4 Ways to Make Social Media Marketing Easy

A few years ago businesses weren’t exactly convinced that they should be spending time on social media. In 2015 there’s no denying that social media must be considered part of your marketing strategy. Getting started on social media may seem complicated, difficult or confusing, however these 5 tips should help make it more manageable.

  1. Be Simple

Don’t sign up for every social media account. You should research and be selective on which accounts you start. This way you can focus your time and effort creating a strong social media presence on a channel that resonates with your company. The more accounts you have to manage, the more your time will be divided, and the more likely it is you’ll do a poor job across the board. You might also want to reserve your brand name on the major social networking sites, even if you don’t plan to use it. Choose 2 or 3 sites where you feel you’ll get the largest return on your investment. Be sure to select the networks where your customers spend the most time or where they engage the most.

  1. Schedule

You don’t need to spend hours everyday on social media. Be efficient and schedule content in advance. Commit to a few hours a week (actually put it in your calendar) to draft new content and source valuable content to share. Leverage tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule updates to multiple profiles in one place.

  1. Integrate

If you want to see results, then you need to integrate. Make sure you’ve integrated your social media plan with your marketing strategy. This means integrating into your brand, messaging, campaigns, cross-channel marketing, advertising, content strategy and much more. Finally, link your profiles to your website, digital properties, customer relationship management (CRM) system. You can also cross purpose content across platforms.

  1. Monitor

Monitor brand, industry and competitor mentioned. Social media provides a unique opportunity to stay connected to content and opinions that are important to your target audience. Be sure to monitor any reviews or mentioned of your business. Paying attention will provide you with opportunities to join into the conversation, provide a point of view and hopefully some value. Use monitoring tools to track any mention of your company, brand social media handles as well as keywords related to your target audience. Monitoring will also provide you with the ability to adjust your strategy and implement improvements.

If you plan out your approach to social media it will be less daunting. Stick with it and you will see results from your effort.

Don’t Be a Troll (On or Offline)

Keep it classy and don’t be a troll. Here is a simple definition to help:

A troll is someone who posts a deliberately provocative message (normally to media) with the intention of causing disruption and generally a negative impact.

The Newsroom put it better – watch below.

Creating a Social Media Posting Plan

  1. Consider your brand

Start by thinking about your brand, what makes your business unique and the personality you want to convey to your customers and followers. It’s best to stay consistent in your messaging so that your posts feel personal and authentic.

  1. Set goals

What are your reasons for creating the page? You can use your page to do many things, such as find new customers, build you brand and relationships with current customers, promote events and special offers, communicate with internal teams and much more. Whatever your goals are, it’s helpful to be detailed and specific so you can devise an actionable plan for reaching these goals.

  1. Know your customer

Once you have a few goals in mind, think about your customer and what kind of things they want to see from you. What will get them excited? What will keep them engaged?

  1. Create a posting calendar

Create a calendar and a plan. Decide how often and what type of content you want to post each day. Plan it out and write it down – I recommend spreadsheeting it out in Excel. Remember; do not to post all you content at once to avoid overwhelming your followers.

LinkedIn Company Page Checklist

Your Company Page on LinkedIn is a powerful way to reach millions of professionals online. With over 100 million professionals on LinkedIn, this tool can help exposure your company and brand to an ideal target market. These professionals are following more than 1.9 million companies on LinkedIn and are purchasing professionals, current clients, job seekers, interested observers, and most importantly, potential customers. Professionals follow companies to stay updated with new developments, compare products and services and track potential opportunities. LinkedIn regularly informs members of Company Pages changes via email and/or network updates.  When LinkedIn members want to know more about your company they can look at your Company Page, which is conveniently linked to your profile.

Use this check list to ensure it’s ready for visitors:

  • The Company Name
  • Assign Admins
  • Upload Company Logo & Profile Photo
  • Describe the Company
  • List the Company’s Specialties in Showcase Pages
  •  Add the Company Twitter and Blog RSS Feeds
  • Show the Company Type, Size, Website Link
  • Select Industry, Operating Status, Year Founded
  • Highlight Locations
  • Place a Careers Listing

Here are 3 quick tips to get you started:

  1. Promote Your Products or Services – Create showcase pages to showcase the voice of your company and brand These pages provide you with the opportunity to promote who you are and what you do.
  2. Monitor Traffic and Audience Analytics on LinkedIn – Analytics is a rich resource, which adds insights and value. Here, you can track page views and unique visitors for your overview, careers and products and services pages.
  3. Invite Connections to Follow Your Company on LinkedIn – After your Company Page is set up, invite followers. You can add a follow button to your website, blog and email signature. You can also post a link to the company’s page to your updates or status feed asking for followers. Another option is to navigate to your company page’s services/products tab and click share to promote to individuals, groups, or connections.

Social Media Marketing 102

Establishing a good social media marketing strategy for your business can help you increase your presence and drive sales. As a follow up to Social Media Marketing 101, read below for the best way to jump into the realm of social media marketing.

Start by creating profiles on sites your audience is likely to use. You should create profiles on Facebook and Twitter and any other site your target audience is using. Take the time to create original designs for your profiles, but make sure you create profiles that can easily be recognized as being affiliated with your brand. Use the name of your brand when registering for a profile and place a logo on your page. You also need to place links to your homepage and product pages in visible locations as well as your contact information. If you join more than one site, add a link to your other profiles on each site.

Post updates on a regular basis. You need to write quality content that your audience will want to read and share with their friends. Posting links to your blog updates or new products is a good idea, but do not hesitate to share news stories and articles from external sites related to your industry. Keep track of the comments you get and of how many people share your updates to find out what your target audience is really interested in.

You should set a goal to establish a real connection with your audience. This can be achieved through your social media accounts. On your site, add links to your social network profiles as an option to contact you with questions, requests or suggestions. You should be very polite and professional in your interactions with people on social networks. If necessary, create a personal profile so you can talk to your friends and family privately. Remember that the social network profile associated with your brand is basically a storefront for your business; it is necessary that you make a good impression. Use your real name to encourage people to trust you but treat them as customers, not as friends.

Make a few changes to your website or blog so that sharing your content becomes easier. You should add social network buttons to your blog posts; most blogging platforms automatically add Facebook, Twitter, Google + or Pinterest buttons to your posts. You can easily get the code for these buttons on social networks if you wish to add them to your site.

To learn more about developing an effective social media strategy read Social Media Marketing 101.

9 Tips to Update Your Facebook Page

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If you haven’t reviewed or updated your Facebook Page recently, it’s time! Reviewing and updating your Facebook Page should be a scheduled re-occurrence. Here are 9 tips to help make sure your Facebook Page is optimized.

1.       Utilize Your Page Cover Image

This prime location provides you with an opportunity to get creative with your cover image. You can display your web address, add a call to action, or add something that draws attention to your tabs. Make sure to take advantage of this. A helpful hint is to not let the text on the cover photo exceed 20% of the cover image area.

2.       Assess Your Profile Image

Your profile image is the first thing a user sees when they look at your company page and your posts. The logo will help reinforce your brand, and be simple, clear and easily identifiable. It should not be a picture of the business owner and if possible a square-designed image should be used.  A helpful hint is that your profile image should be uploaded at a size of 180 x 180 pixels (Facebook downsizes it to 160 x 160 pixels).

3.       Review Your Tab Thumbnails

Your tab thumbnails appear below your cover image and lead to the apps on your Page. Optimize your tab thumbnails to capture your visitor’s attention. Do this by using simple fonts and use a shorten call to action.

4.       Use Facebook Apps

Facebook apps are a great ways to boost engagement on your Page. Apps offer your visitors incentives and an interactive platform, which can boost your engagement rates. They are mostly used for running contests and offering deals and should have a sign up list for eNewsletters. Helpful hint: be sure your contest and deal meets Facebook’s promotion guidelines.  

5.       Maximize Your About Short Description

Your Facebook Page utilizes a brief description of approximately 155 characters that displays below the cover image and the profile image at the top of your Page. Maximize your short description by providing a concise, informative statement, with your website URL.

6.       Complete The Entire About Section

Be sure to complete the Company Overview, Description, General Information and Mission sections. The About area(s) are indexed by search engines and should contain relevant keywords. Also, be sure to include your address in the General Information to optimize for local search.

7.       Categorize Your Business Correctly

If you’re a local business with a physical brick-and-mortar location, this is very important. You want customers to come and visit your place, so be sure to optimize your category and Check-in option.

8.       Check Your Notification Settings

It is recommended that companies and Page managers review your settings, managers and notification settings occasionally. Responding to comments, posts and messages I recommend keeping all notifications on. This is the key to good online customer service. If your community is engaging with you, be sure you respond to them!

9.       Activate Replies to Comments

This is a helpful hint as it’s a new Facebook feature (released in March 2013). When this feature is enabled, it allows Pages to offer their community the ability to reply to a specific comment in a thread resulting in better interaction around a comment.

10 Reasons Your Company Needs an Online & Social Media Strategy

1. Your competitors have a website and social media program 

If this doesn’t get you motivated I don’t know what will. Either way who doesn’t love some good ole’ fashion business competition.

2. Make your website the stronghold of your entire online marketing strategy

If you don’t think your website is ready to compete, update it now. What is the first thing people search for online? Your website.

3. Your business is open 24/7
Even though your open light may not be open 24/7, your website and online campaigns are – make it count.

4. Think of it as an online brochure
Updating content online is cheaper, quicker and easier than with print material. It also provides you with the ability to provide more comprehensive information and will save your on expensive printing and distribution costs.

5. Extend your reach to new global markets
Through the use of the internet (and an online strategy) you can be a global player and potentially increase your reach.

6. Provide improved customer service
Easily achieve this by providing answers to questions on your website, FAQ’s, online forms and documents. My personal favorite is when companies offer customer service via social media. Being available around the clock will help you increase accessibility, visibility and customer service as a result.

7. Be sure to present a professional image

A professional website and campaign, can help a small business build credibility, instill confidence and look bigger than you might actually be. Having a professional online look can also help you drive boost online sales and conversions.

8. Sell your products online
Selling your products through your website or social media accounts can be an affordable alternative to renting a traditional bricks-n-mortar business and can be a great way to start a business. Be sure to provide secure online purchasing (e.g. PayPal)

9. Generate leads
Gather customer information by using forms and surveys and let the leads come to you. I recommend building a marketing content strategy to complement this tip as well.

10. Create a 2-way discussion
Nothing beats social media, when trying to establish an interactive dialogue with your customers. People are busy and don’t like to wait for a response. There are many different social media platforms in use today. For help selecting the right one, read my previous blog post by clicking here.

5 Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaign

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Email marketing is a very effective and popular tool to help promote your company, brand and everything associated. Here are 5 quick tips to quickly help improve your email marketing campaign.

1.  Use Consistent Fonts for Headlines & Paragraph Text

Simply put this is branding 101. Consistency is the ultimate key to your brand recognition and to its success. By using consistent font sizes and colors you can achieve a clean and professional look for your newsletters, while also making them easier to read. There should also be a noticeable size difference between article headlines and your text.

2.  Integrate your Marketing Campaigns

This will help increase your reach and drive results. Cross-promotion between your networks is essential. Utilize all your channels including Social Media, which can be easily integrated into your email marketing campaigns. Also, be sure to use URL’s to link your eNewsletters to valuable online content. Credibility is king and that makes content the queen.

3.  Include your Brand, Logo & Colors

All of your marketing, including your eNewsletters, should be consistent (tip #1) and this includes your brand and logo colors. Your eNewsletter’s colors should resemble your company and should always contain your logo. This step can help ensure that your recipients recognize your company as soon as they open the email. Don’t worry though, different colors can still be used, just use them sparingly.

4.  Use Images & Videos

As with all marketing endeavors (both on and off-line) photos and videos foster engagement and can help make your content go viral. Use them well.

5.  Watch the length

“How long should an email be?” It’s best to use your own discretion, but you should be mindful of the page fold (e.g. any content that you must scroll to read). Also, the longer the newsletter the greater the chance of your content not being read. If your emails and articles are ending up very lengthy, I recommend using a teaser or a lead-in with a read more link to a website (or a document). This can help you reduce the length of your eNewsletters and will also help you gauge engagement through click-through reports.

Want to know more than 5 tips? Ready to get started? Contact me at Marketing Directions for more information and for personalized assistance. 

7 Helpful Twitter Tools and Links

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Let’s keep this short and sweet! 7 helpful twitter tools and links: 

  1. SocialBro: best tool to explore your community
  2. Buffer: schedule your tweets
  3. TweetReach: find out how far your tweets travel
  4. TwentyFeet: track stats
  5. Goo.gl or bit.ly: URL Shortener
  6. Hootsuite: manage multiple accounts easily
  7. Klout: discover, grow and assess your online influence

Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @morganmelnyk

Happy tweeting!