Are you struggling to connect with your audience on social media? Do you feel like social media won’t work for your business? It’s not easy to put every business on social media, but the right approach can help even the most difficult cases reach their customers.
#1: Tell an Outside-the-Box Story
Many marketers create content around topics that relate to their value proposition, but that might be difficult to do if you’re in a “boring” industry. The good news is that even if your industry isn’t inherently exciting, you can still create content that appeals to your audience.
Look to Shoulder Niches
Suppose you’re a widget merchant. You might start with content about widget quality, FAQs about widgets, and suggestions on what to look for when buying widgets. However, these ideas can only go so far. This is where “shoulder niches” come in. Consider niches that are related to your industry. For example, you might create detailed blog posts and videos that show how to build different kinds of widgets. This type of content will attract top-of-funnel traffic and encourage social sharing to boost your reach. To generate content ideas for your business, grab a pen and paper and jot down your industry in the middle of the page. Then add related keywords and topics around your industry keyword until you find an idea you can research further.
#2: Deliver a Quick Call to Action Via Micro-content
People have short attention spans. Studies show that 50% of users stay on a website for less than 10 seconds. Short-form educational and entertaining content, called micro-content, can help appeal to a distracted audience. How do you create micro-content that has a high chance of going viral? Make the content short, keep text to a minimum, and be sure to accompany it with visuals. Always include a call to action as well. The connection you make with your audience should be the first step to tangible business goals. Micro-content should lead to a micro-yes, whether that’s clicking a link or providing an email address. With your calls to action in place, it’s easy to measure performance. Use UTM codes and shorten links to track each campaign. You can do this in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns.
#3: Connect in Real Time With Live Video
Live video is a powerful addition to the customer retention toolbox that makes one-to-one connections even stronger. While Periscope is a key player, Facebook Live is becoming increasingly popular. Whenever you go live on Facebook, your existing fan base is notified. What content should you stream live? Hold live Q&As to give customers a platform to post questions and get answers in real time. Broadcast product launches live to give your audience a sneak peek at new releases and features, making them feel part of something exclusive. You can also show customers what your business looks like behind closed doors. Allow employees to express their personalities so they can form connections with customers. This is the foundation for increasing customer loyalty on social media. Measuring live video engagement on platforms like Facebook is easy, and the viewer count is displayed within the content.
Social media marketing requires patience if you’re trying to gain traction organically. That’s why many business owners and marketers supplement those efforts with paid social media advertising. The second approach is to go beyond content and test campaigns that focus on bottom-of-funnel goals. Sharing free trials or discount coupons via Facebook or Twitter can help you generate qualified leads at all stages of the sales cycle. Ad targeting is an area that many small- and medium-sized businesses underestimate. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all offer granular demographic and psycho-graphic targeting information. Put these practices into play and see if your business grows by better usage of social media.
FDMC Social & Digital Media
OK, so you are familiar with Social Media as a platform and you know you need it to get your branding out there to the masses. Great. But how are you going to do it? What is your game plan? How are you going to win? While there are many with the old phrase "It worked for me!" how a small business markets their brand depends on many variables. There are however a few key and simple plan of action items you can embrace. Here are a few tips I have come across and have engaged as best practices with my clients.
OK, so you got your Facebook landing page up. That Twitter Account is rolling. You even posted a few Instagram Videos. You spent time, maybe even invested in assigning an employee to mange your social media. So where are all the customers? Why isn't anyone interacting with my business? Is anyone even out there? Putting your brand out there and expecting instant results takes more than just creating the platforms. It does take work. It also takes interaction and response. Here are a few reasons why you be failing to attract new customers or clients.
1. Advertising or interacting? Social Media overall is not the place to advertise your business. While maybe running a coupon or announcing an upcoming event is OK here and there, your platforms are to engage your client base about relevant events such as new products or services that may relate or effect what you provide. Create interaction with your streams on social media but do not make it an advertising wall. It turns people away.
2. Updating your content? How often to you go to your platforms and update your content or answer your followers questions? You should check in daily or at the very least, several times a week and add or respond to your followers. To say "We are on Facebook or Twitter" just to say you are on there without doing anything is really a waste of your time and your followers and gives a very poor representation of your brand.
3. Social Media means being social. Make your content to where it will create conversation or be forwarded on to others. This helps with your analytics and branding being spread out there in cyber space.
4. Autopost or not to autopost. Using software like Hoot Suite or similar is great and I am guilty of this as much as the next person. We get busy. However it is always good to try to individualize or at the very least check in on your individual platforms and make them personal by adding unique posts and respond to your followers. Your email can be set up to where someone responded to your post so you can at least answer them or say "thanks" for forwarding your post.
5. Responding? Are you responding to posts? Someone asks you something or says something negative are you responding? You must. If they say something negative about your business answer them. Don't delete and say stick it buddy. They have a reason and they need addressed.
6. Tracking and gaining followers. Use analytics to track your ROI. Social Media within itself is a part of your business strategy. We don't do it for fun or because the younger generation is doing it. We do to market our brand. Track your time and investment and see how it is growing your business. As my title says. If it is not you are doing something wrong. 9 of 10 times it is because you don't put any effort into it. If you don't have the time, hire or appoint someone within your staff to manage it or take your platforms down until you do have the time. Having dead space is worse than having something there just because my competition does. Use Google analytics or something similar to track your activity. It is just the same as websites I see of businesses that are nothing more than a place holder. No fresh content, the staff pictures are outdated, the business has moved or remodeled and their website has content from 5 years ago. Would you do business there? Same with your social media. Be fresh, be responsive, and don't use your platforms as a "big sale" advertising gimmick. Good luck.
We have all seen the recent changes to video apps in the latter part of 2013. Vine, Instagram, Social Cam among others have seen surges in their apps. Times, they are a changing. Social Media is becoming for visual. Instagram however has become the King of Video. Vine you may say has settled in as the Queen. Both have had their moment in the spotlight but Instagram has become more mainstream , more profitable, and more versatile. As more use social platforms for telling their short 30 to 60 second stories, Instagram will skyrocket in 2014. We are a visual society now.
As for the battle between Vine and Instagram, I think Twitter will settle on Instagram to be used in its mix as Facebook (who owns Instagram) has allowed pictures from Twitter to be now used in full without having to link to it. Cutting each other's profit throats is not going to be the solution. Video will surge as a marketing tool. We can also talk YouTube here as well. Besides the other video apps, YouTube will continue to grow as a content marketing tool for showing video. I would be remiss without mentioning SnapChat. This up and coming app also has emerged as a player in video but at the moment lacks marketing and advertising resource tools due to the nature of the videos going to selected groups, its length, and the capability of being removed. Some fine tuning and changes of SnapChat could however, make this app competitive with Instagram and Vine. Keep your visual eyes tuned to the video walls in 2014 and see the changes about to unfold in 2014 as we move from print to visual content!
If you are into social media deeply or have been using it for some time, then you are probably somewhat familiar with Klout. Klout is a company that tracks your social media influence. It is easy to sign up for and gives you a
measuring and marketing platform to see how effective your efforts are. This company has been around awhile but recently has gained some popularity and is getting a foothold in businesses for providing analytics. The key word here is influence and not so much anything else.
So having said that who would care about using Klout? In a nutshell those who are trying to influence their audience or market share.
As you use social media and are trying to get a certain sector of the population to pay attention to you or your product or service, then using Klout will help you via your score they provide. The higher the score, the better your influence. If you are a small business or enjoy a local or small regional market then Klout is probably not for you.
Klout works best on a national or international stage.
How it works. As you produce engaging content or topics, followers who tap into your feeds are tracked by Klout through their very detailed analytics or algorithms. Simply, the higher your score (up to 100)
the better you are influencing your followers. Some say that
Klout does not really work that well and at the moment as I stated for small business, that is true as there just is not enough sampling for the system to be strongly effective. But if you are a say a famous speaker, offer a service or product geared toward a specific market and you are wanting a larger share of that market then give Klout a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Get yourself a plan of action, build great content and
start loading your social media!
If you are using social media to promote your business and yet your business is still unproductive, failing, or customers still are bailing by the droves, don't blame social media, blame yourself. Sound harsh? Facts are facts. Here are some reasons I have found through my own visits with fellow business owners, research, and on hand experience why social media is good as only the people behind it executing the content.
1. Value Are you providing good valuable content
that has interest to your followers? Do you create content that allows interaction or are you only thinking of yourself of what you like? Create content that will make them want to come back for more or click on other links that leads to what you do or products you sell.
2. Analytics Do you take time to measure what you post and see if it is effective? If what you do is not monitored or measured why are you wasting your time with that content? Take time to invest in a measuring system such as Google or a similar program and see what is working for you.
3. Who is posting for you While having a young person or an employee post content for you is cost-effective, do
you monitor what they post? What they may think is "cool" or informative may not be what you or your customers want. Do they have your business model at heart? Watch what they do, hire a professional or do it yourself. The newbie might be excited and think they know it all but they
may wind up posting who they got trashed with last night or dated accidentally on your professional platforms and you, my friend, will have mess. Make sure they know what they are doing.
4. Sell yourself and the business on Social Media.
It's OK to suggestive sell and promote your business (not you) on your platforms. Offer a special, talk about a product that you offer. Don't be a blow-hard, don't be egotistical that you know it all but offer to your customers, your service and your expertise in a professional manner.
Using social media can be a fun and rewarding experience to gain trust, customers, and friends when done in the right methodology. Have a plan and execute it properly.
Good luck and now go make some money!
We have a few months behind us in 2013 already so what are businesses doing with social media? Doing some research, video is quickly becoming the tool to draw customers. Web video is becoming big business. YouTube recently announced they are now getting 2 billion users a day world wide. That in itself, is amazing. Besides video however here are some quick fast observations about
where social media is trending in marketing and advertising.
Facebook and that "Like" button: Businesses in the past loved those Facebook landing pages and getting customers to like them to get traffic. But that is no longer enough to keep your customers. Now it is solid relationship building.
It must now move across other platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. (Ahh, that Video platform again!)
Marketing Your Market: SMBs can no longer sit on their laurels and expect magic things to happen on one platform. If you talk about your business let's say via a single source such as a web or blogging site, you are already losing your base. Right now it is the trend to embrace multiple platforms to talk about your products or service via Twitter, Tumblr, StumpleUpon , Pinterest, and your own YouTube channel. This has been popular with e-Commerce or e-Books in marketing.
Video Entertainment Advertisers : As I mentioned before businesses are embracing web video to sell their products and using big bucks in the form of entertainment to do it.
As more and more consumers are pulling away from their armchairs and going mobile so has the trend to market to the web. They are creating dynamic high-profile ads to reach that market.
Reality Marketing : Although it is nothing new in the sense of selling, "Call To Action" advertising and marketing I noticed, is also making a larger presence. I am seeing this not only in print media but also on the web and television. The soft fuzzy ads are being replaced with "So what are you gong to do about it Mr. or Mrs. Consumer?" They are telling you to make a decision and make it now before it's too late. This is becoming in tune with the fact we are now a fast paced and action oriented society. Being mobile and with all these tools to take action now via our cell phone, tablet, or laptop, we can now buy cars on-line, make a reservation for dinner or a hotel room, and even buy a
plane ticket. Reality or augmented marketing is growing leaps and bounds this year.
We are 4 months into the new year and look how social media has
shifted! I will be anxious to see how the rest of the year shapes up!
Having limited resources does not mean you can not market your business
against those big guys. If you are careful, target your market, and research
your resources, you can come out on top. Let me go over just a few tips that can
help SMB's overcome their larger competitors using strategies that can have
Growth: Specific individual markets can be a good source for SMBs Find a niche that the larger box stores overlook. They go on volume and often never carry specific specialty products customers may look for. A good example. I have often gone into Ace Hardware and found a specific electrical item that Lowell's, Home Depot, or Wal-Mart never had on their shelves. LG, whom you always think of for flat screens, started making front loading washing machines and chose the US to introduce its product because we are so accustomed to Top loading consumer machines. Another example. I recently worked with Lenovo for a desktop deal. They are now number 3 in the computer desktop market. Why? because they changed up their target market to medium and large enterprise markets knowing this market is being ignored by mass retailers.
Promoting: Promote your business to the people or market you are trying to reach by telling about yourself and what you offer. Don't use those old clichés of "We service What We Sell" or "Clean Isles" or "Small enough to know you" Focus on your strengths of Why you sell the products that you choose to merchandise. Be bold and know your customers! Sure, it does not hurt to know you can spend time with your customers and you might have the coffee pot on for them with some of that small town flare but advertise and research your mix. In the end, you will win!
So you are ready to make the leap to social media. My first question is "Why have you waited so long in the first place?" My second question is "How are you going to develop your game plan? If you have a limited budget, chances are
you are going to go after what is free out there over paying for a consultant or paying for various apps or on-line ads. Free is not so bad. There are a lot of free platforms that can work to help get your brand out. Paying for enhancing your brand is obviously better. Let me briefly go over the pros and cons of both and you can decide for yourself based on your needs and your budget. Regardless of what you decide, just making the jump to using social media is a smart choice in this digital age we now live in.
Free Social Media Marketing
Your business exists because you made it happen. You probably built your customer base by having good products or services so your first happy customer told someone else thus word of mouth got you started and perhaps is still working for you. This coincides with repeat business. Your branding that you worked hard to build can be placed for free on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to start. These are all free. While it will take time intense monitoring of your sites to start, soon, you will build followers if you do it right. Create promotions, interaction with your customers, attach links via your website or email or even on your invoices. The bottom line is get your brand out.
Paying for Social Media Marketing
While we all like free, the other side of social media marketing is paying for related services, apps, and on-line advertising is going to get you better results most of the time. While you may have a free Facebook site, you
can do promotions, use their per click ads or tap into Google ads top romote your business. I use Woobox which offers a paid service to promote your business as does another company that integrates with your Facebook called Wildfire. LinkedIn also offers paid ads. Finally , if you have a website (technically not a social media platform) Use the social media platforms you have made to link to your website or vice-versa. Create the interest and make one big circle so everything interconnects! Your on-line ads creates leads for you, especially if your website deals in e-commerce. Good luck and I hope these tips were of value to you.
I am going to start right off by saying that I don't know what to think of Twitter's new app. Appealing, fun, yet from a business application aspect? What can one do with a 6 second loop video? First let's cover the facts. Twitter and Facebook have a love-hate relationship. Also Twitter feels left out of the surging video application market thus we find Vine. As you may know when Vine came out, you could find your Facebook buddies but Facebook pulled the plug on that quickly. You can hash tag search your friends and send them 6 seconds of whatever you think is worthy of your looped video. Also ugly, especially for the younger ones who like Twitter, porn has quickly found its way upon the Vine. See this link from "Mashable". Parents beware. Vine does allow editing and it's fairly simple. It is only on i-Phones at this time but I was able to download it on my i-Pad and experimented with it for a bit. Your phone number is optional. Since I am still deciding as to whether I want it associated to my Twitter account, this is a good way to "test the waters". Now for business applications. I can see perhaps,some imaginative 6 second loops of a guy with a "Super Sale" sign at a business location or a product demo so I am not going to be a narrow-minded moron here and say there is not a place for this app but I think for now, its more for fun and younger users to share "whatever" it is they want to share in 6 seconds. I sincerely believe Twitter came up with this app to counteract Social Cam, Facebook, and their Instagram app. Download it for yourself if you are a i-Phone user and decide for yourself. Will this app die on the "Vine"? We shall see.