Search engine optimization and social media marketing have become extremely important for most businesses to become a successful online brand. A question often asked by marketers in social media conferences and events is about the ROI on social media investments. While measuring the social media ROI is not an easy task (its another topic altogether), these tips will certainly help you improve your social media marketing ROI.
1. The Humanization of Brands
Consumers today are very active on the social sites including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest. This perhaps explains the reason why brands today want to engage with their prospects through social media.
In 2012, the most important thing that digital marketers learnt about social media marketing is this: For success on the social media sites, you need to humanize your brand. You need to find a way to connect to people. On the social sites today, people choose what they like and who they want to interact with. The interaction is more often than not personal.
So basically, if you use social media to drive traffic to your website and increase your conversion rate, you need to get up close and personal with your fans and followers to make them feel like they belong. You need to be more than a brand. You need to be a name, a face and an authority figure. Share relevant links, photos and videos. Let people in on some behind-the-scene action. Build an online business community around your brand.
In addition to having a great persona on the social sites, you also need to engage with your fans and followers. Without engagement, there is only so far you will get in terms of social media success. Without a good and workable engagement strategy, you will nullify the effect of your social media campaign.
So engagement is important but what does it imply exactly? What does engagement on the social media sites include? Does posting an update everyday count as engagement? Do redirecting people to useful resources count as engagement?
On the social media sites, engagement does not have a clear-cut definition but it includes the following:
– Reaching out to people by showing an interest in what they have to share
– Providing real value in the community by participating in discussions
– Being generous in sharing resources
– Always having the right answers ready for your fans and followers should they have any query
– Asking for feedback
– Dealing with positive but also negative feedback with good social skills
On the social media sites, people put a premium on things like transparency and honesty. In the past, brands have made the mistake of providing fake profile information and misrepresenting themselves to be something they are not. Even today, the social sites are littered with fake profiles and inaccurate information.
If you want to connect with people, be a brand that people can trust to be honest. Be transparent.
Social buttons, strategically placed on your website and at the top of any content you share with your audience, makes your website more social. They help spread content organically and aid general search engine optimization. The question is: How many social buttons are enough?
Too few may limit the reach and impact of your business.
Too many may dilute your impact on the most important social sites.
What to do?
Pick the most valuable social buttons and drop the rest.
Facebook has over 1.1 billion users. It is by far the most widespread social network and it is the platform that receives the highest levels of engagement. If you have to pick ONE social button to include on your website and at the top of your posts on your blog, it’s a no-brainer that a Facebook “Like” button would be the obvious choice. Traffic on Facebook is too heavy for marketers to pass on it.
Second to Facebook in popularity is Twitter. Twitter has over 500 million users although, statistically, only 200 million of the users are actually active. However, Twitter is a much more open channel of communication as compared to Facebook: users can ‘follow’ whomever they please. This makes Twitter ideal for sharing content. The Twitter button is valuable.
Although nowhere as popular as Facebook, the social network by Google offer the unique advantage that it is by..well Google. It does not matter how many users are actually active on Google+ or what the level of engagement is like on the social network, the Google ‘+1’ button is valuable for the simple reason that it is helpful from an SEO perspective. It is no secret that social signals are now important ranking factors. Social shares are important to Google, especially Google +1s.
Predominantly a business-oriented social network, whether or not you should include a LinkedIn social button on your website and blog is something you will have to assess for yourself. LinkedIn is not a platform people use for entertainment . In fact, most people sign up on LinkedIn for the purposes of recruiting employees, looking for a job or staying in the loop with business networks.
If you run a small-scale business, you may not have the following or fan base like a company such as Coca-Cola but there is no much you can learn about branding from the way the big players do it. To help you get started, below is a list of companies that have built their brands through engagement efforts.
Each of these companies have done something special with their social media marketing and as a small business, you have something to learn from each one of them. So buckle up people and pay attention because you are about to enthralled.
How the Branding Giants Do it
1. Ask Users for Content
Everyone’s heard of Expedia, the online travel company. What you might not know about is the ruse used by this company to get people to share content. Expedia encourages users to share their travel experiences via Expedia’s social media apps including videos, photos and content. For example, one video might be of a father and son at Disneyland Paris with the caption “The best trip ever” Another might be a narration of a trip to Phuket. “ Just got back from a trip to Phuket, Thailand and we’ve had the most wonderful experience ever. Everything was booked and paid for via Expedia including our car rental. Expedia is no doubt the best online travel company.”
The take-away: In addition to the content you create for your fans and followers on the social sites, you can also ask them for content including photos, videos and written content. You do not need a following like Expedia’s to be able to do that. Just ask for photos, videos or short stories relating a certain subject. This will promote your brand and simultaneously motivate people to pay attention to your company.
2. Hold Contests
When RadioShack, the undisputed authority in the wireless market, held a contest via social media to promote a new product, Verizon phones, the result was spectacular with Twitter users. Tweets were sent using the hashtag #itskindofabigdeal. The tweets were sent directly to one of several Verizon phones. These phones were placed on a table and set to vibrate. Whenever a tweet was received, the phone would vibrate and move. The person responsible for making the phone drop would then win the phone.
The take-away: To promote engagement with your brand on the social sites, you can try to make a game out of your product or service. This can be easily achieved by adding a competitive element to your request. This will promote engagement and perhaps benefit you two-fold if people start following you or liking you on the social sites because word-of-mouth is, you are offering an incentive. Whether your end goal is to attract new fans and followers or to promote engagement for your brand, contests always work great.
In functionality, Twitter is a real-time information network. It connects users to a wide array of stories, ideas and opinions. At core, Twitter is a collection of small bursts of information. These are called Tweets. A Tweet is a 140-character long single unit of information. For people who are adept at using Facebook, this might seem like a really restricting factor but don’t let the small size fool you. If you know how to use the 140-character space, in a single Tweet, you can share a lot: photos, videos, a whole story.
For businesses, Twitter opens a whole new dimension for brand promotion. Connecting businesses and customers in real time, Twitter is an incredible tool for brand promotion and quickly sharing information about products and services with people. Twitter can also be used to gather industry intelligence and build connections with potential customers and industry influencers.
Using Twitter for Brand Promotion
1. Build a Presence for Your Brand
Your Twitter marketing experience depends on two factors: your Twitter account and your Twitter profile. Without these two things, it’s going to be hard to tell your story. Remember to build your Twitter presence so it has the same look and feel as the other online marketing tools you use. This makes it easier for people to relate to your brand.
– Choose a proper account username: This is the name that will appear next to all your Tweets.
– Choose a proper profile image: Twitter allows for two images that you can use to tell your business story. The Twitter profile picture is a square photo; The Twitter profile header is similar to the Facebook cover photo. You can also tamper with your Twitter background.
– Complete your Twitter profile: This includes details about your location, your website and your biography. Every piece of information you provide brings you one step closer to a stronger foundation.
2. Start Following
When you are done setting up your account and filling in your profile information, the next thing to do is to start following relevant people. When you “Follow” a user on Twitter, you essentially subscribe to everything they share. So follow people wisely.
Note: Twitter has rules concerning aggressive following. If you are new on Twitter, the instinct is to follow as many people as possible but remember to take it slow. Also, your Twitter experience will largely depend on the people you follow so make the right choices.
3. Start Talking
Twitter shares many features with the other social sites but it is also unique in many ways. For instance, talking on Twitter is different. It is more fast-paced, more hectic.
To find your footing in the Twitter world, give yourself some time. Test the waters and observe what other people are doing. Jump in only when you know what you should talk about.
A Tweet can be:
– A public Tweet
– A message to someone, so an @reply Tweet
– A mention
– A direct message (DM)
– A reTweet (RT)
In 2013, social media has revolutionized how companies market their products and services over the web. The traditional methods of reaching out to potential customers have, in many ways, been replaced or partially replaced to give way to marketing on the social sites including Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
With these changes happening very fast and social signals becoming increasingly important in how Google and the other search engines rank websites, businesses are under pressure to adapt to the new challenges, familiarizing with new tools, understanding online visibility and engagement and rethinking techniques to drive sales.
This might seem like a lot of work but in reality, while the technology and way of doing things have changed, the basic principles of customer service and marketing are pretty much the same.
Some Habits of Successful Businesses Using Social Media to Drive Sales
1. Bring Your Sales and Social Media People Together
For social media marketing success, there should be an overlap between your social media and sales people. The two jobs are interconnected and the efforts of one team augment the efforts of the other.
If you want your business to do well on the social sites, you need to find innovative and creative ways to bring your social media and sales people together.
2. Stay True to Your Professional Profile
On the social sites including Facebook, Twitter and Google+, you should have a professional face and subsequently stay true to that profile. If you have a personal and a business account on any of the social sites, for example, Facebook, keep the two separate. This is one of those times when you need to keep your personal life away from your professional life.
Note that even if you keep your personal and business social media accounts separate, it is advisable that you maintain a certain level of professional conduct even on your personal accounts. These accounts are still accessible to people and therefore exposed to the public eye and scrutiny.
3. Always Strive to Build Connections
Being a member of a social community is only part of social media marketing; the other part is actually participating in the community. To that end, if you are on the social sites to increase your business reach and impact, keep connecting with new people and expand your reach: Always be on the lookout for new people to draw in.
The key thing to remember at this point though is that you are on the social sites to drive your business sales. The point of joining Twitter is not to draw in thousands of followers but to draw in thousands of customers. The challenge is to reach out to people who could potentially convert into buyers. Target a receptive audience: you don’t want people following and liking you who have no interest in what you have to say.
Conferences and other live industry events such as conventions and tradeshows have always been incredible marketing opportunities for businesses. They are perfect venues for networking and lead generation. In recent years, the rise of the social networks, in particular Twitter, has added a new dimension to networking. With Twitter, marketers can now connect with countless other attendees. This is made possible by live tweeting.
Live tweeting is an art in itself. It should not be taken lightly for it is not a networking opportunity without pitfalls. There are hazards and to ensure that knowingly or unknowingly you don’t commit Twitter blunders, below are some things worth considering for tweeting at live conferences and conventions.
Best Practices for Tweeting at Tradeshows and Live Conferences
1. Assign the Right People to the Right Jobs
Prior to the actual event, plan who will be in charge of updating your different social accounts including Twitter and who will be tweeting from their own personal accounts. It helps to have at least two people managing the brand’s official Twitter account: one to cover your own booth and the other to cover the informational sessions. This will enable you to build connections and create engagement from multiple vantage points. It will also enable you and your team members to capture unexpected moments as and when they occur; the essence of being omnipresent.
2. Tone it Down a Little about Your Own Booth
Yes, people want to know what’s happening with your booth, where it is and what your giveaways are but too much information too frequent can cause disinterest. Keep tweets about your booth to one or two a day. The last thing you want to do is to monopolize the event’s hashtag stream.
If you don’t have anything interesting going on, don’t attract traffic to your booth. Instead share photos and video of some behind-the-scene action or of people who visit your booth. If you have an interesting giveaway then it’s justified to tweet about it and draw attention to your booth.
3. Engage with the Other Event Attendees
Like you would notice if you follow any event hashtag stream, in any live conference or convention, the bulk of networking and lead generation happens, not at your booth but at the informational sessions. Keynote discussions and presentations are then often tweeted by the event attendees. If you were at the informational sessions, jump into discussions as they take place and feel free to share your expert opinions and thoughts.
4. Retweeting is Allowed
At a live event, you can tweet about what’s happening carefully using your 140-character tweet to give out maximum value and information or you can retweet others. They are basically doing the same thing too. This will save you the hassle of hanging on to every word spoken at the informational sessions, carefully working your tweet and then posting it.
To tap into other people’s tweets, in addition to the official event hashtag stream, prearrange saved searches for speaker names.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool in the hands of online business owners. When used right, the social sites can serve as two-way communication channels increasing engagement between businesses and prospective clients and building trust. Social media can influence business reach, impact and awareness, increasing website traffic and subsequently increasing sales.
The challenge however is building trust and loyalty. When people are liking your updates and retweeting your pictures, it’s all well but what happens when negative comments start making their way on your Facebook page or Twitter feed? How do you handle a social media crisis?
Some Ways Brands Deal with Bad PR on Social Media
1. Ignoring the Problem
On the social sites, especially Facebook and Twitter, it can happen that you are faced with a sudden crisis that you did not see coming. Maybe a customer decided to complain about a particular product and others decide to join the party. The worst thing you can choose to do in such an instance is to bury your face in the sand. Remember that not replying to a bad post or comment on your Facebook page or Twitter won’t make it go away.
2. Deleting the Offensive Post
When someone leaves a bad review on your Facebook page or tweet something damaging about your brand, the instinctive thing to do is to delete the review but really speaking, this is an even worse approach to handling bad PR than ignoring the problem. If you delete a negative review that a customer made on Facebook or Twitter, you will only make the person madder. Remember that the average Facebook or Twitter user has 100+ friends and followers. A negative review from any one customer can go viral exponentially.
3. “I’ll Show You”
If a customer leaves an angry complaint on your Facebook or Twitter account, it does not help any viable purpose to respond in kind. An angry or defensive reply won’t get you anywhere except maybe make the problem worse with the malcontent. As the cliché goes, the customer is always right.
If you have a Twitter account, to be able to connect with your current customers and furthermore attract new ones, it is important that you have a Twitter business strategy that will help with your overall social marketing goals. Random tweeting, while a good approach to extending your online reach, does very little in terms of attracting new business. To manage a successful Twitter account, you will need a variety of Tweets that you will send out on a daily basis. The point is to stand out from the crowd.
How to Run a Successful Twitter Account
1. First thing First, your Twitter Avatar Counts
– If you have a Twitter account that you intend to use for business, consider investing in a professional picture of your team or yourself. A bad Twitter picture can cause significant damage to an online brand.
– Take some time to carefully draft your Twitter bio. Under no circumstances should you optimize it for your business name or your name. Use the right keywords in your bio to help prospective customers find you.
– Don’t make people look for your details on Twitter. Your contact information and a special landing page for your followers, should they need more information about you, should be prominently placed.
2. The Business Side of Things
– If you want people on Twitter to take you seriously as a brand, be consistent. Aim to respond to all tweets within 24 hours.
– To connect with your current followers and potentially attract new ones, keep your tweets clear. Use plain English as far as possible. Do not stuff your tweets with hashtags. Hashtags can sometimes make tweets harder to read on certain platforms.
– If you are sharing links on Twitter, make sure that the links have been shortened and positioned right in the middle of the tweet. Links should be followed by hashtags.
– If you have different people managing your Twitter account, consider mentioning them in your bio and ask your team members to use their initials with their tweets. This avoids the issue of a single Twitter account having different voices.
The leading social media networks today are Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Of course there are other sites that fall under the category of prominent social networks including YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. In a few select niches, these sites may even be preferred but when it comes to the current Internet era and the near obsession of people with social media, it is a no-brainer which social networking platforms top the list.
With that said, as a user of social media for marketing, you probably have an account with either one of the 3 sites. There is even more chance that you have an account with 2 of them or all 3. You would certainly not be the only one.
Perhaps the popularity of these 3 sites can be explained by the fact that unlike the long gone social sites Friendster and MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ managed to tick all the boxes becoming the standard against which all other social sites are compared.
When it comes to social networking, the tricky thing is to keep up with all of the social networks and avoid rookie mistakes. In theory, this might not seem so challenging. Many people think of social networking as a fun part of the job but with so many social profiles and a different audience on each one, maintaining a relevant and successful presence on the social networks can become a chore.
So how to do social media marketing like the pros?
1. You Need an Overarching End Goal
On the social media platforms, your activities should be coordinated to suit your larger marketing strategy. Each individual status, infographic, video or picture should build off each other to give you a better return on your investment.
When you have an overarching goal, it also simplifies the day-to-day process of small decision-making. Suppose you have two infographics and you are unsure about which one to share with your followers or fans. If you have an end goal, this will act as a useful anchor and help you bring order from disorder.
So for successful social media marketing, design your marketing campaigns so they build on each other. This succession of small decisions put together will help you gain momentum on the social sites. This will be a much better use of your time than simply updating your status or curating content from other sources because you only want to maintain a presence of the social sites, whether or not this leads to something useful.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s jump up and down – Gangnam Style!” This has been the theme of many parties recently and this song & dance sequence has been replayed at so many events and so many occasions in the last few months, that its’ reached out to people in the remotest of regions who may have even had no access to the Internet! Such has been its success!
It was on the 15th of July, 2012 that the world was first witness to PSY’s Gangnam Style. From then on, the video has spread its wings far and wide to reach out to close to a billion viewers (845,851,259 as of 29 November, 2012)! The success of Gangnam Style showcases just how powerful the Internet can be in being able to “virally” spread your content across the globe.
How did it become so wildly successful? Why was it shared and liked so much? What did it do to reach out to so many people across the globe? These are questions that we want answers to so that we could also try and create our own unique Gangnam style success story in what we do. Here are 7 reasons why we feel the Gangnam Style video became such a resounding success:
1. Rocking Content – The content you have has got to be outstandingly good and stir people in some way for them to react. The Gangnam Style video had many such elements going in its favour:
a. PSY the Personality – Who’d have expected a middle-aged plump faced guy to be the lead of a music video? And who’d have expected him to carry off such moves and such expressions (in the manner he did)? The video was made keeping his personality in mind – he could carry it off and he did it with flair! People love Psy and for him being who he is has had a large part in the video’s success.
b. The Trademark Horse-Galloping Dance – The video wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the unique horse-galloping dance that PSY so perfectly rendered in this video. It was unique yet simple enough for people to catch on to and emulate on their own. It was funny given the contexts in which he presented the dance. It was what no one would expect to see in a music video. The dance gave the video its unique theme and identity and it caught the fancy of many viewers.
c. The Catchy Tune – The music had dance worthy beats and was catchy enough to warrant the attention of many viewers. It is in spite of the language barrier that the song has been so widely appreciated, and that speaks volume of how much people have liked the song for all its beats.
d. Multiple Backgrounds, Multiple Costumes & Multiple Personalities – There were as many as 19 different background settings in the 4 m 13 s video! That’s plenty of setting changes to keep the viewer hooked on to the video. Also the video was cleverly edited to ensure that there was never too much of the same setting for more than a few seconds! Then there were the costumes – bright colors, multiple costume changes by PSY, the constant eyewear which has now become his trademark, the contrasting costume colors in some settings – all of it gave the video an extended visual appeal. Then there were the multiple personalities, some of whom were noted Korean personalities – a kid from Korea’s Got Talent, a couple of really famous Korean comedians, … – of course, to the unfamiliar viewer these were just multiple different characters that lent a different dimension to the video. All in all, it was the continual element of “change” that kept the viewer engaged. It takes a lot to keep our distracting minds engaged these days and the video was smartly designed to cater to our limited attention spans.
2. The Intention was to be Outrageous & do the Unexpected – In this interview here, PSY gives a breakdown analysis of why he chose each locale and setting for his music video. The underlying reasoning was to Read more