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How to use social media marketing for your business

16 Apr

Like many of you, we put a lot of time and effort into our business and branding. And one key element to all business marketing efforts is to look at the results in order to effectively plan out future marketing and business operation changes.

We previously set about doing our year-end review on our content marketing and social media efforts and wanted to share some of the insights we discovered in hopes you will get inspired to analyze your own efforts while planning for the year ahead.

Where and what to analyze

One quick and easy way to go about your year-end review is to look at your online engagement from the past year. Whether it’s checking your social media stats or looking at your website traffic, lots can be gleaned from these types of analytics.

There are a few places to look for the stats you need: You can utilize Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, or your blog stats.

Log into each of these and take a look at how your posts and articles performed. They can provide a lot of valuable information on how your business and marketing resonates with users.

So what did our analytics tell us what our followers liked? Here are three valuable insights learned from three of our top posts in 2017:

1. Communicating to Maintain Effective Client Relationships

Not surprisingly, this article from one of our guest authors, PR specialist Susan Elford, offers similar advice to this one: Listen!

Communication is key to a successful business and when clients and followers communicate with you through social media, whether it’s by a direct comment, a share, or something else, you need to listen.

Client relationships are a big deal for us and we like to build long-term ones by treating our clients with respect and listening to what they say.

We don’t just hear it, we listen. We then adjust and improve to reflect the client’s expectations.

So apply the advice from the article like this: Use language and mannerisms your clients can relate to—use mirroring to deliver messages in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

And apply the same recognition and response to your social media. If you’ve noticed some articles focus on something specific and your clients/audience are receptive to it by way of engagement, then in 2018 you should know what to do.

Give them what they want and build your client-base by accepting what your followers like and expect from you. Communication is a very broad term and doesn’t always mean simply direct vocalization or emails.

2. 10 Ways to Attracting Clients Through Kindness

This article has our approach laid bare. We watch, listen, learn, and follow the golden rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Open yourself to receiving both good and bad feedback and accept each as constructive. Assess the full picture of what is happening and understand where the feedback is coming from.

We employ kindness and generosity all the time. It’s a big deal when put into practice and by following that and our other nine steps from the article, we’ve seen our business and client-base grow consistently.

3. Why Twitter Ads Boost Business & How to Create Them

If your business isn’t on social media yet, then check out the links given at the start of this article.

Social media is a BIG factor in most businesses and has effectively replaced a lot of other support channels as users go-to for getting a response.

So once you’re online, it’s time to make the most of it. None of the businesses whose names we know are worth what they are today without requiring some paid component. Twitter is no exception.

While Facebook offers advertising and Instagram as well (among all others) our article on Twitter’s paid promotion resonated with our audience. About 110 shares through our website alone is a great indicator of the effectiveness of this content with our follower-base and potential clients.

Diving into social media can have drawbacks, so if you’re looking to get serious, it’s good to hire online marketers who know how to use social media for business.

We don’t have any information on how effective our reader’s Twitter campaigns have been, but our clients have seen stellar results. From this, we learned that within our content we have users who are anxious to expand their presence online and try new ways to reach new potential clients.

Is this limited to Twitter? Probably not and the real message here is that when we give back to our clients and readers with free tips via content marketing strategies, we will see reciprocation by way of new leads and new clients.

So what did you learn in the past year from your content and social media marketing efforts? Take a look at your metrics (and if you don’t know how just let us know for a possible future article) and see what they tell you.

Then take that information into the boardroom and help make 2018 even better.

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The Top Ten Social Media Tools Business Owners MUST be Using!

5 Mar

With today’s society becoming more connected and more reliant on the internet, business ties are increasing being forged online rather than in a boardroom. Nowadays, most brands have at least one online presence, and most have several.

Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are the new homes of conducting business, creating consumer bases and advertising products. However, the overwhelming presence of businesses on these platforms creates a good deal of pressure for companies trying to beat out their nearest competitors.

Fortunately, marketing teams don’t have to go it alone in their efforts to raise their brand to the top. A number of third-party apps exist that can enhance certain features of these social platforms and make social media marketing a more lucrative and intuitive experience. Here are 25 social media resources designed to help marketers advertise their brands more effectively.

1. SocialDrift

Used by McDonalds, Sprint and major industry influencers with millions of followers, SocialDrift is an Instagram marketer’s best friend. The platform automates Instagram interactions, which help to organically increase follower count. Users just need to provide SocialDrift with information about ideal Instagram followers, and the platform will use machine learning to engage users through likes, comments and follows. Because of this engagement, users will frequently follow accounts in return.

In time, SocialDrift can dramatically increase the number of high-quality Instagram followers through the platform’s Instagram bot, named Securebot.

2. Buffer

Buffer offers a swift solution for businesses swamped by the multiple social media accounts they must manage. The application innovates marketing by allowing individuals and businesses to queue posts for their various accounts. Buffer works for several third-party extensions, in addition to the regular line-up of social platforms.

Furthermore, the app boasts many powerful tools like photo editing, group collaboration and detailed data analytics about social media performance. Essentially, Buffer can take a jumble of social media accounts, organize them and in the process make marketing more manageable.

3. Sendible

Are you a team managing social media for a lot of different clients? Sendible is the tool for you. Sendible has unique inboxes for each brand, accessible by any member of your team, so communication is streamlined. They also offer a content engine that suggests new material based on the topics of your profiles and followers. In addition, calendars are fully interactive. Who said teamwork has to be hard?

4. MavSocial

MavSocial is a management tool that focuses on graphics and videos for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr. You can schedule or preview content to any or all of those platforms. And if you’ve run out of content, simply reschedule. MavSocial also has features for engagement analytics, collaboration, galleries, image database and campaign creation. Choose from their 5 plans to get what works best for you.

5Storyheap

Snapchat’s introduction of Stories in 2013 has rapidly spread the feature across social media, with many other platforms joining the trend to reap some of its benefits. Storyheap is tailored for the Story feature, allowing brands to manage their Story straight from the web.

In addition, Storyheap offers in-depth analytics about the current and projected popularity of a brand’s Story. For now, the app is limited to Snapchat and Instagram, but support for other platforms is in the works.

6. Unsplash

Having high-quality content and images is crucial; after all, nothing drives away a follower like poor quality. Unsplash is a database of gorgeous, high-resolution, watermark-free images that are free for use. You can use the search engine, or browse collections like “Still Life” or “Photos for Parent Bloggers.”

Once you find an image you want to use, you can either download it or save it in your own collection for future use. Unsplash allows anyone to have high-quality, high-resolution images.

7. Canva

Photo and video are highly influential on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Consequently, marketing teams are often pressured to produce beautiful visuals and graphics to get attention and increase brand visibility.

Canva contains plenty of design tools, tutorials, templates and more, so users have the materials to create almost anything they can conceive. With Canva, marketing teams with limited experience can still generate stunning content and gather a larger following.

8. nTuitive.social

Marketers may often feel at a loss when it comes to conjuring up fresh content, but third-party algorithms can always be of assistance. nTuitive.social combines detailed data analytics with refined publishing and scheduling tools to ensure brands can consistently provide interesting content.

With compatibility across more than 20 platforms, the app monitors discussion of the brand, analyzes social media decisions and offers suggestions to increase audience engagement. nTuitive.social acts as a social media multi-tool for businesses trying to revamp their marketing strategy.

9. Grytics

While many of the resources in this list work on multiple platforms, others excel with one. Grytics, with its focus on Facebook Groups, is one such application.

The app gathers a wealth of information from the posts and members of specific groups. It then displays these statistics for businesses to manage these groups or tailor their strategies to better suit audience interests. Businesses using Grytics can successfully get the most out of any associated Facebook Groups.

10. Yotpo

On Instagram, consumers freely post pictures of brands and products they’ve engaged with. Wouldn’t it be useful for marketers to be able to easily share these images of consumers using their products and following their brands?

Yotpo makes this a reality. Its Social Curation feature collects posts relevant to a brand and helps these businesses contact users for permission to use their posts in advertising. In addition, Yotpo implements a Shop Now feature in Instagram, letting users buy products seen in their feed. Yotpo helps businesses make their Instagram accounts more marketable to consumers.

11. Agorapulse

On the surface, AgoraPulse is a feature-heavy social media management app. Offering content scheduling and message tracking, the app greatly increases the efficiency for any business active on social media. However, its in-depth analytics and report-creation features make AgoraPulse even more effective.

Whether businesses need to measure their performance or just want to discuss their social media traffic with one another, AgoraPulse offers more than enough tools.

12. BuzzSumo

With social media attracting so much traffic from marketing teams and consumers alike, it would be helpful for marketers to be able to see how much attention certain topics and types of content are getting without wading through piles of data. BuzzSumo’s data analytics allows its users to do that, with minimal hassle.

BuzzSumo’s search bar takes in search words and returns a list of relevant links on the internet and social media. With so much easily accessible information, marketers can quickly determine the popularity of different types of content and adapt their marketing strategies.

13. Oktopost

Most businesses using third-party applications to enhance their marketing are seeking a comprehensive boost to all their platforms. Oktopost’s features make this possible.

With powerful data analytics, post scheduling, content curation and discussion tracking, the application allows businesses to increase their productivity, while at the same time pinpointing any glaring weaknesses. Oktopost is an invaluable resource for businesses trying to increase their social media performance.

14. Quuu

Completely automated social media marketing is swiftly becoming a reality. However, there’s still a place for hand-picked curations, which can resonate more with living, breathing consumers. Quu offers that experience.

Businesses using Quuu first select their interests from over 300 categories. Then Quuu sends users a list of recommendations for types of content to post in order to represent those interests. At that point, businesses can either manually post content or let Quuu take the wheel. Importantly, all the content suggested by Quuu is hand-reviewed, meaning it has a better chance of connecting with humans.

15. IFTTT

Most of the platforms in this list offer similar tools, like post scheduling and data analytics; however, apps like IFTTT operate entirely differently. Running through platform-specific applets instead of catch-all features, IFTTT offers a much more specialized approach to marketing.

The app divides its applications into features specific to platforms like Google, iOS, photography and more. Simply selecting a few of these applets automates their processes, freeing up precious time for businesses. These features include automatically saving attachments to Google Drive, backing up texts and sending notifications for person-specific emails. With IFTTT’s applets, marketing teams can increase their productivity and give themselves more time to create advertisements.

16. Qwaya

For many businesses, revenue flows through more routes than just product sales and business deals. Several companies rely heavily on ad revenue, and Qwaya makes the process of managing advertisements much more intuitive.

The app allows businesses to schedule and queue certain ads, while at the same time restricting certain content. It also supports user collaboration, so ad performance can easily be discussed and adapted. For businesses advertising on Facebook and Instagram, Qwaya is an immensely powerful resource.

17. MeetEdgar

Content scheduling is one of the most popular tools in this list. While marketing teams may be relieved to schedule their posts weeks in advance, MeetEdgar adds an extra step.

Instead of using one-time updates, the app automatically reshares certain posts over time, eliminating the need for long lists of posts. In addition, MeetEdgar boasts direct video uploads and an unlimited library of updates, and allows users to choose which posts are and aren’t reposted over time.

18. TweetDeck

Platform-specific tools have the power to revolutionize vanilla applications and make them into far more productive tools of trade. TweetDeck is one powerful enhancement to Twitter.

The app allows businesses to schedule, monitor and queue up Tweets remotely. The app ensures that marketers can discuss certain content and analyze audience tastes to release Tweets best suited to their followers’ interests. TweetDeck can make Twitter an even more lucrative platform for businesses.

19. Rival IQ

Rival IQ is first and foremost a data analytics tool. Its data-analyzing software collects relevant bits of information on a business’s social media activity and automatically generates in-depth displays. For example, the app shows audience growth, interactions, changes between time periods, similar statistics for close competitors and the topics most popular with the existing audience.

Rival IQ’s tracking features go far beyond these, but even a fraction of its functions would prove useful to businesses trying to gauge their overall social media performance.

20. Animoto

The big social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat – all share an affinity for video. In social media marketing, photo and video are the primary modes of communication, and businesses that can’t create stimulating visual content are at a serious disadvantage.

Animoto makes this a non-issue. With loads of photo- and video-editing tools, Animoto allows even inexperienced marketers to create eye-catching and stimulating content for their audience.

21 Socedo

Socedo revolves around the concept of “social intent data.” The term denotes actions that signify what people are interested in. Socedo gathers all this data to better understand lucrative trends and prescribe helpful marketing suggestions to businesses.

Boasting features like audience discovery and engagement, the app gives businesses a way to connect to people who might be interested in their brand. Socedo guarantees audience growth and increased brand visibility for businesses using the application.

22. Narrow

Narrow connects businesses to users who may be interested in their content, based on their previous actions on the social platform.

Offering detailed data analytics and an audience research tool, the app allows businesses to tailor their marketing strategy to attract a larger following. With Narrow, marketing teams can easily increase their audience on Twitter.

23. Grum

Grum is an application specifically created for Instagram. The application contains specialized features for making Instagram more effective as a marketing tool.

With tools like content scheduling, remote management and multiple account support, the app packs a ton of features onto basic vanilla Instagram. With Grum, businesses and marketing teams can increase their Instagram performance and free up more time to create fresh content.

24. Post Planner

The hardest part of managing social media accounts is consistently coming up with interesting content to share. Post Planner provides a solution.

The app essentially analyzes audience interests with a variety of algorithms to recommend topics to post about. In addition, the app includes an intuitive post-scheduling tool to guarantee that the most effective content is posted at the right times. Post Planner allows marketing teams to post as efficiently as possible.

25. WordSwag

Sometimes the simpler an application, the more impactful it is. WordSwag is a prime example. The app boasts just one feature – adding customized text to photos. It allows customization of color and font, and has resulted in thousands of fascinating images. Businesses that require a minimalist but powerful graphic-design app need look no further than WordSwag.

10 Secrets to Going Viral on Social Media

16 Oct

Your audience is on social media. According to a recent PEW study, nearly 70 percent of people living in the United States use at least one social media network. Over 2.5 billion people (a number that is growing rapidly) are on social networks worldwide.

If you’re an entrepreneur in this digital era, you need to be on social media. Creating a viral marketing campaign is a great way to create brand awareness using the power of social media.

Think of virality as an exponential curve. If two people directly related to the brand share a piece of content, and if that number doubles 30 times, it means that over a billion people will have shared the content.

Viral marketing is a powerful tool for businesses. It’s how organizations like Facebook and Lyft (among many others) quickly acquired new customers. You can create a viral social media campaign by following the viral-marketing principles practiced by some of the world’s best brands.

1. Master the target audience.

In order to create viral content, you must first understand your target audience. Viral content is only effective if it speaks to people so convincingly that they are eager to share the content.

Social media marketers should start a viral campaign by creating at least one marketing persona. A persona is a representation of the target customer that includes demographic and psychographic information, as well as information related to social media behavior and content preferences.

Build a marketing persona by speaking with real and potential customers to understand what is important to them as they consider a purchase and share content online. Armed with this information, it will be considerably easier for you and your team to create content that users are likely to share online.

2. Select the appropriate social media platform.

Every social media platform is different. Before creating content, choose a platform on which to specialize. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are all good platforms on which to start a viral marketing campaign; however, the content you create will differ depending on the platform you choose.

If you choose to create content for Instagram, for example, a series of Instagram Stories or an image with a compelling caption can spark viral shares online. However, content that will perform well on LinkedIn is usually created from a Pulse article or from a thoughtful LinkedIn update.

The platform you choose should be informed by the information gleaned from your work creating a marketing persona.

3. Create content with high engagement.

Most social media platforms use an algorithm that ranks content based on the likelihood that the user will engage. Content that is expected to engage followers is usually ranked at the top of the page, and content that is expected to be less engaging is ranked toward the bottom.

Content that creates engagement is rewarded by being amplified to other users; content that does not create engagement is buried. Viral marketers should focus on creating content that has high engagement, since it will have greater reach and is thus more likely to be re-shared.

4. Time content for maximum reach.

To ensure that content performs as well as possible, time its release so that it will receive maximum visibility. Ideal timing will depend on the habits and preferences of your target audience, and on the social media platform you are using.

As noted above, social media platforms use algorithms that rank content based on the probability of user engagement. Timeliness plays a key role in that equation as well, which means that releasing content at just the right time can positively impact performance.

5. Boost visibility with advertising.

While not impossible, it can be difficult for a small organization to create viral content. Investing in paid ads on social networks can boost the visibility of a campaign. Consider creating ads that are targeted to a group of influential users. If these users re-share the ad, the ad will be broadcast to a wider audience in an efficient and cost-effective way.

6. Partner with a social media influencer.

Of the marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy, nearly 95 percent believe that the strategy is effective. Social media influencers have the ability to provide brands with improved reach, and can add fuel to a viral marketing campaign.

7. Measure performance to create better campaigns in the future.

Marketers in today’s digital environment must use a social media analytics tool to measure performance, and to understand what is and is not working. It may take a few tries to create a viral marketing campaign. If you need to make adjustments or alter course, the metrics can help guide the changes in strategy.

8. Provide a clear call to action.

Don’t let social media engagement go to waste. Make it clear what those interested in the brand should do next, in addition to simply liking or re-sharing a piece of content. Brands like Facebook and Lyft didn’t just grow by creating brand awareness through social media; they encouraged members of the target audience to take a specific action.

In most cases, encouraging the target audience to sign up for a free trial or to make a discounted purchase are effective ways to use the power of viral marketing to grow customers.

9. Generate media attention.

If a viral marketing campaign really takes off, endeavor to amplify the message of the brand via various media outlets. When it is clear that the brand is doing something newsworthy, news organizations will be eager to provide brands with attention.

A great way to prove newsworthiness is to show media outlets that thousands or millions of people have responded positively to your brand’s campaign. When contacting a news organization, be sure to prepare a press release that contains all the relevant figures, as well as contact information.

10. Share novel content.

Original, unusual content is more likely to get engagement than content that is reminiscent of campaigns from other companies. Great content is remembered, like Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl ad, or the ALS Association’s ice-bucket challenge. Content that is derivative of previous campaigns will be ignored, and may even receive negative press attention.

Conclusion

Creating a viral marketing campaign that is productive can be challenging. First and foremost, it is important to create content that speaks to the target audience in a unique way. Marketers should use a social media analytics platform to measure performance, and should focus on creating content that is timely and that generates engagement.

How Marketers Find Social Media Influencers

3 Jul

Most marketers find social media influencers for campaigns by reaching out to them directly rather than by using influencer platforms or talent agencies, according to recent research from Bloglovin’.

The report was based on data from a survey of 100 US-based marketing professionals who work for brands or agencies.

Some 59% of respondents say they typically find social media influencers for campaigns by contacting them directly.

More than one-third (35%) say the influencers themselves typically reach out to the brand.

Respondents say they evaluate social media influencers by looking at the quality/authenticity of their content (75% say they look for) and their audience size (70%).

Marketers say they run social media influencer campaigns to grow brand awareness (76% cite it as a reason), reach new audiences (71%), and increase their brand’s social media following (54%).

6 More Reasons You Can’t Ignore Social Media Marketing

29 May

Social Media is one of the top online activities. Social Media updates and searches direct more traffic to websites than Google search and over 70% of adults using the internet use a Social Network.

If you are still not on board with budgeting for Social Media Marketing and Advertising or you still think it is a silly trend that is a waste of time, here are 6 reasons you need to readjust your thinking.

1. Social Media Reaches More People

What other marketing medium can reach hundreds of people in a few hours, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people each month? No other resource has the potential to reach this many people with the ability to target the exact audience that fits your business. Additionally, consistent activity on the top Social Sites can reach far more people than direct mail, print ads or even commercials these days.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: A local HVAC company in the Chicago area spends under $1,000 each month on a marketing and advertising campaign and they reach over 200,000 people a month. Not only do they reach this many people, they are reaching them in a very targeted area. Their campaigns reach people within a 50-mile radius of their business. They spend more on direct mail postcards quarterly to reach a fraction of the number of people reached through Facebook.

2. Social Media is More Affordable and More Effective

When print media, newspapers, and magazines, were the top advertising medium to reach people in a particular area it was fairly pricey. Ads in newspapers were a good chunk of change and running an ad in a magazine was very costly.

Social Media Advertising is a drop in the bucket compared to those traditional outlets. Sure, Facebook Ads used to be awful. They didn’t do much of anything, but they were super cheap. They have improved their ad services tremendously in the past couple of years. The monthly sad spend for the amount of people you can reach and the increased traffic generated to a website is very cost effective and manageable for most business budgets.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: Clients spending only $5 or $10 a day can reach around 100,000 people a month. One national ecommerce company in a very specialized market, with highly targeted ads reaches 100,000 people every month.

3. Social Media Generates Increased Website Traffic with Greater Online Visibility

Of course, advertising is designed to make sales. The expected outcome of any ad campaign is increased sales. However, what most businesses don’t understand is that advertising is a vehicle to get people to notice your business and to get them into your store or onto your website. From there you close the deal and make the sale.

Facebook Ads and daily marketing updates get people to you. In fact, Social Media now sends more people to websites than search engines. Anyone who has paid a company to improve their SEO (search engine optimization) knows that more traffic and more hits on the website improves search rank. So, more daily updates and a daily ad campaign, means more people see your business online, which means more people may be interested in what it is that you do, which equals people clicking through to your website, which generates improved search rank on both Facebook and Google, and equates to better online visibility and a greater potential to make sales.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: An international ecommerce company sells its products on their website as well as on a large, third-party ecommerce site. Their rank both on Google and the sales site depend on clicks to their products. They nearly 400,000 ad views with over 1,000 clicks through to their products. Improving their rank and increasing the chances for sales.

4. Social Media Creates a Better Customer Experience

 

Customers expect that your business is using Social Media and they demand your attention when they need it and want it. It is imperative that you are active on the Social Sites and available to answer questions, respond to comments and thank them for their reviews.

All of this is important. 66% of consumers, worldwide, stopped doing business with a company due to poorly handled customer service issues and 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. It is necessary for you to be there.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: A national ecommerce company selling a very specialized product provides reviews and testimonials on every Social Site and review site possible. Additionally, their accounts are monitored for reviews, comments, and questions throughout the day. This equates to nearly a 100% positive review rating, happy customers and satisfied potential customers who are now more likely to purchase from this company.

5. Customers Want, and Need, Your Business on Social Media

71% of consumers have an improved perception of brands when they see positive reviews on Social Media. 93% of consumers are researching Social Media before they make purchasing decisions.

The numbers speak for themselves, customers want your business on Social Media, consumers want to see your business is consistent and active with Social Media.

REAL LIFE CASE STUDY: A local company in the Manhattan, New York area ran a successful organic produce delivery service. They had relied on traditional marketing and word of mouth. They realized that having an online presence and a Social Media campaign would benefit expanding into Long Island. Starting with no Social presence at all, they implemented a daily marketing campaign combined with a daily advertising campaign. Within a year, they had several hundred new clients, a strong presence on Long Island and nearly 20,000 Facebook friends. Their page was a hub for customer service issues and was a great source of referrals.

The Manhattan clients soon realized they too wanted to connect with this business on Facebook and a new account was started for this location. In just a few months they had nearly 4,000 Facebook friends and an active customer service portal.

6. Social Media is Where Your Customers Are

  • Nearly 3/4 of online adults use Social Media.
  • People are using Social Media to watch TV, connect with friends and family, research purchases, and shop.
  • 41% of consumers spending just 2 hours or less on Social media made at least $500 in purchases in the past 12 months.
  • 74% of consumers rely on Social Media for more information or reviews about the products/services they want to purchase.
  • 50% of consumers made a purchase based on a recommendation made on Social Media.

Those statistics alone should be enough to persuade you that you absolutely need a Social Media Marketing campaign.

 

4 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Creativity Game

15 May

Leave it to a dating app to demonstrate the instant success a creative social media marketing approach can bring to a new business.

Tinder — the location-based dating service that facilitates matchups between interested parties — used a tactic best described as word-of-mouth advertising in a digital format To successfuly launch its app.

 

In a recent podcast, Tinder co-founder and CEO Sean Rad revealed that the company grew by 50 percent the day after it texted 500 individuals a link to its app. That tactic and other word-of-mouth campaigns grew Tinder’s customer base from 20,000 to 500,000 users in less than a month.

Clearly, entrepreneurs hoping to quickly reach and grow their own customer bases must embrace social media in all its forms. Social media’s free word-of-mouth nature can attract and engage potential customers at a stage in the company’s development when advertising budgets are often tight and expenses must be carefully monitored.

When building a new business, attracting customers is imperative — and social media is a leading pathway to gathering and retaining loyal consumers.

Reach out and touch your customers.

Consumers love to be engaged, equipped and empowered, Kimberly Whitler, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia, has said. This makes them feel important, as though they have a vested interest in the company. Consumers crave two-way interactions and are flattered to offer reviews of a company’s products or services.

Why should this matter to a small entrepreneur? Because every customer reached is a potential repeat customer who will tell others about a positive experience.

When a startup adopts social media marketing tactics that truly engage its customers, the benefits are plentiful: The company likely will grow its customer base while spending less money on marketing, leaving more funds available to invest in higher salaries for employees and other areas of the business.

Social media marketing done right also helps businesses stay top of mind among their followers. Consumers will recall engaging content, helpful advice or a humorous post. According to MarketingLand, consumers don’t want to be lectured or bombarded with ads. Good vibes toward the company result in trust, long-term loyalty and a positive bottom line.

Nielsen reports that 92 percent of global consumers identify earned media as their favorite form of advertising, primarily in the form of recommendations from friends and acquaintances. Those customers trust companies that connect with them in genuine, captivating ways; and they want to establish relationships with them.

Shake up strategies to push the marketing status quo

So,how can entrepreneurs change their marketing strategies to create connections with customers and pack more social punch? Here are four tactics to try:

1. Register accounts on all major platforms.

According to Hootsuite, social media can no longer be brushed aside. A business won’t succeed without active accounts across several platforms. If social media’s word-of-mouth power is not utilized, the chances for promoting a business are largely lost. Get started with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to meet customers where they are.

Even companies without a product to sell benefit from engaging on social media. Magic Leap, a private company that is developing a futuristic augmented/virtual reality system, has created interactive content to whet users’ appetites for the impact its future product could have on their daily lives. Despite its ack of any imminent product launch announcement to date, the company has still generated about 60,000 likes on Facebook and has attracted 32,000 Twitter followers.

2. Harness the power of community.

Reach out to consumers — and let them reach out to you and to one another — using social media in order to successfully build community and benefit from positive word of mouth.

Yelp, which publishes crowdsourced reviews of products and services, shows how powerful positive reviews can be. If a customer likes the service or food at a new restaurant in town, a good Yelp review will encourage even more customers to flock to the startup’s table. Encouraging customers to leave a positive verified review, perhaps through offering a coupon or discount on future services, can help draw in new customers.

Consider for example the case of Uncle Maddio’s Pizza. I came across the family-owned pizza joint while traveling with my son’s baseball team. Our hungry team searched restaurant reviews on Yelp and found positive comments about Uncle Maddio’s. As promised, the food was excellent, the service was top-notch and the staff was personable. Before we left, I learned that a franchise location would soon open in my hometown.

The owners started a Facebook page for the new location and promoted “spirit nights” that would raise money for schools and youth organizations. Needless to say, when the new store opened, I took my family there and have returned many times to eat and to support fundraisers there. Positive online and word-of-mouth reviews have led this small business to success.

3. Associate with other businesses that share similar mindsets.

Strive to connect to businesses that are working toward the same type of high-quality customer experiences you are. Good business practice dictates being tied in with others that have strong search-engine rankings and website presences. Interact with them online, and share each other’s content across your social platforms.

Many online marketers, such as Neil Patel of Kissmetrics — whom I’ve turned to for advice on my SEO projects — say posts on social media accounts influence Google and Bing search rankings. Search engine rankings aim to provide users the best possible resources to help them make purchasing decisions and acquire information. These accounts can affect the business’s reputation and authority just as easily as they promote the business.

4. Employ someone who knows how to use social media effectively.

Hire someone who thoroughly knows social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and beyond. This person should be able to moderate comments, post daily messages and answer inquiries. Give this person guidance on what your business is trying to accomplish and a list of what’s acceptable to post. His or her goal should be to keep customers informed and engaged in a timely manner.

A good social media team can take a business to global heights. Holly Clarke, a marketing manager at Airbnb, says the company has team members in San Francisco, France, Germany and the U.K., along with translators tailoring posts to other areas of the world. Airbnb’s #NightAt and #BelongAnywhere campaigns draw in consumers from across the globe to interact with its content.

Entrepreneurs have a lot to think about when starting new businesses, but the use of social media should be a no-brainer. Creative social media marketing tactics, with an emphasis on free word-of-mouth advertising, enable a startup to quickly grow its customer base. Long-term relationships and two-way interactions with those customers will soon follow. Make sure you and your business are creating those interactions, as well.

5 Things To Do Before Your Startup Launches A Social Media Marketing Campaign

4 Jul

Startups have limited funds and limited time to make an impact. When you’re launching a marketing campaign, social media is usually the heart of it because you can easily launch this campaign without spending too much money.

But social media is no magic potion. It takes a lot of time and effort to make it work. This guide is going to show you the key things you have to do before you formally launch your social media marketing campaign.

Know Your Destination

One of the biggest flaws in your business is that you don’t know where your social media marketing campaign is actually going. You need to have  firm idea regarding what your campaign wants to achieve and how you’re going to make it to that point. It should be time-specific and there should be a clear line between success and failure.

Without a destination, you are essentially doing something without any reasoning. In the long-term, this is going to lead to disaster.

You need focus so you can easily figure out what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong come the end of every campaign.

Dividing Responsibility

You need to make sure that you’re dividing responsibility between the right people. If nobody is quite sure what they’re supposed to be managing, this is quickly going to lead to a confused campaign. Make it clear who should be doing what. That way you can easily trace back mistakes to the right person.

You should have a person responsible for content creation, publishing content, monitoring your online reputation, and responding to customers. Make this clear before you start the campaign so you can run the best social media campaign possible.

Create Conversion Opportunities on Your Website

It doesn’t matter how many likes you get on Facebook. Nobody has ever managed to pay their rent through using the number of shares a piece of content had. Where you make your money is when people click on your links and visit your website. Once they are on your website, you have one chance to convert them.

Converting them means that you have to provide a number of points where someone could click to find out more about a product or service. This is where they are firmly in the sales funnel. Ensure that you have one single call to action that leads them all the way to the end.

Landing page creation will come in handy here. Tweak your landing pages and track the traffic that lands on them. Remember, the key to a great landing page is to give them two choices. They can either make a purchase or they can leave. A strong landing page is one of the key tools to develop a social media marketing strategy that works.

Create a Blog

You should have a blog that continues to publish fantastic content as often as possible. Small businesses that blog are126% more likely to generate leads. Unlike previous years, this is not simply to drive traffic to a certain part of your website. It’s there to provide you with material in which to use on your various social media channels.

It will also serve as a key piece of content to keep people on the site when they get there. You want to keep giving people a reason to come back for more. This content will establish your brand as an authority, which will make more of your target audience trust you. Establishing trust is what will encourage people to come to your website.

Complete Your Profiles

 Smart and successful entrepreneurs make sure to fill out your social media profiles with as much information as you possibly can. The more information you can give the better because that way you can allow people to decide whether you are the company for them well in advance. It will also enable you to optimize your social media profiles for the search engines. You’re more likely to show up for your chosen keywords.

This rule applies even if you don’t intend on posting on certain platforms regularly. Claim as many profiles as you can and fill them out to make yourself as visible as possible.

Every little helps bring you closer to your goals.

Conclusion

Preparing for a social media campaign will increase your chances of success. The reality is that you are never going to get it right the first time. By planning your campaign with care, you are going to get more out of that campaign, which will make testing easier later on.

How are you going to prepare for your next campaign?