Archive | February, 2018

Seven Considerations for Your New Business’s Social Media Strategy

26 Feb

So you started a new business. Congratulations!

Now comes the hard work: marketing and promotion.

You know you need to be on social media, but you have no idea where to start. With so many platforms, and so little time, what’s an entrepreneur to do?

First of all, everyone is on Facebook, so you definitely need to have a presence there. But what about Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, Reddit, Periscope? And those are just the first platforms that come to mind…

Don’t get overwhelmed. The following seven considerations will help you determine which social media channels you should focus on.

1. Your Customers

A smart part of any marketing strategy is developing buyer personas. You’ll use them to inform all of your marketing efforts, including social media.

Imagine your ideal customers. What are their basic demographics (age, gender, salary, location)? Now, find social networks that match those demographics.

Some networks have a distinct gender preference. Women strongly favor Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, but there are twice as many men on Reddit.

As for age, seniors (people 70 and older) are the fastest-growing demographic on social media, and there are even dedicated networks for them, including Stitch for those age 50 and above. Seniors show a strong preference for YouTube, too, with over half of Baby Boomers and seniors watching online video.

On the other end of the spectrum, Snapchat, Instagram, and Reddit all have much younger viewers: 90% of Instagrammers and 86% of Snapchatters are under age 35, and 64% of Redditors are under age 30.

2. Your Industry

Some industries are better suited to certain social media platforms than others. That’s not to say your Web hosting brand can’t break through as the next big Instagram star, but leaning into the networks where your industry already does well makes things easier for you as you start out.

For example, if you’re in the fashion industry, you’d want to focus on Pinterest and Instagram over LinkedIn. But if you’re in the tech B2B vertical, LinkedIn would be the right choice. All local businesses of any industry need to fully complete their Google+ profiles and encourage regular Google+ reviews for SEO purposes.

What about B2B versus B2C? According to a 2016 industry report by Social Media Examiner, B2B marketers heavily favor LinkedIn and SlideShare. B2C marketers, on the other hand, prefer Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

3. Your Company

What makes your brand unique? You may be able to use that differentiation in the social network of your choice.

If you have a big personality, consider streaming live via Facebook Live or Snapchat.

Do you regularly attend tradeshows? Twitter and Instagram are huge hashtag hubs during such events, which can help your content get discovered.

Find your “thing.” You might post photos on Instagram of quirky places people can use your product, or you can create a weekly video series where you share tips based on the service you offer.

4. Your Competition

No matter how unique your business is, you’ll always have competition.

Fortunately, having competition isn’t all that bad: If you pay attention to what the competition is doing, you’ll glean insights into what works and what doesn’t. Have you ever seen something flop… and then decided you could make it better? That may have been what motivated you to start your business in the first place!

For your social media strategy, look at your competition’s social accounts. Focus only on the companies doing well and those that you admire. The ones that aren’t successful aren’t worth copying and could even lead you in the wrong direction (they’ll be the ones over-indexing on Reddit and Snapchat even though they work exclusively with adults age 45+).

Take note of which platforms your competitors use and what kind of content tends to encourage engagement for them. Consider how you can apply that information to your brand.

5. Your Product or Service

Certain products and services perform better than others on various social media channels.

Do you run an e-commerce site? Pinterest users spend 50% more than those on other social networks and are likelier to click through to your website to purchase.

Work in the beauty industry or spend a lot of face time with your customers? Instagram pictures showing faces get 38% more likes than those without.

Cars and apparel enjoy an outsized presence on Instagram, whereas consumer products don’t do well on LinkedIn.

6. Your Goals

What are your primary goals for social media? Do you want to nurture leads, grow your referral traffic, foster customer loyalty, build brand awareness, or achieve something else entirely?

Certain social channels will serve your goals better than others. For example, Instagram doesn’t allow links in posts (unless you’re a paid advertiser), so the platform is better suited to brand awareness and customer loyalty. You’ll certainly gain visibility through hashtagging your posts, and you’ll foster customer happiness by sharing exclusive promo codes, but you won’t drive traffic to and conversions on your website.

Focusing on SEO? Use YouTube. Videos hosted there are more likely to show up in Google’s search results. You can also upload transcripts and include annotations to make them even more searchable and to drive site traffic.

Whichever goal you choose, ensure you can measure your progress, whether that’s by number of leads, traffic volume, or number of likes or other engagement action.

7. Your Content

Finally, what kind of content will you be sharing on social media?

If your business is highly visual and you plan to produce lots of video or image content, focus on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, or possibly Snapchat, depending on the ages of your target audience (see consideration No. 1). Facebook Live is a particularly nice option if live content makes sense for your business.

If you’ll be creating lots of written content, including blog posts, case studies, and whitepapers, make sure to share them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

If you don’t have time to blog yet, you can still find a voice by curating others’ content and retweeting on Twitter. You can also comment in discussion boards, including Reddit and LinkedIn Groups.

Will you be creating brand experiences or fun content for brand awareness? Instagram and Snapchat are perfect for that purpose. And don’t forget to promote any upcoming events on Facebook!

Bonus Tip

Regardless of which platforms you choose to focus on right now, at a minimum you should create a profile for your company on all the major social networks. As your business and your team grow, you’ll have more time to dedicate to different platforms.

Plus, it’s just plain smart to own your brand name online. Signing up on all the major platforms prevents a troll from registering your brand name, forcing you to do business under @company_name1 instead of the objectively more professional @companyname.

Top Social Media Marketing Hacks for 2018

19 Feb

With statistics suggesting that more than 65 million businesses have a Facebook business page and there beingover 3.03 billion active Social Media users, both businesses and consumers benefit.

Social Media Marketing is unceasingly proving to be successful and it has given traditional advertising a run for its money — thanks to the advanced metrics in this domain that now help marketers understand their audience’s preferences and purchasing behavior a lot better.

Modern marketing teams can never ignore the power of social. Given the evolving industry innovations and changing consumer habits, what should marketers keep in mind?

1. Video will be everything

With there being an increasing desire to focus on churning out engaging content using interactive methods, video is slated to be the next big thing for digital campaigns. With a growing mobile user base and lowered attention spans, one of the most effective ways to win at the social media game is with captivating videos.

That brings in a question: How can B2B marketers ensure that their videos are a hit with viewers? Just creating video content is not enough. Focusing on creating video content that resonates with audiences is more important.

2. Meaningful messaging

Facebook’s recent newsfeed policy tweaks suggest that there will be a shift in the digital marketer’s mindset too. Why would a leading social media platform that earned an impressive revenue through ads revise their ad feeds? Maybe this decision also suggests the changing needs of a typical consumer.

The social media connect over the years has allowed brands and customers to have more interactive and meaningful exchanges. Consumers want more of this. Superficial messaging that simply sounds good won’t cut it anymore.

Remember, for 2018, content is not just king. Context is!

3. Hyper-personalization

Hyper-personalization is where the big money in digital marketing is at. With more and more consumers using customization as a tactic to win and retain customers, it will be more important than ever to center strategies around this. As tools and technology evolve, and as the consumer mindset changes, it is important for businesses to use these markers as insights to build a far more capable social media strategy.

 

5 Best Practices for Effective Social Media Marketing in 2018

12 Feb

Think for a moment; can you ignore social media in today’s marketing? Of course not. Nobody can afford to lose a borderless market that is bigger than China and India combined.

Owing to the same, companies are enthusiastically investing resources in social media marketing. In fact, social media is no more about branding or reputation only, the number of companies using it for business development has increased significantly. In 2015, 63% of the US companies were using social networks for lead generation and the percentage is expected to cross 90 percent by 2018.

However, there is another side of the story as well. Not every business is happy with the ROI offered by social networks.

According to a digital media survey, the brand’s (average) engagement rate on different social networks is very disturbing. It’s 0.007% on Facebook, 0.003% on Twitter, and 4.21% on Instagram.

Since ‘engagement’ is the prime objective of social media marketing, such lackluster response should be a big concern for marketers. However, changes to the algorithms and soaring usage of big data for social media marketing essentially means that marketers will have found out new and innovative ways to market their business as the organic reach of their posts will shrink with every passing day.

This article is aimed at helping you set the right tone for your social media marketing in 2018, and help you be more effective at engagement.

1. Set SMART Goals:

The starting point of any campaign should be your goals. Most of the digital marketers fail to determine their channel-specific goals and the vast majority wants to achieve “a set of goals” by single investments, which leads to failure. You should not plan to achieve leads, traffic, engagement, likes, shares, and follows from a single campaign; otherwise, the metrics will be too annoying.

If you set SMART goals, and clearly run a campaign against a particular one, success is a sure result. 92% of marketers believe that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses whereas 84% think it has directly impacted their web traffic. Therefore, you should set a clear goal of your campaign – say clicks or leads – and calculate results for the same.

2. Avoid Verbosity

They say: brevity is the soul of wit. Twitter’s popularity lies in its brevity and 140 character’s limitation. A study suggests that Facebook posts with less than 250 characters get 60 percent more engagement than the longer ones. Similarly, Tweets with 110 or fewer characters get 17% more engagement.

What does that mean?

In 2018, the scarcest of all resources is ‘time’. People do not have time to read your articles; they want brief, to-the-point, and striking content. If you have an idea for longer posts, don’t put in status; instead, go for a blog or LinkedIn Pulse.

3. Invest in Creative Contents

One key success principle for social media success is to have a good content mix. A balanced content mix ensures that people do not get bored of your similar posts. In this regards, it is a very good idea to make a content calendar with a focus on designing a decent content mix.

Never ignore the power of visual content. According to Social Media Examiner Study, 61% of marketers plan to increase their usage of live video, and 69 percent of them are eager to explore videos and creative contents. In 2017, the number of marketing professionals including live video into their marketing strategy increased by 14 percent – and the trend is expected growth further.

Also, never ignore the power of decent and branded images as tweets with images receive 150% more retweets. Brand’s engagement rate on Instagram is highest: 4.21 percent and the reason is visual content.

4. Brace for Algorithmic Changes

Facebook has recently changed their algorithms and marketers should be worried about it. As a result, the organic reach of the pages will go further down. This simply means: there are no more free lunches (read exposure) anymore. Even in the advertisement domain, the platforms will be very strict now on. Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, social networks are under pressure to ensure their platforms are safe and not prone to misuse by advertisers.

While this tighter scrutiny will be there at least for the near future, we advise marketers to be creative, in order to be discovered. In the face of barriers discussed, the best way to get exposure on social media is creating and sharing high-quality and personalized content that is relevant to your audience.

5. Never Ignore Ethics

Ethical principles should be your guiding principle. One of the reasons why people leave paying attention to your calls is ‘alleged deception’. A key element of social media marketing is being honest with your audience. In a previous post, I had explained 7 fundamental ethics of social media marketing, which every marketer should keep in sight.

If your focus is on the long-term relationship, make sure you don’t deceive your audience in any way. Be professional while responding to negative comments and critical feedback; they play a vital role in improvement.

Finally, when you are planning for social media marketing in 2018, make sure to document your strategy. A documented strategy with key stats, KPIs, content calendar and guidelines leads to good results. We hope the listed suggestions help you improve social ROI and attract the desired exposure.

5 Crucial Components of an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy in 2018

5 Feb

The social networking landscape is shifting dramatically in 2018. From Facebook’s updated news feed focus to YouTube’s updated influencer marketing rules, brands hoping to capitalize on social media marketing for brand growth need to be aware of changes in the social media sector. Failure to have an updated social media marketing strategy for 2018 could mean your company is losing out on opportunities for revenue generation and brand reputation development. If you are ready to take a long, hard look at your company’s social media marketing strategy (you do have one, right?), following are five crucial factors you should include in your updated outreach efforts.

1) Conversation is critical for effective social media marketing in 2018. With platforms like Facebook placing increasing importance on engagement and time-on-site ratings, it is brands focusing on consumer conversations who will be the big winners in social media outreach this year.

2) Encouraging and motivational content will be crucial for audience acquisition in 2018. Gone are the days of filling your followers news feeds with informational content about your business or your latest product/service release. If you don’t already have someone on your team creating uplifting social media images, now is the time to start. The more uplifting and universal your visual marketing images, the greater your chances are of social shares. Be sure to share your own images on multiple social networking platforms including Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

3) For maximum social networking ROI, start thinking of your business as a media company. Regardless of your business’ niche, you must be willing to think in terms of audience acquisition, branding opportunities, return-on-investment ratings, and format optimization. The sooner you adjust your brand’s outlook on social media marketing, the sooner you can reap the rewards for your company.

4) Maximize your social networking efforts by performing ongoing analysis on platform to target audience metrics. Understand which platforms offer the highest engagement rates and which platforms deliver the highest revenue generation opportunities for your business. When your social media marketing team has a clear understanding of the benefits of each network for your brand, they can develop an outreach strategy that helps your business achieve your desired KPIs (key performance indicators).

5) Social intelligence is critical for effective social media marketing in 2018. Integrating social intelligence tools (crunchbase.com/search/principals/8ad73cf1fd04823aaf078daeab1b2798502ae73a) into your networking strategy is no longer optional. If your brand isn’t putting social intelligence to work for your company, you are at a serious disadvantage to other savvier competitors.

Focus on incorporating these five factors into your 2018 social media marketing strategy and you will see increased ROI for your investment of time. No longer is it enough to be active on social media platforms for brand growth; you must be strategic in your approach to customer acquisition and brand development. Discuss these business growth tips with your team and develop a plan-of-action to integrate these critical factors into your 2018 growth initiatives.