Category Archives: Social Media

How to Create a Meaningful Social Media Presence

social media icon cloudLots of companies have a social media presence. They have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Pinterest pages, Instagram, YouTube and other online accounts. They may make an effort to create a presence on every new social platform; however, the mere presence of social media accounts will do nothing to help your company’s marketing efforts. If customers don’t have a reason to pay attention to your social media efforts, they will be a waste of time and energy. At worst, some companies manage to annoy their customers through their use of social media. A well-planned out strategy can help you avoid these marketing mishaps.

Many businesses hire social media experts to help them manage their online presence. For smaller companies, a dedicated social media employee isn’t a realistic option. Often, they choose to work with consultants who help them build a useful online presence. Often, social media consultants work with website developers to help integrate the company’s image into a consistent brand. An important part of this is engaging customers without annoying them.

How do you attract customers without pestering them?

  1. Don’t post articles or send messages that have no purpose other than self-promotion. Some companies post Tweets or Facebook messages that are the online equivalent of saying “Hey, we’re here!” Most users view this as another pesky internet advertisement which they promptly ignore. They may even unsubscribe from your Facebook page or stop following your Twitter account if they are particularly annoyed.
  2. Use your sites to include customers in your business. Allow them to post Instagram pictures on your Facebook page. Follow your customers back on Twitter. Respond to Facebook friend requests, if your page is setup to maintain your professional persona. When customers post comments on your Facebook page, send a reply. This creates interaction that entices customers to share your sites and return for future interactions.
  3. Include promotions on your sites. Share coupons through sites like Twitter and Facebook. Encourage subscribers to share coupons with friends. Offer new promotions and coupons on a regular basis to encourage interest.
  4. Host contests that users can share on social media. Encourage them to share contests with friends. Contests can give away free or reduced price products. Share information about the winners so that users know contests are real. You can even share photographs of winners with their permission.
  5. Run seasonal promotions and share the information with all your followers and friends. If you don’t attract their attention regularly, they will forget about you. A dormant social media presence becomes invisible over time. It does no good to create a Facebook page if you never use it.
  6. Use tools like FanPageKarma or Woobox to increase customer interaction through Facebook contests. You can ask users to like or comment on a post to enter a contest. The tool picks a winner at random out of the number of “likes” on the Facebook page. The contests need to be real or users will quickly catch on.
  7. Try creating a YouTube account that features fun or interesting videos. Share the videos with customers on social media. You can create a variety of different types of videos. Take videos at company events. Record a community event that is related to your business. Ask customers to create testimonials. Always get permission before using people in videos. Never use copyrighted materials in visual media.
  8. Avoid commenting on politics or controversial social issues. Your customer base probably includes people with a wide range of opinions and convictions. Don’t alienate people by posting political articles, criticizing local leaders or campaigning for candidates. Businesses have lost customers by commenting on a variety of controversies. Reread any posts and ask for a second opinion if you think you might have crossed a line.
  9. Write articles that inform consumers. Customers don’t want to receive notifications about new marketing campaigns; they want information that helps them solve problems. Create articles that educate people on current issues and concerns that are relevant to your industry. Don’t create content that is merely self-serving. Instead, create interesting articles with expert advices, questions, answers and helpful resources that readers will share with others.
  10. Use your social media presence to support community events. Many companies sponsor local charity causes including parades, fundraisers, races, food drives, dances, museums, youth sports and other causes to help build community awareness. Encourage readers to become involved in events through links on your Facebook page. Send tweets that inspire people to join in to help. This isn’t a direct marketing strategy, but it affects the public opinion of your organization.
  11. Use Twitter in a variety of ways. Link to articles. Post advertising videos. Thank customers who have replied to your tweet or have retweeted your posts. Retweet relevant links. Use hashtags that are relevant to your company.
  12. Link to your social media sites through your website. Customers can use Twitter to request help or ask questions. They can like your Facebook page to receive promotional information. They can pin product information or designs from your site directly to their Pinterest boards if you provide a link. These steps can help increase the traffic to your website from potential customers.
  13. Use a casual but professional style at all times. If your writing is sloppy, people will view you as incompetent. Work with professional writers and editors if you don’t have the time or staff available to carefully review your work. Small mistakes can detract from your company’s image.
  14. Follow related businesses, experts and individuals on Twitter and review their posts. You can learn a lot about customer interactions and current issues. Reply to posts on occasion if you have something relevant to add to the conversation.
  15. Encourage comments on your social media pages. Ask questions about current issues in your industry. Ask customers for feedback. What flavors do they want? What new styles interest them? What are their favorite events to celebrate at restaurants? When customers comment on your page, reply and thank them for their comment. If the customer has a complaint, contact the person directly to resolve the issue.

How to Enrich Your Online Presence

How long will it take customers to forget about you? You don’t want to find out the answer to this question the hard way. Establishing social media accounts is a first step, but you shouldn’t stop there. When it comes to Facebook and other social media, you need to regularly post or your readers will quickly lose interest in your page. If you don’t post often enough, your posts won’t show up in your readers’ newsfeeds. It doesn’t matter how many friends or fans you have if no one is seeing activity from your page.

Create a blog

wordpressMany companies have added blogs to their websites. Why? Blogs are a valuable tool for reaching out to customers. You can create a blog simply and quickly using WordPress. If you want support using the tool, you can work with a website developer who is experienced with WordPress. They can quickly install the tool and help you update it over time. Once installed, the tool is as simple to use as most word processing software. You can easily write articles, use spell check and add graphics and links.

Your blog can contain a wide variety of articles. Focus on content that is useful for consumers. The blog shouldn’t be an obvious marketing tool. Instead, it should contain information like:

  • How to solve common problems customers have with your products.
  • Ways to resolve issues that don’t involve your products but are related to your industry.
  • Answers to common questions customers have about projects that are related to your products and services.
  • Articles about trends in your industry.
  • Assistance in researching common concerns.
  • Advice from experts in your industry.

Spice up your Facebook page through WordPress Plug-ins

jetpack pluginYou can easily create a blog on WordPress and link relevant articles through your Facebook page. WordPress has a plug-in that can help you make the most of your blog and Facebook relationship. You can schedule articles to automatically post to your social media pages. What is social integration? It also known as social publishing. It means you can cross-post your content between your WordPress account and your Facebook timeline. This helps you save time and send your posts to Facebook immediately. You can also tag friends and other pages which will help you distribute your content to a wider audience.

The WordPress plug-ins are simple and don’t require complex coding on your end. If you don’t have the time or staff resources to deal with WordPress plug-ins, you can find a contract website developer who can install these plug-ins quickly and inexpensively. Ask the installer to explain how the new plug-ins work and how you can use them effectively.

You can publish new content to Facebook in more than one way. First, you should have a company page set up. You can regularly post content and it will appear on your fans’ newsfeed. Next, your authors can create their own Facebook pages so they can share their articles with their followers. Encourage employees to repost links on articles that interest them.

You can use WordPress widgets to point users towards useful content. You can add a recommendations box to refer users to site content based on likes and comments from other users. You can also do this through an activity feed. You can also embed the public post content on Facebook in your WordPress posts easily by entering a shortcode or embedding a link.

Update WordPress Features

WordPress adds new features all the time. New WordPress widgets can help you boost your interactions with customers all the time. You can use social plug-ins that let you learn more about your friends and followers. The activity feed will show your friends’ and fans’ activity on Facebook. This might include their comments on other pages and likes. You can use this information to create posts and articles that relate to the interests your customers have.

WordPress plug-ins allow you to create richer comments sections on your blog. The plug-ins make it possible for readers to comment on your site and post these comments back to Facebook. You have the option to use moderation tools. Why are these tools important? Many spammers use comments sections to plug their websites or post irrelevant links. Other times, readers get into arguments on unrelated issues in the comments section. You don’t want this type of content to post to your Facebook page. It wastes your reader’s time and they’ll get in the habit of ignoring your posts. They may even hide your newsfeed so that they can’t see the information.

Make Use of “Like” and “Send” buttons

facebook likeYou can use WordPress widgets to embed “Like” and “Send” buttons into your posts. Customers can then easily share your content to Facebook using the buttons. They don’t have to take the extra step of copying and pasting the link to their pages. This makes them much more likely to share your content on social media.

General tips for social media

Here are some general tips that will help you keep your social media presence relevant and engaging:

  • Post regularly. Don’t neglect your blog or social media accounts. If you don’t have time to create posts and links, work with a social media expert. There are a variety of writers and marketing consultants that can do this work on an as-needed basis.
  • Share useful information. Don’t send blatant marketing materials. Instead, share information that will interest your readers.
  • Avoid engaging in controversial issues on your company’s social media. Don’t send, like or repost content on politics and social issues no matter how strongly you might feel about them. Your customer base is diverse and if people are offended by posts, they’ll probably delete you from their Facebook and other social media accounts.
  • Use Twitter to send your information to users. This can help remind them to visit your page on a regular basis.
  • Run contests and regular promotions. Send the information through social media and encourage users to share with their friends. Many companies successfully use coupons and regular specials to engage readers.

Keeping social media up to date is a critical part of the modern marketing process. Remember, if you don’t have the time or staff to dedicate to these efforts, you can always hire consultants to support you. If you neglect social media, you will miss out on opportunities to engage potential customers. This can have a direct impact on you company’s bottom line.

The Challenges of Today’s Social Media Manager

google +Social media managers have their work cut out for them. Whether you are working on your business image or a new brand, you need to be constantly penetrating niche markets, especially new ones as they appear. Let’s look at some of the challenges you might find yourself facing.

Content Asset Management

What many don’t realize is that all of your content are assets. If you were a financial manager, you would be carefully managing all of your financial assets. It’s the same when you are a social media manage, you should be carefully managing all of your content. Did you know that content can become very profitable? This can happen fast and for no obvious reason. If this happens to you, hopefully you have a content asset management strategy already in place so that you can boost your sales.

For example, you posted a blog almost 5 years ago, then today it ranks on page 1 of Google. Suddenly you receive tons of traffic from this old post. It would be a mistake to ignore what was going on and instead continue to focus on your new posts. It would be wise to see if you could figure out why suddenly this content is so hot and then turn that into an opportunity to make money.

Content Integrity

Social media managers have a tendency to copy the style, format, and tone that everyone else is using. To make sure your content is in line with your social media goals, and to ensure you maintain your integrity, you should develop your own set of parameters for the formating, spacing, tone, style, etc. that will apply to your social media. For example, you could use your own unique style on Twitter and Facebook to get more followers.

Good Enough Syndrome

One of the main challenges social media managers face is ‘what’s good enough?’ A common mistake is to think that if something sort of works, then it’s a win, and it’s good enough. This actually is wrong! Social media needs to go above and beyond. You need to pay close attention to detail. Average work isn’t acceptable.

Social media managers have their work cut out for them in what is still really much like the ‘wild west’ where the rules aren’t clear, especially for business owners. Another option you have is simply to hand this task over to a marketing company that ensures you get the most out of your social media.

Social Media Content That Works

social mediaBrands – it’s the goal of every manufacturer to have consumers follow their brand and be loyal to it. Social media has created an opportunity that’s very unique, which allows brands and consumers to connect a level that’s much more than just a monetary transaction.

In the past, brand followers really had no way to celebrate their loyalty to a brand. Social media has changed that. Social media has taken brand loyalty to a whole new level, taking that relationship to a whole deeper level.

As a follower of your brand, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can provide any content you want. Remember, with just one click of the mouse, your fan can exit. It’s very important for you to offer the kind of content that your followers want. Let’s look at the type of social media content that works.

  1. Content that Goes Deeper – The most casual fans may be okay with limited interaction with their brand. However, the more serious brand follower, the true fan, wants more. They want to see content that’s limited where only a small number to see. This additional content is desirable to those serious fans.

  2. Fan Content – One of the biggest thank you can give your fans is to share content they’ve created. Social media tends to overlook their audience. If you offer your fans this little thank you, you will be rewarded with happier, more loyal brand followers.

  3. Content that’s Shareable – We’ve all seen it on our Facebook profile – crazy pictures or videos, inspirational quotes, and all kinds of shareable content that is not associated with an actual brand. This type of content is freely shared on Facebook. So while it’s never a good idea to make it part of your auto scheduled posts, but instead share them randomly.

  4. Participating Content – Most social media interaction could be compared to being a passive stalker. Followers watch, read, and leave. But if you give them something to participate in, such as a contest, followers will be quick to participate. By offering your followers a way to participate it gets them involved.

  5. Content that’s Exclusive – If the content you are sharing on your social media is the same as what’s available elsewhere, why would your followers follow you. In order to get people to subscribe or follow you, there needs to be something of value being offered. So when you are putting your social media content together keep this in mind.

If you are ready to take on your social media content by yourself, good for you! However, if you feel like you need a hand in order to get it right, why not hire a marketing company.

Marketing Tips to Improve Your Facebook Fan Participation

facebookMost business owners recognize the importance of a Facebook presence for their business. However, just creating a page and having fans follow you isn’t enough. You want to make sure that you are engaging your fans and that they are participating on your Facebook fan page. Here are some excellent marketing tips to improve your Facebook fan participation.

  • Link to other relevant Facebook pages – Don’t be afraid to provide links to other Facebook pages that provide more information on related topics. Don’t worry; you won’t lead your fans to the competition. Rather, they’ll appreciate the extra effort to provide them with more resources and are likely to come back more often. Marketing using this technique can be very successful.

  • Make your content relevant – If you want your fans to participate then the content, you post needs to relate to real people. You need to connect with your readers on an emotional level and you are much more likely to see them participate on your page.

  • Link to something popular – If you want to increase the amount of discussion occurring on your page, link to something popular that people are talking about. For example, right now the Game of Thrones is incredibly popular so a niche on your Facebook page would help to generate a dialogue on your page. This applies to other social media avenues as well.

  • Give your fans’ choice – One of the easiest ways to get your fans to participate is to ask them to make a choice.  For example, click like if you are a Boston Red Sox fan or share if you are a Chicago Cubs fan. Now you may not think that this marketing strategy would benefit you, but the focus is to engage your fans.

  • Curate the content from other Facebook pages – Creating new posts on an ongoing basis can be time consuming. Instead, why not share some of the other terrific content that’s on Facebook. It will help to balance the news that appears on your page, and you’ll get all kinds of voices this way.

There you have it – some great marketing tips to increase your Facebook fan participation. These marketing tips can be used in many of your social media venues. Ideally, your marketing should focus on getting your fans to interact on your page, because it is that interacting that leads to trust and brand loyalty.

If you don’t have the time, or you don’t feel you have the expertise to be successful using these marketing tips, why not hire a marketing company to help.

Do You Know the Risks of Social Media?

social media risksFor many companies what’s stopping them from further expanding on their social media campaigns is simply the fear of the risks that associated with such activities. These risks can be larger than most of us realize. When social media is not carried out correctly, it can lead to numerous issues that run the risk of destroying a company. Thankfully, all of these risks are manageable. Let’s look at the most common risk forms and how they can be managed.

 

The Public Relations Disaster

There is no company that is exempt from a possible public relations disaster. Social media is like putting your PR issues on steroids. This in itself scares off many companies from enjoying the many benefits that social media can offer.

 

One excellent example of a PR disaster that social media fueled is Netflix. Not only did they receive a tremendous amount of negative publicity from upset customers, their company stock dropped from $291.27 to $52.81 in a short period of time. What caused this? Netflix announced a 60% price increase, their customers took this news to social media and that caused all of Netflix’s troubles. So you can see why companies might be a bit gun shy of social media and what it can do to their business.

 

Luckily, public relations disasters can be managed. Netflix is an example of doing everything wrong in attempting to manage their disaster, but there other companies like Domino’s and FedEx that have successfully handled public relations nightmares. The type of crisis will define the type of response that is needed. This should be thoroughly thought out and the path clearly defined. This would be a great time to have a marketing team working with you. In fact, having a marketing team working with you early on will allow you to avoid such pitfalls.

 

The Compliance Disaster

Many companies must worry about the regulatory bodies that they fall under. These companies must follow specific rules on how they handle information. For example, the financial industry falls under SEC regulations, while the healthcare industry falls under FTC and FDA regulation. There are many others.

 

The fact is that every post on a social media channel has the potential of causing a compliance risk. For the pharmaceutical companies this can be a disaster because each time someone posts about a negative side effect of a drug, the pharmaceutical company must report it to the FDA. This has the potential to cause the drug to be pulled from the shelf.

 

This is a known risk, which makes it easier to manage. Every company should know what their compliance and regulatory obligations are, relating to social media. One of the most constructive things any company can do to control their social media risks is to hire an experienced marketing company.

Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Social MediaSocial media marketing is simple and effective. If you are new to the social media world, the following tips are sure to help you get started:

 

Tip #1: Use Social Media to Connect with Your Email Subscribers

If you are looking to get more traffic on your social media websites, simply ask your email subscribers to follow you on Pinterest and/or Twitter and like you on Facebook. Make sure to tell the readers why they should follow you. Let them know that they will receive access to exclusive promotions that you will only offer via social media campaigns.

 

Tip #2: Require Users to Share Your Posts in order to Receive Promotions

Believe it or not, this is one of the quickest ways to increase your audience on Facebook and other social media sites. For example, if your business is massage therapy, you might offer a free massage to one lucky winner. In order to qualify for the drawing, the participant must like your page and share your post on their Facebook page, which makes your post available to more readers who might then like your page and share the post with their friends in order to try and win a portable massage chair or the free massage. This is a very quick way to exponentially increase your number of likes and/or followers.

 

Tip #3: Focus on Expanding Your Audience and Getting Attention First

Don’t focus so much on the bottom line. It may take awhile to notice an increase in profit from your social media, but it will come in time. The advantage to using social media marketing is that it doesn’t have to cost you anything. It just takes a little bit of your time and effort. The important thing is to attract attention to your business. The more attention your business has, the more likely consumers are to think of your business when their needs arise. You can simply start by posting relevant information on your site that will capture the reader’s interest and keep them wanting more.

 

Tip #4: Hire a Marketing Company to Help You Get Started

While social media is an effective marketing tool, it should not be used independently, but should instead be a part of a comprehensive marketing plan. Consider hire a marketing company to help you establish the best marketing strategy for your business.