Archive | May, 2017

6 More Reasons You Can’t Ignore Social Media Marketing

29 May

Social Media is one of the top online activities. Social Media updates and searches direct more traffic to websites than Google search and over 70% of adults using the internet use a Social Network.

If you are still not on board with budgeting for Social Media Marketing and Advertising or you still think it is a silly trend that is a waste of time, here are 6 reasons you need to readjust your thinking.

1. Social Media Reaches More People

What other marketing medium can reach hundreds of people in a few hours, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people each month? No other resource has the potential to reach this many people with the ability to target the exact audience that fits your business. Additionally, consistent activity on the top Social Sites can reach far more people than direct mail, print ads or even commercials these days.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: A local HVAC company in the Chicago area spends under $1,000 each month on a marketing and advertising campaign and they reach over 200,000 people a month. Not only do they reach this many people, they are reaching them in a very targeted area. Their campaigns reach people within a 50-mile radius of their business. They spend more on direct mail postcards quarterly to reach a fraction of the number of people reached through Facebook.

2. Social Media is More Affordable and More Effective

When print media, newspapers, and magazines, were the top advertising medium to reach people in a particular area it was fairly pricey. Ads in newspapers were a good chunk of change and running an ad in a magazine was very costly.

Social Media Advertising is a drop in the bucket compared to those traditional outlets. Sure, Facebook Ads used to be awful. They didn’t do much of anything, but they were super cheap. They have improved their ad services tremendously in the past couple of years. The monthly sad spend for the amount of people you can reach and the increased traffic generated to a website is very cost effective and manageable for most business budgets.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: Clients spending only $5 or $10 a day can reach around 100,000 people a month. One national ecommerce company in a very specialized market, with highly targeted ads reaches 100,000 people every month.

3. Social Media Generates Increased Website Traffic with Greater Online Visibility

Of course, advertising is designed to make sales. The expected outcome of any ad campaign is increased sales. However, what most businesses don’t understand is that advertising is a vehicle to get people to notice your business and to get them into your store or onto your website. From there you close the deal and make the sale.

Facebook Ads and daily marketing updates get people to you. In fact, Social Media now sends more people to websites than search engines. Anyone who has paid a company to improve their SEO (search engine optimization) knows that more traffic and more hits on the website improves search rank. So, more daily updates and a daily ad campaign, means more people see your business online, which means more people may be interested in what it is that you do, which equals people clicking through to your website, which generates improved search rank on both Facebook and Google, and equates to better online visibility and a greater potential to make sales.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: An international ecommerce company sells its products on their website as well as on a large, third-party ecommerce site. Their rank both on Google and the sales site depend on clicks to their products. They nearly 400,000 ad views with over 1,000 clicks through to their products. Improving their rank and increasing the chances for sales.

4. Social Media Creates a Better Customer Experience

 

Customers expect that your business is using Social Media and they demand your attention when they need it and want it. It is imperative that you are active on the Social Sites and available to answer questions, respond to comments and thank them for their reviews.

All of this is important. 66% of consumers, worldwide, stopped doing business with a company due to poorly handled customer service issues and 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. It is necessary for you to be there.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: A national ecommerce company selling a very specialized product provides reviews and testimonials on every Social Site and review site possible. Additionally, their accounts are monitored for reviews, comments, and questions throughout the day. This equates to nearly a 100% positive review rating, happy customers and satisfied potential customers who are now more likely to purchase from this company.

5. Customers Want, and Need, Your Business on Social Media

71% of consumers have an improved perception of brands when they see positive reviews on Social Media. 93% of consumers are researching Social Media before they make purchasing decisions.

The numbers speak for themselves, customers want your business on Social Media, consumers want to see your business is consistent and active with Social Media.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: A local company in the Manhattan, New York area ran a successful organic produce delivery service. They had relied on traditional marketing and word of mouth. They realized that having an online presence and a Social Media campaign would benefit expanding into Long Island. Starting with no Social presence at all, they implemented a daily marketing campaign combined with a daily advertising campaign. Within a year, they had several hundred new clients, a strong presence on Long Island and nearly 20,000 Facebook friends. Their page was a hub for customer service issues and was a great source of referrals.

The Manhattan clients soon realized they too wanted to connect with this business on Facebook and a new account was started for this location. In just a few months they had nearly 4,000 Facebook friends and an active customer service portal.

6. Social Media is Where Your Customers Are

  • Nearly 3/4 of online adults use Social Media.
  • People are using Social Media to watch TV, connect with friends and family, research purchases, and shop.
  • 41% of consumers spending just 2 hours or less on Social media made at least $500 in purchases in the past 12 months.
  • 74% of consumers rely on Social Media for more information or reviews about the products/services they want to purchase.
  • 50% of consumers made a purchase based on a recommendation made on Social Media.

Those statistics alone should be enough to persuade you that you absolutely need a Social Media Marketing campaign.

 

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3 Social Media Marketing Tactics to Help Improve Your Conversion Rates

22 May

Social media is in virtually everyone’s hands at this point: With a phone or tablet, you’re connected. In fact, there are 2.3 billion active users on social media presently and those numbers are on the rise. This is great news for any business owner who is social media savvy. It means that as the number of people logging into social media increases, so does your potential client base.

But, there’s a problem: How can you convert these social media users to become your clients? The answer is simple: With an effective social media marketing strategy, you can increase your conversions and boost your sales or signups. But, first you must acquaint yourself with the tips, tricks and tactics to make high conversion rates a reality.

Here’s how you can get started.

Boost engagement.

It’s called “social media”: You’re expected to socialize. That’s why encouraging engagement is key for an effective marketing campaign. It will help you build the know, like and trust factors that will make people convert.

Using an ephemeral environment as a means to lure people into sharing their most intimate moments, Snapchat brings out what social media is best at- getting people to speak their mind through fleeting images before a sea of disparate social connections.

In other words, if your posts, images or videos aren’t getting people talking, then you’re going to have a hard time getting them to buy.

If,instead, you create engaging posts, you give your target audience the opportunity to interact with you, and of course, get to know you better in the process. In fact, that kind of interaction creates a bond such that the next time you make an offer, your audience will be more prone to going for it.

Give tons of value.

You should be interacting with your target audience and building relationships with them. The next thing to do is to establish yourself as the go-to person in your niche, the person your audience looks up to for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.

To achieve this, give a lot of value-packed content on social media. By value, I mean useful information that your audience is looking for that will give them results.

Whether that means a tip, a hack or a link to one of your tutorials, make sure it’s something your audience will learn from. Valuable content gets shared a lot. This will help increase your reach.

Sharing valuable content boosts your conversion rates because the valuable information lets your audience know that you are an expert in your field. This in turn breeds trust and trust and is what will keep them coming back every time.

Kit up! Get the right tools.

Ever heard of the saying, “Consistency is key”? Well, when it comes to social media, consistency is absolutely non-negotiable. Your marketing depends on it. In short, you need to be constantly in touch with your target audience. That proximity keeps them in mind of you, your brand and your offering.

However, be subtle about this: If you’re going to show up three or more times a day 24/7, you’ll definitely burn out at the end. So, rhink about soliciting a bit of help.

Make friends with scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer or MeetEdgar to help you maintain that consistency. You can create your content in batches and schedule it ahead for the week, while you can focus on other marketing efforts and save time.

Another tool to have under your belt is one that will help you track your conversions. The first one on this list is Kissmetrics. This is a robust analytics platform that will help you track who goes to your site and help you determine your conversion rates from each social media platform you use.

While you’re at it, make sure to take a look at Cyfe and Click. Cyfe will give you more detailed information on the rate at which your content is being shared on social media. It also has really fantastic social media tracking features that will let you know how much engagement you get on your social media platforms. Click, on the other hand, will help you boost your conversion rates.

Of course there are a whole lot of other tools out there to help marketers improve their conversion. Don’t be afraid to test them out and stick with the ones that give you the best results and help you feel comfortable with.

4 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Creativity Game

15 May

Leave it to a dating app to demonstrate the instant success a creative social media marketing approach can bring to a new business.

Tinder — the location-based dating service that facilitates matchups between interested parties — used a tactic best described as word-of-mouth advertising in a digital format To successfuly launch its app.

 

In a recent podcast, Tinder co-founder and CEO Sean Rad revealed that the company grew by 50 percent the day after it texted 500 individuals a link to its app. That tactic and other word-of-mouth campaigns grew Tinder’s customer base from 20,000 to 500,000 users in less than a month.

Clearly, entrepreneurs hoping to quickly reach and grow their own customer bases must embrace social media in all its forms. Social media’s free word-of-mouth nature can attract and engage potential customers at a stage in the company’s development when advertising budgets are often tight and expenses must be carefully monitored.

When building a new business, attracting customers is imperative — and social media is a leading pathway to gathering and retaining loyal consumers.

Reach out and touch your customers.

Consumers love to be engaged, equipped and empowered, Kimberly Whitler, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia, has said. This makes them feel important, as though they have a vested interest in the company. Consumers crave two-way interactions and are flattered to offer reviews of a company’s products or services.

Why should this matter to a small entrepreneur? Because every customer reached is a potential repeat customer who will tell others about a positive experience.

When a startup adopts social media marketing tactics that truly engage its customers, the benefits are plentiful: The company likely will grow its customer base while spending less money on marketing, leaving more funds available to invest in higher salaries for employees and other areas of the business.

Social media marketing done right also helps businesses stay top of mind among their followers. Consumers will recall engaging content, helpful advice or a humorous post. According to MarketingLand, consumers don’t want to be lectured or bombarded with ads. Good vibes toward the company result in trust, long-term loyalty and a positive bottom line.

Nielsen reports that 92 percent of global consumers identify earned media as their favorite form of advertising, primarily in the form of recommendations from friends and acquaintances. Those customers trust companies that connect with them in genuine, captivating ways; and they want to establish relationships with them.

Shake up strategies to push the marketing status quo

So,how can entrepreneurs change their marketing strategies to create connections with customers and pack more social punch? Here are four tactics to try:

1. Register accounts on all major platforms.

According to Hootsuite, social media can no longer be brushed aside. A business won’t succeed without active accounts across several platforms. If social media’s word-of-mouth power is not utilized, the chances for promoting a business are largely lost. Get started with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to meet customers where they are.

Even companies without a product to sell benefit from engaging on social media. Magic Leap, a private company that is developing a futuristic augmented/virtual reality system, has created interactive content to whet users’ appetites for the impact its future product could have on their daily lives. Despite its ack of any imminent product launch announcement to date, the company has still generated about 60,000 likes on Facebook and has attracted 32,000 Twitter followers.

2. Harness the power of community.

Reach out to consumers — and let them reach out to you and to one another — using social media in order to successfully build community and benefit from positive word of mouth.

Yelp, which publishes crowdsourced reviews of products and services, shows how powerful positive reviews can be. If a customer likes the service or food at a new restaurant in town, a good Yelp review will encourage even more customers to flock to the startup’s table. Encouraging customers to leave a positive verified review, perhaps through offering a coupon or discount on future services, can help draw in new customers.

Consider for example the case of Uncle Maddio’s Pizza. I came across the family-owned pizza joint while traveling with my son’s baseball team. Our hungry team searched restaurant reviews on Yelp and found positive comments about Uncle Maddio’s. As promised, the food was excellent, the service was top-notch and the staff was personable. Before we left, I learned that a franchise location would soon open in my hometown.

The owners started a Facebook page for the new location and promoted “spirit nights” that would raise money for schools and youth organizations. Needless to say, when the new store opened, I took my family there and have returned many times to eat and to support fundraisers there. Positive online and word-of-mouth reviews have led this small business to success.

3. Associate with other businesses that share similar mindsets.

Strive to connect to businesses that are working toward the same type of high-quality customer experiences you are. Good business practice dictates being tied in with others that have strong search-engine rankings and website presences. Interact with them online, and share each other’s content across your social platforms.

Many online marketers, such as Neil Patel of Kissmetrics — whom I’ve turned to for advice on my SEO projects — say posts on social media accounts influence Google and Bing search rankings. Search engine rankings aim to provide users the best possible resources to help them make purchasing decisions and acquire information. These accounts can affect the business’s reputation and authority just as easily as they promote the business.

4. Employ someone who knows how to use social media effectively.

Hire someone who thoroughly knows social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and beyond. This person should be able to moderate comments, post daily messages and answer inquiries. Give this person guidance on what your business is trying to accomplish and a list of what’s acceptable to post. His or her goal should be to keep customers informed and engaged in a timely manner.

A good social media team can take a business to global heights. Holly Clarke, a marketing manager at Airbnb, says the company has team members in San Francisco, France, Germany and the U.K., along with translators tailoring posts to other areas of the world. Airbnb’s #NightAt and #BelongAnywhere campaigns draw in consumers from across the globe to interact with its content.

Entrepreneurs have a lot to think about when starting new businesses, but the use of social media should be a no-brainer. Creative social media marketing tactics, with an emphasis on free word-of-mouth advertising, enable a startup to quickly grow its customer base. Long-term relationships and two-way interactions with those customers will soon follow. Make sure you and your business are creating those interactions, as well.

Understanding the Power of ”I Want To” for Effective Social Media Marketing

8 May

Marketers know it is important to understand the buyer’s journey, yet increased mobile use has created a more fragmented buyer’s journey. Google (GOOGL) calls these micro-moments, or those hundreds of real-time, goal-oriented mobile actions that influence decisions and preferences. Marketers should tailor social media messages to pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase customers.

Decisions are made and preferences are shaped as people check their phones up to 150 times a day. Google’s research reveals there are four mobile moments marketers should study: “I want to know,” I want to go, ” “I want to do,” and “I want to buy.” One way to leverage micro-moments is through SEO and search advertising, but understanding these moments and consumer intent should also influence brand social media to increase real-time relevance.

Why micro-moments for social? Nearly 80% of social media time is spent on mobile, and more referral traffic can come from social media channels like Facebook than traditional search. Plus, social media strategy is not all about followers and shares—social search is increasing. With 2 billion Facebook (FB) and 2.1 billion Twitter (TWTR)searches a day, how can brands appear in more results?

I suggest looking at your Social Media Content Calendar and ensuring that every week you are creating content that addresses each of these micro-moments:

I Want to Know Moments. In these moments consumers are researching and exploring. Be sure you provide educational content that informs and inspires. For example, if you are a company that sells outdoor gear provide tips and guides to enjoy the outdoors, tackle a tough mountain hike or reviews of new equipment. If you are a tax accountant, you may want to create content about retirement plans or itemized deductions. Help customers turn to you for insight.

I Want to Go Moments. These moments are all about geo-targeting. Use your social media to target zip codes with unique location-based messages. Here the outdoor brand could inform customers of local events such as group Kayak tours or store locations that carry the brand. A tax service might highlight locations, workshops and extended hours as April 18th approaches. Let customers know you are near.

I Want to Do Moments. In these moments someone is trying to figure something out now and are looking for answers. Are you creating valuable how-to content? An outdoor brand could consider a series on climbing knots or methods for purifying water while camping. The tax service could post quick answers to common tax questions such as tax brackets and standard deductions. Make sure you are helping your customers and potential customers, not your competitor.

I Want to Buy Moments. Consumers are ready to buy but may not know what or how. In social these moments are about more than promotions and sales messages. Depending on your business, this may require real-time marketing, getting customer service involved or even the sales department for B2B. The outdoor brand may sell group tours and have sales reps monitoring social media to provide answers to secure a booking. The tax service may have tax advisors monitoring social to provide real time answers and build relationships that lead to a tax prep purchase.

Who has leveraged micro-moments? The Home Depot (HD) has turned “I want to do” moments into 43 million views by expanding their “how-to” collection, as more DIYers turn to their YouTube app as they work on home projects. The credit repair company Progrexion discovered that customers in their “I want to know” moment needed education and began directing mobile traffic directly to their salespeople resulting in a 221% increase in mobile sales. FIAT made “I want to go” moments a part of their integrated campaign by focusing mobile content on nearest dealers, helping grow unaided recall 127%. Sephora leveraged “I want to buy” moments by providing reviews of products customers were considering increasing confidence for in store purchase.

A marketer who creates social content with real-time, micro-moment relevance could influence brand preference over competitors. How much? The Wall Street Journal reports 69% of online customers say the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influence their perception of a brand.

Do micro-moments convert? There is evidence that social media likes, shares and comments contribute to higher search rankings. Also, Google Analytics aggregated data reports that mobile’s share of online sessions has increased 20% in the last year, with mobile conversion rates increasing 29% while time spent per visit has decreased 18%. People know what they want and are acting quicker. The marketers who understand this and create the content matching their intent could uncover a new competitive advantage.

Essentials for a Winning Social Media Marketing Strategy

1 May

Social media continues to be a powerful way for brands to reach their audiences. They can use it to create more awareness of their brand, to build customer loyalty, and to increase sales.

But just having a presence on social media is not enough to do any of that. You need to create a thoughtful social media marketing strategy that incorporates the latest best practices so you can maximize your results.

Here are a few tips for doing that:

Identify Your Goals

This should be step #1 in any marketing strategy. You can’t know what tactics to use if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish.

You must identify your goals, and you must be specific. Your goal shouldn’t be “get more followers,” but rather “get 1,000 more followers in the next month” or “increase brand exposure 30 percent this quarter.”

Your goal should also be measurable. So if your goal is “create more positive brand associations,” you have to have a way to determine if you’ve met that goal. You might look at the number of reviews you get or the number of positive brand mentions. Whatever you decide, you must choose a way to specifically measure your goal to determine if you’ve been successful.

Research the Competition

The competition provides a wealth of data that can improve your marketing strategy.

To start, you should be researching your competition to find out what those brands are doing to reach their audiences. What social networks are they on? How frequently are they posting? What kind of posts are they sharing? How many followers do they have? From where are they getting brand mentions?

With intensive research, you can identify the strategies that are having the most success with your target audience and then you can try to replicate them on your own channels.

You also need to research your competition to find opportunities that these brands are not exploring. For example, you might notice that none of your competition is sharing live video, but since you’ve had success with it, you decide to offer more of these videos to set yourself apart.

Getting as much information as you can about the competition can help you find new opportunities for growing your brand and ways to distinguish your brand.

Have a Separate Content Strategy

Most people don’t think of social media as a place to share content, except to share links to content. But you can and should create original content specifically for sharing on social media.

Many social networks are making this easier. Facebook is rolling out a new feature that displays articles instantly in the news feed. LinkedIn has a publishing platform that lets you originate content right on site. Even Twitter users are finding ways to share content through the use of images that aren’t capped by the character limit.

When you share content on social media, you are able to engage your users better and you create more opportunities for sharing. You can share more in-depth content than what the standard update allows, which lets you offer useful information, engaging stories, and more.

By sharing unique content on your social media channels, you give your followers a reason to be there. They know they aren’t going to get that same content on your website, so they follow you on social media so as not to miss anything.

Create a Team

Two heads are better than one. Ten heads are better than two. And so on.

A lot of brands put a single person in charge of handling their social media, but they would be better served by having an entire team responsible for the job. With more people on the team, a diversity of ideas can be generated. One person may become narrowly focused – a team of creative thinkers can play off each other to come up with unique ideas that get more results.

Assign each team member a specific role, such as handling all video content or researching the competition. Don’t overlook jobs like customer service or lead generation. Determine what the team members’ strengths are, and assign everyone where they will make the most impact.

Hold a weekly meeting with this team and encourage regular communication. With more people sharing responsibility for the same goals, you have to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that individual efforts are working together to achieve the same resolution.

There may well come a day that social media is obsolete, but we can’t see that day arriving anytime soon (if at all). You can’t afford to treat social media like a novelty or an accessory to your marketing strategy. You need to create a dedicated strategy to your social media marketing, and these tips will help you make it a successful one.