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What is your company’s social media marketing strategy?

10 Sep

According to the Pew Research Center’s 2017 Social Media Fact Sheet, social media usage among American adults has grown 69 percent since 2005. For the most popular sites, most users are visiting those sites at least once a day. That makes social media a necessity if you want your business to get noticed.

Leveraging social media marketing can increase your customer base significantly, but it can be a challenge to start a social media campaign without any insight or experience. Almost all entrepreneurs currently participate in social media but are unaware of its full potential.

Setting goals, planning and executing campaigns, keeping your messaging on brand, and using metrics (data) to measure the impact of your efforts are all key components of a winning social media marketing strategy.

Planning and goal setting

Before you create your first social media marketing campaign, set business goals and devise a plan to achieve them. If you do not already have set goals for your business, it is essential for you to create them.

Consider what you are trying to achieve when marketing on social media sites, who your target audience is, where they spend their time, and how they are using social media. Additionally, determine what message you want to get across to your target audience.

You can use social media marketing to achieve key business goals, including:

  • Boosting website traffic.
  • Creating engagement and communication opportunities with key audiences.
  • Converting site visitors.
  • Establishing a positive brand identity and association.
  • Building brand recognition.

You can only measure your social media ROI once you have established your goals.

Other helpful tips

Some other tips that will be helpful in building a foundation that will serve your brand, customers, and bottom line include:

  1. Provide quality. You can benefit more from having 100 followers who consistently read, talk about and share your content than 1,000 who disengage after your initial contact.
  2. Have patience. Success in social media marketing takes consistency and time. Although it is possible to make some quick sales or form business partnerships on your first attempt, it is far better to be patient and remain focused on your long-term strategy.
  3. Hang with influencers. Find out who the online influencers are in your industry and hang out with them virtually. Respond to their tweets and Facebook posts, and eventually, they might do the same for you. These are the people with quality audiences who may take an interest in what you are offering. Make a connection with these people and begin building relationships with them.
  4. Provide value. If you are using social media exclusively for promoting your products or business opportunity, people will begin to ignore you. You have to add value to the mix. Keep your focus more on creating valuable content and less on conversions.

Available platforms

Facebook

Create a business Facebook page. By adding a business page, you can further your conversations with your audience by posting images, articles, and videos that are industry related. You should also pay careful attention to the layout when using Facebook since the visual component is an integral part of the overall Facebook experience.

Twitter

Twitter lets you broadcast tweets in 280 characters or less. You can begin by following other tweeters that are in your related industry, which will hopefully garner you followers in return. When tweeting, it is best to mix messages up a bit between official-related tweets (discounts, specials, etc.), news tweets and value tweets. Throw in a little bit of fun and humorous tweets as well. If a customer says something nice about you, be sure to retweet it and always answer any questions that people ask you.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most potent social media platforms for visual content. Almost all of it is content consists of photos and video posts. Now with more than 700 million active users, it has become a destination site for those that like to post about food, fashion, travel, the arts and other visually-focused subjects. The other exciting aspect of Instagram is that its post all must originate from a mobile device.

Snapchat

Snapchat is another mobile-only platform that currently has 150 million-plus app users. Snapchat content is temporary, disappearing from a user’s feed after 24 hours. Snapchat is useful for visual story-driven material and has a strong reach to millennial audiences.

YouTube

If your business lends itself to product demonstrations or service explanations, take advantage of the popularity of video. YouTube is a fabulous platform for many types of companies to embrace and prosper with as a promotional vehicle.

Pinterest

Would your business benefit from posting and sharing images? Hair salons, web designers, jewelry stores, restaurants, event planners, and many others find that Pinterest helps them attract and engage with existing and prospective customers.

LinkedIn

While many businesses can benefit from LinkedIn, it is especially beneficial for B2B marketing. It is an excellent platform for small businesses to reach out to other organizations that may be seeking their services. It is also an excellent tool for recruiting employees.

A successful social media marketing strategy can do much more than increase your website traffic and sales. It will allow you to better understand and learn from your target audience, and when done well, social marketing can lead to increased traffic, better conversions, and more customers.

6 Social Media Trends That Will Dominate Summer 2018 Marketing

7 May

Keeping up with social media seems like an impossible task some days. No sooner do you perfect your marketing on a platform than a new one springs up or begins to rise in popularity.

On top of that, the makeup of your Internet audience is constantly changing and shifting.

The best way to figure out how to plan your summer social media marketing campaign is to look at upcoming trends.

1. Event Tie-Ins

One way to up the presence of your brand on social media is to figure out which summer events you can relate to your industry.

One of the easiest ways to tie into summer activities is to first look at major holidays — Memorial Day and Fourth of July, for example. Next, look at major national and global events, such as the Summer Olympics or big festivals.

Then, you can piggyback off the marketing for these events by tying into a hashtag or running specials of your own during the same timeframe. Expect to see summer marketing tie into various summer events, both in the specials offered and hashtags used. For example, the brand Omeka uses hashtags such as #summer2018 on their Instagram page along with images of sandals and baseball caps to pull in new customers.

2. Local Trends

In recent years, businesses have come to recognize the value of local SEO. Tie into local events to gain more traffic to your site.

For example, if there is a popular festival in your area, can you rent a small booth and then share images on social media of the event? Perhaps there is a famous artist headed to your area for a concert, and you name a sandwich in your restaurant after him. Figure out how to reach people on a local level and drive them to your brick-and-mortar stores.

Summer equals beautiful weather, and people are excited to get outdoors and experience life. For summer 2018, this means a lot of different events. As a business owner, take advantage of local events by creating a Snapchat geofilter and including your snaps at events to engage current customers and connect new ones. One example of this is Churchill Downs adding snaps to their Snapchat story about the Kentucky Derby. Anyone who searches for the word “derby” sees these snaps.

3. Strong Images

Even though big, beautiful images are not a new trend, they are worth mentioning because they are such a vital part of any social media marketing campaign.

Across the board, social media posts with images tend to get shared more often than other types of posts without images. On Twitter, a post with an image is about 150% more likely to be retweeted.

Because summer is about cooking outdoors and hanging out with friends, expect to see more food images in the summer of 2018. For example, Food Lion shares recipes on their website and then uploads similar posts with strong images on their Instagram account.

4. GIFs and Emoji 

Millennials, in particular, prefer emoji, GIFs, and stickers over words and relate to them better. If you want to reach people in this age range, expressing yourself on social media with these icons is a smart move.

Expect to see brands tie images into their posts in new ways. Instead of lengthy posts, you might just see a happy-face emoji combined with a symbol for money to symbolize a store that’s having a flash sale, for example.

Summer means the kids are out of school and looking for engaging brands in the summer of 2018, and brands are looking to engage them. Vodafone clearly sees generation Z and millennials as key to growing their mobile carrier service globally, as evidenced by their Instagram posts including plenty of GIFs.

5. Social Causes

Some companies have jumped onto social causes and are engaging in marketing strategies with a cause. For example, Adidas used Lean In to help promote gender pay equality with their #20PercentCounts campaign.

The campaign encourages employers to look at pay levels within their companies and to close the gap so pay is equal based on experience rather than gender. Summer brings time with family and awareness of the struggles family members face, so expect to see more companies adopting causes in the summer of 2018 and beyond. Marks and Spencer adopted the cause of breast cancer, and they share similar images on their Instagram account along with pink-themed photos.

6. Lightheartedness

There are a lot of serious issues in the world, but when summer hits, people want to have fun and enjoy the warmer weather. Lightheartedness seems to be well received on most social media platforms and was trending in the first quarter of 2018, which can be expected to continue into summer. After all, summer is about cooking out in your backyard or going on a boating adventure with friends. Summer equals fun, so expect to see fun posts from brands in the summer of 2018. Budweiser taps into this trend with their Snapchat posts that feature elements such as festival food and a bottle of their beer.

Social media trends for summer 2018

Each new season brings new challenges and new trends in social media marketing.

These six trends are an excellent source of ideas for your social media marketing calendar, but don’t overlook the value of staying up to date on current hashtags and trending topics online.

The key to a successful social marketing season is looking at the big picture and not being afraid to try new ideas.

4 Social-Media Mistakes Your Business Can’t Afford to Make

17 Oct

Social media marketing is something you need to be doing. It’s too effective when it comes to growing your business to ignore it. As more businesses make it a larger component of its marketing strategies, I see more mistakes being made.

Here are four mistakes you don’t want to make on social media.

1. You’re not interacting with followers.

Guess what the number one line of communication is for customer service? Social media.

The majority of consumers are constantly plugged into social media, which is the reason social media is a major customer support tool. I see a lot of businesses that understand this, but its social media feed is just a long list of support replies.

Since your followers are plugged in around the clock, use it as an opportunity to create raving fans of your business. Every business is going to have a different audience and target market, so you need to think of content that your followers would be likely to engage with.

For example, if your audience is millennials, memes might be a good play. Memes spark engagement, like comments and social shares, generating buzz about your business. Remember, your social media posts don’t have to be traditional advertisements to convert followers into customers.

2. You’re overly promotional.

Continuing where the previous point left off, don’t post ad after ad, and expect your followers to stick around.

An offer here and there is fine, but if your followers feel that all of your posts are glorified advertisements, they will find other accounts to follow and leave you behind. They don’t need you. You need them.

3. You don’t include calls-to-action (CTAs).

Collecting followers alone isn’t going to magically translate into increased sales and revenue. Every social media profile gives you a place to put your website link, yet so many businesses miss out on an opportunity to collect leads, or push traffic directly to an offer because it simply puts its website’s homepage URL in these sections.

Don’t do that. Instead, put a link to your newsletter offer, downloadable whitepaper or a direct-to-purchase offer. Most clicks originating from social media and hitting your homepage are wasted clicks. Nobody has time to try to find offers. Send them directly to your offers, and this will greatly increase your conversion rates.

You should also mix in some CTAs in your posts. CTAs don’t have to be promotional.

Let’s assume you created a very informative infographic for your blog and want to drive traffic to it. Most businesses would just post the URL on social media and hope people will check it out. By including a strong CTA, such as, “You have to check out this cool infographic we just did — especially point No. 3,” will drive significantly more traffic than just listing the post title and a link.

4. You spread yourself too thin.

You have to accept the fact that you more than likely can’t be active on all social media channels, unless you have a dedicated social media team or outsource your social media to a digital agency.

It will benefit you much more if you are great on three social media outlets, rather than mediocre on more. Pick the social networks that your business thrives on, and focus on making your impact even bigger.

With just a small handful of social networks to worry about, it makes answering messages and engaging with your followers much more manageable. The faster you can reply and the more you can engage, the stronger that connection will become. Social media is a great tool to build relationships that create life-long brand supporters.

Unparalleled Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Businesses

1 Aug

Social media entered the scene very quickly and as such some people might still believe that it is a marketing tool that will quickly pass in interest or importance. To some businesses, social media marketing is a waste of time with no practical benefits, while others see the immense marketing value that it can bring to a business.

When carried out correctly, social media marketing has been proven to be incredibly profitable, bringing in more traffic to a website and turning visitors into leads. Provided you tailor each post with care and precision, you can truly experience its many benefits.

These include:

Improved Brand Recognition

Having a number of active social media platforms is a great opportunity to project your brand’s voice and content. Having a solid social media presence therefore makes you familiar to current clients while increasing your accessibility to new clients. A new client who just happens to stumble upon your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram page (& take an interest in it), might feel more strongly affiliated with your brand which in turn could inspire them to invest in your brand.

Improved Brand Loyalty

Brands that are present on social media have also been proven to enjoy higher brand loyalty from their customers, as those customers are better connected to the brand on a more personal level. For instance, a brand that regularly posts a variety of content, from images of the office to inspiring videos and quotes, will be more likely to remain in the minds of current and potential clients which could easily evoke into a sale.

Better Conversion Opportunities

Everything you post on your social media platforms, from images, links to blog posts and videos, is your chance to reach out to someone and inspire them to visit your website, which could ultimate lead to a conversion. Using social media is a great opportunity to encourage more conversions.

Higher Inbound Traffic

Every social media platform you add to your current repertoire is another opportunity to increase inbound traffic to your site.

Without having a social media presence, your inbound traffic is restricted to those who are already familiar with your brand or those who are searching for keywords you already rank for. Alternatively, a social media presence allows you to reach out a different market segment and provide a fantastic opportunity for new people to visit your site.

Lower Marketing Costs

Social media marketing need not occupy a great deal of your time. Just one hour per day spent on crafting posts can bring you improved results, and this is not a lot to ask for something as powerful as social media!

As you can see, social media marketing has the power to bring countless benefits to your business, including more customers, stronger traffic and higher conversions. Does your brand have a strong social media presence?

10 tips for social media marketing success for business

25 Jul

The internet has become the most powerful medium today. With the launch of the hand-held gadgets like the smartphones and the tablets, the effect of social media campaign has become even more viral.

Businesses which need brand promotion and social advertising are harnessing the massive potential of social media on the web for their enhancement in business communication. Here are 10 points that will give you useful social media marketing tips for your business.

Observe first before anything

Before you produce any action or speech, you should first observe. Go through the online content of your target customer. Try to take part in the online discussions and get to know what matters to them the most. And which are the right social media platforms where your target audience hang out. This will help you in producing impactful social media marketing plan and effective content.

Be focused on approach

If you are more focused on using social media for business then analyzing the social media sites for your business and social networking approach, will pay you higher dividends.

This will render a strong image to your brand. Going wayward will not help. A broader approach will only mess up things for you. Concrete on specific media plan and use the right tools for social marketing as per your content requirements.

Make quality connects

Quality any day is more welcome than quantity. Try to make effective contacts that can make a real fan base of yours. They will help you by reading, commenting and sharing your content matter. The quality sharing of your content can create a bigger customer base for you. The connectivity should continue to build the brand loyalty.

Keep your patience

Keeping one’s patience is one of the basics of social media marketing for getting effectual results. If you have to reap the benefits of this mode of marketing, you need to wait. You cannot have the desired results overnight. Being committed in the long run will pay off for you.

Ensure quality content

Another very vital point in social media marketing rules is the creation of quality social media content. It should be eye-catchy and unique. Once it catches the imagination of the audience, they will pause, go through and further share the content matter with the insertion of personal comments. These can help your page with higher rankings through search engines on the net.

Connect with opinion makers

Do some research on the internet and identify the influencers who can make a difference to your business. They may be having an excellent fan base. Try to connect with them first and nurture a relationship. Try to supply them with interesting information which they can pass on to their contacts and you can discover a huge range of new probable customers.

Add value to communication

If you want social marketing ROI to be promising, try out some tactics. Do not go for the blunt promotion of your brand. Your content should add value to the readers. Try to create more meaningful and impacting content.

Don’t forget to acknowledge

Remember to acknowledge who contact you directly. This will help in nurturing the relationship. The person will also feel encouraged to maintain the connectivity with you in the future. After all, marketing is touching of human emotions.

Maintain your connectivity

After the uploading of your social media content, be present to your target audience for communication. Your absence from the arena may spell doom for your business prospects as you may be outrightly rejected.

Be reciprocal

Reciprocation will pay back in social media marketing. If you spend some time on the social media, go through the content matter of others and make comments and share them, they will do the same with your content.

If you can follow the above –mentioned guidelines you can be certain about making a mark in the social media market with your valuable content matter.

4 Benefits Of Outsourcing Social Media Marketing Tasks

18 Jul

Thinking of outsourcing social media marketing activities to get a grip on ever-evolving platforms, algorithms, and audiences?

You’re not alone. SocialFresh says that only 57% of social marketers, at brands, are doing all their social advertising in-house.

And with most companies looking to ramp up efforts on social media this year, there’s more evidence that businesses may need to consider outsourcing social media marketing tasks.

A recent survey by American Express noted that:

“…four in ten business owners (43 percent) say they plan to increase their company’s focus on social media over the next year.”

Social media marketing is outsourced for a few reasons — let’s look at why and how and see if the benefits make sense for your business or team.

Outsourcing Social Media Marketing: The Why

In an effort to work smarter and not harder, companies are pushing internal teams to focus on what they’re good at and hiring outside for the skills that are missing.

This is especially true with social media marketing because:

  • It’s expensive to hire top-tiered, experienced roles
  • The tasks for social media roles are time-consuming
  • Strategies and tactics change rapidly
  • The skills needed are often considered “specialty skills” (like advertising or audience development)

Combine the above with lack of time, resources, or know-how and you can see how internal teams are overburdened with executing social media duties.

Outsourcing Social Media Marketing: The How

How do companies choose social media agencies to help achieve social media marketing success? Shopping, of course!

Outsourcing social media marketing to a well-qualified team takes a little homework.

We suggest the following six steps to find an agency that will fit your needs:

  1. Know thyself first. 1) WHY do you want to use social media? 2) WHAT problems are you trying to solve; WHAT goals are you trying to accomplish? 3) HOW do you define success (which leads to WHICH KPIs and metrics will measure success)? 4) WHO is responsible or in charge of social media internally? 5) HOW much are you willing to spend?
  2. ASK. From questions about their experience to their client base, to the skill-set of their team and core competencies, ensure your agency isn’t a jack of all trades and master of none. What platforms or abilities do they focus on? How is their team certified to professionally manage your work?
  3. Understand. What deliverables (reports, stats, etc.) will be provided and at what frequency?
  4. Obtain. Get recommendations from outside vendors or consultants, as well as past and current clients.
  5. Make sense of the scope of work, terms and conditions, and negotiate from there.
  6. Be curious. Ask questions and remain an active partner in the development and execution of your social media marketing strategy.

By doing your homework, asking questions, and checking references, you can drastically reduce the risk of hiring an agency and outsourcing social media marketing duties.

Outsourcing Social Media Marketing: The Benefits

1) COSTS

Compared to hiring an employee (who requires payroll taxes, sick & vacation time, benefits, training, overhead costs, etc.) hiring an agency can be much more cost effective. With B Squared Media, and probably most other agencies, you’re getting a whole team of people rather than just one employee (who probably doesn’t work after hours, weekends or holidays).

Other costs to consider for savings are:

  • Ad buying
  • Software
  • Photography

2) TRIED-AND-TRUE SYSTEMS

The right social media marketing agency will have systems in place that can immediately improve efficiency.

A huge benefit to outsourcing social media marketing means your new partners have already researched the best processes and workflows for scalable results.

Here at B Squared, for instance, you don’t need to rely on vague indicators of success. Our system pulls from thousands of data points and relies on only the most useful metrics, allowing us to work with you to make pinpoint adjustments and always continue to improve.

3) TIME SAVED ( = MONEY EARNED)

The biggest pain point we hear is, “I don’t have the time.” And trust me when I say, social media strategies and executing related tactics is a full-time job.

Too many businesses spend huge amounts of time and money on social media without the assurance of results. When you outsource your social media efforts, it’s not your job to dabble and see what works; it’s the agency’s responsibility.

Your partner should not only figure out the most efficient strategies for performance, they should implement and manage those strategies for you.

Not to mention, as algorithms change (like Facebook’s latest blow to brands) and demand a new game plan, your internal team can focus on driving the business forward while your agency tests new workarounds.

4) SPECIALTY SKILL SETS

A social media manager needs an incredible amount of skills to be successful.

Some of those skills may be considered “special” skills, like:

  • Audience development
  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Advertising certifications (example: Google AdWords certified)
  • Content curation
  • Analytics & pattern recognition (beneficial for finding our clients’ “seesaw metrics“)
  • Visual thinking

A good agency will have employees who possess these special skills. And again, you’re saving time by allowing the agency to implement their system for finding and hiring these skilled workers.

Is Outsourcing Right For You?

Outsourcing social media marketing strategies and tactics can be a daunting decision for any company.

But if you do your homework and find the right fit, you can reap the benefits of putting your organization in expert hands.

Do you think outsourcing social media marketing tasks to an outside team is a good idea? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

4 Changes to Make to Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

11 Jul

Social media marketing is highly popular for both small and large businesses nowadays for a reason. Not only is it effective, but it’s also incredibly affordable when compared to many other advertising methods, even those that don’t have nearly as much of a reach. However, there is a chance that you are making a few mistakes with your social media marketing campaign. Consider making these changes so that you can see an improvement with your campaign.

  1. Find Out Where Your Customers Are And Target That Channel

You don’t have to be on every single social media channel out there and sometimes it’s best to focus your attention on one particular medium – at least in the beginning. Do your research, identify your customers, find out where they hang out the most, and start right there. Once you have established yourself on 1 or 2 channels, you can diversify and promote your brand across various other channels too. Similarly, if a platform just isn’t working for you – despite your best efforts – it may be best to dedicate the bulk of your time and resources to the channel that is working.

  1. Communicate More

One of the main joys of social media is the fact that it allows you to connect with your audience. If you aren’t taking advantage of this, now is the time to do so. Make an effort to respond to comments more frequently; it’s a great way to find out what your customer base wants and to build strong relationships with your readers. Literally have a conversation with them, retweet them, like and comment on their posts, and directly ask them to interact with your content.

  1. Don’t Be So Promotional

Take a look at all of your recent social media posts. If they all seem promotional, it’s time to change your strategy. Obviously, you’ll want to promote some of your products and services, but some of your posts should be educational, humorous or otherwise appealing for your customers.

  1. Always Be Human

There’s nothing worse than a social media channel that looks like its being operated by an autobot. The key word is in the name – it is ‘social’ media, after all. Make sure that your interactions on accounts such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, are personable and genuine. Say hello to people in the morning, update them on your work day and share stories that will be of interest to your target audience. Yes, you should advertise your brand/product – but this is an essential part of doing that.

Customers (both existing and potential) want to know that when they are asking a question, complaining or praising, that a real person is on the other end interacting with them. Your social media channels should always feel like they’re being operated by an interesting, intelligent, and funny human being. Be real.

As you can see, there are a few social media marketing changes that you may need to make to your campaign.