Despite everything you read and no matter what anyone else tells you, there’s really no secret to success for marketers on social media.
Obviously, you can put the odds in your favor if you follow the industry’s best practices. But there are no shortcuts or tricks, no workarounds or hacks.
Big advertising budget or not, if you’re not careful to adhere to some of the channels’ most fundamental principles, any wins you experience will be short-lived at best.
Transparency counts for a lot in social media, as do authenticity and immediacy. Emerging technologies and newfangled tactics play considerable roles as well.
As if all that’s not enough, whether you’re talking about copy or design, still images or videos, memes or GIFs, you need to have an infinite supply of content in some shape or form queued up and ready to share with your followers, subscribers and connections.
Those principles I referred to above still reign first and foremost, though. There are too many of them to list here, but let’s talk about a few of the most important ones.
1. Have a solid strategy in place
Far too many businesses and brands decide to launch a campaign, only to realize not too far into it that they either don’t have enough content to sustain momentum or they have no idea what to do with it. That’s just one of countless issues to address before you dip your toes in the social media waters. Branding. Lead generation. PR. SEO. What are your objectives? Which channels are you going to use? Who’s your audience? How can you achieve better results than your competition?
You can easily get lost on social media if you haven’t mapped out your journey in advance.
2. Be persistent and patient
If you’re not a brand like Red Bull or a celebrity like Kim Kardashian, you’re not going to be an overnight success on social media. Attention on these channels is earned, not given to you.
Even if you put a massive budget behind your content and promote it like crazy, you still need a ubiquitous, bona fide presence on social media to be taken seriously. Social media levels the playing field between buyer and seller. The more you engage authentically with your audience on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like, the more likely they’ll be to respond affirmatively to what you have to offer.
3. Roll out the red carpet for your audience
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Treat the members of your audience like VIPs. Roll out the red carpet and greet them with open arms.
Thank them for following you. Ask how you can help them. Speak to their needs and interests, not yours. Give them props, credit, praise and kudos. Show them how much you appreciate the time they’re taking to watch, listen and learn from you.
Give them far more attention than they’re giving to you and chances are, your welcome and warmth will be reciprocated.
4. Be available, responsive and engaging
The good news is that social media has made it possible for you to engage with customers, consumers and constituents in real time, anytime. The bad news is that they can reach out to you at their own convenience. And the expectation is that you will respond to them immediately.
Banker’s hours are unheard-of on social media. Nights. Weekends. Lunchtime. It doesn’t matter what your schedule is in real life. On these online communication channels, you need to be there for your audience at a moment’s notice. If you snooze, you lose. There’s no rest for the weary on social media.
5. Show the human side of your brand
One of the biggest mistakes marketers, advertisers and professionals in general make is to underestimate the importance of the social in social media. People do business with people who are willing to engage as themselves, not logos behind a litany of promotional messages and corporate gobbledygook.
Be kind. Be generous. Be yourself. Cold, calculating and contrived content will get you nowhere on these channels. Candor and extemporaneousness will fly.
Stress the positive attributes of your brand, personal or professional, but don’t pretend you’re something you’re not. Honesty and personality will get you everywhere on social media.
Local marketing will be pivotal for brands in 2017 — but local affiliates are missing out on major opportunities to reach consumers.
Even as local businesses understand the value of tailoring their marketing efforts to their community, it appears that a profound disconnect still exists: Less than 8 percent use mobile, targeted search, or display advertising to reach local consumers — and 56 percent haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing, according to Brand Muscle’s State Of The Local Marketing Report.
The study indicates that local marketing will be pivotal for brands in 2017 — and beyond. Below, three takeaways that businesses can implement to ensure that their local efforts payoff:
Claim those listings: Brands that don’t manage their listings on the local level are likely to see inaccuracies in their data, whether than means in incorrect address listing or out-of-date hours. This leads to customer frustrations when a location they expect to be able to visit has closed or relocated — and businesses can’t afford that negative experience.
Set a social strategy that includes local advertising: “That’s not to say that local businesses need to be active on every social media outlet but approaching platforms like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Snapchat with an open and creative mind presents clear opportunities for brands to execute hyper-local, targeted marketing that helps local affiliates establish a viable social media presence.” Social media posts — and ads — should be tied to concrete locations and local events/promotions.
Make 2017 the year of integrated marketing: Online and offline are essentially equal in customers’ minds; they shop and purchase however best suits them in the moment, meaning it’s more critical than ever that brands build integrated marketing efforts that work on the national and local levels. Understanding which tactics generate the best results for affiliates so you can align co-op funds and co-branded materials to support these efforts represents a major opportunity to optimize local marketing, The report concludes. “Campaigns that have historically been seen as seasonal, one-off efforts should be packaged to accommodate an increasingly fragmented media
landscape, while also taking advantage of new targeting capabilities available in our mobile-first digital world.”
FDMC Social & Digital Media
According to June 2016 research, more than half of US young adults watch mobile video on the video-sharing site—and just as many view mobile video content on Facebook. Native advertising software provider Sharethrough polled 300 US internet users ages 18 to 20, who were asked questions after being shown an auto-play in-feed native video ad.
Though a large share of respondents said they watched mobile video on Facebook and YouTube, nearly as many (50%) watched mobile video on Snapchat daily, and nearly half (42%) said they viewed mobile video content on Instagram every day. Twitter trailed behind with just 24% of young adults watching mobile video on that social platform each day.
Video habits are steadily moving to mobile. A survey from Millward Brown revealed that though time spent watching video on TV is still greater than on other devices, video habits are shifting, thanks in part to the proliferation of mobile devices entering the market, as well as growth of multi-screen usage.
According to the study, half of all video viewing happens on TV sets—split between live TV and on-demand TV. The other half comprises mainly mobile devices, which includes smartphones and tablets. Smartphones take the largest digital share, encompassing 22% of total daily time spent viewing video.
Food for thought to all of you SMB's out there using video.
FDMC Social and Digital Video
Yes, they just keep on coming and not that your smart phone has any more room for another app but this one might just prove to be useful. Google's new "spaces"app is designed to work with mobility and thus can be downloaded by either Google Play Store or the Apple Store for free. I just tested it on the desktop and yes it works there as well. The main purpose of Spaces is to help small groups get more done via collaboration. It integrates Google search, YouTube, and Chrome for quick and flawless look-up. To use it you simply need a Gmail account and hopefully friends or associates you can email to to join you in your new space.
"Why do I need my space for spaces? " you may ask. If you have a hot topic to discuss or a short notice meeting that you need your team on, simply make a space and invite them in. You can tap on a link, a video, a photo, whatever and off you go. For our iPhone users, you may have already messed around with the sister of this app called Gboard. It is very similar.
While our phones continue to get filled with apps this little gem will be cool for high school and college students who have group projects to work on as well as sales staff or committee people from non profits.
Finally the app is very good for the person sitting at the coffee shop discovering something he or she thinks is cool and wants to share it with their 30 or so friends just to get their opinion. Check out Spaces. I just hope you still have the space on your phone for Spaces.
FDMC Social & Digital Media
Many of the small businesses, what I like to call the Mom & Pops of this world have little or no marketing budget to speak of and even more due to no fault of their own, don't have much of a grasp in this fast paced world we call social media. Be it content marketing, creating social platforms, even getting out to do network marketing, these small business owners barely have time to open and close the shop much less try and maintain a social presence. So here are some ideas for all of you small business owners on how to do some creative on line marketing without writing a check out to some huge marketing firm.
While it's effectiveness has dropped a bit, a Google My Business Page is still a free and good way for people to find you. Google + and Google My Business go hand in hand. From a business aspect both pages are still used by businesses for marketing. The good news it is free. You will need a free Google account. It allows people to not only find you on Google Maps but it allows customer reviews, interaction and content posting. If your business is retail Yelp and Angie's List is effective as well.
Use LinkedIn and Facebook for social networking to start if you have not done so already. These two platforms along with Twitter are the "big 3" of any small business owner to start his/her on-line platform. Do not mix your personal Facebook account with your business page. Sure, invite your close friends and customers to your new site to spread the word but keep it professional. Create special on line discounts and use content to build relationships and trust with your customers. I will assume your small business has a web site and if not, shame on you! You can create free web sites with platforms such as Webs, Weebly or Word Press. You won't have your own domain but at least you will have an on line presence. They all feature drop and load templates to easily create websites that look nice.
Lastly that email account you have. Are you using it to market and send specials or a newsletter? You can create newsletters using services like Mail Chimp for free. Make sure your customers have given you permission to send them newsletters and that they can opt out. Good luck and get social on line!
FDMC Social & Digital Media
Social Media continues to evolve. It seems to be changing every month with new platforms, new trends, and applications. So you have your business on Facebook and Twitter and you think you are doing just fine in the world of social media. But are you really? Here are a few facts with business and social media. As Facebook becomes more of a "We want your money" operation, more and more people are drifting away to find the free platforms for their business to reach their masses. If you want the goodies now on Facebook, you are finding you have to cough up some dough to get it. Facebook's recent audience network launch program means for the business, the days of something for nothing is over.
What is becoming more popular for target marketing is video and images. Many of the Fortune 500 companies are moving in this direction for advertising and marketing. Images tell a lot and young shoppers especially are using this to their advantage and in their shopping habits. Pinterest and Instagram are picking up not only more users but advertisers as well as they pull away from traditional desktop platforms. Mobility, video, and photo images is 3 key words you as a business need to grasp and embrace for marketing and advertising. Video and still images have helped push Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine to new heights. Another popular tool for the young 15 to 25 crowd is Snapchat. While advertisers and still trying to figure out how to capture this new hot platform, Snapchat has become very trendy to this key target market.
While I am not saying you should not still keep a solid market plan in place for Facebook and Twitter, businesses need to be open to new platforms and monitor social media trends to capture that market share. keep up regular engagement conversations with your customers and stay connected. Remember, spending your marketing dollars in an empty room is not only fruitless, it is silly. Capture your market share and stay abreast of technology changes. Be a leader in the social media circle. Reach your goals.
Twitter is a business social media tool. If you do not think that, think again. If you are using it for your business, are you taking full advantage of the capabilities of Twitter? Here are a few tips on using Twitter to engage your customer base and perhaps add to that. Twitter as well as other social media platforms are an extension of your brand. You may have set office or store hours but social media is your marketing arm that is open 24-7 365 days of the year. When you are not there, it should be selling for you. Let's get to my points.
Photos: Twitter now allows photos. Using interesting eye-catching photos will draw attention to your tweets. Make them fun but not stupid. Don't make them overbearing either like "Buy Now!" Use them to show your brand or for "inside" events. Allow interaction with your followers as they may want to know more about the photo.
Reply: You get tweets with questions or comments, take time to reply. Yes I am guilty of this sometimes but if you pick up followers, follow back. You get a nice comment, thank them. You get a question, answer them. This builds rapport
Don't blab on and on: Twitter max characters are 140. Keep your posts to that or less. Attention span today with social media is less than 3 seconds under most cases, especially with young followers. They don't care nor have the time to read all your stuff. Try to keep it short
The "Other Guys": Follow what your competition is doing. If you sell widgets, see who else is selling widgets in your market area. If they have 500 followers and you have 75, you need to get on the ball and figure out what they are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
The Technical Stuff: Learn how to use the tools of Twitter. Consider adding HootSuite so you can automate your tweets. It is free or you can move up to the business paid platform. Learn to use # hash tags to broaden your "hits" on your tweets. Learn to use the . (period) to allow all your followers to see your tweets instead of the @ symbol which is a single reply. (Unless you really want to just reply to one follower obviously)
Good luck with Twitter and I hope these points were of value to you!
Nothing troubles me more than to see a website built by a business (probably the owner him or herself) and content does not change, pictures of staff who no longer work there, or even old addresses from where the business once was
located. A website can be a powerful tool if you maintain it. To throw something up and see if it sticks is insane. I visit a lot with SMB's and I ask them. "How is your website doing?" I get back "Well we have one if that's what you mean." You start talking analytics, key words,
content management, and they all give you this blank look. With today's technology, data streaming, market targeting, and embedded analytics, if you do not understand the real purpose of your website, then you seriously should not
even have one. You have to maintain your website and change the content frequently and you should also embed at the very least Google Analytics to track your hits and see whats working for you. A website can be a powerful marketing tool, but you have to empower it to work for you.
A recent study shows that only 25% of SMB' use any kind of tracking tool So what are the other 75% doing? Nothing. Using reported data properly can tell you not only who is visiting your site but when, what pages they are looking at, and this is just a small sampling of all the data you can use. I am only mentioning Google analytics because it is free for most of its basic services. We are in a digital and competitive world today. With the proper tools, even small businesses can compete with the big boys if you know
your market, use your web site to gain that data, and keep your content rich with key words that will attract todays buyers and market share. I highly encourage you to revisit your website and look at it carefully. Embed an
analytic tool and use it! If you find it too complicated, then hire a web service to do it for you or ask one your employees who may be web savvy to help you. It will be a win-win situation for your entire team.
Viddy, like my last review of Vine, is also a up and coming hot social media video app. It is available both for android and Apple mobile phones and tablets. Viddy allows you to create videos up to 15 seconds. Differences between Vine which is a Twitter product, Viddy can not loop but you can add special effects and a music bed. It will also connect to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube. I would recommend have both apps just because both serve different purposes. It does require a log in account as with most apps these days. You can follow other Viddy users, "like" the videos, and follow hot videos that are getting a lot of hits just like You Tube.
To use Viddy's special effects,it does not require a lot of genius work. When you install the app, it will ask permission to access your video library or your camera and then it will ask you if you want to "Make It Beautiful" and from there, you can work your magic. From there you simply touch "Next" and post it. By default it goes to Viddy's network but you can choose your other social sites if you wish. You can get various special effects by download and yes, you can pay for premium effects if you think you are going to be that next Hollywood Director. I like Viddy more than Vine but I have to give Vine a bit of a break here because it is new whereas Viddy has been around a bit longer. The cons of Viddy is it is a bit hard to work with if you have big hands like I do. Editing is bit cumbersome fom a cell phone. From my iPad , however,it was a bit easier.
Since I look at most apps from a business point of view, after playing around with Viddy, I think from a promotional and marketing angle, Viddy has some potential. For the 15 seconds you have with your video, some cool stuff can be produced to promote your brand. Adding music and some effects can have impact. considering where you can post this especially to your FB landing page or your Twitter account, the ideas are limitless. Give Viddy a try. It costs you nothing for the basic app and like with all apps, the delete command is always there for you but I don't think you will be doing that any time soon. It's too much fun.
I recently read an interesting article about Linkedin. Here is the link which features an interview with Mr. Dan Roth, Executive Editor with Linkedin. Linkedin . What Mr. Roth explains is the growing popularity about Linkedin as not only a social media tool, but as a business within your business. Anyone who has been on Linkedin for any time has seen how this platform as evolved from up and coming business professionals posting their resumes to a huge network of groups learning from each other about their respective trades. It is business professionals helping other business professionals.
I love this tool. I can find more information about my various business interests on one platform instead of searching all over. I find most people on Linkedin are happy to exchange their ideas with you and give you references to help you solve a problem you may have or get more information about a particular topic. You will find everyone from CEO's to a department head on Linkedin. While Linkedin did get it's roots as a resume posting site (and it still does this) Linkedin remains a free social networking site. (They do offer a paid pro version upgrade) Thousands of people have found white-collar jobs using Linkedin but more importantly, just as many if not more have found professional connections from within their community to around the world using this popular platform. It is not Facebook, It is not Twitter (but you can post daily subject matter if you wish). You do not talk about your kids, your movie you went to last night, but you post about business related information you might helpful to your peers. Chamber of Commerce's, retail outlets, services, doctors, lawyers, almost anyone in business can be found on Linkedin. If you have not signed up for Linkedin, I encourage you to do so.