Posts Tagged ‘Media Marketing’
Many companies are striving to acquire more “Likes” for their Facebook
business pages and may have difficulty finding success. The more “Likes”
your page gets the better the odds that your page will be seen and
visited by your targeted audience while optimizing your exposure to
prospective clients in your extended network. Below are 5 helpful ways
you can increase your Facebook “Likes”, grow your fan base, and build a
powerful social-media marketing strategy.
1. Incorporate The “Like” Button On Your Company’s Website- This will
help your online visitors easily find your Facebook page and, in turn,
increase the chances of them “Liking” your company’s Facebook page.
2. Utilize Your Email Signature- Add an icon in your email signature
that will alert contacts to your Facebook page when they receive an
email from you. This is a simple and effective way to share your
business page with established and prospective clients.
3. Offer Incentives- Running promotions is an excellent way to gain more
“Likes” on your page. For example, those who “Like” your page will be
entered into a raffle or contest. This is a proven method to build your
4. Stay Engaged And Interact – Give your fans a way to express their
opinions. Be sure to reply to posts made by your fans and stay active on
your page so people will see your company as a reliable source. Use the Facebook “poll” feature as a way to get users to engage and
submit their opinions, and to show that you really are interested in
hearing what they think.
5. Add A Link To Your Facebook Page On Your Blog- Blogs are becoming
more and more popular among businesses as a quick way to keep clients
informed and up-to-date on industry news and company events. A daily
blog presence also serves to build your reputation as an expert in your
network. Additionally, blogs can help drive visitors to your Facebook
page and your company website.
For daily social-media tips, visit our Facebook page: here
Social Media allows the opportunity to acquire quick feedback essential to all marketers in order to stay agile. When used properly, polls on social-media platforms can help you collect crucial feedback from clients or prospective clients in a speedy manner. Almost all top social-media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer the ability to create polls. Businesses should be utilizing this tool to advance their business and build their brand. Below are 3 reasons why every social-media marketer should be using polls in their social-media marketing strategy.
1.) Running a poll is a way to optimize your business. Clients can easily and quickly communicate how they feel about your business, product or general research.
2.) Polls will help you pinpoint what your clients or future clients are interested in, what they like and what they expect from you or your business.
3.) Using polls will help you keep all of your content on the right track in a cost effective way and, in return, will help you gain insight from your targeted audience.
There are 2 ways you can run a poll through social media; both ways can help build your business and provide excellent feedback. To optimize your campaign you should strive to incorporate both components into your marketing plan.
1.) Multiple Choice or Quiz- This option is highly effective and quick. Asking people whether they prefer (A) or (B) will allow you to receive fast feedback from your audience in a simple and straightforward way.
2.) Ask A Question- This is more advanced; you ask your community a specific question hoping they give you a detailed reply. This will help you gather highly specific data while maintaining awareness of your clients needs.
For daily social media tips, visit our Facebook page here
Facebook has quickly become one of the best ways to promote a business, as it is the leading social-media marketing tool available. Facebook provides the potential to drive brand awareness to an unlimited number of readers. As Facebook grows, businesses continue to join the new environment in hopes of expanding their marketing strategy. Without proper knowledge of how to operate the premier social-media outlet, you can dig yourself into a hole by making mistakes in front of an audience. Below are four of the most common mistakes new Facebook marketers make and advice on how to avoid them to achieve a successful Facebook marketing campaign.
Not Providing An Adequate Amount Of Information: When people visit your Facebook page they want information. When there is not a name, location, etc., on your page, visitors will quickly move along. You must provide as much information about your business as possible. Add your logo to drive brand awareness, provide your name, telephone number, location and what you can do for your Facebook friend or guest. Adding specific or unique content will also help increase your Facebook marketing strategy.
Underestimating Time: Many new Facebook marketers underestimate the amount of time needed to create and maintain a successful Facebook marketing strategy. Setting-up a page and leaving it barren will get you nowhere. You need to update your page daily with current and captivating information. Set some time aside to develop a plan to avoid frustration. Planning time to post, comment, or check your progress will help your strategy operate smoothly.
Not Being Familiar With Facebook Tools: Taking advantage of the free tools Facebook has to offer is half the fun when marketing on the site. If you explore the available functions Facebook offers, you will be able to better your entire marketing campaign. Business owners that are new to Facebook tend to be in a hurry to get information out to the public, but taking only 10 minutes to play around with the platform could optimize and build your online brand experience.
Excessive Posting: Keeping your friends updated and engaged is the best way to manage your Facebook page, but excessive posting will become annoying. Be sure you are changing-up your information and you avoid posting the same thing over and over daily. People want to see current news you have to offer. It is safe to post new information 3-5 times daily. If you really want to highlight a promotion or new deal, consider changing the information within the post, this way people will not be reading the same information multiple times each day. Try to avoid solicitation.
For daily social-media tips, visit our Facebook page here
There’s a popular notion that Facebook created the idea of sharing and transformed the Internet into a purely social experience. But anyone with a memory – and an email inbox – can tell you that there was plenty of sharing happening over the web long before Facebook came along and made it possible for anyone to share anything with anyone. In olden times, we shared information with our contacts through email. And, in fact, most of us still do.
Here are some email-marketing ideas to boost your social-media presence …
One Thing Leads To Another: Nearly 50 percent of surveyed companies said they planned to use email to grow their social-media channels. And, when you think about it, why wouldn’t you? Separating and segregating your marketing efforts means limiting the number of contacts you’re reaching with each individual effort. Why limit your Facebook activity to your Facebook followers? Promote your Facebook page through email and you’ll be attracting attention from not only your current followers but also those who aren’t yet familiar with your page. It’s a great way to boost activity and the number of fans, followers, contacts, and clients visiting your online properties.
Getting A Head Start: The simplest way to incorporate your email contact list into your social-media marketing campaign is to invite your address book to join your page. Most social-media pages have an automated prompt to send out an invitation. If that leaves you feeling cold, write up a personal note saying you’ve started a page or profile for your business and encourage them to visit your new page. Getting your pages off to a quick start requires some initial activity. Relying on current contacts and past clients is a great way to start building a community while you’re still learning the ropes.
Keeping it Going: Once you’ve invited your contacts to join your page, keep them updated about what’s happening through an occasional email promo. If you’ve written a particularly informative blog post or started a contest on one of your social-media pages, send out an email announcing it. Also, incorporate the addresses of your social-media pages into your email signature. Promoting your social-media pages through email doesn’t always have to be a direct plea or solicitation. Adding links to your online properties is a great way to get people to visit and like your pages. Ultimately, integrating your email and social-media marketing campaigns requires a little creativity and commitment. Keep at it and, with a little common sense and commitment, you’ll soon see results.
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.
Despite what they say, you can argue with numbers. You can also argue with chickens. Neither of these activities, however, is likely to produce a positive outcome. That’s why, though it may be easier and more convenient to ignore reality, you’ll always do better if you acknowledge the facts.
To that end, here are some facts about social-media marketing …
Nielsen estimates that social media and blogs reach 80 percent of active Internet users in the U.S.: Not only that, Nielsen also found that nearly a quarter of all Internet usage is spent on blogs or social-media sites – double the amount spent on gaming. That means, almost half of all Internet usage is split between people playing games online and those perusing social-media pages, profiles, and blogs. And since you likely won’t be able to effectively market your business through online games, you should probably take a look at registering a Facebook page or setting up a blog. The potential upside is huge and there is little to lose. Having a shot at a new audience of potential customers and clients is ultimately what marketing is meant to accomplish. Social media provides an excellent platform to reach new people and generate business.
60 percent of consumers say they are willing to post about products or services if they get a deal: In other words, social media is a viable avenue for promoting and marketing your business. By interacting with your clients and customers over social-media, you are able to appeal to them directly, while offering them exclusive deals and bonuses. It takes a little creativity, but finding a way to get your Facebook or Twitter followers to spread the word for you is worth the effort. Offering Internet-only promos is a great way to boost interest in your business among current and potential clients. Just don’t overwhelm your connections with sales pieces and drive them away.
91 percent of experienced social marketers see increased traffic to their website and 79 percent say they’re generating more quality leads: Doubt all you want but more and more businesses are finding success marketing their services through social-media channels. The key word here, though, is “experienced.” In other words, you’re not going to see boosted traffic to your website and a bag full of quality leads during your first week online. It takes time, effort, and a bit of practice to learn what works for you and put it into action. Those who have had success with social media, have had patience with social media. Give it time and pay attention. After all, the stats say your efforts will ultimately be rewarded.
Among the top social-media sites, Twitter seems the most frivolous. It’s hard to imagine something that involves tweeting being a worthwhile thing to do with your time. And yet, there a countless examples of businesses that are successfully incorporating Twitter into their social-media marketing strategy. Used correctly, Twitter can help you boost brand awareness and familiarity, customer loyalty, word of mouth, and visibility. Here are some of our top tips, hints and help for businesses looking to capitalize in the Twitterverse.
Just Tweet: Okay, if you’re just starting out on Twitter, the first thing to do is tweet. You aren’t likely to attract anything but spam with an empty page. If you’re having trouble thinking of something to say, re-tweet something you found interesting or informative that relates to your industry or area. You can’t expect to gain any followers unless you’ve got something to share. Starting from scratch can be difficult but keep it professional, relevant, and regularly updated for best results.
Use the Hashtag: If you’ve heard the term but haven’t yet understood the concept, here you go … Hashtags identify the topic or subject of your tweet, making it easier for people to find it through searches. For example, if you’re tweeting about real estate, follow your tweet with #realestate. That way, it’s more likely your tweet will be found by people searching for real estate on Twitter. But think it through, as a hashtag for something as general as real estate will likely be among thousands of others.
Nearby Tweets: See who’s tweeting what in your area with nearbytweets.com. The simple setup delivers search results based on a keyword and a location. Search for anything anywhere and see who’s tweeting what near you.
Make Friends: The more people you follow, the more people will follow you. Choose some interesting people and businesses in your industry and region and follow them. Check their followers and follow some of them too. Not only will you have access to any tips and info they share, you’ll boost your visibility and attract your own followers.
Engage: Build a community by commenting and re-tweeting what other people have posted. Post something that isn’t directly related to your business. Talk about other businesses in your area. Point out interesting things in your community.
Be Thankful: Using Twitter properly – or any other social-media site for that matter – requires a bit of old-fashioned etiquette. Much like they do in everyday life, people online appreciate a simple thank you from time to time. For our purposes that means turning on email notifications from your Twitter page. Twitter will send you an email any time someone new follows you. Be sure to send a thank you. It’s a good way to encourage communication and requires nothing more than a short message.
Contaxio: A tool to help manage, track, and interconnect your Twitter account. With Contaxio, you’ll be able to find contacts with similar interests, review your activity, scan stats about the people you follow and those who follow you, and even keep up with new contacts from your Facebook page.
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 about it than the people paying you for your services. Otherwise, they’d do it themselves. That means, at the very least, you can add insight, context, and explanation to any information you’ve tweeted. If, for example, you tweet a link to an article related to your industry, follow with another tweet that adds background or explanation. Give your Twitter followers some of your expertise for free and they just may end up paying customers down the road.
Interact: Twitter is about communication. It’s meant to be conversational, which explains the character limitations. Ideally, you’d encourage a back-and-forth with your followers and those you follow, using tweets to respond and reply to questions, concerns, and messages. Twitter allows for direct messages, which operate a lot like email. Respond to the messages you receive and to people who tweet about your or your business. It may sound like a lot of work but, if done correctly, the benefit to your business will outweigh the time you invested building a following. Keep your expectations reasonable.
Social media can be like a Sunday morning crossword puzzle, both simple and enraging. The only difference is the answers to your social-media questions aren’t published in the next day’s newspaper. In order to help demystify social media for you, we’ve developed the following easy-to-remember keys to online success.
Here are the Four Cs of social-media marketing:
Communication: The first and most important thing to remember when pursuing a social-media strategy is communication. It is, after all, what social media is all about. It exists to provide an online platform for people to converse, share, and keep in touch with one another. For business, that means your social-media pages exist as a platform to communicate with past and future clients, referral partners, and potential business. If you aren’t communicating with your contacts, posting content, and participating in groups and forums, you are doing it wrong. You’re a wallflower and an observer. In order to change this, start sharing information, links to interesting articles, questions, thoughts, and offers on your social-media pages. Engage with your contact list and try and entice a response.
Consistency: Once you’ve begun participating, keep it up. Delivering quality content on a consistent schedule is a great way to encourage your contacts to interact with your page. You’re bettering your chances of capturing someone’s attention every time you post something to your page. That means, if you’re posting once a month, you likely won’t see results for awhile. If, however, you’re posting on a weekly or daily schedule, you’ll see more activity. In other words, activity begets activity. Participate and you’ll see more participation. You get the idea.
Content: The most difficult thing about achieving success with social media is producing quality content. What and when is important and makes a difference in the results. There are, however, some simple rules. Stay away from direct advertising or promotion. It’s a fast way to lose visitors. Try to imagine what someone in need of your particular service would find interesting and informative and go with that. Keep it professional. Share news and opinions relevant to your industry or region. Present yourself as an expert and field the questions and comments that come along with your posts. Keep on top of things and find a rhythm. Ultimately, if you’re posting consistently, offering quality information, and staying on top of any comments and questions that come your way, you’ll see results.
Commitment: You have to stick with it. Among the top mistakes people make online is giving up. If you’re expecting something immediate, you’re going to be disappointed. You can’t approach it like an advertisement. Show some enthusiasm for the medium and you’ll find an enthusiastic audience. Treat your social-media pages like a chore you have little interest in completing and your response will mimic your effort. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. Give it some time and effort before throwing in the virtual towel.
If there were a shopping plaza that had 900 million regular customers, you’d be among the thousands of businesses clamoring for a storefront on the property. After all, the chance to offer your services to that many people at once would make closing new business almost a mathematical certainty. Chances are there are a handful among those 900 million that are looking for exactly what you’re offering. This is the thought behind social-media marketing and, specifically, marketing on Facebook. Sure, naysayers will tell you it’s a waste of your time and won’t develop anything other than a penchant for procrastination. But with that many potential customers within reach, it’d be crazy not to give it a try.
Here are some thoughts on social-media marketing on Facebook …
Focus on the Goal: Everyone wants other people to like them. It’s human nature and the reason behind Facebook’s ever-expanding popularity. But just because there are 900 million members on Facebook, doesn’t mean you have to make friends with each and every one of them. Focusing on the goal means focusing on business. You’re reading this because you’d like to find new ways to drum up business and make money, not because you need more online friends. Use your fan page to target opportunities and potential clients in your industry and region, not to boost your self-esteem and build your virtual ego. Keep it straight and professional. Making a connection with three people in your area will do more for your bottom line than racking up big numbers of out-of-state admirers.
Avoid Sloppy Mistakes: Fill out your page. Don’t leave it blank. We’ve said it before and we’ll likely say it again. Nothing makes you look more uncertain, unprofessional, and unattractive than a half-filled out fan page without a picture or logo. Keep your info fresh, sharp, and easy to digest. While you’re at it, make sure anything you post is short and easy to read too. Include pictures and stick to a somewhat regular schedule. In short, don’t keep ‘em guessing. Avoiding sloppy mistakes means paying attention to detail. And details often make the difference between success and being totally ignored.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help: One of the great things about social media is that it’s like math. It’s not so much the equation, as it is the answer. There are multiple ways to gain a business advantage on Facebook and other social-media sites. For example, it’s great to share your knowledge and build your reputation but Facebook can also be a tool for learning. So if you’re stumped or curious, ask someone. Sometimes posting a question about something related to your business or your clients’ interests can be an excellent way of, not only starting a dialogue, but learning something from your online fans and followers. Listen closely to their answers and you may discover a trick or two that leads you to new business.
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.
Nobody likes a poorly timed call from a telemarketer. Answering a call about having your carpet cleaned when your house has wall-to-wall hardwood floors is never welcome, least of all during the dinner hour. But, what if that telemarketer, rather than trying to sell you something you didn’t need, gave you some information you could use? What if every time you answered a call from a telemarketer they didn’t try to sell you anything but, instead, told you something fascinating and then left you alone. You may be more opened to future calls. This is the theory behind social-media and content marketing.
Here are some tips on content creation and building a presence and reputation online …
Know Your Audience: You’ll find articles suggesting you need to post multiple times a day to your blog, Twitter, and Facebook page. And yeah, the more you post the more attention you’re likely to get. It’s the old quantity over quality argument. In order to drum up some new business, however, you needn’t follow any arbitrary number of posts per day, week, or month. More importantly, you need to determine what kind of content your customers and potential clients would most benefit from receiving. Sending out a tweet every hour that doesn’t appeal to your customers and has nothing to do with your business won’t gain you any respect or attention. Posting something of value, however, can result in a new connection regardless of the frequency.
Know Your Topic: It’s tempting to get online and fill your pages with everything from the personal to the professional. And when you’re starting out and having difficulty finding appropriate content, posting about your favorite hobbies and habits may seem like a good way to get going. But nobody shopping for your particular services is going to choose you over your competition simply because you share the same taste in television, food, or sports teams. They will, however, take a longer look at your page if you’re consistently posting educational, informative, and interesting content aimed at helping them make better decisions. Give your audience what they’re looking for and they’re more likely to come looking for you when they’re ready to do business.
Know Your Purpose: Because it’s easy and free, setting your business up with a social-media profile may seem less valuable and vital. In other words, it may not seem like something that requires time, effort, planning, and forethought. It does. Spending a little time figuring out how you want to present yourself, what kind of content you’d like to offer, and who your target audience will be, can make the difference between a successful campaign and a half-empty Facebook fan page. You wouldn’t, for example, take out an advertisement without considering what it says, where it runs, and how it brands your business. So the same amount of consideration should go into your social-media properties. Keep them professional, up-to-date, consistent, and timely for best results.
Change can be challenging for some and totally paralyzing for others. It’s among the reasons so many dismiss the benefits of taking their business online. It’s easier to retreat than it is to keep up with the ever-evolving nature of the Internet and its boundless opportunities. There is, however, a simpler way of thinking of things and we offer a few of them below
Content is Conversation: Content is key when marketing your business online. But what is content? Well, instead of trying to break down the ins-and-outs of “content marketing,” imagine you’re having a conversation with a potential client. What types of things would you want to share with them? Maybe some news, a hot tip, a new deal? That’s your content. Blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates needn’t be perfectly composed, crafty, clever, or even that creative. The only thing they need to be is relevant to the types of people you’d like to turn into customers.
Social Media is a Satellite: Think of your social-media profiles or blog as a satellite office. It’s your website away from home. It’s like an easily customized billboard that you have complete control over. Sure, it won’t replace your business website but it will become a place where you can communicate and connect with potential partners and future customers. Keep ‘em professional and relevant to your target audience and they’ll become a vital part of how you do business and how you reach new business.
The Internet is Everywhere: Increasingly, people are accessing the Internet wherever they go and whenever they want. And with the popularity of products like the iPhone and iPad, the ease with which people can access the Internet will only increase. That means, if you plan to stay in business for another five or 10 years, you’ll likely end up using the Internet in some way to promote and market your services. Starting now just means you’ll be better positioned to take advantage of future opportunities as the Internet becomes more and more integrated with everyday life.
The lesson behind the story of the Three Little Pigs isn’t that the pig is a particularly industrious animal. It’s that the pig who used bricks rather than sticks to build his house survived by being the most intelligent pig. He outsmarted the wolf and saved his fat friends by having the smarts to choose a sturdy building material rather than one more easily blown down. In other words, sometimes outsmarting the competition and surviving means choosing the right tools and materials to build upon. And that’s how the story of the three little pigs relates to social-media marketing. You may not feel the need or understand the benefits yet of marketing your business online. But having an online presence means you’re building a sturdy foundation for your business and using all the tools available to you. In other words, you’re not a pig in a straw house hoping for the best.
Here are answers to three common excuses and misconceptions about social-media marketing …
The Internet Isn’t Going Anywhere: It may seem tempting to dismiss social-media marketing as hogwash. It’s a convenient excuse to seem smarter than everyone else by not buying into the newest thing. Unfortunately, the Internet is no longer a new thing nor does it appear to be on the way out. The choice here isn’t whether or not you’re going to use social media to market your business. The choice is between doing it now and doing it later. Small businesses using social-media sites and blogs have found them to be an effective way to boost brand loyalty, communication with customers and clients, and new business. Just because it doesn’t work overnight and without any effort from you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
Don’t Think Of It As Facebook: It may seem silly to have a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business. So don’t think of it as social media. Think of it as a mini-website, a branch office, or satellite location. In other words, just because it’s a Facebook page doesn’t mean you have to use it to update your friends on where you’re hanging out on Friday night. Think of it as an extension of your website being hosted on the web’s most popular site. If your Twitter page is just an easily-updated extension of your online brand, then it’s a much easier concept to grasp. After all, making changes to your business website is difficult and not something you want to do a couple of times a day. But if you want to get a quick message out to your clients and customers, having a presence on any of the major social-networking sites means you can. You can never have too many avenues for communicating, keeping in touch, and generating word-of-mouth.
It Does Work, Just Not On Its Own: It’s also easy to say it doesn’t work. Or that you tried and nothing happened once you set up your page. It will take some time and effort but it will work. If you bought a phone and never used it, it wouldn’t be a broken phone. And you couldn’t return it due to a lack of calls. In other words, social media and online marketing is just another form of communication. Having an account on Facebook or Twitter won’t bring in business by itself but if you use your account to get in touch with past and potential clients, it will result in more familiarity with your business, new leads, and new business.
If you opened a retail store and had a flood of customers coming through your door everyday but never buying anything, you wouldn’t call that success. Sure, you would have succeeded in getting people to visit but, if your visitors do nothing but look, you wouldn’t be able to afford your rent, employees, or merchandise. Which means, you would be out of business just as quickly as you got into it. Social-media marketing works the same way. Converting visitors into customers takes effort and some organization. Concentrating on quantity over quality can leave you with an impressive stat sheet but no new leads.
Here are some tips on organizing your efforts and making the most of your online properties …
The Operations Center: Maybe you feel like blogs are yesterday’s news and you’d prefer to skip a step and take your online efforts directly to Facebook or Twitter. Don’t. A blog gives you much more control over how and what your customers see. Facebook, for example, is continually changing and evolving. You have no control over the next update and how that may affect your ability to share your content with potential customers, clients, and partners. Set up a blog and use that as your central hub. From there you can send your posts to whatever other online properties you use for business. In short, start with the blog and share from there. You’ll have more control and an easier time organizing your info and where it’s shared.
Use Your Base: Maintaining a blog takes effort. If nothing else, it requires regular content. That can be a challenge. So much so that getting your blog in front of your target audience can be a secondary concern. Turning your latest post into a lead generator can be tricky but building an audience may be easier than it seems. For one, you can use existing and past clients to generate an audience that’s focused and familiar. How, you may ask, would having past customers reading your blog help build your business? Well it will boost awareness and readership, in addition to providing all important word-of-mouth. After all, a past customer who’s already familiar with you and work will be more willing to pass along your info to family, friends, and colleagues.
Merge and Integrate: Too often, professionals set themselves up with social-media sites and blogs but don’t take the time to link them together or to their business website. Using RSS feeds or any available plugins and widgets online makes it easier than ever to incorporate your blog into your business site, your Facebook fan page, and your Twitter feed. If the purpose of keeping a business blog is to build business, then your main objective should be getting people to visit any or all of your online properties. Driving traffic back to your business website is key. Make sure you’re making it easy for visitors to find you before complaining that your online marketing efforts are a waste of time and effort.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
It’s tempting to think social-media success involves a little magic and some sleight-of-hand. There must be some app, service, software, or site that would propel your profits and boost your business. Maybe the spammers are right and you should just buy 1,000 Facebook fans and wait for them to spread the word. Sadly, though there are many helpful tools available to help you along the way (See our previous posts on apps and plugins for LinkedIn, Facebook, and WordPress), social media isn’t magic. It is, however, an effective way to develop relationships and create word-of-mouth if done correctly.
Here are some tips on successfully marketing your business through social media …
Content is King: Social-media success requires a bit of restraint. Which means, while you may want to fill your blog or Twitter feed with advertisements for you and your business, you’ll do better offering content that is interesting to your potential customer base and forming relationships with any followers or fans you make along the way. Keep your content short and easy to read. On Facebook, for example, it’s been shown that shorter posts get shared 27 percent more than longer posts. And, when you think about it, it’s just common sense. If you’re selling cupcakes, people will get tired of hearing about how you’ve got cupcakes for sale. But what if you posted a recipe instead? It’s likely that the recipe would be shared and enjoyed by more people than yet another plea for business.
Relationships Matter: Whether you have 10 Twitter followers or 5,000 Facebook fans, you should make an effort to treat them as something more than potential dollar signs. After all, people will be more loyal and likely to tell their friends if there’s a person behind the page rather than a company logo that rarely responds to messages or comments. Don’t be as concerned with the number of connections you’ve made as much as the connections themselves. Be personable, appreciative, and responsive. You may find shifting your focus from quantity to quality will, strangely enough, end up boosting your numbers.
Sharing is Caring: Your goal is to get people to share your content or your contact info. You may find someone in search of exactly the service you provide through your social-media efforts or you may be contacted by someone who had a link sent to them or had a friend tell them about your business. In other words, it’s about word-of-mouth. And the best way to create word-of-mouth is to do your best to be respectful and not an annoyance. Post regularly to your blog or social-media site but not so much that people tune you out. Share good information and think it through. Think about what you’d be interested in or what would be helpful to your customers and allow that to guide what you post.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
There aren’t a lot of self-described idiots out there. Which is to say, people like to believe they’re smart. And that’s the reason branding your business online is so important. After all, your customers and clients want to feel like they’re making an informed decision before spending their money. So the more information you share, the more they feel like they’re making a smart choice by choosing to do business with you.
Here are some tips to building a better business brand through social media …
The Foundation: In order to properly brand your business, you’ll need a foundation. That means, having a business blog. Having a blog provides your social network with a focal point. It also offers a convenient way to share content that can then be posted on any additional social-media sites you’ve set up. Make sure, though, that your blog represents your business professionally and consistently. Pay attention to the theme, layout, and widgets you’re using. Though it’s tempting to use all the bells and whistles available to you, a cluttered blog means a cluttered brand. Make sure it’s easy to read and, most importantly, easy to identify who’s in charge. You’ll want visitors to read what you’ve posted on your blog but you’ll also want them to know who you are and what you do.
The Goal: It’s easy enough to get yourself a blog and/or a Facebook page, Twitter account, or LinkedIn profile but you’ll also need a goal. The idea behind social-media marketing is to brand yourself as an expert and a resource. You want people to do business with you and you’re online to give them better access to you, your knowledge, and your business. In other words, your goal is to offer valuable information about your services, industry, and business and to share it with potential clients and customers. If you’re seen as knowledgeable, experienced, and willing to spend the time to make sure your clients are informed, you’ll increase the visibility and reputation of your business.
The Benefits: A properly branded social-media campaign can provide many benefits to your business. Most of all, it increases customer loyalty and referrals as it creates a stronger bond between you and your clients. If you’re communicating with your customers, sharing content, and responding to comments and questions online, you’re boosting the likelihood that those customers will remember you next time they’re in the market for your services or know someone that is. Social media also offers a platform for you to research your region and industry to help you better your business. Most of all, though, it serves as a word-of-mouth generator. The more you participate, the better the success rate.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
For all its high-tech bells and whistles, the Internet is really all about the written word. After all – whether you’re posting to your blog, tweeting, or updating your Facebook page – what you’re really doing is writing. Which means, spending a little time thinking about your writing could make a big difference in the success, or failure, of your online activities. And nowhere more so than when launching an email marketing campaign.
Here are some tips …
Headlines: Okay, start with the subject line. It is, arguably, the most important part of your email. It will determine whether or not the recipient even opens your mail, let alone reads any of it. That means, you’ll have to start thinking of your email subject line as though it was a headline in a newspaper. In other words, you’ll have to give ‘em enough info to know what to expect but also spur enough interest to get your mail opened and read. Subjects left blank, vague, or suspiciously urgent will get you deleted on the spot. For examples, pay attention to the emails in your own inbox. Which subject lines sparked your interest and which didn’t? Mimic and repeat.
The Body: The trick to a successful email-marketing campaign is making the people on your mailing list feel like they’re not on an email-marketing list. That means, keeping it light and easily digested. It also means adding a little personality to your emails. If you’re sending out dry sales pieces, you’ll be treated accordingly. Add a little of your own voice to the emails and include all the pertinent info right there in the body of your email. Don’t fill up on attachments. Instead, copy-and-paste any relevant info, so your recipients won’t have to do any extra work. Sure, it’s only an attachment. But the less you ask, the more you’ll receive. After all, we’re all inherently lazy.
The Content Farm: So now you’re wondering where email marketing fits into your social-media marketing campaign. Right? Well that’s to be expected. Here’s the thing … Integrating your social-media pages and your email marketing campaign is not only the most effective strategy, it’s the least labor intensive. In other words, use your mailing list to promote your social-media sites and your social-media sites to add to your mailing list. Use each to boost the other. And share content, while you’re at it. Say you’ve just posted something to your business blog and wanted to ensure someone, other than you, reads it. Send out an email announcing the post with a link, a few highlights, and a short note to your clients and partners. Make it personal, easy-to-read, and top it with an enticing subject line.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has more than proven itself to be an effective way to embarrass yourself, friends, and family online. But as the popular social network has grown, so have the opportunities for businesses hoping to capitalize on the millions of members logging in each day. No longer is social media only for college kids and online voyeurs, creative brands, businesses, and major corporations have found marketing success using social media, and no network is bigger than Facebook’s.
Below we offer a few helpful hints and tips to building and benefiting from your Facebook fan page …
Online/Offline: The anonymity of the Internet offers people an excuse to do things they wouldn’t in everyday life. Scroll through the comment section of an average news story online and you’ll see how eager people are to engage their most obnoxious instincts. But having a successful social-media marketing campaign means treating people with the same respect you would if you ran into them at an industry or community function. In other words, slow down your sales pitch and develop a relationship with your Facebook fans before pushing your services.
Use Apps: Though you may think your job is done once you’ve got your contact and business info up, you’re not. Facebook offers a multitude of resources and applications that can make your page, not only more dynamic, but more functional and interesting to visitors. Have a glance through the available applications and choose those that seem to fit your business and audience. For example, there are many options to link your fan page to your other social-media sites and blog. If you’re keeping a business blog, kill two birds with one update and have your blog post automatically sent to your Facebook page.
Encourage Participation: Try to view your fan page the way a potential client or curious web browser would. Having a page that is interactive, updated regularly, and offers interesting info and ideas, will keep people visiting and, once they are, more accepting of any directly sales-oriented materials you post. If you set up a fan page and only update it with messages urging visitors to buy, buy, buy, you’ll likely have, not only bored them, but assured that they won’t return. As always, communication and relationships are the key to a successful social-media campaign. Restrain your urge to advertise and, in time, you’ll reap the benefits your efforts.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
Advertising is about grabbing attention. It’s the reason fashion ads feature so little clothing, which – when you think about it – doesn’t make all that much sense. But a photo of fully dressed models won’t grab nearly as much attention as bare skin. The same is true on the Internet – though no one’s suggesting you resort to nudity.
Branding yourself online, whether it’s through a blog, a Facebook business page, or a Twitter account, is about grabbing online attention and getting people to take notice of your page … and then your business. Very few television ads spend that 30 seconds explaining their business credentials. More likely, there’s 28 seconds of a talking monkey and two seconds explaining who the ad is for and how you can buy their product. Which is a way of saying, social-media marketing is no different than any other kind of marketing. You’ll need to grab your target audience’s attention before you’ll see any benefits.
Here are a few ideas to remember …
The What: Okay, you’ll need some content on your pages to keep people interested but that’s not to say your business info and credentials aren’t necessary. Once you’ve registered for a page or profile, fill out all the provided places for your bio, websites, past experience, and whatever else is offered. The more you fill in, the easier it will be for people to find you. This information will provide the keywords through which people will find you in searches and such. It’ll also make it simple for interested visitors to learn about your business and find ways to contact you.
The How: So that’s not the difficult part. After all, anyone with a couple hours can set themselves up with an online profile and fill in their business information. If that’s all it took to bring in new business through social-media marketing, we’d all be on yachts in the South Pacific. Sadly, in order to keep visitors, build word-of-mouth, and brand your business, you’ll have to consistently offer content on your pages, profiles, or blog. And, unlike television or radio ads, you can’t schedule when people will look at your page. Which means, the more you update, the more reason they’ll have to visit. The more visitors, the more potential business. Finding a pace and type of content that suits you and appeals to your clients will take time. Don’t get discouraged. Also, be sure to interact with your audience whenever you can. If someone leaves you a comment, respond. The more available you seem, the more trust you’ll earn.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com