The reason posts about social media are flooding the blog-o-sphere is that it really is a really useful medium of advertising and marketing.
Businesses now have the ability to target prospects based on their demographics and even their interests! While this sounds exciting, many people haven’t had much success with this type of marketing. This is because something, somewhere, went wrong.
This post will hopefully save you the frustration and losses, and will provide you with a “shortcut to social media marketing success”.
But before that, let’s have a look at a few benefits of social marketing (in the hope of getting you to hop on the wagon, in case you are still on the fence).
- Increased social signals that result in better SEO rankings
- Increased brand recognition
- Lead generation
- Increased loyalty
- Getting new customers
- Increase traffic
- Lower marketing costs
Convinced? Cool! Let’s get into the actual strategies!
Strategy #1: Piggybacking
Before you start piggybacking on others, make sure that you leverage the use of your own assets and resources first.
Do you have an email list? Then email all your subscribers and tell them to “Like” your new Facebook page. Maybe you can throw in a small bribe to encourage them (a free download of one of your low-cost products for a limited time?).
Do you have a blog? Have a link above and below every post asking your readers to “Follow” you on Twitter for updates.
Once you have that covered, you can move to forming partnerships with other people, or, finding people who will promote your products and brand to their followers or fans. How? By giving them something of value in exchange. It could be an offer that only their followers can take advantage of (a major discount or a give away of your products).
Strategy #2: Advertising
Contrary to popular belief, social media marketing is not meant to be an “Advertising Terminator”
In fact, advertising can be done within social media, and if you have some funds to invest, it is a great way to get more “Likes” and “Followers”. It only costs a few pennies for a targeted click (social ads are still relatively new), so get on that wagon before this aspect of social changes!
However, ads on social media are not famous for being the best converting ones. So, it might be a good idea to (again) bribe the ad viewers to get them on your page. Provide them with an incentive (free stuff), and increase your CTR.
Advertising doesn’t need to be limited to the online world. You may very well expand your reach by having “Like Us at Facebook.com/YourBusiness” ads in offline prints or at local places (restaurant, bars, etc.).
In 2013, sending strong social signals comes with so many benefits, that it is almost stupid to ignore social media as part of your marketing strategy. Not many things will bring you
- Improved rankings in the search engine results page
- New customers
- More loyalty in existing customers
- People who will start talking about your business in real life
…all at once!
However, if you are here because of the title of this post, you are probably already aware of all of that, and you probably just want to know “How do I get more of these social signals?”
Before we get to that, we need to go deeper in the issue. What issue? The issue that we are just seeing these as “numbers”. How many likes, tweets or shares…
These social signals… We need to remember that they are from people. It’s a real person who “Likes” a page, a lot like it’s a real person who is reading this post. If I were writing for numbers (instead of for people), this article would be of the same level of quality as the junk that comes out of those “Article Generators”. This article is good (hopefully we share the same opinion!), because I have you (the audience) in mind.
Similarly, in our quest to get more social reputation, we need to have our audience and its best interest in mind.
With that out of the way, let’s see what you, as a business can do for more social results.
Know Your Audience
With all the talk I made about having your audience in mind above, I had to make this my first point.
If you don’t know your audience, you won’t be able to get their interest. No Interest = No Like, No Share, No Tweet, No Follower.
Let’s use the “muscle building” niche as an example. A lot of the guys interested in muscle building also like MMA, boxing, self-defense, football and hockey. Knowing this increases your chances of making valuable posts and posting cool pictures on your Facebook page (and hence creating more engagement on it).
Take the time to find, curate and create good content. Do your brand or business a favor, and do not use software for this. If you cannot do it yourself, assign the task to another human being, preferably one who is familiar with the niche you are in.
Unlike other types of marketing, social media marketing is less “visual” in terms of metrics. Sure, there are pieces of software that try to give you some sort of data based on the social signals that you give off, but are they really that accurate?
While we do agree that you can measure the number of visitors that visit your website directly from a social network with simple link tracking, we would like to remind you that social marketing is a bit more than that. Software cannot measure brand recognition (yet); or people who visit your website by manually typing in your address just because they “remember seeing your brand name on their Facebook Home Area”; or customer loyalty.
With that in mind, it’s important to keep 3 concepts in mind when it comes to social media marketing. It’s not just about “just posting more” or “just tweeting more often” to “get more clicks”.
Concept #1: It’s not about “How much”, but about “Why”
Social networks are pretty lenient about how often you can update your status, make tweets, or post messages in public. However, it’s not always a good idea to exploit that. It’s actually almost always counter-productive.
Instead, focus on “Why?” – and the why isn’t always about making a sale!
Are you trying to make a sale? Is the status update to make your customers love you (free gift, big discount, etc…)? Or maybe it’s just to share that one of the members of your staff spilled some coffee on herself (brand awareness by sharing small, fun stuff that’s going on “inside”).
Don’t try to do everything in one post. A good rule of thumb would be to pick ONE goal from the above, and put all your creativity in it.
This alone will drastically cut down the time spent on the social networks. Remember, 1 post about a coffee spill could be more effective than 15 posts about “Product 1”, “Product 2”, etc…
The awesome thing about social media marketing is that other people will share the content that you post. This essentially means free advertising! Plus it’s one of the most effective forms; it’s as close as word-of-mouth advertising as it can get online.
BUT! Just posting something and hoping for it to happen is not gonna cut it! The social media population will help you only if you help yourself first. I would actually go as far as saying that it’s your responsibility to start the sharing.
Once you post something on a social network, get it noticed. Send an email to your subscribers about it. Blog about it. Get other bloggers in your niche to blog about it. Give an incentive for people to comment on it and share it. Start the buzz.
Concept #3: Counter-intuitively, social media takes time
It’s ironical. Social media is supposed to be “quick”, right? It usually is. However, when speaking about “business”, it’s a completely different story. Business owners are kidding themselves if they think that they just need to post something to make sales.
The social audience is not used to typing its credit card number while checking out a friend’s profile, and even less rushing to a store because a new product has been released.
Social media is more than that. It’s more personal. It’s about building trust and relationships. If you focus only on “making sales”, social media marketing might be forever dead for you in the future.
On the other hand, if you think long-term, what you post today is what might bring you hundreds of sales 1 or 2 years down the road. Is that “too” long-term? Probably. But for serious businesses, it holds a lot of value. Lifetime customers, brand recognition, online AND offline word-of-mouth advertising; it’s really worth it for some.
Any business can use social media marketing as part of its advertising strategies, but the truth is that this form of marketing is not for everyone. If the 3 concepts above do not resonate with you, social marketing is probably not for you.
If you are looking for a more “direct conversion” from visitor to buyer, then better options would be SEO, PPC or PPV.
While it’s probably a little too early to start celebrating, the fact is it’s never too early to plan for a successful holiday promotion for your business. While the ‘business big guns’ are unleashing their onslaught of marketing on television, magazines, billboards, radio and newspapers, the small guys like us need to be much smarter and more nimble at this time of year, and social media is just the thing to make that happen.
It’s that time of the year where people are thinking about gifts, the ones they care about and of course, their most valued clients. People are more outgoing, happy and in a giving mood so it makes sense to take advantage of the festivity by extending that energy to your social media campaigns.
Here are some ideas to make the most of it by doing things a little differently to everyone else:
1. Look The Part
A really obvious but very effective idea is to change your social media backgrounds to reflect the Christmas spirit. This is a really easy and quick way to inject some character and fun into your messaging, especially on your Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts. Your clients and followers will get a kick out of it too! You can find some really excellent background templates of Christmas-themed graphics with tinsel, Christmas trees and Santa Claus by doing some searches on Google. Many of them are even free.
If you sell products then it’s a great time to run a contest or promotion as you will most likely sell a ton. Just make sure you wrap up your promotion or contest at least a week before Christmas to eliminate any stress that last-minute shipping can bring. You definitely don’t want your customers getting their presents late!
3. Give Generously
This is also a perfect time to give back to the community in any way that you truly believe in. Why not donate 10% of your sales of a specific product or service to your favorite charity? Then you can rally your following to help support your cause at the same time. This is a great win-win situation because you bring good karma to your business, make extra sales, do good for others and bolster your reputation.
4. Build Excitement
The ideal way to roll out your marketing is to build momentum to a fever pitch. You need to do this by being really consistent and that means – planning. Create a schedule and break down exactly what you want to do week-by-week leading up to Christmas. If you’re running a competition or promotion, put it on the schedule. If you’re going to give out a free recipe e-book put it on the schedule too. This way you take away a lot of the stress and your efforts will be much more effective. Obviously you should have everything wrapped up at least 5 days before Christmas.
“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
On October 8, 2012 a Facebook user by the name of Richard Neill posted a rant about how a particular company has lied to him for many years. The rant was directed at a company called Bodyform which is a company in the UK that sells sanitary napkins and feminine hygiene products. His rant is quite funny and entertaining, so much so that it actually generated a response from Bodyform that is even more funny and entertaining.
Here is a copy of Richard Neill’s Facebook rant:
At the time of this writing, the Facebook post has received 97,806 likes and 4478 comments. There’s no telling how many times it has been re-tweeted or shared via other social media sites. I don’t know whether the Facebook rant was someone just trying to be funny (which it was in my opinion) or if Richard Neill has a legitimate beef with Bodyform but if someone posts a rant about a particular company, that company has a few options.
One option is that they could simply ignore it. Another option is that the company could post a nice comment apologizing to the person who has an issue and gently defending their company. Or there is option three which is to create a video response that may be the best response to any social media rant in the history of the Internet. Bodyform chose option number three.
Utilizing social media is a great way to spread the word about your brand or your business. Some businesses rely almost exclusively on social media to get the word out about their products and services. If you are going to use social media for your business, you should be aware of some key rules to follow in your communication strategy. Here are what we believe to be the 15 Commandments of Social Media Communication or you could also call them 15 Best Practices for Social Media Communication:
1. Keep your Interactions Clean & Positive
Any time you post content, or comment on someone else’s posts, you are representing your business. Try to avoid saying anything offensive or controversial unless that is what your brand is all about. In most cases, it is best to be polite and courteous, so that people will view you and your company in a positive way.
2. Respond to all External Communications
When you post content on a social media site, people will usually comment on it. You should respond to the comments quickly or even it’s not quick, just make sure you respond. This will show that you take your business seriously, and that you appreciate the people who take the time to read your posts or watch your videos.
It’s tempting for a business owner to use social media only for their own benefit. They don’t want to waste time on something that is not going to bring in more customers. However, if people get the sense that the only reason you are involved in a social media site is to promote your business, they may not like it too much. Take some time to participate in discussions that are not directly related to your business. You never know, doing so may actually bring you more customers and at the very least, it will make you look like a more valuable member of the community.
4. Respect the Ownership of Digital Property
When someone posts articles, videos, photos, or anything else online, it’s not okay to use that content however you see fit. You cannot use someone else’s content as if it were your own or even change it up and repurpose it in some way. If you want to post something on a social media site, make sure you are posting original content.
5. Lay off the Sales Pitch Once in a While
Social media is a great way to get traffic to your website and sell more products and services. However, it’s a good idea to just participate in some of these communities once in a while without trying to sell products. If every message you ever send out on social media is pitching a product, a lot of people won’t be interested in following you or reading your content any longer.
6. Learn from your Competition & Not Attack It
It’s a good idea to follow your competitors on any social networking sites so that you can see what they are up to. You may have competitors following you as well. Be respectful and never attack your competitors.
If someone posts a negative comment about you or your products on a social media site, you don’t want to get into a fight with that person where you start to verbally assault each other. However, it’s not always a good idea to simply ignore people either. You need to defend your products or services, but be as courteous and respectful as you can when doing so.
Promoting your brand on social media is different than promoting it on television, radio or through just about any other medium. Most other mediums have a one way broadcast kind of relationship. You send out what you want to send out and the audience receives it. Social media on the other hand is a two-way conversation. Promoting a brand on social media requires a different kind of marketing strategy.
So how do you promote a brand on social media?
Get in the Habit of Launching Viral Campaigns
Viral campaigns are hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll launch a viral campaign and it’ll instantly spread through your niche like wildfire. On the other hand, sometimes you’ll launch a viral campaign and not much will happen at all.
Instead of placing all your hopes and dreams on one campaign, get in the habit of launching viral campaigns often. Launch one once a month, or once every couple months. Some will hit big and others will fail. By doing them often, you maximize your chances of hitting the winners.
Respond to Audience Questions and Comments
Brands have a bad reputation when it comes to responding to customers. All too often brands treat their social media feeds as a TV channel where all they do is share, instead of listen.
On social media, people expect to have a dialogue. You don’t have to respond to every single comment, but you should respond to every trend, every concern and every question that gets more than a few people asking.
If there’s a thread on your Facebook page with 30 comments all around something your company is doing, you should probably respond to it.
Build Relationships With Real People
Social Media can help build relationships with people. Look for key players in your industry and look to build a one on one relationship with them. Don’t think that brands have to act like distant personalities. Brands can make friends, brands can do favors, brands can reach out.
By building real relationships with people, you increase your reach on the social sphere. If you’re launching a new viral campaign, you can reach out to your contacts and ask for shares and retweets. If you have questions about how your product is being received, you can reach out to real customers. If you need advice about a website redesign, you can ask for feedback.
Having real relationships with real people goes a long way.
Content marketing has gotten more and more popular every year. Just a decade ago, having a “blog” was a unique concept. Today, it seems everyone and their neighbors are writing content, uploading videos, creating infographics and posting on social media.
This explosive growth in the volume of information on the internet has made it very hard to get noticed. If you want your content to get read, you need to stand out.
Here are ten essential tips for creating content that stands out and grabs attention.
#1: Start With Planning
Creating content in a haphazard manner is a surefire formula for mediocrity. Every piece of content you put out should be a part of a larger, coherent strategy. Plan out your long term (1 year plus) plan, as well as specific content pieces you plan on putting out.
#2: Jot Down Unique Ideas
In order for content to be great, it needs to be seeded in unique, powerful and useful ideas. These ideas will most likely hit you when you least expect them to. It might be when you wake up, when you step out of the shower or while you’re out on a jog.
Write these ideas down and turn them into content pieces.
#3: Do Careful Research
Research can lead to fantastic ideas, fantastic content pieces and new insights into your market. What kinds of problems is your market facing right now? What kinds of trends are forming in your industry? What are the strengths and weaknesses to a certain way things are done?
Look beyond the surface. Share what you find, or use what you find to drive your content.
#4: Offer Solutions to Problems
One of the best kinds of content you could offer your readers is solutions to their problems. People are always looking out for ways to improve their lives. Be the one who provides that solution and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
#5: The Right People
Yes, blogging and content creation is often a one-man show. Whether you’re a one person team or not, it’s still essential to support your efforts with other professionals who are great at what they do. You need great designers to help with your site. You need technical experts to help configure your servers. You need video experts to edit your videos. The right people can make all the difference.
Hashtags are one of the biggest and most important inventions to hit the Twitter platform. Using hashtags, people can talk to other people who have similar interests, start public “chat rooms” on the fly and discuss specific topics in a group fashion. For marketers and business people, hashtags give them the ability to generate buzz, to garner more participation and to host interesting conversations.
The idea behind a hashtag is pretty simple. The hashtag consists of the pound symbol (“#”) followed by the name of the hashtag. The hashtag is usually a word or series of words with their spaces taken out. For example, #allabouthashtags or #hashtag101. These hashtags are appended to the end of tweets or used in the middle of tweets.
If people want to participate in that hashtag’s conversation, they can simply search for that hashtag in Twitter to bring up all the tweets tagged with that hashtag. Outside tools like Hootsuite can turn hashtags into feeds that you can follow alongside your main feed.
Why Create Your Own Hashtag?
There could be a lot of different reasons to create your own hashtag.
For one, it sets you up as the authority in a field and helps build credibility. You become the trend setter rather than the trend follower. If you regularly put out new hashtags that people end up using, people will start looking to you as someone to pay attention to.
If you’re the one setting the hashtag trends, you’ll also be retweeted more often. Your tweets will be at the very center of the hashtag’s conversation. It’s a fantastic way to tweet your way to thousands of followers.
Finally, you can drive and steer your own conversations. You can create vibrant discussions that involve your whole community and everyone your community knows. That simply isn’t possible with any other advertising medium.
So how do you create your own hashtag campaign?
Start With a Clearly Defined Purpose
What do you want your hashtag to do? Common reasons to create a hashtag include:
- You’re hosting a contest.
- You want to host a live chat.
- You want to generate buzz.
- You want to host a lively discussion.
- You want to analyze a trend.
- You want people to contribute ideas.
Get clear on your reason for wanting to start a hashtag. Having that clarity will make it easier for you to come up with the right tag as well as come up with tweets that help you launch the tag.
Doing Your Due Diligence
Before launching your own tag, do a bit of research. Use tag research tools like Tagalus (link to the site) and Hashtags.org (link to the site) to figure out if there’s already a tag out there talking about what you’re talking about. If there is, consider either joining their conversation or creating an offshoot. Instead of having to start a tag from scratch, sometimes it makes sense to create a discussion within another tag.
If nothing like your tag exists, then you’re golden!