Posts Tagged ‘Media Campaign’
Having a strong social media presence is crucial to having a successful business. One of the key elements to a strong social-media campaign is consistency, which can prove to be more difficult than it sounds. Simply getting your brand out there is not enough; your brand may be represented differently on other social media sites, creating confusion. Below are some tips to keep a consistent social-media presence.
1.) Get Everyone On The Same Page - When you are representing your brand via social media, having everyone inside your company in unison regarding how to present that brand is essential, especially with larger companies. Always remain hyper-sensitive to your brand’s presence and stick to it. Holding regular meetings within your company to be sure everyone has a running knowledge of your brand can help to ensure that you are all working together.
2.) Be Consistent In Interaction - Your brand needs a personality to separate it from other brands. The way you engage your followers is the main method by which you can create that personality. The way you interact with the fans, as well as the times you choose to interact with them, should remain consistent to help strengthen your brand’s presence. Keeping cohesive brand personality will help you remain consistent and build trust with your followers.
3.) Business First - Many companies tarnish their brands by trying too hard to please people on different social-media sites, and thereby diversifying their brand’s persona. It’s important to remember that you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Keeping your message professional and on track with your social-media campaign will build brand consistency.
4.) Know Your Market - By understanding the market you intend to cater to, you will be able to stay more consistent. A little research can go a long way in this case. If you don’t understand the intricacies of the market you are targeting, you risk using marketing ploys that could fail in the long term. Remember that anything you put on social-media sites is subject to be viewed and criticized by the public, which if not true to the market’s needs and desires, could hurt your attempt at success.
5.) Consider A Professional - If this all feels like a bit much, you may want to consider hiring a professional to do it for you. The main drawback to this method, other than the extra cost involved, is that you are bringing in someone from outside the company that will need to be familiarized with your campaign goals and brand personality. However, if your company struggles to find a way to stay consistent, this may be a valid option.
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Developing a daily plan for your social media strategy can be highly advantageous. Starting a Facebook page or Twitter account and posting occasionally is simply not enough. To optimize the usage of your social media outlets, you must establish an effective strategy that will allow you to reach many followers and friends at one time. Take time to research and organize your content. Taking a short time to prepare for the coming week can optimize your social media campaign while making it easier on yourself. Decide where to post, what to post and when to post. Research has found that posting before 8:00 am or after 8:00 pm is close to useless while posting between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm will provide the most traction. After you have your plan constructed you must put it into action, using your social media platforms daily will ensure your marketing success. This is a very simple yet efficient check list you should apply to your daily social media campaign.
1.) Post Interesting and Valuable Information: Posts and tweets are essentially what make up your profile. Your posts should be informative and relevant such as a blog, an article or tip. You can also post something that will encourage interaction between you and your viewers, such as requesting feedback on a particular product or service you provide.
2.) Seek New Followers or Friends: The more followers and friends you have will only increase opportunities to benefit your business. A way to go about getting more friends or followers can be as straightforward as sending an informational email out to your contact list explaining that you have the site and encouraging your contacts to check it out.
3.) Run Facebook Ads: Create a Facebook ad campaign to help create awareness about your business. Facebook ads are very user-friendly; You can personalize your ad as well as select the duration of your ad and how much you want to spend.
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Like the holiday season, social media offers great promise but also a high risk of offending and angering the very people you hoped to gather together. If done incorrectly, your online fans and followers will turn on you and ruin your expectations of online success. However, with a few reminders, some forethought, and a focus on finding a consistent tone and producing quality content, your dreams of social-media success can be as easily attainable as making a Christmas wish list.
Here are some hints and tips for bettering your online presence and your chances for success …
Your Past: The first place to start when beginning a social-media campaign is with former clients, customers, and partners. If you had a good business relationship with someone in the past, chances are they won’t be reluctant to join your page and like your posts. They aren’t, however, going to be as interested in marketing pieces and sales pitches. That means, you’ll have to have content that is both interesting and professional, but that will also appeal to a wide audience. Having something to share that can interest both your past clients and potential business is key. Keeping your former customers close to you is an excellent way to boost word of mouth and repeat business.
Your Present: This will be where you place the greatest amount of focus. After all, chasing down potential leads and turning window shoppers into clients is where the money’s at. That makes this is an important category to cater to when thinking about how to approach your social-media pages and profiles. After all, a lot of these people have expressed interest in your services and may be ready to bite. That doesn’t mean, however, that they want to be hit with an inbox full of reminders that you’d like their business. Don’t seem desperate. Instead, approach these social-media contacts as though you’re interested in them rather than just their money.
Your Future: This is the area with the most amount of promise. After all, the idea that you can reach across the vast and varied Internet and pull in new contacts just by keeping a Facebook or Twitter account seems both unbelievable and undeniably attractive. Social media and the Internet at large have given businesses a much greater ability to reach out to their community and industry. If you keep your online presence focused on business and respect people’s boundaries, you will no doubt come across new clients you wouldn’t have otherwise. But, much like in the previous cases, you have to be considerate and not abuse your contacts by overloading them with unwelcome advertising or incessant solicitation. Follow common sense and treat people the way you’d like to be treated.
At its core, social media is about communication. It’s about keeping contact with friends, family, clients, customers, and whoever else you’d like on the list of people you keep in the loop. For business purposes, that means staying close to your list of professional contacts. Sounds easy enough. But the trick is doing it in a way that doesn’t make you a nuisance or an annoyance.
Here are some thoughts and tips …
It’s A Conversation: That’s the easiest way to think about your social-media campaign. You’re trying to start an ongoing conversation with a group of people that are connected to your business. These are people that you’re either currently doing business with or hope to be doing business with in the near future. In other words, you want to keep it professional and geared toward making a case for your services. For example, if your business was blankets, you’d post links to stories about how cold this winter will be rather than turning your blog, page or profile into an advertisement. In other words, everyone has an interest in the weather but someone who isn’t currently in the market for a new blanket is going to get tired of receiving your ads rather quickly. Then, when they do need a blanket, they will have already deleted and forgotten about you. Keep it conversational, interesting, and geared toward your audience.
It’s A Two-Way Street: In order to achieve some success with social media, you have to get your contacts involved and participating. Not only does this help them familiarize themselves with you and your business, it also provides an opportunity to do market research and receive feedback. For starters, you should probably interact a little with the social-media profiles and pages of your contacts. Reply or comment on something they posted or “like” an article or picture they uploaded. This encourages reciprocity and generates some goodwill. Also, ask for opinions and feedback from your online fans and followers. It will provide you with ideas for bettering your business, encourage interaction, and make your contacts feel included and valued. Which is, after all, the whole idea.
It’s Not A Chore: The trouble a lot of businesses have when starting a social-media campaign is their approach. If you’re trying to establish a personal relationship with your clients, contacts, and partners, you don’t want them to feel like you’re doing it out of obligation. Enjoy yourself and it’ll shine through. Try to have some fun with your online properties and it’ll be noticeable. That doesn’t mean posting unprofessional pictures or off-color jokes. It means approaching your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page the same way you would approach a phone call with a client. You wouldn’t mumble your words or seem unhappy to hear from them, you’d try to put your best foot forward and make them feel appreciated and eager to do business with you.
The key to successfully marketing your business through social media is to make it seem like you’re not. Which is to say, social-media marketing requires a little slight of hand, a lot of patience, and some faith. You can’t expect to put up some pages, upload a bunch of sales material, and wait for new clients to come knocking down your door. You’ll have to build a community of followers, fans, contacts, and customers the old-fashioned way.
Here are some tips to marketing your business without seeming to …
Think About Your Approach: So you registered for some social-media pages and are eager to start selling your services online? Well, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. In fact, there’s no quicker way to turn off potential online leads than to hammer away with sales talk and solicitations. Social-media marketing requires a little finesse. That means, rather than posting everyday about your business and services, you should be offering information and help. Approach your online contacts as though you’re doing it out of the kindness of your heart and the familiarity and goodwill you generate will lead to word-of-mouth and business.
The Content Conundrum: What do you post when you’d really rather beg for business? Well, there are a number of things. The quickest and easiest way to generate some good content is to share interesting info you’ve found that may help someone in need of your particular services. Pass along some industry news that a consumer might not know but should. Explain and add context to any numbers, stats, or trends that a potential customer would benefit from knowing. Approach your updates and posts as though you’re a good friend hoping to assist someone with an important decision. Answer questions and ask for feedback. All of these things will generate a back-and-forth with your online contacts that can only benefit your business.
Turning Contacts Into Clients: Of course, to some people, the process of luring in business through social-media may seem like a wasted effort. After all, who has the time to be posting to Facebook or LinkedIn when they need to generate real money in the real world? With time and consistency, however, social-media can – and will – lead to business. It’s just a matter of targeting the right audience and keeping up with your contacts. Social-media is a word-of-mouth machine. Give it time and you’ll soon see that your contacts are not only turning into clients, but are also recommending you to their contacts and online communities.
We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “It’s 2012, do I really still need a business blog?” Well, the short answer is yes. Though blogs – in Internet years – are a nearly ancient form of online communication, they’re still an effective and totally customizable platform for furthering your business and boosting your brand.
Here are a few reasons you still need a blog in 2012 …
It’s RSS, Baby: RSS stands for “real simple syndication.” And syndication is the name of the game, even in this age of smart phones and tablets. Having a blog means you have an RSS feed. Having a RSS feed means your content can be easily spread across the Internet through any website or app that links via RSS. This feed contains all the words and photos and anything else you post to your blog. Now say you’d like to share that content on your Facebook page. Well that’s as easy as finding a RSS app and filling in the address to your feed. In other words, you need a business blog to use as home base for all the content you create to share with your clients, customers, partners, followers, and fans online.
It’s A Custom Fit: Blogs, as they were originally known, were nothing more than an online scroll of entries posted by whomever set up the page. These days, however, your blog can do just about anything. In fact, you can even set up a storefront and sell products complete with a credit-card checkout and shipping rates, if you wish. There are an endless number of themes and plugins, which make having a blog a completely customizable form of social-media and online marketing. It’s the closest thing available to a paint-by-numbers website. Having a dynamic online presence can only improve your reputation and help convince potential clients of your expertise and professionalism.
It’s Home Base: Think of your blog as home base for your social-media campaign. It’s where you create content and test new ideas. From your blog, you can see what does and doesn’t work and then take that to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page. With a blog, you’re afforded more freedom and function than you are on any of the major social-media platforms. Because of this, you’re better able to get creative and see what your audience responds to the most. It’s also a great way to create traffic between your pages by linking to your blog from your social-media pages.
If you were told that you could network your business to millions of people without spending anything more than your time and effort, you’d have to be crazy or independently wealthy to turn down the opportunity. And yet, many people ignore the platform social media provides to spread the word and promote their business. If you’re among those that still feel that social media isn’t important, necessary, or vital to boosting your business, a recent Harris Interactive poll of 2,037 may help change your mind.
Here are some of the numbers …
62 percent of Americans say they’re afraid of missing something if they don’t keep an eye on their social network. In other words, a majority of respondents are glued to status, news, and event updates received through their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts. Which means, social-media is as important a source of information to a majority of Americans as their phone and email messages. Having a presence on any – or all – of the major social-media sites is an opportunity to be among the updates being shared and read by the millions of Americans that check in on Facebook before reading their email inbox.
Among respondents 18 to 34, nearly 40 percent said they check their profiles every morning after waking up. Maybe you’re thinking that your business doesn’t appeal to a young demographic and that means you don’t need a social-media campaign. But the fact that an increasing number of young Americans turn to social media immediately after getting out of bed says something about the future importance of the medium and the probably longevity of its popularity. In other words, social media isn’t going away. In fact, it’s becoming more popular among Americans.
40 percent said they’d rather clean the shower drains at the local gym than give up their social network. Okay, maybe the drains at your local gym are spotless and that stat doesn’t impress you. How about the fact that the same number of respondents said they’d rather wait in line at the DMV, give up an hour of sleep every night for a year, get a root canal, or sit in traffic for four hours while listening to polka music?
Nearly 70 percent of LinkedIn users are just observing. Not all social-media users are interested in telling the world what they did with their day. In fact, a lot of activity on social networks doesn’t involve posting or participating. The fact that more than half of Twitter users and nearly 40 percent of people on Facebook are just looking means your information, content, and updates could be among those being read by users who log in to their social-media accounts as a source for information, recommendations, and news.
It’s been said that everyone makes mistakes. But that’s only half the story. After all, it’s not whether you make a mistake, it’s the severity of the mistake you make that matters. There’s a difference between locking your keys in the car and accidentally parking your car in the living room. One is an understandable error and the other – under most circumstances – isn’t. Like anything else, when starting a social-media campaign for your business, you will make mistakes. But avoiding the type of mistakes that will leave your page barren and ignored are more important than worrying about a typo in your bio.
Here’s a quick list of some things you can do to avoid making some of the most inexcusable social-media mistakes …
Use It or Lose It: When it comes to social media, the number one mistake people make is not using the pages and profiles they set up. Whether from lack of interest, time, or understanding, many social-media pages serve as nothing more than a placeholder. They’re like online business cards with little more than an address, a phone number, and a photo. But the difference between success and failure in social media is participation. If you bothered to set your business up with a Facebook page or Twitter account, use it. Contact people, promote your site, produce some content, join groups, comment on someone’s post. In short, interact. It doesn’t take much to get someone to like or follow a social-media profile. You don’t have to take them to dinner or earn enough of their trust to be given a key to their house. All you need to do is participate and not be rude, aggressive, annoying, or mean spirited.
Make A Good Impression: You’re introducing yourself to a whole new audience. Act like it matters. You want to present yourself as professional, experienced, consistent, and efficient. Make sure anything you put up online showcases only those qualities you’d like associated with you and your business. That means, no beach photos, questionable jokes, religion or politics. Keep it focused on business and make a clear distinction between any personal profiles you maintain and those specifically for your business. Google your name and scroll through some of the results. Those are the same things potential clients will see if they look you up online – which they likely will. Having a professional online presence is a great way to make a good first impression. More and more, people check the Internet before deciding who to do business with. Don’t scare them away before you even meet them.
Location, Location, Location: Much like anything else, where you set yourself up makes a difference. Which is to say, location matters whether you’re opening for business on Main St. or on the Internet. Make sure the accounts you register for make sense for your business. You’re fairly safe if you stick with some combination of the most popular sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The membership numbers alone make them worthwhile. Outside of the that, do a little research before you register your business name and slap some info together. Make sure any sites you join serve a legitimate business purpose and can be used to your advantage. You’ll be most successful if your Internet presence is focused and consistent. Only take on what you can handle. And only go where there are potential business benefits.
Some people fall into the trap of thinking a Facebook or Twitter page will promote their business without them having to do anything at all. Meaning, they register for a page, fill out their information, and believe their work is done. As if the Twitter fairy will come along and deliver their tweets to the masses without them having to do any of the heavy lifting. Well that’s not the way it works. Part of a successful social-media campaign is promoting your pages, blog posts, and online activities. You have to let people know what you’re doing if you hope to have anyone take an interest in your social-media efforts. Here are some hints, tips, and ideas on promoting your online properties.
The Real World: Promoting your pages and blogs in the real world is the most effective way of boosting your social-media success rate. Asking people to like your Facebook page or follow your Twitter feed is made infinitely more effective if you’re doing it in person or offline. It’s why you’re seeing an increasing number of businesses including their social-media info in their advertising, on billboards, and on their business cards. You have to promote your pages the same way you would anything else. Let people know you’re online and ask them to have a look. The more interest you create, the more contacts you’ll make. The more contacts you make, the more business you’ll generate. In other words, remember your Facebook and Twitter pages next time you’re networking or sending printed materials. Ask people to connect with you online and you’ll see an instant increase in activity on your pages.
Via Email: Because nearly everyone uses it, email is a great way to spread the word about your pages, profiles, and blogs. Sending out an email with a link to a new blog post or social-media profile, is a good way to introduce your contacts and clients to your online properties. Even adding your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn address to your email signature can lead to an uptick in visitors to your page. As long as you aren’t bugging your contacts every other hour, asking them to read something you wrote or to stop by your pages is a good way to keep in touch with your contacts while increasing activity on your social-media profiles.
Groups, Forums, And Comments: Participation is another way to get the word out about your social-media properties. Joining groups and forums on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn gets you in front of like-minded people with similar interests and concerns. As long as you’re not too self-promotional and you take an honest interest in the discussions and questions being offered, your presence will be appreciated and your familiarity among people likely to have an interest in your business will increase. It’s an indirect way of promoting your business, but commenting on other people’s pages or questions in forums can boost your reputation, generate new contacts, and increase word of mouth. Stay professional, knowledgeable, and accessible and you’ll soon see results.
Everyone’s searching for an easy way out. And Internet-based marketing campaigns are no exception. In fact, some of the draw of marketing your business online is that, at first, it seems easy, inexpensive, and relatively labor free. That, however, is not the case. Like anything else, it requires some effort, time, and attention to truly pay off. In other words, it ain’t a get rich quick scheme but it is a viable and valuable tool for any business hoping to capitalize on the popularity of social media.
Here’s a short list of simple do’s and don’ts to help you accelerate your online opportunities …
Do Adjust Your Attitude: If you’ve registered for a social-media page or two and are now lounging poolside waiting for the business to start rolling in, this is the easiest and quickest way to change your fortune. Stop expecting something for nothing and start using the resources available to you. Social media is a tool but it won’t work itself. And expecting it to is no better than buying a hammer and expecting it to build you a house.
Don’t Give Up Immediately: A social-media campaign won’t succeed in the first three days. Probably not even within the first month. It’s gonna take some time to build up some content, fans, followers, and strategies. Time, consistency, and communication are the keys to success. Keep at it and stay engaged.
Do Import Your Contacts: All of the major social-media sites make it as easy as possible to transfer your email contacts to your page. Now you may not want to invite your mother to join you on LinkedIn but you’ve got to start somewhere. And inviting the contacts and connections from your address book will provide you with a foundation to build on. Announce your new page and ask people to connect with you. It’s far more effective than waiting for them to stumble upon your site on their own.
Don’t Skip The Photo: It’s 2012 and, if you haven’t yet figured out how to upload a photo, ask someone. ‘Cause chances are you know someone that can help you achieve this relatively easy and ultimately important task. Having a Facebook or Twitter page without a photo or logo or something that makes it seem as though you care at all about your presentation is a surefire way to make it look like you can’t be bothered. This is your business and wherever it is represented online should look professional.
Do Think About Content: Sure, you can have a presence on LinkedIn without having any content to share. You can do the same on Facebook. But, in the end, content is what gets people on your page and returning in the future. It’s also a way to further brand your business and help potential customers familiarize themselves with what you do, who you are, and why they should choose you over your competition.
Don’t Worry About Numbers: It’s easy to get discouraged if you’re trying to compete with Oprah for followers and fans. You can’t win that game. You can, however, approach your social-media campaign as a vehicle for spreading your message locally. In other words, you don’t have to have 1,000,000 friends and connections online to build business. You should concentrate your efforts on linking with people in your region and industry. Having five followers on your Twitter page that are in your area and looking for your services is better than having five million in China. It takes quality online connections, not quantity.
Do Explore The Possibilities: Nobody can tell you the best way to market your business. It is, after all, your business. But spending some time exploring what your social-media page of choice can do may result in new and exciting ideas. There are an endless number of applications, tools, and resources available on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or any other social-media page you choose to use. Learn what they are and how to use them. Chances are, if there’s something you’d like to use your page for, there’s a tool to make that easier for you. Take some time and fool around. You may be surprised at the functionality available to you.
If you’re someone that thinks of livestock when you hear the word branding, you may be a bit behind the times. Or you’re an actual cowboy. Either way, some simple tips on branding your business and building customer loyalty may help.
Here are some thoughts to get you started …
The Branding: The primary reason to brand your cattle was to help make them more easily identifiable. The same goes for corporate logos, advertising, and marketing campaigns. And, with the growth of online marketing, branding has become an important part of marketing even the smallest of businesses. Ultimately, having an online presence that is consistent, easily identified, and interactive will help you find new customers and keep current clients coming back. The trick is having your info where it can be easily found and making sure it’s consistent on all of your Internet properties, whether it’s a blog, Facebook page, or business website. Branding is about being identified and remembered. And a social-media campaign focused on keeping all the details, logos, and contact info consistent and presentable is one that will be more easily found online and more memorable.
The Messaging: Branding is a pretty simple concept. You want people to recognize your business and feel a sense of familiarity with you. What you do with that brand, however, is a bit more complicated. Sending the right message is about content. Once you’ve got your info, photos, and logos in place and your pages looking the way you want them, you have to have content that keeps people coming back to your page, to make it stand out from the rest of the Internet noise. For example, if you’re in the cupcake business, you don’t want a page that’s purely self-promotional and a bore for anyone other than you and your employees. You want a page that makes people think about how much they love cupcakes and would love to buy some. In other words, you want to share content that’s interesting, educational, and not directly self-promotional. In this particular example, you’d likely want to have some large, attractive pictures of cupcakes and stories touting their health benefits and how they’re particularly delicious this time of year. In other words, info that makes it more likely that visitors will feel familiar with your brand and a desire to do business with you.
Running a successful social-media campaign is a bit like running a railroad. First you have to be where the people are. Then you’ve got to keep a regular schedule so the people know when to get on board. Finally, you’ve got to offer your customers something they can’t get from your competition. And, in this case, that means offering quality content consistently and regularly. It also means providing superior service and treating your pages and profiles as an important extension of your business.
Here are some things to think about …
Location: Where you set up shop matters in any business. Open a bait shop 300 miles from the water and see how well that goes. The same is true in social media. Fortunately, this part isn’t very difficult. There are many sites out there. Some are new. So are niche. Some offer some things and others offer others. Ultimately, you want to be where the people are. Niche sites can be good for networking within your industry but new business comes from communicating with the public. And the best way to develop relationships with people online is to go where most of them are. And yeah, that means Facebook is probably a good bet.
Schedule: This is the part that trips a lot of people up. It’s one thing to survey the available social-media sites and get started registering. It’s an altogether different thing to log in regularly and use your profiles and pages to your advantage. Sadly, though it can be done, it isn’t automatic. You have to have something to share and you have to share it on a regular basis. How often you update your pages is up to you. Some social-media gurus will tell you you have to update your pages with new content multiple times a day. Fortunately, updating on any schedule – as long as it’s kept – will likely benefit you. Start slow. Come up with a post every other week. Then up the frequency as you get into a rhythm. What works for you is what works for you. In other words, set the pace you’re comfortable with and let the people know when to expect you. Regularity is familiarity. And familiarity breeds business.
The Extras: It really shouldn’t be a hard sell to get some people to visit, like, follow, or recommend your new social-media profiles. It’ll cost them nothing and make your page seem populated and more interesting to newcomers. So ask some previous clients, referral partners, and other professional contacts to stop by your new page. They’ll be happy to do it and you’ll end up with increased visibility and some potential new connections. But that’s where the extras come in. Now that you’ve got some people visiting, what you put up on you page determines whether or not they’ll come back. Offer good content, interesting info, be available, and answer any questions or comments you get. In other words, treat your social-media sites as an extension of your business and treat your fans and followers like they’re your customers. Be consistent and available, professional and prompt and they’ll return to you in the future.
Living in the Internet age is a lot like being around for the gold rush. There’s a lot of buzz about the limitless opportunities and possibilities but there are no guarantees that it’ll make you any money. Fortunately, unlike the gold rush, the Internet doesn’t require you to cross the country on a brutal horse-and-carriage led trip through the mountains and you won’t have to do hours and hours of manual labor in order to try your luck. Which is to say, if mining gold were this easy, everyone would have done it. And yet, there are those that are still hesitant to take their business online.
Here are some tips and ideas for those of you still on the fence …
Social Media Is Local: Stop thinking of the entirety of the Internet and start thinking about it as a way to get in touch with people in your area and region. The Internet may be able to reach all four corners of the known universe but its users generally are engaged with their friends, family, and community when they’re online. That means, social media is actually more efficient and valuable to small businesses than large corporations. After all, no one is going to pay too much attention to a tweet from Coca-Cola but they’d be more likely to read a post or click a link sent from a local business they know and trust. If you’re not doing business in India, there’s no need to set up a social-media campaign aimed at world domination. Keep it focused, targeted, and small to start.
Social Media Is Participatory: Here’s the part that trips a lot of people up. Despite being named “social” media, many people are turned off by the idea that they will actually need to communicate and reach out to other people. They want their social-media campaign to function like an online advertisement waiting to be seen by the right people. Unfortunately, there’s no quicker way to become lost in a pile of forgotten social-media profiles than to set up a page and quickly abandon it. You needn’t feel like you have to constantly be updating and refreshing your pages but it does help to have something to offer. And always be polite and engaging with the people that follow your pages and posts.
Social Media Isn’t Going Anywhere: Fortunately, the opportunities and possibilities of the Internet will be around a lot longer than the gold was in San Francisco. Which means, there may not be a rush, but there’s also no reason to wait. The early adopters will have the advantage of offering something their competition doesn’t. If you wait five years to take your goods and services online, your Facebook fan page will still be beneficial but it won’t give you a competitive edge. Which means, not only can a properly executed social-media campaign benefit your business but the sooner you start the better those benefits are likely to be.
Here’s a stat for anyone that believes blogs aren’t a viable lead generator … More than half of businesses that blog report having acquired a customer specifically through their blog. According to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing survey, 57 percent of company blogs have pulled in a new client, that’s better than Facebook or Twitter. In other words, if you’re thinking of starting a social-media campaign for your business and you’re convinced business blogging is a thing of the not-so distant past, here are some things to think about …
Sharing is Marketing: The percentage of businesses with a company blog has risen in all of the past three years and has now reached 65 percent. In other words, if you’re not blogging, you’re behind the times. You’re a dying breed. A dinosaur. And there’s a reason the majority of companies are maintaining blogs. First, they’re a cheap way of increasing your web presence. Secondly, in the Internet age, marketing means getting your content passed along. Sharing is key. And a blog gives you a place to begin generating content and an audience. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to producing content set yourself up on a few social-media sites to syndicate your content even further.
More Is More: So you set up a blog, posted twice, and when it didn’t result in any new business, gave up? Well what did you expect would happen? According to the HubSpot survey, among businesses who reported acquiring a customer through their blog, 92 percent posted multiple times a day. In other words, the more you share, the more likely you generate traffic, make new contacts, and build new business. Now you may be thinking you don’t have the time to post multiple times a day. Well, 66 percent of those business blogs acquired a customer while only blogging once a week and, among blogs that only updated monthly, 56 percent gained a customer. In other words, even if you’re too busy or too lazy, chances are a business blog will benefit your bottom line.
The Future Is Now: Among respondents to the HubSpot survey, 62 percent say social media has grown more important to them in the past six months. And, on the flip side, only 14 percent named trade shows and nine percent said telemarketing. In other words, if you believed social media was a passing fancy and there was no need to participate, you’ve been proven wrong. More and more businesses are incorporating and benefiting from social media and blogs. And more of them are reporting their successes. The same survey found 81 percent of businesses said their blog was useful or better, with 34 percent calling it important and 25 percent saying it was critical. Yeah, critical.
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Sharing is a big part of a successful social-media campaign. You’ve got to share and be shared to gather followers, fans, and friends online. But, for a lot of people, curiosity about social media is overwhelmed by a sense of dread over having to come up with content, posts, updates, and tweets on a regular basis.
Here are some ways to ideas, hints, and tips on what and where to share …
You’re A Curator: First things first, you don’t have to have anything interesting to say. The Internet is a vast resource and no one person can absorb all the information that’s available online. Which is to say, if you’ve come across anything in the news or anything that would be of interest to a potential client, share a link on your Twitter page. It’s a great way of informing and keeping in touch with existing customers and potential business. And it relieves you of the necessity of always having to come up with something to say off the top of your head. A curator is in charge of choosing the art that hangs on a museum’s walls, not creating it. Think of yourself as a curator and share the most interesting and relevant news that relates to your target audience.
You’re An Expert: Now, you may not think of yourself as an expert. Few people do. However, if you’ve spent any time in your current business, chances are you know more than the people paying you for your services. Otherwise, they’d do it themselves. That means, at the very least, you can add insights, context, and explanation to any information you’ve tweeted. If, for example, you tweet a link to an article related to your industry, add another tweet with some background or explanation. Give your Twitter followers some of your insight and expertise and they just may end up as your customers and clients
You’re A Media Mogul: Most importantly, share your content between your social-media sites. If you’re setting up a Twitter page, there are many ways to import blog posts and such to your Twitter feed. There are also easy-to-use apps and tools that will export your tweets to your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or blog. In other words, think of each of your individual pages as part of one whole. Spread your content around and make sure it’s getting out and circulating among all your connections and contacts across the Internet. The more you share, the more visible you are. The more visible you are, the more likely you are to turn online contacts into real-world clients.
There’s a difference between being popular and being profitable. And the difference is money. In other words, if you’re launching a social-media campaign for your business, you’re likely not in it to make new friends. You’re in it to generate leads and convert them into business. Here are some ideas to help increase the effectiveness of your social-media efforts …
Play it Cool: Even though you’re on Facebook for business, it’s still primarily a social tool. That means, you can’t come on too strong. In order to grab attention, you’ll have to create some content and make it interesting. And, more importantly, make it interesting to your target audience. If you hope to generate quality leads through social media, whether you’re using a blog, Facebook, or Twitter, you have to first build trust – and an audience – and the only way to do that is to offer something for nothing. If you’re posting quality information about your region or industry, you’re establishing yourself as a knowledgeable source and forming positive associations among visitors to your pages and profiles.
Be Discreet: You don’t want to fill up your blog or social-media profiles with solicitations and blatant advertisements for your services. You can, however, use areas around the margins to create an ad for your business. For example, if you’re keeping a blog, take an area typically reserved for ads and widgets to create a call to action. It doesn’t need to be sophisticated. At first, just having something on the page is better than nothing. Experiment. Write up a short description of your specialties with a link to your website. Having a few well-placed reminders of who you are and what you do will give visitors an opportunity to further explore your business online and raise the possibility of converting them into clients.
Be Available: Social media is about creating dialogue. So, in addition to keeping your page updated regularly and offering content that will interest and attract visitors, use your social-media presence to find and contact potential business in your area. If you have a Twitter page, for example, search for keywords related to your industry, then limit the search to your region and answer anyone in your area who’s posted questions related to your line of work or expertise.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
The biggest mistake most businesses make when beginning a social-media campaign is believing they know how to begin a social-media campaign. Knowing nothing more than it’s easy and takes no more than 10 minutes to get started may get your page up and your phone number in the right spot, but then what?
Unfortunately, like anything else, to be successful requires a little advance planning, research, and know how. No, you don’t need a degree in computer science. But it helps to familiarize yourself with the terminology, the concept, and what has worked for others.
Here’s a quick three-step guide to what it is, what works, and what it takes to succeed …
Know What: You’ve heard that Facebook is hugely popular, so that’s a good place to start, right? Well do you want to set up a page or a profile? There’s a difference and knowing it is the difference between building your business and building a collection of your most embarrassing photos. Know the terms, the capabilities, and the purpose of each. Take a look at the definition of a blog and how that’s different from micro-blogging or what an RSS feed is and how it can help fill out your social-media profiles. You don’t need to become an expert but familiarizing yourself a bit more with what things are and how they’re used can help you build a plan that fits with your plan and works for your business.
Know Why: Which brings us to the next step … Building success online means keeping up communications and giving people a reason to visit your pages. Having a lot of empty space on the Internet won’t build your business. One of the biggest misconceptions people have about social media is that having your links spread across the web is the ultimate goal and you’re done once you’ve got your pages set up. A Twitter page isn’t an advertisement and, if it were, it wouldn’t be a good one without the tweets. Don’t bother setting up the pages if you aren’t going to use them. Or start with something you can handle, or that fits your business, and build from there. Start smart and small.
Know How: The key to social-media marketing success is understanding that it isn’t advertising. Think of it as a magazine that you’re publishing. You wouldn’t attract any readers if your magazine had no articles and, instead, was only advertisements for the same business, page after page. In other words, you have to produce content that people will want enough to return to your page for updates. The content is bait. You have to have something to offer before you can expect your social-media campaign to show measurable benefits. Empty profiles and links to your other web pages won’t bring you business. Having an interactive, informative, and entertaining presence online will.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
When doing anything for the first time, it’s important to know where to begin. You wouldn’t, for example, start a race three feet from the finish line. And, if you did, you’d likely be disqualified. Online marketing is no different. Following some basic do’s and don’ts can be the difference between a successful social-media campaign and giving up before you even begin.
Here are some tips and hints for kick-starting your online efforts …
Your Blog: In a lot of ways, the blog gave rise to what we now know as “social media.” Without blogs, and the communities that arose around them, there may never have been a Facebook or LinkedIn. But now that you’ve got one, what do you do with it? First off, keep it updated, easy to read, clear, and informal. Make sure visitors can scan your content quickly by breaking your posts into shorter paragraphs. Use plain English and avoid jargon and industry lingo. Don’t fill your blog with PR or try too hard to sell your services. Make your content useful and informative. And don’t make it difficult for your readers to navigate your blog or, more importantly, figure out who you are and what you do.
Your Social Media Profiles: Social media can be a great tool for building your business and your brand. However, an empty Facebook fan page with four fans isn’t a great motivator to keep going. Start by adding some content to your pages and profiles. If you have a blog, import your posts to your social media pages. Giving visitors something more than a one-sentence status update, gives them reason to linger and return in the future. It’s also good to look for smaller, industry-specific social-media sites. Sure, Twitter is wildly popular but you may find a better audience for your online efforts in a smaller community. For example, if you’re a Realtor or mortgage pro, try setting up a page on real-estate focused social-media sites, such as Active Rain and Trulia. But don’t set up a profile, fill in half of your information, connect with your friends and family, then wait for the business to come rolling in. It won’t.
Your Email List: Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with your contacts, clients, and customers. But, like the telephone, you have to follow etiquette. People are as annoyed by spam and sales pitches in their inbox as they are with telemarketers calling during the dinner hour. Don’t abuse your list. And don’t get long-winded. Be specific and to the point. Make it easy for the recipient to quickly figure out what you’ve sent. Sending announcements, blog posts, or special offers to your list is encouraged. Try a monthly or weekly newsletter, as a way of staying in touch with your contacts. But be careful, sending too many emails can be as harmful as sending too few. Like anything, striking a balance is important.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com