Archive | July, 2018

Boost Your Social Media Marketing with These Tips!

30 Jul

A recent report by Social Media Examiner shows 83% of B2B marketers use social media networks for traffic/client generation, making it the No. 1 preferred tactic. And, the same research shows that the average B2B organization is present on six social media channels.

Social media marketing has become tougher than ever, says the report. Everyone has access to it, yet only the smartest and most resourceful will prevail, says the report. 80% of the B2B marketers possess a specific strategy when it comes to their social media marketing attempts yet only 32% have actually documented their strategies.

The report shows some simple yet effective ways to improve your social media marketing performance. The key is to understand the simplicity of your strategy, and to offer it your 100% willpower, discipline and care.

Know your audience well – The No. 1 rule in business (B2B and B2C) is to know your customer, says the report. In B2B marketing, your audience is made up of professionals who clearly know what they’re doing. To save you time, energy and budget, you should ensure that you know exactly what type of professionals you’ll approach in the future.

  • Create buyer personas – To optimize your audience establishing process, you should create buyer personas that are the imaginary and ideal future customers of your business. Your social media marketing strategies should be aligned with their mindset, needs, problems, desires, circumstances and personal characteristics.
  • Analyze your competitors – Social media profiles are open, especially the business ones. Pay attention to your competitors’ strategies: content marketing, SEO, influencer marketing.
  • Feature your employees’ voices – make sure you use their voice to improve your brand’s awareness, influence, and trust. If your brand members are happy, your brand will look happy, and therefore it will become more approachable. This strategy is employee advocacy, and it’s the perfect strategy to humanize your company and demonstrate competency at the same time.
  • Don’t be afraid to invest in social ads –In the B2B environment, you can’t expect to be one of the top figures unless you’re truly dedicated and resourceful. If you dare to develop and activate an out-of-the-box ad campaign (no matter on which network), you are likely to see amazing results.
  • Diversify your multimedia content – When you distribute your content on social media, ensure that you’re not sharing only text. Diversify your content and offer your followers a chance to indirectly tell what they like (through engagement). Post videos, audio, graphics, whitepapers, text and keep rotating.

According to Small Business Trends, 70% of small businesses don’t leverage CTAs on their online platforms. Create powerful CTAs and lead your traffic to your email or products better than ever. As long as your online platform has a decent brand awareness and reputation, you will be treated as an authority in your field. Whenever breaking news get published, ensure that your brand’s name is always present in the comments, ensuring that value & quality answers and opinions have been provided.

The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends Dominating 2016

24 Jul
  1. Less is more, better is better.

Social media is a crowded world already—there are billions of users with social profiles, and they all follow hundreds to thousands of different accounts. On top of that, most platforms’ newsfeed algorithms now sort posts based on a degree of perceived relevance, rather than based on the time of publication (in fact, Instagram just changed theirs over recently). Add in the fact that users are beginning to prefer hyper-relevant, in-the-moment content to regurgitated updates or retrospective posts, and you have a perfect formula for users to prefer fewer, but better posts. Quality has always been more important than quantity, but now social platforms and users are further cementing that fact.

  1. A shift is happening in platform dynamics.

Until recently, the three big players of the social media game were Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—almost indisputably—and all three platforms served similar functions for slightly different niches. Today, those positions have changed and diversified; Instagram and Snapchat are newer players in the game, but each serves a niche role despite having massive user bases.

  1. Live streaming is getting bigger.

Video content has seen a huge spike in popularity over the past few years, in part because it has become a more accessible medium, and in part because users are growing tired of older mediums. Combined with the trend of users demanding more “live” and in-the-moment updates, live streaming video has seen a major increase in popularity; especially with the recent release of Facebook Live.

  1. Buy buttons are becoming more common.

Advertising on social media has always been around—it’s how they make money, after all—but only recently has the advertising experience become something more akin to a shopping experience. Ads and products available to purchase are starting to work their way into users’ newsfeeds and profiles more smoothly and with fewer distinctions from organic content. These are typically associated with the simple addition of a “buy” button, which leads to an integrated cart to make it easier than ever to convert followers into real customers.

  1. New applications are changing social interaction.

The entire motivation behind social media’s existence is the “social” element; these platforms were developed for people to engage with one another, directly and for the most part, in conversational form. Now, forms of interaction are starting to diversify. Platforms like Snapchat are allowing more one-sided conversations, in a more fleeting, temporary context. Platforms like Facebook are launching new communication channels like Messenger for Business, which serves as a kind of customer service wing. Brands and consumers are able to talk to each other in new, more diverse ways, and that range is only broadening.

  1. We’re seeing a push for more personalization.

Users are tired of seeing the same types of content populate in their newsfeeds, and they’re tired of seeing posts they don’t care about. There’s a greater demand for personalization and customization, and platforms and publishers alike are doing what they can to cater to that demand. In fact, Facebook was recently accused of having a political bias because its personalization algorithm tended to display stories with a political leaning already similar to its targeted users’ preferences.

  1. We’re getting broader app functionality.

Social media apps are developed and owned by companies, and those companies need to make money to survive. They can sell ad space and user data, but they lose attention and user potential every time a user clicks out of an app. To remedy this, social platforms are doing more to keep users involved in-app for the longest time possible, offering peripheral functionality to keep users contented on more fronts. Some of these functions include in-app search functions, embedded content, and in Facebook’s case, even a personal digital assistant.

Some of these trends have been around for a while, manifesting gradually as more consumers have turned to them. Others popped up recently as a response to other developments, or as pure innovations emerging from the ether. In any case, they’re here now; you don’t have to adopt all of them or develop new strategies for them, but you do have to recognize their existence even if you’re only playing defense. These are the shapers of the social media marketing world as it exists today, and they’re forerunners of tomorrow’s developments.

 

The 10 Factors That Will Make Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Profitable

24 Jul

Social media marketing has been on the minds of marketers since the rise of Facebook and Twitter more than a decade ago, but its most stubborn opponents still view it with the same resentment, and the same argument: it’s not a profitable strategy.

To their credit, social media marketing isn’t a money-making miracle machine. Accumulating 10,000 followers might seem cool, and make you feel like you’ve gotten an edge over the competition, but if those 10,000 followers don’t buy your products, what are they actually worth?

Let’s explore what, exactly, a social media strategy needs to become profitable.

  1. Reasonable expenditure.

Some people start a social media campaign because they see it as a “free” strategy. It doesn’t cost anything to create a page for your company, nor does it cost anything to make a post (unless you decide to boost or promote it). But if you want to see significant results, you can’t treat it like a free strategy; you need to be prepared to invest in it, whether that’s in the form of paid ads, talent to join your team, or raw time to invest in your efforts.

  1. Strategy.

You also can’t start just posting blindly to social media and expect prospective followers to like what you’re posting. Before you get started, you should have a formally documented strategy that dictates your goals, your target audience, and how you plan to grow over time. This document will guide your decisions, help you recruit new people to your team, and give you a template you can improve upon over time.

  1. Consistency.

Profitable social media strategies are consistent. If you treat social media as a novelty, you might post with heavy volume one week, but post nothing the next week, and your activity could change drastically from day to day. Followers want to know what they can expect from you, so if you go through these rapid changes in volume, you’ll alienate the very people you’re trying to attract.

  1. Frequency.

Some social media accounts can get by with posting once a week to keep their followers happy, but if you want to strike a profit, you need to be more active than that. Depending on the platform you’re using, you should be posting at least multiple times daily, and engaging with your followers on a nearly constant basis.

  1. Value.

Social media is a platform for exchanging value; if you want your customers to buy from you, or even give you a “like” or a comment, you need to give them some value in exchange. That value can come in many different forms; for example, you can take “value” literally and give them discounts or special deals, or you could provide them with value in the form of practical or entertaining content.

 

5 Steps to Building Your First Online Sales Funnel

24 Jul

As an entrepreneur, you understand marketing’s importance: Without marketing, your business would eventually fail due to the absence of new customers. Therefore, if you haven’t already put time and effort into this mission, now is the time to start; and one easy way to start is the utilization of a sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel?

This strategy is so named due to the fact that in diagram form, this particular marketing strategy looks just like its name.

The top category is the biggest one and represents the largest number of people — potential customers. The bottom category represents the smallest number — committed customers — which is why it’s smaller.

Now, here are the five steps to follow to construct your own simple online sales funnel.

  1. Create a great landing page.

Your website’s landing page is the first impression potential customers will instantly have of your business. Therefore, take time to make sure that it looks great. A good landing page will also encourage visitors to sign up for some sort of list, or subscribe to the website. This gives you that all-important contact information, which becomes your first line of communication.

  1. Present a front-end offer.

The next step is to present potential customers with the opportunity to buy a product or procure your service. When constructing your main front-end products and associated upsell offers, you should be engineering them with the additional mindset of . . . how will this help create more desire for the next backend offer you’re going to present them with.

In other words, at this step you should be “pre-selling” on the next step in the funnel.

  1. Give an upsell offer on the back end.

Offer your customers who just bought or are about to buy a product or service the opportunity to upsize, or upgrade, that service. For example, create an offer that will deliver even more benefit to the customer if he or she upgrades. This strategy is called an upsell.

Consider this the steak dinner to the regular offer’s appetizer. You are offering your customers more substance if they choose to upgrade. Of course, that also means you make more money because an upsell typically involves a larger or more expensive item or service.

  1. Offer a downsize option.

In the same way that you encouraged customers to upgrade services in the upsell step, this element of the funnel calls for you to offer a downgrade option to certain customers.

No, a downsize option doesn’t represent a failure and should not be looked upon as the loss of a sale. Instead, consider this a way to keep a customer unable to buy from you due to budget constraints. Keep in mind that those constraints may change. Be considerate and offer cheaper options for these individuals to keep them as potential customers.

  1. Keep it going.

The last step in the sales funnel is to keep your momentum going. Follow up with all the new customers you have acquired and ensure they are happy with their product or service. A great way to accomplish this is to offer a membership-based rewards program. This will allow you to remain in contact with customers, giving you the perfect means for telling them about new deals and services.

The steps listed here are geared to a business with an online presence. Of course, this might not describe your particular business. However, every business can benefit from the sales funnel model.

Just remember: Your potential customers category, which represents the greatest amount of people, goes on top of the funnel; and the smallest category, established customers, goes on the bottom. The categories in between may be altered to meet your specific business’s needs and sales goals.

 

Winning the social media marketing game

23 Jul

Thousands of years ago, clans gathered around fires to share their day’s experiences and to tell stories that established group norms and shaped social organization. Today, the fire’s embers have been replaced by the glow of internet-connected devices, but the communal exchange of stories and perspectives remains a fundamental force in social development.

From a business standpoint, a few important differences emerge from this evolution. Social media users can now publicly discuss their experiences with brands or products, forming large coalitions of interest that exert vast social pressure on brands and other organizations. From the presidential election to the newest cereal, everything is now a matter of public interest.

The essential principle, however, of shaping our world by sharing stories remains the same. The connections we build with others around us are the infrastructure of social change. Understanding how these connections are formed on social media, the purpose of these connections and how they can be leveraged is foundational to social media marketing.

Understanding social mechanics with game theory

Though the need to participate in social exchange is obvious, it has proved challenging to effectively model how social systems work, especially when considering the impact of new media and technology on societal discourse. Game theory, a mathematical evaluation of competition and cooperation between interested actors, is a promising solution.

Despite what its name may suggest, game theory has little to do with “games” as we might typically think of them. It seeks instead to understand how rational participants, bound by a set of rules, respond to different stimuli. The application of game theory to social media can help us identify the objectives of social media users, and how they work to achieve them.

The “players” of the social media “game” are clearly the users — brands and consumers alike. Brands use social media to reach new customers, build a loyal audience and respond to consumer reviews, while the private social media user wants to keep up with friends, stay current and participate in social conversations about matters large and small.

Gaining powerful allies in the social media status game

Brands and consumers have different objectives, but how they achieve their ends is the same: social influence. All social media users compete for a limited supply of influence, clamoring for their voice to be heard. The mistake that many brands make is to see consumers as targets, or even enemies, instead of the powerful allies they can be.

If brands cooperate with consumers, assisting them in achieving their objectives, both can win the social media game. Above all, this means brands must provide social media users with the tools they need to increase their status, and thereby their influence on the conversation. By doing so, brands can proliferate their messaging and gain the vocal support of a vast audience.

Social status is at the core of every human interaction, and one of our most central drives. Its significance has recently been underlined by the discovery that changes in status are processed by the striatum, the same part of the brain that processes money. Researchers found that an increase in social status triggers a definite and quantifiable neurological reward.

Increasing and measuring status with game mechanics

In conversation, we largely seek to increase our prestige, which can be done in one of three ways:

  • Creating new content.
  • Sharing content.
  • Challenging content.

Each of these adds value to the conversation, introducing a new perspective, supporting, or critiquing an existing perspective, which in turn increases our status.

These avenues are built into most social media platforms, with “likes,” “shares” and “comments” all enabling us to quantifiably assign status to others and evaluate our own. Like points and levels in a video game, these features allow us to measure how popular we are in a community, and our brain rewards us each time we win a point — or punishes us if we lose.

In terms of game theory, these features should be thought of as game mechanics, which leverage our:

  • Desire to accumulate.
  • Preoccupation with social standing.
  • Appreciation of feedback.
  • Interest in connecting.
  • Enjoyment of personalization.

By tapping into deeply embedded psychological drives, these mechanics make social media engaging and rewarding.

Brands help themselves by giving consumers a voice

Each time brands elicit feedback from consumers or release content that is exciting or interesting, they give social media users another opportunity to score social points.  Making a witty comment or sharing a fun video will increase a user’s status in their community. This is clearly a win for the brand, just as much as it is for the consumer.

It is equally important to avoid disapproval as it is to build support. Social media can magnify consumer condemnation as easily as it can bolster approval. Many brands have found themselves the targets of social media callouts when consumers chastise brands for an unsatisfying product, an ill-phrased comment or a poorly timed campaign.

Game mechanics are only part of the picture

The dangers of social media are exemplified in Pepsi’s 2017 ad featuring model Kendall Jenner, which referred to recent protests against police brutality. Though it portrayed Pepsi as a reconciliatory force, bridging the gap between opposing factions through the unifying power of its product, an irate public condemned the ad as tone deaf on social media.

Pepsi’s ad failed for two important reasons. Despite the brand’s intentions, audiences found the ad inauthentic, feeling it did not align with the brand’s purpose. More importantly, the ad did not respect the seriousness of the conflict, whose racial overtones and mortal significance demanded a great degree of sensitivity in the eyes of the public.

A winning application of game theory

In stark contrast, Heineken’s Worlds Apart ad won widespread acclaim the same year. The ad depicted ideologically opposed pairs working together to build a bar, before electing to share a beer and discuss their differences.  Though Heineken’s ad responded to the same social climate and expressed a similar theme of unity, it could not have been more differently received.

It is possible that the public saw beer as a more genuine point of unison over such serious issues, but the real difference lies in Heineken’s treatment of social concerns. Rather than positioning itself as a heroic savior in a trivialized conflict, it showed itself facilitating participants in their individual struggle to have their voice heard and to improve their world.

We can look at Heineken’s ad not only as a case study in sensitive and authentic messaging, but also an effective example of game theory in action. Heineken allied itself with social media users, providing them a platform from which to express themselves. In doing so, it enabled them to become heroes in their own story, winning likes, comments, and shares in their own networks.

Winning the social media marketing game

To win the social media marketing game, brands are increasingly using the behavioral insights offered by game theory to craft effective social media strategies.

While brands and consumers have seemingly different objectives, they share the same drive for social influence. By recognizing this and enabling buyers and prospects to enhance their social status, brands can create a win-win situation for consumers and shareholders alike.

These 5 Pieces of Social Media Video News will Change Small Business Marketing

16 Jul

When it comes to engagement, video is a vividly colored unicorn. It captures the eye, draws the user in, and holds their attention for a longer duration.

Video certainly isn’t new on social media, but there have been recent changes that directly impact publishers and video marketing specialists. In case these didn’t fall onto your radar, here are 5 social media video news announcements that are worthy of your attention.

  1. Facebook Opens Watch to More Creators

Facebook is giving creators and publishers more tools in their video-oriented arsenal by expanding its offerings.

Originally, Watch was only going to feature original programming and content. However, Facebook decided to include videos from Pages as well, and a larger number of creators will be eligible. To help find the ideal creators, the Facebook for Creators Launchpad program will assist in identifying candidates.

Additionally, new revenue opportunities will also be available. This can be a boon for organizations that were harmed by monetization changes on channels like YouTube, giving creators and publishers additional options for their content.

You must apply to join the program, which will focus on longer, engaging, and authentic content.

  1. Instagram Launches IGTV

When it comes to video, YouTube is the unicorn in the space. But Instagram wants to change that though it’s new standalone app, IGTV.

IGTV will welcome long-form video, including hour-long uploads. Plus, the content will be displayed as full-length vertical videos, keeping people from having to shift their phone between the portrait to landscape orientations to use the app.

Instagram has 1 billion users and has seen a 60 percent increase in the amount of video being consumed on the platform. IGTV is attempting to capitalize on the interest in video.

Advertising isn’t on the platform yet, but that will likely change quickly once the platform gains a following.

  1. Parents Make Their Voices Heard

Over recent years, parents have been increasingly vocal when it comes to concerns over the YouTube’s algorithms. Multiple incidents involving content being directed to children that is not kid-friendly, disturbing, negative, or destructive created varying levels of uproar.

YouTube has been working to improve its algorithms, but growing pains have led to some missteps. Additionally, the sheer volume of content created additional challenges, requiring the company to hire more staff members to moderate activities on the platform.

  1. Facebook Messenger to Introduce Autoplay Ads

A feature that is already available through News Feeds and on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, autoplay ads will soon be arriving on Facebook Messenger. The ads will display in a sponsored portion of the main feed in the Messenger app, and all advertisers are eligible for the program.

While this could present companies with an opportunity to engage with a wider audience, users have mixed feelings about autoplay ads in general. At this point, only a small number of users are being exposed to the ads, and Facebook is gauging their reaction before rolling it out to additional users.

  1. Biggest VidCon Ever

VidCon, a convention that attracts online video content creators and video platforms, saw its highest attendance records when the event kicked off on June 20, 2018. While YouTube usually dominated the conference, every major player came in this year to tout their capabilities.

Facebook, Twitch, Twitter, and Snapchat all made their presence known, particularly since many creators have grown frustrated with YouTube over demonetization, the high amount of competition, and other changes made by the company.

Ultimately, the world of social media video is changing rapidly, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future thanks to the popularity of video on the platforms. New opportunities for companies will continue to emerge, and those who are vigilant can take advantage of them early, creating a strong mechanism for staying ahead of the competition while engaging with a wider user base.

How to Use Social Media as an Effective B2B Customer Service Tool for Active Engagement and Brand Building

9 Jul

Did you know that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others?

Not long ago, businesses would focus on newspapers and advertising through print. They still do, but clearly, digital media has taken over a major share of the branding budget in 2018. Now with smartphones and social media technology, businesses prefer to surf the tide of customer service using new-age marketing technologies. Social Media Marketing clearly demonstrates how technology amplifies brand messaging and meets new benchmarks in customer service benchmarks.

B2B marketing insights incorporated in social media are effective methods for traffic generation, interactive engagement and brand association.

Customer centricity is the pillar of any B2B or B2C social media marketing concept. A consistent rhythm of working through engagement campaigns is what makes the B2B social media marketing sphere ever dynamic and progressive.

To-do list for a strong social media marketing campaign

A number of businesses use the wrong path while pursuing leads on social media. The marketing technique used here must be effective in analyzing the weak links and strengthening those that have the potential to be efficient and affordable. In order to execute a robust social media campaign, follow these specifics:

Dedicate time to understand the intricacies of social media

A number of social media marketing tips are prevalent online, but the key goal here is to experiment, understand, and then pursue the ultimate goal. Curiosity is the key here, folks.

Listen to your clients/customers for valuable information

Having certain leads for ongoing commentary/advice or recommendations on feeds, posts or campaigns is important. Customers shall leave in positive or negative responses, but analysis of both reactions are important.

Real-time conversations exist and must be utilized

In the current world of rapidly growing technology and speed; unhappy customers who wish to communicate must be given importance to. Responsive time management is crucial. An auto-reply response generated by social media platforms would be an added bonus here. This will help customers in having a waiting time allotted, after which a real-time conversation can smoothly flow.

Social media marketing management

Many marketers aim to target 4-5 social media platforms at once, and this causes friction between coordination and calculation of insights. The to-do list here would be to focus on one platform with the right content and then expand eventually, after achieving the desired target.

Measuring Targets

No social media campaign has been proclaimed as “effective” without measuring targets and analyzing social media growth. According to DMA, “56% are using engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares, and retweets) to measure the success of social media.”

The objective is the same and it applies to both small business and enterprises; build structured content and then present it to the right audience. This fuels the audience for active engagement and tracks performance accordingly. Social media marketing has become a prerequisite, one that is implemented by businesses for overall presence. It also impacts the effect social networks have on users.

Content for Social Media Marketing

Posting content for social media has to be productive and valuable. The concept of quality over quantity is a must. There are numerous ways of generating content which in return will create leads and direct traffic.

Infographics

The addition of digital Infographics to your social media marketing campaign is a fun and quick way of transcribing the message to an audience. Infographics are fluent to understand and can give the user a massive break from monotony. Do make sure that the content made available via the infographic is visually appealing and productive towards your target audience.

User Generated Content or UGC

Content created by unpaid contributors is explained as UGC. This method of capitalizing on engagement taps into psychological behavior by analyzing how consumers react to stimuli presented by the company. This helps the company understand KPIs in analyzing crowd response and user-generated ideas/thoughts.

GIFs

GIF translates to the Graphic Interchange Format. GIF is an image format in which visual files can be shared and viewed. The format supports both animated and static images. GIFs are gaining popularity in the social media platform and add interesting visual components to a company’s portfolio. Incorporating GIFs into a social media marketing strategy will be a relatively new feature. Yet it will be approved by the fresh urban crowd of today because of its quirky and fun-filled appeal.

Concept Visualization

Visualizing a single concept with self-explanatory graphs, charts and paragraphs will be easy to implement in a company’s social media strategy. Embedding such visuals shall boost a company’s website and social media game since digestible facts are easier to consume, in comparison to solid bricks that are difficult to chew! These graphics are also shareable and commentary received on interesting topics can help you leverage metrics on the decided social media campaign.

Social Media and Social Media Marketing Tools

Due to the rapidly developing internet hype, social media users have reached an all-time high! Most of the social media users excessively leverage specific social networking sites to distribute content and increase traffic/leads.

Apart from the common social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube— Marketers can also leverage other social media tools that can help blend content seamlessly and increase engagement.

To hone language and improve the quality of content, below are 3 popular tools for social media marketers in the fields of calculating outreach, scaling images and video editing.

Percentage Calculator

Percentage Calculator is a free online tool which is used to calculate percentages. This is especially beneficial for social media marketers who find it time-consuming to analyze the increase and decrease of outreach for social media posts. With percentage calculator, the regular marketer can help turn raw data into definite percentages.  Instead of structuring correct mathematical formulas, the app can simplify a task by entering numbers into the calculator’s sentence based structure. It helps in doing the computation for you, significantly transforming the digital platform.

Landscape by Sprout Social

Landscape by Sprout Social efficiently scales the sizes of images for social media. Each social media network has different image sizes and coverage. For an image to fit all platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn; cropping, resizing and positioning are required. Landscape makes this easy by catering to needs of image editing by providing a platform fit for all. Landscape performs these edits with no compromises. After uploading the image to Landscape/SproutSocial, Landscape caters to different options for you. Landscape systematically resizes images meant for every platform, thus making your task simple and organized. It’s a free tool and comes with a download tab after edits, hence simplifying your social media managing platform.

Magisto

Magisto is a super-cool AI-powered video editing tool. Simply upload videos/movie clips or audio files from the desktop or smartphone app. Magisto will analyze faces, objects, camera motion or people; synching the music beats to the video footage. You can choose an edit amongst those provided either on the mobile app or website, and the results will be astonishing!

Social media is an efficacious medium for marketers and for business solutions. It fosters communication by augmenting social media marketing with key metrics is a definite way of calculating the effectiveness of strategy campaigns. The results are pure, rapid and valuable. With digitalization, social media marketing is the ideal way of connecting to an audience in a redefined driven innovation.