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Which Resource is Best for Your Social Media Marketing?

24 Sep

Social media is a critical element of most businesses’ marketing strategies nowadays. In 2018, 77% of the U.S. population has at least one social media profile. It’s predicted that the average person nowadays will spend 5 years and 4 months on social media over the course of their lifetime.

While these statistics might be alarming for social media’s critics, it’s undeniable that people are spending a lot of time on social media. Your business needs to have a social media strategy and needs to know how to execute it well.

Often, though, social media marketing can be too complex or overwhelming to tackle on your own. What outside resources are small businesses using to maximize their social media marketing?

Social Media Management Software Offers Simplicity and Collaboration

A recent survey found social media management software to be the most popular outside resource that business use for their social media marketing – 43% of businesses report using it.

Software solutions include names like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social. These tools offer a variety of capabilities depending on the brand.

Before you purchase a social media marketing software, you must first understand your ultimate marketing goals. What do you want the tool to primarily do?

  • Do you want to monitor conversations about your brand? A tool focusing on social media listening might be your best choice.
  • Do you want to understand how your audience reacts, grows, and changes? A tool focusing on social media analytics is potentially the most helpful.
  • Do you simply want to schedule out posts? A cheap tool that mainly provides social media scheduling capabilities might be all you need.

Once you understand your ultimate goals, how do you research the best tools? The largest percentage of businesses (24%) say they are primarily influenced by referrals when searching for social media marketing software. A lesser number are influenced by Google searches (21%) and marketing content (17%).

Referrals offer a level of comfort during the research process. A fellow business can offer more details about exactly how the tool worked for them and whether it will help your specific marketing goals.

When it comes to making the final purchasing decision, though, the tools’ more concrete details are top of mind. Digital marketers primarily consider features (40%), costs (32%), and free trials (27%) when making social media software purchasing decisions.

Social Media Agencies Offer In-Depth Expertise

The second most popular outside resource is social media marketing agencies, at 28%.

If your business is attempting larger social media marketing goals, such as a rebranding or a huge campaign, hiring an agency might be a wise choice.

When searching for an agency, businesses primarily consider referrals (43%) far beyond any other factor. This makes sense, given the intensity of business-agency partnerships.

When you hire a social media marketing agency, you are trusting them with very public platforms – for many customers, social media is where they first encounter your products or services.

By collecting a shortlist of agencies via referrals, you can gather information on other businesses’ experiences, which can often give you far more valuable insight than marketing content or other third-party information.

Once a business is making a hiring decision, its focus shifts primarily to costs (40%), followed by referrals (37%) and culture fit (31%).

This data further signifies the importance of personal comfort when it comes to hiring a social media marketing agency.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Outside Help

While social media is a constant presence in digital marketing, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy task.

Whether it’s software or an agency, outside resources can significantly benefit your business and are often worth the cost.

 

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.

Social media marketing is evolving, here’s how to keep up

3 Sep

Gone are the days when social media marketing was all about increasing your followers. An early sign of success was seeing your followers grow from one day to another. Nowadays, social media marketing has left behind the ages of innocence to go through a more mature phase. This should not be a bad change, but we still need to keep up with the shift.

As buzzwords change, how can marketers adapt to the changing world of social media?

How social media is changing

There are many reasons that the social media landscape is changing and all of them can affect your marketing strategy in one way or another.

Increased connectivity and mobile consumption

We are all more connected than ever and we’re using our smartphones at a growing rate. As of July 2018, there have been more than 4.1 billion active internet users and 3.3 billion social media users.

As more people use their smartphones to access social media, marketers need to adjust their strategies to make their campaigns more appealing and less intrusive. The era of constant connectivity has made people more demanding, and omnipresent brand messaging makes it harder for a business to stand out.

Social media users may be increasing, but marketers also need to be more creative to reach their target audience. Content consumption is growing but our online habits are also changing. That’s how we’ve reached the era of maturity on social media with both users and brands seeking an improved social experience.

Growing privacy concerns and the need to build trust

It has been a turbulent year for social media and many social media users have started being concerned about their privacy. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the rise of fake news has made more people cautious about their use of social media.

24% of US teens feel that social media has mostly a negative effect on people their age. They list bullying, rumor spreading, and harmful relationships as their main concerns.

Social platforms seem to be aware of these concerns and they’re trying to address them to ensure that they are not missing their already engaged younger demographics.

Similarly, marketers should be able to understand their audience’s concerns to avoid using black hat techniques that can mislead users. The most successful brands will be the ones that manage to maintain the consumers’ trust—and this will be more important than ever over the next years.

The changing algorithms that affect the social media game

Facebook loves changing their algorithm, and it’s not the only social network giving their platform a regular update. Although we cannot do anything about these changes, we still need to keep up with them if we want to maintain a successful social marketing strategy.

For example, Facebook’s latest algorithm update encourages marketers to create more engaging content if they want to stay relevant. Organic reach continues to drop. Clickbait techniques are no longer welcome. The demand for video and live streaming continues to grow. Increasingly, the best way to reach your audience is to post content that is genuinely engaging. These are the changes that marketers need to be aware of when revisiting their social strategy to ensure that they stay successful over the next year.

Facebook seems to be the most popular platform for marketers, but Instagram is rapidly gaining ground both from marketers and actual users. Instagram has also updated its algorithm this year to focus on non-chronological feed display. This has been a big change for marketers as it requires them to create more appealing and engaging content to make sure they show up in their followers’ feeds. The more their followers engage with the brand, the higher their chances to maintain visibility on their feeds.

5 ways marketers get more serious with social media marketing

More marketers realize that social media is changing and this makes them evaluate their social strategies. Social media is now turning into a business tool and there are different areas that marketers embrace on a more serious focus while seeking success:

Talking about real ROI

It’s great that we can start talking about real ROI and conversions coming from social media. Awareness and engagement are vital but we’ve reached a level of maturity in social media that we can explore actual return on investment.

ROI has been a common challenge until now, but the rise of attribution and the evolution of marketing technology allow us to have a clearer picture of which social networks help us meet our goals.

In other words, ROI is not just a buzzword anymore—but it’s up to us to set the right goals for our business plan.

Focusing on the right platforms

As we focus more on ROI we also realize that there’s no need to be present in every single social network. It’s better to spend our energy and our budget in the most relevant social platforms for our target audience as we’re able to narrow down our focus and our messaging.

Thus, more marketers spend time on fewer yet more relevant social platforms. The choice depends on the company’s goals, their industry, and their audience’s online habits. Why should your B2B company join Instagram if you’re targeting 50+ business professionals?

In fact, Snapchat has probably lost the biggest audience in 2018, since both marketers and users moved to other platforms. It was estimated that only 8% of marketers used Snapchat as part of their strategy in Q1 2018.

Blending organic and paid social

We’ve finally come to terms with the fact that organic and paid social need to come together. We may have gone through a denial phase measuring the ongoing drop of the organic traffic on Facebook, but it’s time to embrace the change.

Paid social has gained an even more significant role over the last year, and it is imperative for a complete social media marketing strategy to involve both organic and paid growth.

Marketers need both of them to create a balance between their existing audience and their prospect followers. Facebook has made it quite clear that organic marketing will not survive without a paid budget in their platform. This was the final push for any cautious marketers who weren’t using Facebook Ads in the past years.

However, there is still the need to be strategic in different areas, from managing your budget to targeting engagement.

Heading from influencers to micro influencers

Another sign of maturity from marketers is the fact that influencers are not measured by the number of followers anymore. We now place higher value on the relevance and context of collaboration.

Influencer marketing is heading into a phase of transparency with clear indications of paid partnerships between influencers and brands.

There’s no need to request a big budget to seal a collaboration with the biggest celebrity to promote your campaign. Micro influencers and vloggers have turned into the new generation of celebrities. They don’t necessarily have a massive audience but they have loyal and extremely engaged fans.

A brand can have far better success with a relevant vlogger with 50k subscribers rather than an influencer with 2m fans. This change comes from the changing algorithms, the users’ cautiousness when it comes to fake stories, and the genuine need of belonging in a community. People have more chances to connect with an everyday blogger who found growing success rather than a top model who may be working with multiple brands every week.

This doesn’t mean that collaborations of larger scale don’t exist anymore, but they have a clear purpose and they can be more successful in the awareness and the exposure of big brands. If you don’t have the budget, you can still promote your campaign with more relevant micro influencers.

Being more serious about analytics

A key point that led to the maturity of social media marketing has to do with the increased focus on data. It’s more common than ever to build data-driven campaigns and messaging on social media and this comes down to using the right tools.

Marketing technology has seen an explosive growth and we’re reaping the benefits of it. There are numerous tools to measure the performance of your social media campaigns.

You can use social media analytics to:

  • Analyze your competitors’ performance
  • Learn more about your audience
  • Measure the success of your campaign
  • Perform market research when testing new ideas
  • Keep track of your mentions and your brand’s sentiment
  • Follow the latest trends in your brand’s social profiles

The right use of technology can make it easier for you to talk about social ROI while proving the areas of growth. There’s no need to focus on vanity metrics like simply the number of followers or number of clicks.

In fact, you can even save time by automating the generation of your reports.

Where is social media marketing heading?

It’s not easy to predict the future of social media marketing but we can tell that it’s heading towards an era where the most successful brands will be the ones that know their audience.

The more time you spend on understanding your audience, the easier it will be to build trust with the right messaging and the most relevant campaigns.

As people get more cautious with social media, marketers need to reassure them by creating campaigns that highlight a brand’s human element.

Trust and accountability across social platforms will be crucial to strategy.

The best way to maintain a successful social media marketing strategy is to keep a close eye on the social media updates without ignoring your audience’s needs.

We can’t predict which social platforms we’ll be using in five years, but we can still ensure that our strategies will be agile enough to maintain the relevance of our marketing plans.

6 new social media marketing tools the experts use

27 Aug

Social Media has grown gradually with both globalization and ingenuity spectrums. Today, as we know it, we are looking forward towards a digital age that has reformed our lives competently.

The advancements made by humans has created a single platform where everyone could gather and share their professional involvements into something much bigger, better, and business wise it really hits the chartbusting success.

Over the past few years the SM development has become a necessity in order to gain a virtual victory for your endeavors. Whether it’s your E-commerce involvements or a new brand you want to introduce on social media, you’ll be needing some essentials tool out of hundreds of them available. Though, there are hundreds of online platform utilities available and almost all of them have that particularizing nitty gritty wonders to give your digital ventures. But here are my top favorite 6 that’ll give you a head start towards a prolific career in 21st century’s cyberspace domain.

Buffer: Best social media managing tool

Here is one of those crop of the cream management tools you’ll definitely require in order to create a perfect pathway for your progression processes to follow on. What does it actually do is that it keeps your publications align in an accord synchrony. Your timeline will become more efficient in a timeline flow and give users a perfect timing of viewing your posts in a specific timeframe.

Buffer comes in both free and paid versions and creates an ideal analytics dashboard in order to give your social media streamers a spellbinding back to back streamline effect. Moreover, it lets you evaluate the performances of each and every post letting you direct your publications on specific niches and day to day conducts. In short, it also gives you an unswerving memo of what type of posts are trending on which days of the week. Hence, letting you know your users backgrounds and interests that keep them online for ours on various social media platforms.

Sprout Social: Customer relationship management tool

This one comes on the top of the list due to its dedicated diversities in offering various tools for your social media improvements. Founded in 2010 by Justyn Howard, Aaron Rankin, Gil Lara and Peter Soung and ever since it made its debut, is expanded just like ink on a piece of cloth. One of the best catalogue of SM tools for your esteemed customer care cordiality. A great management tool with proficient advocacy and an integrated analytics’ software for businesses.

Furthermore, Sprout’s summing up success acquires users the ability to assimilate with social media giants’ such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Google Analytics, Feedly, Zendesk and a few more as well. Alike Buffer, it also offers’ some great free to paid utilities alongside with its exclusive customers’ relationship management tool.

A few important features defined by SS in terms of cramming up E-businesses credibility for its employing consumers comprise scheduling abilities, social listening operations, analytics platform, and multi-purpose access for integrated coordination between teams. Likewise, Bambu by Sprout Social lets user curate content so that coworkers can access and share each other’s posts across different social networks. Astoundingly, Sprout Social allows managers to nurture associations via prompt replies to reviews and requests by respected clients.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the biggest social media utility brands that has come across user-management magnitude gratitude by about more than 15 million users worldwide. Created by Ryan Holmes in 2008 and since a decade it has superbly multifaceted to offer supreme analytics sophisticates to let you operate better online on plentiful social media platforms.

One of the best UI systems that assumes a preamble of tools adjusted dashboard that upkeeps your social network combinations comprising a revolving circle between SM sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. One of its best feature is the whole of it due to its free availability, and to add the treat twist to it, the paid features are relatively economical in costs as compared to its SM augmenting counterparts.

Feedly

One of the best auto organizers and a news aggregator application for your social media postings. This social media marketing tool keeps your content on autopilot mode with the best timeline preferences. It is better known as a great social media discovery tool like another popular one known as BuzzSumo, but has a bit different operational standards. All you have to do is add the RSS feeds of your preferred blogs and writers, and let Feedly create a composite magazine for you related to the niche and nature of subjects you’ve selected.

Feedly performs posts on up to date indexes and keeps you online UI neat and tidy. Besides, it lets you create the perfect social media scheme and a syncing chronology for your SM postings schedule. The best part of this feeds amplifying tool is that it always offers you something out of millions of publications and out there and keeps you socially active throughout the day with your online E-commerce endeavors. You always have something to share with your customers via the basic to boosting posting tool Feedly.

Bitly: Best content summarizer

Here you go with another amazing find that lets you keep your illustrated content into a proficient précis that really helps your business grow on a rapid pace. Simply put, it mostly shortens your URL address to keep your non-friendly URL social media apps like Instagram and Twitter on scope with business cycle unifications.

Besides, Bitly assists you in understanding which abridged web addresses are working more accurately to your desired e-marketing goals straightforwardly on a single platform without hitching out tool-to-tool analytics here and there. A great concept to let you keep up with single to multiple linkage CTA (call to action) persuasions by users as well as giving you significant insights. Hence, letting you optimize your online business efforts via statistics you’ve collected.

What makes Bitly so important for your social media ventures, is that it lets you summarize your website addresses for social networking websites to proficiently adjust on their in-mobile applications. Simply put, Bitly keeps your web pages well managed with short lengths. It lets you adjust them on a single page without the need of hesitantly distorting your written profiles into a mess that no one wants to land on.

Canva: Best visual content architect tool

Canva gives you the best consolation for your creative concepts. One of the wonderful visual amplifying tools for your social media E-commerce enterprises. The visual content is such an important aspect for your SM oriented e-commerce regulations that you cannot throttle around progressive online marketing grounds without it. Canva comes with a lot of options you can render graphic immersive gimmicks to your genuine content online.

One of the best suite of Productivity Apps and powerful editing templates with a better usability interface than Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. The best part of Canva is its minimalistic and has a rather easy-to-use palate to go with the best visual endorsed renderings for your content.

It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s When You Say It – Timing is Everything When it Comes to Social Media Marketing Success

20 Aug

Social media marketing has become overwhelming and confusing for many marketers. As social platforms like Facebook have changed their algorithms, many brands, companies and small businesses have struggled to adapt. It’s left them with one really big question: Is social media marketing still a good investment of time and money for your small business brand?

The short answer is “Yes, but…”

Yes, social media marketing still works. It’s one of the most efficient and authentic ways to find customers and engage them as fans.

But that doesn’t mean your strategy can stay the same. The same set of tactics that worked a few months ago might not work today. Social media marketing success in the Age of Algorithms requires a more adaptable approach – there is no single right way to do social anymore, and what works for other companies might not work for you. So much depends on your audience, your type of business, your industry, and your overall preferred styles of communication and engagement.

We at Sensai monitor what types of small business posts engage customers most effectively. The results surprised us. It turns out that the workday isn’t always the best time to post on your socials. Sometimes you should be scheduling them for the middle of the night!

Below are a few key strategies to help you re-evaluate the timing of your social media marketing efforts:

Timing is of the Essence

One of the most underappreciated aspects of today’s social media marketing landscape is the matter of timing. Social media platforms are more crowded with posts than ever before, and so the major platforms fight this overcrowding with algorithms. Just because you think your customers are consuming your content in the morning, it doesn’t mean you should post then. In fact, the best time to post to Instagram, on average, is 2am ET/11pm PT. Your best time will vary, but you should experiment with scheduling posts for different times of the day and night. You may be surprised what happens.

Engagement Drives Duration of Views

All the major social media platforms are increasingly driven by algorithms, and the algorithms reward the posts that are driving engagement. This means: getting your timing right – posting at the optimal times of day or days of the week – is even more important. Because if you can reach more of your audience right away and grab their attention when they’re most receptive to hearing from you, they will be most likely to engage with your post by liking, commenting, or sharing. Engagement creates momentum all its own – and the best way to drive engagement is to get your timing right in the first place.

Some Days Are Better Than Others

You might assume that you should be posting on social media every day, to have a consistent, reliable presence. This might not be the best strategy for your business. Depending on your audience, some days of the week are much better for driving engagement – more of your audience will see your posts if you post on a day when more of your audience is checking their social media feeds. For example, one of our customers, who’s a platinum-selling recording artist, was posting for years on Saturdays, assuming that his fans were most active on the weekends. But when we did an analysis of his social media performance, we found that music-related activity peaked on Tuesdays. This surprised him, until he remembered that Tuesdays are the traditional days that record labels ship new LPs to record stores. When this musician switched his promotion to Tuesdays, he saw his engagement increase dramatically.

Again, there is no single “magic day of the week” that works for everyone; it all depends on your industry and your audience. But it’s worth doing some experimentation to see if certain days of the week give you a bigger boost in engagement.

Timing Can Confound Your Assumptions

Optimal time of day can be wildly counter-intuitive. Just because you think your audience is active at a certain time of day doesn’t mean they actually are! I had always assumed that I should post to Twitter on weekdays around lunchtime, but Sensai’s A.I. told me that I should post around midnight instead. I tested it, and it actually worked! More of my followers were active late at night than during the workday, and the Twitter algorithm served these posts to them when they woke up in the morning.

Getting your social media timing right is not the only factor in social media success, but it’s becoming more important than ever before – and the answers might not always be obvious. With careful analysis and testing, you can figure out which time frames are the best moments to post on social media in order to reach more people and engagement. Regardless of what you post, you can get better results if you get better at knowing when to post it.

PPC VS Social Media Marketing: Which is better?

13 Aug

It has been one of the most discussed topics within the digital marketing arena in recent years; the question of which one is more effective – PPC or Social Media Marketing?

Each obviously has its pros and cons and of course we at Click Guardian have something of a soft spot for PPC. Undeniably, Social Media Marketing has its strengths, and in a digital world where brand awareness is becoming increasingly important, Social Media may seem like the safest bet. However, PPC has the added benefit of a longer history and the positives are easier to find. So with that in mind, let’s dig into the debate.

PPC Marketing

Now, it’ll be hard for us not be a little biased with PPC. After all, we’re a company with lots of success in this area. But there are certainly plenty of pros and cons and the trick is to maximise the pros and minimise the cons (simple isn’t it?).

The Pros

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of PPC marketing is the fact that the customer is searching for the product or service they require at the first instance of a search. But there are other benefits which are less obvious to a user. Firstly, it can be said that PPC allows you to measure and optimize data much more thoroughly than Social Media Marketing platforms. For example the keyword planner available in Google AdWords gives a user the best possible results for keywords – using a combination of factors to determine value. This is most often based on historic data which has been analysed over a period of time and utilizes a number of algorithms which can change over time. If you’re a locksmith, you’ll be able to find the best keywords that are relevant and cost-effective for your industry.

Furthermore, the variety of reports available to a user provide a more thorough analysis of KPIs (or Key Performance Indicators). These reports allow users to really dig down into the data and compare their campaigns in more detail. If you have a particular ad or URL extension that just isn’t working then you’ll be able to make a comparison at campaign or ad group level and make a more informed choice.

The Cons

Now this is difficult to write but it has the ring of truth to it. PPC Marketing can be expensive BUT only if it is not managed and optimized correctly. It is important to get your keywords, ads, campaigns, extensions and landing pages all firing in unison. If you do then you can expect a quick and consistent ROI and a healthy profit margin for your business.

Alternatively, if you do not pay attention to the particulars (and the devil is always in the detail), then you can expect to notice your budget to diminish pretty rapidly. In the competitive world of PPC, mismanagement can be a death sentence for your advertising budget. It is also worth noting that one of the least understood threats to a PPC campaign is that of Click Fraud. Put simply, Click Fraud is when your ads are deliberately and consistently clicked on in order to diminish your ads visibility and drive up the cost to maintain a competitive position. This is usually performed via bots, pre-determined programmes and individuals. Unfortunately, this phenomena is becoming increasingly prevalent and it was estimated that around $16.7 Billion dollars was lost to Click Fraud in 2017 alone. There are many predictions that this will grow to over $50 Billion dollars in the next ten years. At present, advertisers are more reliant on third-party providers to secure their campaigns against the effects of Click Fraud.

Social Media Marketing

The importance of social media marketing has rapidly increased in recent years. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer businesses an opportunity to display their products and services in more direct and creative ways. With this in mind, it would be unwise to not utilize these opportunities, but once again there are the pros and the cons.

The Pros

In certain ways Social Media Marketing works in a similar way to PPC marketing. For example, Facebook Ads allows users to create ads and location and audience targeting, much like AdWords and Bing Ads allows you to. However, where Social Media Marketing really triumphs is the variability of tools advertisers can utilize to deliver their message. With video ads, vlogging, hashtags, image-centric ads and categorized targeting, advertisers can display services and products in more niche and creative ways. If you wanted to create a campaign with a variety of tools at your disposal, Social Media Marketing offers plenty of options and can create interest in ways which are sometimes beyond the remit of PPC Marketing, however it must be said that Social Media Marketing has a strong emphasis on creating awareness rather than creating action. For example, one of the more exciting developments within Social Media is the increasing use of viral marketing. This method can be a great way to increase brand or product awareness and it can give any business an edge.

It is also worth noting that, Social Media Marketing is generally less expensive than PPC Marketing and if money is limited it can provide a cheaper alternative – although it is not entirely without expense.

The Cons

Overall, Social Media Marketing is harder to optimize than PPC and as a consequence, ad campaigns are less effective. Neither Facebook, Twitter, Instagram nor LinkedIn offer the same level of analysis as Google AdWords or Bing Ads and consequently ad campaigns cannot be scrutinized to the same extent. ROI and keyword effectiveness cannot be measured as thoroughly. The level of reporting is not adequate enough to make a really informed choice. Sure, you can find these within Facebook Ads, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, but just don’t expect it to be at the same level as that found on PPC platforms.

It is also worth noting that, as a whole, Social Media Marketing is more time-consuming than PPC. Due to the constant need to update content, Social Media Marketing only truly works when you have the time and content to remain interesting and relevant for a potential customer or follower. With so much ‘noise’ in the Social Media arena it can be tricky to keep your content visible. Sure, you might have a knack for taking visually engaging images but that will only carry your business so far. Furthermore, Social Media Marketing cannot be automated in the same way as PPC Marketing. Primarily, content for Social Media Marketing is influenced by how ‘human’ it feels. It has to account for trends, language, creativity, taste, emotions. These things cannot be automated and are reliant upon human judgement. In short, you have to think more about your Social Media content and that can be a time-consuming and energetic task.

To Summarize

In a world which is becoming increasingly dependent upon digital marketing it would be unsurprising to argue that both PPC and Social Media Marketing bring a combined value to any campaign. Deciding to use both platforms as a way to generate both conversions and awareness is the ideal that many businesses should aim for.

Both PPC and Social Media Marketing have their strengths and weaknesses. It is important to stress that it is really dependent on what your goals are when deciding which one to focus upon. Unsurprisingly, we would argue that PPC has an edge on Social Media. This is due to the optimization and analysis that PPC offers. The more information you have the more informed decision you can make – it simply empowers you more. That said, Social Media is much more creative than PPC and if you want to create a strong brand identity then marketing with Social Media provides the more options.

If this debate could be visualized Social Media Marketing would represent the old shop front: it’s designed to capture your attention with visuals and emotions and draw you in whilst PPC represents the shop aisles and customer service where you can make a more informed choice and can find the right option or product.

Six Ways You Can Use Yoga Principles In Your Social Media Marketing

6 Aug

Most social media marketers know that their jobs can be hectic. With customers using social media 24/7, and with so many platforms to use, where policies and best practices seem to change daily, comparing social media marketing to yoga might sound like a stretch (no pun intended). But it’s not. Here are six ways you can find your social media Zen.

Strength

Yoga is a great way to help strengthen your body. And just like a pose to tone up your tummy, you need a strong core to get started on a successful social media campaign. Brands cannot “do” social media just to do it. Before the first line of content gets written, objectives and goals must be well laid out. Ask yourself:

 Why are we using social media?

 What do we want to accomplish?

 Who do we want to reach?

 How do we reach them?

 Where do we reach them?

 Do we have enough time and resources to not only allocate to social media but also to do it consistently well?

Alignment

Proper alignment in yoga not only allows students to really feel the benefit of the pose, but it also helps to keep them safe and free from injury. Your social media marketing goals need to be in alignment with your brand’s voice, the content being produced and, most importantly, with the audience’s expectation and perception of your brand. If they are not all cohesive and aligned, your brand messaging will be mixed and confusing to consumers, and you just might hurt your brand image.

Balance

Tree pose, where you’re standing on one leg with the other leg bent, foot pressed flat against the standing leg’s inner thigh, is a tough pose for many. Balance is hard on one leg, just like balancing a career and life is hard in reality. However, balancing your social media content should not be.

Ensure that your content is a mix of promotional, educational, fun and even includes behind-the-scenes posts that keep readers and viewers engaged. Think of social media like walking into a bar with friends. You don’t automatically try to start selling your friends and bar patrons a product. If you do talk about your product or brand, it should come up naturally, organically. No one really enjoys in-your-face, “salesy” promotions.

Be transparent, have fun and show the story behind your brand. People are more apt to buy and become brand loyal when they either identify with the brand or get to know it more than just as a flashy logo. It’s OK to push out a promotional piece of content, just review your content calendar to ensure that you have a balance of other types of content, too, and that anything you push out is in alignment with your goals and objectives.

Flexibility

Not every yoga student has the flexibility to do all yoga poses to their fullest expression. That comes with time and practice. However, social media marketers don’t have the time and definitely don’t want to practice to get good at flexibility. They need to be flexible the second their social media efforts go public.

Social media, by nature, is fluid and ever-changing. From online campaigns that seek a mass boycott of products to a sudden shift in how major platforms show customers your content, social media is not a set-it-and-forget-it form of marketing. An action plan for any predictable occurrences is always smart.

From having a response plan for a product that has unintentionally caused harm to consumers to a change in reach on Facebook, being proactive is beneficial to your brand and will ultimately protect your brand image and the hard work you’ve put into your social campaigns. While we can’t always predict what might happen, social media marketers must be prepared for what could happen on a national level and how it might impact their brand. If a national incident occurs, going dark on social might be the best option. Review upcoming content and gauge the mood of the audience before relaunching any social media efforts.

Patience

It can be frustrating for yoga students to see others easily getting into poses that they are struggling to try. Patience should be applied to any social media marketing plan. While social media moves fast, sometimes your campaigns and page growth lag a bit behind. It takes time for people to find your pages and start to engage. Of course, marketers need to help them out by promoting their social pages, creating engaging content and including a social ad spend in their budget for promoted posts, pins and tweets.

Most marketers have looked at a post that they thought was fantastic, only to hear the proverbial sound of crickets as no one shares, likes, retweets or comments on it. It happens to the best of us. But with patience and perseverance, pages and posts will start to gain traction.

Retrospection

Self-reflection, also known as Svādhyāya, is a key part to any yoga practice. And while sometimes that review of who and what we are can be uncomfortable, knowing where we need to grow is always enlightening. A key part of social media marketing is a reflection on how well you’re adhering to the previously determined goals and objectives, as well as the metrics on the pages and posts you’ve created. If the numbers aren’t meeting your expectations, it’s the marketers’ responsibility to reflect on what is working, what’s not and why, and then make changes. 

A teacher once said, “It’s called yoga practice, not yoga perfect.” And that is how social media marketers should consider their social media. Instead of striving for that viral video or the post that gets a million impressions, find what works for your brand and never get stuck in complacency. What works one day may not work another. Always keep trying.