been predicting the death of Twitter for the past few years, but I’m not here to say whether or not Twitter’s going to survive another year (it probably will). Instead, I’d like to point out one potential factor for the app’s decline, what I call “Twitter fatigue.” Twitter built itself on fast, bite-sized updates, but this leads to a barrage of both incoming and outgoing tweets. This was novel and exciting at first, but now users are starting to crave something different—bigger, more detailed, more interesting pieces of content that roll out slower, like once per day. You can see this trend taking hold already in platforms like Instagram.

3. Users Will Crave More Vicarious Experiences.

People are also starting to demand social media as a conduit for more vicarious experiences. It’s no longer enough to post your sentiments about an event; you have to show your users what it’s like to be there. You can do this with things like live video, 360 images and video, and even just more real-time posting. The idea is to make your users feel like they’re a genuine part of the experience, as it’s unfolding.

4. New Areas of Communication Will Emerge.

Historically, social media existed as a way for individual people to communicate online. When brands caught on, it also became a way for brands to speak to and advertise to consumers. But now, social media is evolving in new communicative areas. Some platforms are offering means of customer service, increasing the significance and interactivity of exchanges between brands and consumers. Others, like Facebook, are delving into more professional communication. Expect to see more diversity here as more brands catch onto the potential.

5. An Ad Renaissance Will Occur.

Organic visibility has been declining for a while now, as platforms try catering to individual users over companies and organizations. But the secondary benefit for social platforms is that it forces more companies to dabble in paid advertising. Increased competition and pressure to become (or remain) profitable have also forced social platforms to come up with more ingenious and creative advertising options for businesses. The combination of these factors may lead to a new resurgence in social media advertising in 2017.

6. Inspiration and Imagination Will Become Fashionable.

Practical posts get a lot of consumer attention. Emotionally charged posts have a greater likelihood of circulating virally. But inspirational and imaginative posts are starting to make their appearances as even stronger candidates for social media success. These are often artistic in nature, giving users something “pretty” as opposed to something pragmatic or reactive. It also forces a separation from any kind of company positioning or low-key advertising, giving users something truly valuable. In 2017, it will be valuable to forgo some pretense here, and just post beautiful images or sentiments.

7. Brands Will Choose Social Platforms According to Survival of the Fittest.

Every year, new social media platforms emerge to try and disrupt the status quo or find their place among the heavy-hitters of the social media world. But obviously, entrepreneurs and marketers can’t jump on every single platform that comes along. Instead, in 2017, we’ll see more of a trend toward refinement; rather than spending equal effort on five different platforms, more businesses will find one platform that works especially well for them, and narrow their focus on it. As a result, we may see greater stratification between the major platforms of our era.

These are some of the most important trends I forecast for social media in 2017. It’s going to remain a strong branch for any content or SEO strategy, and is a must-have for any business attempting to market themselves on a frugal budget.

You don’t have to incorporate all these trends into your strategy for the coming year, but there’s a good chance you’ll stand to benefit from at least dabbling and experimenting with them.

Then again, predictions in this field are tenuous at best—so we’ll just have to wait and see what comes.

Why Your Facebook Ads May Not Be Converting

15 Nov

You’ve spent hours optimizing your Facebook Ads.

You’re getting a higher click-through-rate and lower CPM costs than you’ve ever had.

But no one is converting on your landing page.

So what’s the problem?

In this article I’ll dissect the top 3 reasons why people click on your Facebook Ads, but don’t convert. And how to fix each problem.

Let’s begin.

1. Your Landing Page doesn’t use the same image/copy as your Ad

When a person clicks on your Ad, they have a general expectation of what they’re going to see when they are directed to your landing page. This expectation stems ENTIRELY from what you show them in the Ad. So if the Ad you show them on Facebook looks completely different than your landing page, you’re going to confuse people – confusion leads to drop-offs and a low conversion rate.

There are two things that you need to match up between your Facebook Ad and your landing page to minimize confusion as much as possible: imagery and copy.

Imagery

More than anything, I recommend using the same image on your landing page as you do in your Facebook Ad – just a larger version, of course. This can cause some issues for certain images, as the max pixel size of a right-side Facebook Ad is 100 x 72 px, while you’ll probably use dimensions upwards of 400 px for the image on your landing page. So you need to find an image that works in both sizes.

One other important piece to note is the color of the Ad image. Do your best to use the same color template in both the Ad and your landing page. This will make your landing page seem like a direct extension of your Ad, which will decrease confusion and mistrust in your visitors, causing them to convert more.

Copy

Now, to perfect the transition from Ad to landing page, it’s vital to use the same copy on both. Your Facebook Ad, especially if in the right-side column, will require much shorter text than you can utilize on your landing page. So for the Facebook Ad headline, I would recommend using a shortened version of the main title on your landing page.

One element of the copy that NEEDS to match between the Ad and the landing page is the call-to-action. If your Ad’s call-to-action is “Get the Free Ebook”, it should be the exact same on the landing page.

2. Your Landing Page Is Taking Too long to Load

Just as the copy and imagery of your landing page are important, the speed at which it loads is just as important. The longer it takes your landing page to load, the lower your conversion rate will be. That’s a fact. Studies by Amazon have shown that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. For Google, slowing its search results by just four tenths of a second they could lose 8 million searches per day.

These examples magnify the results of slow webpages quite a bit – but even if your business is much smaller than Amazon and Google, slow load speeds on your landing pages will hurt you a lot.

To alleviate this pain, let’s take a look at a few things that may be causing your page to load slowly and how to alleviate them.

Tips to Decrease the Load Time of your Landing Pages

Decrease the number of images: Images are incredibly “heavy” (meaning they take a long time to load). Whereas text and the page’s background color are extremely light. So if you see that you are using a lot of images to help explain the points of your landing page, try to replace them as much as possible with description text. And if you need them to stand out, use a different font or background color instead of an image.

Lower the file sizes of your images: When you’ve narrowed down the number of images to an absolute minimum, you can look at decreasing their file sizes. This can be done in two ways, either by decreasing the dimensions of the image or decreasing the quality.

Move all Javascript below the tag: If you have any pop-up windows, analytics tracking codes or fancy animations on your landing page, then you have Javascript. Similar to images, Javascript is heavy. So what can you do to alleviate the load? Move it to the very bottom of the landing page, below the tag. This will allow your server to load the visual elements of your landing page first, so visitors can quickly begin viewing the page, while the tracking codes and pop-ups, that users either don’t interact with or interact with after reading the page, load in the background.

3. Too Many Form Fields

A large form can be daunting to even the most interested person. Especially if the form fields in it ask them questions that they need to think about before answering. Asking a person for their first name is one thing, but asking for their favorite brand of running shoes will require them to stop and think. This is exactly what you DON’T want to make a person do. act with.

So what is the right amount of form fields to have?

Well, that depends on the requirements of your sales or marketing teams. If your sales team absolutely needs to know certain things, such as industry and marketing budget to accurately prepare for a product demonstration, then you need to ask for it. Or if your marketing team’s email marketing automation campaigns need to have personalized merge tags for the company name and address, then you need to ask for it.

Just don’t add in anything that doesn’t NEED to be there. When someone on your team asks for a field to be added to your form, make sure it is 100% necessary before you add it. Unless you’re going to use it in an automated email, you don’t need to ask for a person’s last name. Unless your sales team plans to call every lead that you get from your landing pages, you don’t need to ask for a phone number.

It’s important to realize that not every form on every landing page needs to ask the same things. Only some fields are relevant. This depends a lot on where this batch of leads is in the sales cycle. If it will be the first time they are interacting with your company, and they just want to download an ebook you’re offering, you don’t need to care about any sales information. Because at this point they are unlikely to respond well to any kind of sales call or message from your company. So you can save those fields for future landing pages.

 

How Can Manufacturers Successfully Leverage Social Media?

7 Nov

When it comes to marketing and leveraging the influence of social media, businesses are often inhibited by preconceptions and narrow thinking. One example is the notion that social media marketing is the sole preserve of B2C sectors, for example, which often deters inexperienced firms in B2B markets from embracing this unique and accessible channel.

In fact, social media marketing is something that can also serve as an impactful tool for businesses across a range of B2B sectors. This is particularly true in the manufacturing industry, where an estimated 85% of marketers cited content and social marketing drives as key drivers of sales in 2015.

Social platforms including LinkedIn and YouTube were also referenced as increasingly influential resources, particularly in relation to the effective sharing and distribution of content.

3 Ways in Which Manufacturers and Product Managers Can Harness Social Media

This is an encouraging trend, and one which suggests that the manufacturers and product managers that have leveraged social media have achieved positive and measurable results. This is something that less knowledgeable or experienced brands within the manufacturing sector can learn from, as they harness the reach and influence of social channels to drive sales and brand awareness.

With this in mind, here are three effective ways in which you can successfully leverage social media for the good of your brand: –

Make Facebook and LinkedIn the Focal Points of your Social Marketing Strategy

While all businesses should look to develop an integrated and tailored social profile (in order to effectively target customer segments), this is particularly important in the manufacturing sector. Whether you produce your own products and sell directly to consumers or are hoping to engage B2B clients, you will need to choose a viable range of channels that provides a showcase for your ranges and markets them appropriately.

In terms of core elements, you need to integrate Facebook and LinkedIn at the heart of your social marketing strategy. Facebook offers you instant access to a user base in excess of one billion, so creating a company profile and using this to highlight products and innovations provides tremendous reach. This can be also be used to integrate alternative marketing tactics, primarily by sharing blog posts, details of product launches and any innovative promotional campaigns aimed at optimising sales conversions.

While Facebook offers you access to a huge, global audience, however, you will need to ensure that you deliver the most relevant and appealing content to engage individuals. This requires a core understanding of your client and consumer base and the reasons that they use the platform, with an estimated 49% of individuals claiming that they ‘like’ a Facebook page in order to support a particular brand.

For B2B manufacturers, LinkedIn is another powerful and effective platform. This site is far more stream-lined and professional in its nature than Facebook, which in turn offers access to potential partners and an entry point into long-term, client relationships. By registering a company page here, you can leverage LinkedIn’s blogging facility to share informative and insightful content that establishes your business as  a thought leader this will improve your chances of forging mutually beneficial contacts and securing lucrative B2B orders in the future.

Embrace Video and Broadcast on YouTube

Of course, rich media plays a central role in any successful social and content marketing campaign, as diverse publications are far more likely to engage customers and clients alike. When targeting B2B clients, however, it is also important to note that video is far more impactful than still imagery and capable of driving 62% more engagement on average.

So while your B2B manufacturing outlet can still use imagery to drive social conversations (particularly when targeting female-orientated clients or markets through Pinterest), you should undoubtedly focus the majority of your attention on video marketing.

One of the best ways for manufacturers to capitalise on this trend is to broadcast on YouTube, as this platform currently boasts over one billion unique users and enables brands to establish their own, independent channels. This can then be used to share varied by impactful content, from product training videos and behind-the-scenes the scenes footage of the manufacturing process. This offers value and information to B2B clients, while helping to humanise your operation and cultivate a deeper relationship.

Both B2B and B2C manufacturers can also leverage video to share brand and product narratives, while also capturing compelling testimonials from former customers and clients.

Platforms such as YouTube are also powerful as they allow you to host content directly on the website and embed it on your own website, enhancing your own landing page loading times and the quality of the videos in question.

Empower Followers, Customers and Clients as Social Contributors

One of the biggest concerns that manufacturers about social media marketing is their ability to consistently produce engaging content. While this can be a particularly significant challenge for B2B brands, however, the conversational and interactive nature of social media actively enables manufacturers to empower their follows as key contributors of insight and content.

One of the best examples of this was in evidence recently, as food manufacturing brand Hampton Creek connected with followers through Twitter and encouraged them to share tricks for recycling and reusing empty jars. This is a direct and fun way of engaging followers, while subtly advertising products, sustainable manufacturing techniques and an overarching brand.

Twitter is central to this process, whether you are interacting with followers, gathering real-time insight or attempting to drive efficient, after-sales service. In fact, Twitter helped brands to re-imagine the nature of customer services, which went from being a costly and unyielding business element to a key marketing channel and ‘a scalable way’ to delight consumers.

Regardless of how you engage your customer or client base through social media and the Twitter platform, however, the key is to create real-time interaction and an organic channel through which to market your products. This will help to both generate fresh and exciting content for your social profile and optimise the ROI on your total marketing spend.