3 Reasons You Need A Social Media Call-To-Action

A Social media call-to-action is an integral and often overlooked element of an effective social media strategy. Social media gets prospects, customers and the public primed to want to find out more about your offering or to engage with you further but you must lead them to the next step in your sales or other conversion process. Here are three reasons to use a social media call-to-action.

  1. A social media call-to-action ties social media activity to your business or marketing objectives. Generally, this refers to your social media goals such as building your brand, expanding your reach and generating sales leads.
  2. A social media call-to-action drives participants into your conversion process. Consider what’s needed to move participants to the next phase of your sales funnel. Ensure that you have processes and systems in place to meet their needs.
  3. A social media call-to-action enables you to measure social media effectiveness. This is crucial to prove that social media supports your business goals because social media tends to be most effective early in the purchase cycle and difficult to track.
Advertisements

Increase Your Online Presence with Digital Marketing

Businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on the internet and digital marketing to inform and educate prospective and existing customers. While content marketing plays a vital role in conveying a company’s brand message, online engagement is critical to promoting this message and solidifying relationships with your target audience. Online engagement tools such as social media and email marketing allows a company to interact with prospects and customers dynamically and transparently, driving home its core message.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is one of the greatest community building tools in history. Content shared on social media amplifies a company’s online presence, while transparent social exchanges project its authenticity. This helps to foster a longstanding connection with new prospects and existing customers. Social media marketing recognizes each social follower as a person interested in the company. Companies should use social to expand their reach and engage prospects on their terms. Also, businesses can use data gleaned from social interactions to better understand the interests, wants and needs of their target audience.

EMAIL MARKETING

As consumers demand more relevance in the type of content received and the nature of its delivery, dynamic and personalized email marketing campaigns are becoming crucial to online promotion. Through a series coordinated emails, companies are able to send out highly personalized content tailored to customer segments at various stages in the buying cycle. These campaigns allow brands to efficiently nurture new prospects down the sales funnel and to stay connected with existing clients.

INTEGRATION IS KEY

To form connections that matter, businesses need to produce original content that is exceptional, personalized, and relevant.  By responsively engaging with their audience over social media and email, companies are able to promote their content and message in a concise manner. Companies can also take advantage of analytics and the ability to adjust online campaigns easily to better hit their target market.

While social media, email marketing and mobile advertising are expected to increase, they only represent a few elements of a fully integrated marketing strategy.

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.

Traditional vs. Social Media Marketing

Technology has changed how people interact and influence each other. Marketing is no different. For marketing, it’s more than implementing the same old tactics, but about adopting and testing new tools. Marketing simply is the business of promoting and selling products or services. Traditional marketing focuses on promoting and selling products or service. It utilizes strategies such as direct sales, TV, radio, mail, print advertising (magazines, coupon books, billboards) and printed promotional materials (catalogs or brochures).

Traditional Marketing techniques have been tried and proven for years.  However, the over use and abuse of some methods could compromise your marketing campaign and its success.  Knowing when to use traditional Marketing techniques will determine the success or failure of your overall campaign. This is where measuring engagement and ROI comes in. While traditional marketing techniques still have a place in most marketing campaigns, the extent of how many and which techniques will depend on how well supported they are by modern marketing techniques. Remember, each dollar you spend should have a valuable return on investment (ROI).

Social Media Marketing is an important part of your marketing mix, but not the only one.

Historically, the best a company could do to retain a customer was to provide exceptional customer service. Luckily online and social media marketing have changed the game. Online or eMarketing can be an inexpensive, effective and measurable marketing tactic to drive customer traffic and improve your overall business. It is recommended that businesses follow the 80:20 rule when allocating funds between online:traditional marketing. Social media marketing is about recognizing that your existing customers are your best assets and allows you to influence customer behavior before and after the ‘sale’. Now you can engage your existing customers and remind them to return and support your brand.

 

It is important to note that social media marketing is not a replacement, but can be a critical tactic in your marketing mix. In fact, social media marketing works best when combined with other marketing tactics (e.g email) outline in your marketing strategy.

Social Media and Your Business

A recent Fortune article made an interesting point about the social media efforts of most companies: 

“Most companies’ early efforts with social [media] have been the equivalent of ‘brochureware’ (just as they were on the internet back in the 1990s). And although levels of sophistication are growing…most social commerce experiments have a long way to go.”

Your social media goal should be to engage and communicate with your customers, not to advertise ‘brochureware.’ This strategy should already be implemented on you website (hopefully) and in order to be competitive (and effective) on social media, you need to stop selling and start engaging.

1. Knowledge is power

This isn’t new and shouldn’t be a surprise. Learn about the various platforms and their uses.

Popular platforms social media include:

  • Facebook: Currently the largest social network on the internet with approximately  1+ Billion monthly active users and utilizes friend-to-friend connections.
  • Twitter: Real-time, short status updates and broadcasts (up to 140 characters) to followers with approximately 200+ million active users. A great tool to network and build relationships.
  • LinkedIn: An online business and networking community with approximately 200+ million active professional users.
  • Pinterest: With 20+ million monthly active users, users organize and share photos they find on the web on pinboards.
  • Google+: Google meets Facebook where users can share content and connect with approximately 343+ million active users.
  • Blog: A content driven site where individuals or groups read, subscribe and comment on content. If you are confused, you’re reading a blog right now. 

Using social media for your business will broaden your audience and increase the exposure of your communication. More importantly, it gives you another avenue to engage and communicate with your customers.  Social media is giving the world the ability to connect and communicate with each other in ways that were never possible before.

2. Create a plan

Social media is very attractive, as there is typically no cost to sign-up and get started. It can become very time consuming, but this can be avoided by creating a plan, time limit, goals and objectives. Planning your content carefully will help you to be consistent and professional.

3. Do not rely solely on social media

Social media should not replace all of your current marketing tools and campaigns, but should complement and enhance them. Social media can dramatically increase your potential audience, but it is not the only marketing medium available. Be sure to be consistent across all of your marketing channels. Social media provides your customers with another avenue to research your company, which can help build trust and awareness. 

4. Be decisive

You don’t need to be on every social media site (trust me there are too many). Be selective not only with what you choose to post, but also with what platforms you choose to use. For example, don’t create a Pinterest account unless you will actively use it. Decide if the platform will positively influence your online marketing goals. Ultimately, an inactive page reflects poorly on your company.

5. Engagement is key

Use and track your social media engagement through a system such as Hootsuite. This system helps your business save time because you can schedule posts and monitor multiple social media accounts from one platform.

Have fun with social media and be sure to showcase your brand’s personality. Happy social media-ing!

Social Media Marketing 101

As with all marketing plans and campaigns, strategy is the first place to start. Whether you are a multinational company or a local business you need a sound marketing strategy to be successful and competitive.

Your company can strategically benefit from social media in the following 6 functional areas:

  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Technical Support
  • Business Development
  • Human Resources

To create a sound social media marketing strategy your company must address these 6 points:

1.       Discover Needs

Access what the company objectives and goals:

  • Prepare the launch of a new product?
  • Promote the current services the company offers?
  • Get more people engaged with the brand online?
  • Assist the customer support department in responding to client queries?
  • Generate new leads and sales?
  • Recruit young talents? 

2.       Identify Your Audience

Having a clearly defined market and audience is essential to marketing. Complete a market assessment to discover who your customers are and where they spend time online. Don’t invest your time or resources if you don’t know who you are targeting. For example, LinkedIn can help companies target specific industries and professionals. Be sure to match your business objectives to your channel selections.

3.       Select the Right Channel

There are many social media to choose from: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, GooglePlus, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Blogs, etc. It’s best to complete a comparative advantage to access, which platform is best for your company and your overall social media marketing strategy. It’s important to understand what value each channel adds and how the platform can strategically work for your business.

You can create multiple accounts within each social media platform as well. Be sure to create consistency not only with your branding, but with your strategy objectives and target audience.

4.       Connect to Solutions

Each social media network provides a unique service offering and solution for its users (both business and personal). Most social media platforms are free to use. Examples include:

  • Facebook: create a company page, post articles/videos/pictures, run campaigns and contests and connect with fans
  • Twitter: create an account, follow users, tweet, retweet and share content
  • LinkedIn: create a company page with your business information and share content
  • Google Plus: create a company page with your business information, post content, create events and host hangouts

Business can also incorporate paid content and ads into their social media strategy. Each platform offers its own customized ad platforms:

  • Facebook: sponsored stories and ads
  • Twitter: promoted accounts and tweets
  • LinkedIn: targeted advertising, talent solutions and sales navigator
  • Google Plus: Google AdWords (be sure to link your Google+ page with your AdWords campaign)

 5.       Allocate Resources

Plan to have a community manager or team that will handle and implement your social media strategy and plan. Creating one, cohesive strategy will allow your social media manager or team to work on all the social media platforms you have selected.

Make sure that your objectives are clearly defined and target your audience accordingly. Involve your team in learning and understanding the strategy. This will help them to create and post better content that will drive your results. Also, have your team customize the content according to each platform.

6.       Measure Return On Investment (ROI)

While you plan your business objectives, clearly define your measurable goals (e.g. increasing website visits, social shares, etc.). Analyse the results on a monthly and campaign basis and adjust accordingly. Calculating ROI is extremely important in justifying time and money spent on marketing.

Social media analytics will help you understand your audience, interact with your audience better and learn what content they prefer to read and share. By investing time in analytics, you’ll be able to create and share increasingly valuable content and as a result a higher ROI. 

7 Benefits of B2B Social Media Marketing

To be competitive in the marketplace today your company needs an online strategy and presence. Social Media, if implemented correctly, can offer customers immediacy and can drive customer engagement, increase quality leads and result in higher ROI. B2B marketers need to realize that even top business leaders socialize with their family and friends online. While demographics still apply to social media, they are far less rigid. Generally speaking, everyone is using social media, using it for business, socializing, shopping, research and much more.

Below are the 7 B2B social media marketing benefits

1. Engagement

Be the B2B business that engages with people. If they get to know you, they may want to do business with you. You can achieve this by creating video demos, company news and customer stories. Building trust can help increase interest and, ultimately, engagement.

2. Interest

Social media provides lots of data that can give B2B companies insight into buyer personalities and motivations. Analytical tools, data and interest can help you target specific communities and create content that drives interest.

3. Traffic and Leads  

Creating and implementing high-quality strategy will allow you to create content that will attract leads. Consistent strategy should also drive traffic that converts leads into actionable sales. With the ability to segment audiences you should be able to extend your reach and your number of leads. 

4. Thought Leadership

This buzz word represents the ability to create B2B content that creates a positive impression on your potential (and existing) clients. Examples can include articles, webinars, documents, tools, etc., which demonstrates your credibility and expertise.  

5. Networking 

While social media interactions may not directly land your next client, it can build your network of valuable contacts. This online network may help expose you to new opportunities, attract a new employee or provide a quality referral.

6. Savings 

Every B2B company likes savings money, especially when it comes to marketing. Using the right tools, businesses can launch, measure and modify your social marketing campaigns immediately. Now compare this to your experience with expensive, traditional marketing. Analyzing data and results will help you gain feedback quickly allowing you to adjust your campaigns to make them more impactful.

7. Relevance 

As more companies embrace an active online presence and implement social media marketing your company needs to stay relevant. Failing to participate can make your company seem less credible and that you’re behind the times. Both companies and consumers research and measure brand profiles through their online visibility and activity. Don’t let your company become a brand that is irrelevant or out of touch.

Start your social media marketing today. For assistance, feel free to engage with me online.

Need a Facebook Campaign App? Check Out These 5 Sites!

Looking to run a Facebook contest? Don’t forget to create a customized and branded app to help increase the success of your Facebook campaigns. Helpful and affordable sites include these 5 sites:

  1. http://www.shortstack.com/
  2. http://www.pagemodo.com
  3. http://www.rafflecopter.com/
  4. http://www.offerpop.com/
  5. https://www.fenixapps.com/socialcomments/

9 Tips to Update Your Facebook Page

Image

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.