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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.

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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.

Social Media Marketing Essential, But Difficult, For Marketers

20 Jun

According to the 8th annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner, summarized by Marketing Charts, 9 in 10 marketers say that social media is important to their business, with the most commonly cited benefits being increased exposure and traffic. Based on a survey of more than 5,000 marketers, the study offers insights into the directions social media marketing will take in the near future.

Social Media Marketing, Platform Trends (65% Market B2C; 35% B2B)
Social Media

% Planning Increased Efforts

% With No Plans

Facebook

67%

3%

YouTube

63

16

Twitter

61

10

LinkedIn

61

14

Instagram

57

28

Pinterest

42

33

Google+

35

28

Forums

25

52

SlideShare

22

62

Snapchat

16

74

Vine

11

72

Source: Social Media Examiner, June 2016

 

Social media does present some difficulties for respondents. For example, respondents were more likely to agree (40%) than disagree (33%) that social media marketing has become more difficult in the past year. While two-thirds analyze their social media activities, just 41% agree that they’re able to measure the ROI of those activities, a figure that hasn’t improved in recent years. But, only 46% agree that their Facebook marketing is effective, with more than one-third unsure.

A quick summary of primary findings from the Social Media Examiner Industry Report, shows that:

  • Video has become essential : A significant 60% of marketers use video in their marketing and 73% plan on increasing their use of video
  • Live video is hot : A significant 50% of marketers plan on using live video services such as Facebook Live and Periscope, and 50% want to learn more about live video
  • Facebook and YouTube hold the top spots for future plans : At least 63% of marketers plan on increasing their use of these social networks
  • Snapchat is on a growth trajectory : Only 5% of marketers are using Snapchat, yet 16% plan on increasing their Snapchat activities and 28% of marketers want to learn more about Snapchat
  • Facebook is the most important social network for marketers by a long shot!  When asked to select their most important platform, 55% of marketers chose Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 18%. Plus, 67% of marketers plan on increasing their Facebook marketing activities
  • Many marketers are unsure about their Facebook marketing : A significant 40% of marketers don’t know if Facebook traffic has declined in the last 12 months and 35% aren’t sure if their Facebook marketing is effective
  • Facebook ads dominate : A surprising 86% of social marketers regularly use Facebook ads, while only 18% use Twitter ads
  • Tactics and engagement are top areas marketers want to master : At least 90% of marketers want to know the most effective social tactics and the best ways to engage their audience with social media

Social channel use and importance varies among B2C and B2B marketers. B2B marketers continue to favor LinkedIn to a greater degree than B2C marketers (86% and 58% using, respectively), with B2B marketers also much more likely to be using Slideshare (21% vs. 6%), says the report. B2C marketers are more apt to be using Facebook (96% vs. 88%), Instagram (51% vs. 33%), and Pinterest (45% vs. 34%).

Those differences show up in marketers’ most important platforms, also. About 2 in 3 B2C marketers name Facebook their most important platform, with Twitter trailing distantly in second (11% share). Among B2B marketers, 40% cite LinkedIn as their most important platform, narrowly ahead of Facebook (37%), with Twitter third.

Despite already being the platform with the broadest adoption among marketers, Facebook (67%) emerges as the one for which the largest share will increase their efforts, says the report. Likely a reflection of its status as the most important platform overall, with B2C marketers (70%) being more likely than their B2B counterparts (61%) to see increased Facebook efforts on the horizon.

Beyond Facebook, 63% of respondents plan to increase their use of YouTube, with Twitter (61%) and LinkedIn (61%) close behind in terms of planned increases. Meanwhile, B2B marketers are more likely to be upping their LinkedIn efforts than B2C marketers (76% and 52%, respectively).

Results for other platforms likewise reveal differences in B2C and B2B marketers’ plans:

  • More than 6 in 10 B2C marketers look set to increase their Instagram activities, compared to fewer than half (48%) of B2B marketers
  • Pinterest is also an avenue for increased efforts more for B2C (47%) than B2B (35%) marketers
  • B2B marketers (33%) are more than twice as likely as B2C marketers (15%) to put more effort into SlideShare.

While only 5% of respondents say they’re currently using Snapchat, 16% expect to grow their activities, more than double the proportion in last year’s survey. Also, 28% want to learn more about Snapchat this year, up from 19% last year, evidence of some growth but marketers are not adopting the platform at quite the same rate as youth. When asked how they respond to new social networks, 51% said they are skeptical and wait and see what happens, says the report.

Currently, there is one and only one leader in paid social media: Facebook. In fact, almost 9 in 10 respondents said they regularly use Facebook ads. Only 39%, are using Google ads, then:

  • Twitter ads (18%)
  • LinkedIn ads (17%)
  • Pinterest ads (15%)

Signs point to Facebook maintaining its dominance in social advertising, says the report. However, it is the only platform in which a majority of respondents expect to increase their paid social media use. By comparison, fewer than 4 in 10 plan to make more use of Google ads.

Social Media Marketing-Paid Advertising Trends
Social Media Ads

% Planning Increased Efforts

% With No Plans to Utilize

Facebook

57%

23%

Google

37

45

Twitter

33

55

LinkedIn

31

56

Instagram

31

59

YouTube

28

61

Pinterest

19

70

Source: Social Media Examiner, June 2016

Turning to social media content types, 74% of marketers identified visual content as their most commonly used, followed by blogging (68%) and videos (60%). Blogging and visual content were essentially tied in terms of the most important content types, though with differences by target audience. Those marketing to businesses name blogging their most important content type, while for B2C marketers visual content is the most important.

When it comes to the near future, though, video gains ground. Almost 3 in 4 plan to increase their use of video content in the near future, just ahead of the 71% planning the same for visual content and leading all content types.

Finally, says the report, while only about 1 in 7 marketers are currently using live video, 39% plan to soon increase their live video efforts, and only 49% say they have no plans to utilize live video.

Social Media Marketing – Content Trends
Content

% Planning Increased Efforts

% With No Plans To Utilize

Video

73%

13%

Visuals

71

8

Blogging

66

13

Live Video

39

49

Podcasting

26

60

Source: Social Media Examiner, June 2016