12 Social Media Truths

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Ten might be the cleanest number I know, but it feels like the best things come in dozens.  Eggs, bagels, cookies, donuts or pretty much anything else you bake, but in that spirit, how about some quick tips?

To begin with, the number of followers you have doesn’t always matter.  Sure, high numbers can look impressive, but if you’re paying for them, you’re getting nothing out of them after that.  Spend your time being a person and engaging with your audience than just searching for ways to make your ticker go up.

Next up, you don’t need to be on all the networks.  Not everyone has an infinite amount of time, so it’d be much better to focus on only a few of them and work on being of value to the community there.  It’s better to not be somewhere, then be there and outright neglect it.

Third, you’re in the best position to find out where your customers are at.  Anyone can put in all kinds of research into who’s where, but alternatively, you could simply ask them yourselves as they come and go.

In that vein of where your customers are, Facebook is always a safe bet.  There are over a billion people on there at the moment, and if your clients aren’t there for business, then they’re likely still there for entertainment.  Often times people research a product on social media, so be sure to be there.  If you’re sharing interesting and helpful information however, they’re much more likely to  stick with you than just give you a quick glance.

Fifth, contrary to what everyone seems to be saying, social media isn’t free.  Back in high-school I had a social studies teacher always tell the class that there was no such thing as a free lunch.  It’s the same concept here, even if you aren’t spending money for it, you’re still spending time.

Next, you don’t have to be a certain age for this to be successful.  Maybe millennials have a lower learning curve, but it isn’t too difficult to pick up.  If it wasn’t, they never would’ve had the traction to get their feet off the ground.

Now similar to that one, if you’re quick to shovel off the social media responsibilities to someone else, you may want to veer from giving it to someone’s kid simply on account of them being a kid.  Even if they have lots of Facebook friends, if they don’t know your business, they shouldn’t necessarily be handling your business.  And that brings us right into the next one.

You do have time for it.  People are busy, I’ll be the first to admit that, but at the same time, people also make a point to have a bit of free time each day.  You may have to cut into that a bit, but if you did, you could really help your business grow.

Going off of that, you can create content as well.  Your every day observations tied to your industry could all be content.  Changes in the law that could effect you, what helps and hurts from the news or even what some other people in your industry are doing could all be beneficial to you.

As far as blogs are concerned, they’ll always be what you say they are.  If you see them as nothing but long strands of texts spanning several pages, then that’s all it’ll be for you.  Some of the most helpful posts out there are simply lists of links to important news for your industry.  Additionally, the goal should be to get a customer thinking about you, so if you can do it in a paragraph, that’s all you’d need.

As often as I keep hammering to connect with your customers, they want to connect with you too.  If you went somewhere or did something fun, go ahead and share it!

Finally, you can do it.  Although the entire ordeal may feel like a handful at first, it could eventually prove to be the fun part of your marketing strategy, in addition to aiding you forage bonds with your target audience.

For a continued reading on this matter, click here for Venture Beat’s article in its entirety.

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4 Essentials of Video Content Marketing

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I’ve touched on video a few times my past couple entries, so the way I see it, I may as well give it its own post entirely!

Just to open up with however, here are a couple statistics.  Demand Metric has recently published a study that shows 70 percent of marketers are currently using videos in their marketing strategies.  On top of that though, 82 percent of them indicate that it’s proven successful.  Personally, I’d say that reward is well worth getting involved!

That being said, if you do plan on integrating video into your current marketing plans, there are some things to be aware of in order to be successful.

First and foremost, identify what your goals are.  What do you aim to accomplish with your video marketing strategy?  Will you be using it to draw attention to your products and services, are you using it as a recruitment tool, or is it simply to make more people aware you exist?  Whichever it is, it’s so important to define these goals because that’s how you’ll be determining if it succeeded or not.  Will this be defined by how many times it’s viewed, or are you more concerned about it being shared?

Second, keep it relevant to your audience.  What’s important to them, and how can you portray that?  If the Super Bowl’s taught us anything, is that you shouldn’t be scared of getting a little creative to reach out to your audience.

Third, be sure you have some sort of call to action.  Ultimately, what do you want your viewers to do after they watch your clip?  This is something that should be both visual and audible, but the absence of it could cause your video to fail regardless of how it was produced.

Finally, no matter where you plan on this video going ultimately, don’t over look your social media.   It’s a great place to share and promote your videos, as well as optimizes.

Video is on the rise and more and more people will be viewing them in the years to come.  Be sure to get in the game while the game’s still young!

For a continued reading on the matter, click here to view Entrepreneur’s article in its entirety.

6 Things to Know about Social Media

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I feel like at this point I’ve listed off more rules than NCIS’ Gibbs, but I’ve got a fresh batch for you this Friday afternoon!

First of all, despite what you’ve been hearing, Google+ actually is important.  While it is true it doesn’t have the thriving audience of some of the other networks, it’s the one that has the highest in searches.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was strictly because of the obvious bias Google would have to it, but it’s important to post on it regularly and use hashtags that are relevant to what you’re doing.  One or two posts a day will do a great job helping customers find your content, and as a result, your business.

Second, building off that, don’t forget to use hashtags in general.  They’re an easy way to categorize your content and keep it all searchable.  Not only that, but they can also be extremely useful industry events and conferences.

Third, make sure that your pages are easy to find.  If it’s in your website keep it in either the header or footer, and if it isn’t, add and then link them.  Have the links on your blog as well, and then have the pages link between each other as well.  Feel free to tell people in person as well, and that you’d like to connect with them.

Forth, don’t worry about scheduling posts, but if you do be sure you’re there to monitor them.  Real time responses can make your brand and are critical to your strategy.

Fifth, timing is important.  As much as you should be aware of what you’re posting, you should be conscious of when you’re doing so.   For Facebook, the most popular time is Wednesday at 3pm, and the time from 1pm to 4pm would be the best to post on other days, as well as at the top of the hour.  For Twitter, key times are Monday-Thursday from 1pm to 3pm, Thursdays being the most important.  LinkedIn is best at noon or between 5pm-6pm, weekdays being best, and finally Google+ works best between 9am and 10am.

Lastly, measure the results of your success and set expectations.  Numbers aren’t everything, what matters more is having quality followers, specifically those who fall into your target demographic.  If you’re drawing in the wrong group, you may need to rethink your strategy.  Similarly, watch for what content is getting engagement as apposed to what isn’t.  If something continually don’t get any results, you may want to scrap it.

Follow these tips, and eventually you’ll find what works best for you!

For a continued reading on the matter, click here for Talkin’ Cloud’s article on the matter.

Social Partners

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At the moment there’s a guy on YouTube with 33,946,673 subscribers with 2,206 videos, the latest of which from 22 hours ago already has over 1,900,000 views.  Most of me finds this terrifying.

PewDiePie is just one of several YouTube personalities who’s achieved massive amounts of success, and this isn’t just through dumb luck.  Several of these people partner with one another, which in turn introduces one groups fans to something they may have never heard of before, and usually these team ups work great.  As an example of that, I remember last summer when a couple of my friends where crushing on Lindsey Sterling, a well known violinist on YouTube, and while they were showing me some of her music videos we stumbled upon her collaboration with Pentatonix, an acapella group, covering Imagine Dragon’s Radioactive.

Here’s the thing though.  This isn’t a YouTube only strategy, it’s something that you can use to your benefit on any of your social media pages.  Simply find some brands that you aren’t competing with with a following around the same size as you and propose the idea.  That way you’ll both be on an even level and can offer each other the same value.

After the two of you have established your partnership, you should both appear in each other’s posts on occasion, and take product photos of each other’s products together.  If you own a restaurant for example, you may want to partner with an ice cream parlor and advertise how well they go together.  Similarly, you could work with a spa and apparel store if you advertise the dating angle.

And that ‘and’ brings me to the next point.  This isn’t just a one and done sort deal, you can build your brand even stronger if you integrate into more and more of your community.  People usually don’t do just one thing every day, they can go through the entire alphabet before getting back home for the night!

It’ll do a lot of good for you, including aiding in the organic growth of your social following, increase your brand affinity through the positive association with the other brands in your area, acts as a travel generator, keeps you relevant, attracts new audiences, is authentic and even free!

Great things are built when people come together, so make one of those things your brand!

For a continued reading on the matter, click here to view Huffington Post’s article in its entirety.

Twitter Marketing Tips

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As I’m sure everyone knows, all the social medias are a bit different from each other, some more so than others but they all carry their own distinct flavor.  For Twitter, in addition to the @ & #, I think we’d have to say it’s the character limit.  Let’s be real real quick, 140 characters isn’t a lot.  Well, maybe in a movie, I mean I can’t even remember the names of all the Dwarfs in the Hobbit, but I mean individual letters.  It can be difficult to convey a clear and precise message with just a sentence to two, but that’s really not all that Twitter’s about, and its benefits far outweigh learning curve it comes with.

For one thing, you don’t need permission to enter into someone else’s conversation on Twitter, you can always just jump right in, but make sure you use a hashtag somewhere in your area of expertise so you can keep track of it, and on the topic of hashtags, go ahead and put some in your profile, not just tweets.  Just make sure you’re keeping them relevant and it’ll help you get you and your tweets some reach.

And as far as that reach is concerned however, don’t make a big deal out of little things.  Tweets only have a shelf life for 30 minutes max, so it doesn’t matter if it’s perfect.  What matters is that it’s out there, but on a similar note, because they expire so fast, don’t pump them out at night.  If your target audience is asleep, they won’t be much use to you.  You best bet would be to catch them when they’re most active, such as their lunch break or when they get off work or school.

While it shouldn’t be the primary thing you’re tweeting about, it’s alright to sell things on Twitter, so things like limited time offers work out greatly there!

Lastly, make sure you fill out your Twitter bios, they’re read surprisingly often so be sure to add in lots of  keywords for your SEO and link back to your other pages to you can build up those email lists!  Be sure to have a fun handle too!  People like knowing they’re talking to a person!

Time to spread those wings and fly everyone!

For more in-depth information, click here to see an audio book on the subject.

10 Tips for Using Social Media in Holiday Ecommerce Marketing

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Alright, let’s be honest here.  Today it’s Halloween, but we all know we’ll be hearing Jingle Bells on the radio tomorrow.  That’s actually pretty inexcusable in my book, but I can at least understand why Target is busting out the red and green.  If things are going to go smoothly they need to be planned out well in advice.  People are already putting their Christmas lists together and they’ve got their eyes out for the sales they’re banking on.

Once Black Friday hits there’s less than four weeks until Christmas, bringing along with it the massive boom of shopping we all know and love!  Until it we have to park.  But by park, I mean drive around the lot in circles like a shark until a spot opens up.  And that specifically is why you need to make sure your Ecommerce and Social Media are prepared.  Luckily, we’ve got ten tips to get you started!

To open, use Social Media as a Layer, not just a Channel.  It’s always expanding, always evolving and has the ability to link all aspects of your business.  Encourage people to pin your products and create content on your website that’s worth sharing, and ask them to share your message when your using email marketing.  This might be a bit of a given, but make sure you’re liking back to your ecommerce site from your social media.

Next off, get into the spirt!  Decorate your Social Media Graphics to line up with the Holiday themes!  Almost all social networks let you use profile images and graphics, so make use of them and get your followers in the mood as well!  Even if you don’t have design programs, there are many sites out there offering ready-made images, and then you can take it into something like PowerPoint to add in your text.

Third is give your content visual appeal.  It’s said a picture’s worth a thousand words.  How many of those can you get out in a single tweet though?  As a rule of thumb, you should be including graphics with the vast majority of your social posts.

Are you familiar with Pinterest?  Well it’s especially popular during the holiday seasons!  People use it all the time to look for inspiration for everything to costumes to decorations to even gifts!  If you don’t have it, you may want a holiday-themed board as well as Pin It buttons on your website.

People love games!  Contests are a great way to stir up your followers, especially in shopping season!

Next, send personal holiday greetings to your loyal customers.  You could make a Vine or Instargam video and post it to your timeline, send out direct messages to customers who follow you or even send them an e-card!  The unexpected message could lead to increased sales!

Make sure you’re posting relevant, interesting content.  Even it if is your blog, your page, your feed, it’s not just about you!  If it’s important to your customers it should be considered!

Support organic efforts with advertising.  Social media ad campaigns are a good way to reach new customers, but also are very cost effective!

Use your customer’s social influence.  People are more likely to buy things that people they know are vouching for.  Because of the sharing abilities that truly make social media what it is, it makes them the perfect catalysts to do it.

Lastly, support a good cause.  People become much more charitable during the holidays, and if you yourself are aiding a charity it will build goodwill between you and your customers.

After all, the holidays a really about coming together, aren’t they?

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5045734276_2ae96095cb_oBy now it’s probably safe to assume you know the importance of having a website as well as social media.  But are yours working together?  Although Facebook, Twitter and your site are all very much different things, they’re still all characters in the same show of your marketing.  The broadcast networks are all starting up new seasons of our favorite shows, so to put it in perspective, if you’re clashing the two, it’d be like a crossover episode of CSI and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Even if that sounds good in theory, just take a moment to really look at it.  There’s just no way that that’ll end well.  And that’s a real shame, because now I kinda want to see that!

The point it, your plan has to be integrated and cohesive between your networks, working in sync to reach your goals.

When you’re using Social Media, make sure that you’re being a resource, solving problems, sharing more content that just your own, and that you’re actually being social!  And having fun.  Fun is awesome, I highly recommend it.

Beyond that however, social media is always a work in progress.  There’s never anything that’s instantly done, it’s a two way street, but again, you need the content.  What you have to say won’t spread if it’s not worth sharing.  Similarly, you need to keep in mind why people are even on the internet.  They either want to be entertained, or they need a problem solved.  What you’re saying needs to at least fit into one of those if it’ll succeed.

And this leads us directly into the Sales Funnel.  If you’re being engaging and attracting, you’re going to draw more and more interest to you.  Let’s say you want to brew some tea for some reason; maybe the coffee pot’s busted or something.  Anyway, your followers interest in you would be like the heat reaching your pot.  If you want it to boil, you’ll need to create strong flame, so you could have to make some necessary adjustments.  This does not have to be specific to your product however, if you’re helping and serving your audience, they’ll take notice.

In the middle of your funnel, you have your email list.  Here’s the thing though, if you’re like me, then a lot of the time you don’t put much thought into what you punch your email into.  And by that, I mean it tends to be a pretty sharp, sudden turn off, so there’d need to be some sort of incentive.  Even things like access to an eBook, video, podcast or some other type of resource related to what you do would be fine.  You just need to get their email once and then it’s in your database, part of your ever-growing list, which you can use to nurture your campaigns.  Going back to what I said a moment ago, if you’re like me, you typically like what you’re subscribed to.  It’s just a matter of getting your visitors past that initial suspicion.

At the end you have your closure content, your specific offers and sales opportunities.  So in other words, what you secretly come here to do all along.  Mwahahaha!  Ahem.  As a plot twist though, this really shouldn’t be over 20% of your content plan mix.  If you overdo it, it’d be like that person who asks you a question for the sole purpose of you asking it back, or just outright knocking on their door everyday like a girl scout, but without the cookies.

Which is heartbreaking, because those Thin Mints make the world go round!

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