Here are 5 Ways to Create Shareworthy Content

Is your content engaging and shareworthy? Here are 5 quick tips to help you create shareworthy content:

  1. Start a conversation
    Write your content so it reads like a conversation. End the content by asking a question or encouraging feedback in your social channels and providing links for readers to do so.
  2. Share conversations from your social channels
    Include content from your social channels across all your social platforms and in your various online channels. Show tweets where your brand is mentioned, share blog/Facebook post comments and invite consumers to join into the conversation.
  3. Format Appropriately
    Content formatted in accordingly can lead to increased social sharing. Create lists of tips or best practices, announce industry events, provide solutions to common problems and highlight important industry news.
  4. Enable sharing of multimedia content
    Providing links to your photos, videos, podcasts or other interactive content is recommended. The goals of your multimedia content should be creating interest, providing valuable information and encouraging social sharing through the use of sharing links.
  5. Recap your most popular social content
    Include a list of your “best of” content from your social channels. Include your most popular blog posts, your most re-tweeted tweets or your most commented Facebook posts. Share this across all your online marketing channels.
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The Top 5 Ways to Use Social Media for Branding

A brand can help you (and your name) stand out from the crowd. There are many ways to brand and social media is one you should use. Your ability to use social media for branding will greatly depend on having a clear underlining fundamental understanding of social branding concepts.

Benefits of using Social Media for Branding:

  • Virtually Free
  • Wide Audience Base
  • Comprehensive Multimedia support
  • Massive untapped potential

 

1) Facebook Fan Page

Facebook Fan Pages are amongst the best social media tools for branding simply because it has amazing potential to build a great fan following for your business. There’s no other social network in the world with over 1.15 billion active users, 16 billion pieces of content, 11 million active pages and almost 60 million users becoming fans of Facebook Pages each day.

2) Twitter

What can 140 characters of text do to establish your brand? A lot! Twitter is a great brand for building a reputation. You can reach out to millions of prospect customers with a few twitter clicks. You can access twitter from your computer, your phone – from the twitter website or through any of the thousands apps available for twitter. Twitter allows you to start conversations with like-minded peers/ prospects, share valuable news and information, build your audience, stay connected with latest events and finally build and monitor your own brand and reputation.

3) LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known for its networking capabilities. It’s very important that you take advantage of that. Start by adding people you know to your network. Then, when you’ve built up a good-sized network, you can start to see people from your friends’ networks. It’s a great way to interact with and meet people who could be crucial to your industry or business.

LinkedIn allows you to participate in conversations, which gives you a great opportunity to be a voice for your industry and show how much of an expert you are. Join some groups that relate to your niche and get in on the conversation. This will also help you to network with people in your niche.

4) YouTube

Most customers like to see brands in action rather than go by word of mouth. YouTube offers a great way where you can show videos of how your brand works and how you’re superior than your competitors. Create your own branded channel on YouTube and see the world of difference that it makes to your online audience.

5) Blog

I love to read about a brand before I get associated with it. In today’s modern age, many consumers think alike and are keen to spend some time reading about brands before they commit to them. A blog is a great place to showcase your brand. Coupled with SEO and smart tags, blogs are a great way to establish your brand online. Blogs help spread brand-awareness as well as serve as a great medium to educate users about the details of a brand and business.

6 Tips Creating a Valuable Online Survey

Because of the wide availability of opportunities to create surveys using free online survey software, you can quickly and easily gauge customer satisfaction or interest in new product offerings via customer surveys.

When using a free or subscription-based online tool to create a survey, however, you must be certain that the survey is carefully designed to yield the most valuable data.

  1. Preliminary Research

Online survey software makes it easy to create multiple surveys, which means you don’t need to create one survey to address all of your market research needs.

So know what it is you want to know:

  • What information do you need from your survey?
  • What do you plan or hope to do with that information?

Different goals require different types of data from customers or potential customers. For example, the information you gather prior to launching a new website will be different from the information you’ll solicit before adding a feature to an existing website.

  1. Determine the Target for your Survey

Almost all survey software enables you to enter an email list. How do you determine which people to include on that list?

Choose a specific group of people you want to survey:

  • Existing customers
  • Potential customers
  • Purchased sales leads

Customize your survey for the target group. When you create a survey for college students, for example, the tone and language will likely be different from that of a survey for senior business executives.

Writing questions tailored to your target audience will increase the response rate of your survey and result in more valuable data.

  1. Write Simple Questions

Regardless of your target, use simple, straightforward language in all of your questions.
Most participants will not take the time to read a question more than once.

Multiple-Choice Questions

If you choose to use multiple-choice responses, be sure that each choice is distinct. Participants should not have to consider two responses that seem almost identical.

It is acceptable to use questions with fewer (or more) response choices than other questions if doing so improves the clarity of a question.

Double-Barreled” Questions

Double-barreled questions actually query two different data points. An example would be “How important are cost and quality when considering a new car?”

This question asks for two pieces of information, the importance of cost, and quality. And so there is no way of knowing which feature respondents have in mind when they respond.

Break down such questions into two short and simple questions; doing so will lead to better data.

  1. Prioritize Your Questions

You have a choice of how to order your questions:

  • Randomized question order: Questions appear in a different order for each respondent.
  • Static question order: Questions appear in the same order for all respondents.

To best control the survey results, choose a static order.

Create a survey that starts with questions your respondents will find most interesting. Respondents are always most engaged when responding to questions about their own experiences. The most effective survey will therefore move from the most- to least-personalized questions.

Group questions. When you create a survey, also consider the groupings of your questions. Developing blocks of questions that address a single theme from different perspectives will return very specific data.

  1. Formatting

Most online survey software websites offer premium features that enable you to customize the layout of your survey. Be sure that there is ample white space between questions.

If possible, use survey software that presents each question individually, on its own page.

progress bar will help respondents measure their progress, without being overwhelmed by a long list of questions.

  1. Test Your Survey

Finally, test your survey before sending it out to. Survey testers should, of course, check the questions for spelling and grammar errors. Just as important, however, is to learn how respondents may react to the questions.

Key issues for survey testers to assess:

  • Are there any questions that are confusing?
  • Could any be misperceived as offensive?
  • Is there a logical order to the questions that allows respondents to build upon prior responses with more detailed data?

Once you’ve vetted and revised the survey based on the feedback from the testers, release the survey to your target group.

The next time you create a free online survey, keeping these tips in mind will ensure survey results are meaningful and valuable.

Creating a Marketing Plan

Marketing simply is the business of promoting and selling products or services. Traditional marketing utilizes strategies such as direct sales, TV, radio, mail, print advertising (magazines, coupon books, billboards) and printed promotional materials (catalogs or brochures).

Digital or online marketing can be an inexpensive, effective and measurable marketing tactic to drive customer traffic and improve your overall business. Digital marketing includes social media, online advertising, content marketing (blog, email marketing, social media) and of course a website. It is recommended that businesses follow the 80:20 rule when allocating funds between online:traditional marketing.

Developing a marketing plan is an important first step for businesses. A marketing and/or communications plan should be included in a company’s Business Plan.  Creating, following and updating a marketing plan can help you to sustainably grow your business. Marketing is highly important because it is the mediums that put you into contact with your customers. A well thought out business plan will allow your company to:

  • Keep your company speaking with one consistent voice across a multiple platforms, products, regions, and customer interactions.
  • Standout from your competitors.
  • Consistently resonate with their target markets.
  • Plan your marketing tactics, campaigns and budgets to save time and money.
  • Conduct and manage market research.

All companies can build their marketing effectiveness by thoroughly understanding the:

  • Target markets

o   It is best to create customer profiles    

  • Who are your existing and potential customers? What is the best way to communicate with them?
  • Buying, selling, and communications processes    

o   How do your customers prefer to buy? How are you set up to sell? What tactics or channels best facilitate buying and selling?

Your marketing plan should at least discuss the following sections:

  • Objectives: What should result from your marketing plan and activities?
  • Buying and selling process: Your customer’s buying process are the steps that customers follow when making a purchase. Your selling process is the set of steps that your sales team goes through when making a sale.
  • Messages: What do you want customers to know? How do they want to receive your messages?
  • Tactics: What tools or channels should you use to convey your messages?    
  • Budget and schedule: How much do your tactics cost? What is your budget? When should you run your campaigns?

An effective marketing plan must begin with market research and a thorough understanding of the areas mentioned above.

Final Tips:

It is very important for companies to track and measure their success. This means tracking your Return On Investment (ROI). The more quantifiable the metrics (e.g. a 5% increase in sales/market share or lead generation) – the better your future plans will be.

Your plan should create a plan that addresses each step in the marketing and communication process. Realistically, limited budgets will require prioritization.  Typically new markets, products or services will require more work and therefor a larger budget. 

Is Facebook Advertising Right for your Small Business?

Small businesses should consider adding social media ads to your annual marketing strategy. That means small businesses should not automatically write off advertising on Facebook. The key to being successful with Facebook advertising is managing expectations. There are conflicting reports regarding the effectiveness of Facebook ads. Do comments and advertisements drive purchases? Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer.

Facebook Ads for Small Businesses

One of the strongest uses for Facebook ads is to get people in a very specific demographic to like your Facebook page so that you can then message to them over time. For example, a small local restaurant you can get Facebook users in your area to like your Facebook page and then offer coupons or promote events. Then you can incentivize your Facebook community to share those promotions so their friends can see it. This is how posts and advertisements can go viral. It’s important to note that viral ads are not the only way that Facebook can help small businesses.

Small businesses can also have success in Facebook advertising promotions. The businesses that often get poor results with Facebook ads are the ones that try and push a hard sale. This doesn’t work in other advertising mediums, so businesses shouldn’t be surprised that it is ineffective on Facebook. Facebook tends to work much better when promoting softer offers such as free giveaways, discounts or building fans that can be converted into leads/sales in the future.

Facebook Ad Benefits

Facebook ads help small businesses to build a fan and customer list. This is similar to email or direct mail marketing, but social media can offer more control and data. With traditional advertising (yellow pages, radio, TV, print, etc.) you get an ad, but you don’t get a customer lead generation list to cultivate. With Facebook ads, business owners can create a growing community of potential customers that you can foster for years. When used effectively, Facebook ads can help increase your word-of-mouth advertising. Being exposed to your friends pages, business and products can make for more effective marketing.

Facebook also offers data analysis and customizable options, similar to that of Google, which can help you increase your online exposure. The ability to target your ads (like on most digital platforms) is a huge benefit for small business owners.

Effectiveness of Facebook Ads

Another benefit of Facebook ads is that there are less competition for keywords than there is on Google or other PPC (pay-per-click) sites. As mentioned above, you are able to reach your target demographic in a casual online atmosphere.  There is more trust established, when a person likes your Facebook page than with a Google search. This trust can be an important factor in the effectiveness of your online marketing.

A big difference between a business Facebook page and a traditional web page is the ability to see and track customer engagement and feedback.  If a Facebook user decides to click on your Facebook ad they land on your Facebook page where they can see interactions and comments that users are saying about your company/brand. As a result, it helps build trust with your client pool.

The Cost

Facebook ad pricing can vary, but is directly related to the area of your target market. The minimum ad bid is low (approximately 0.01 or a penny), but as with Google AdWords, if you’re trying to advertise to a competitive demographic, you’ll be placed in an auction (similar to Google AdWords) with other advertisers and you’ll have to pay significantly more per click. As with most online marketing platforms, companies can control how much they spend by setting daily and campaign budgets.

Many experts say that the price of Facebook ads is among their most appealing features. As with most marketing campaigns, you need to commit to a budget of $500 to $1,000 to get started. Also, it is important to test different ad types, images, and landing pages. After you finish your A/B testing, you can run the more effective ads.