Quick Tips: LinkedIn for Business

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If you’re looking for a social media channel to grow and maintain your professional network, get your brand noticed or find a job then LinkedIn is for you!  LinkedIn is designed to help individuals and companies manage their professional connections and share industry-specific content with like-minded individuals.  LinkedIn currently has over 610 million members, 90 million senior-level influencers, and 92% of Fortune 500 companies use this platform making it a must for business professionals across the globe.  

PROFILE BASICS

Getting noticed on LinkedIn means filling out as much of the account profile as possible.  Use a current and professional photo, write a killer headline that includes at least a handful of your best professional attributes and accomplishments, be sure to include your recent work history and link to all relevant websites. Successfully complete the profile and you’ve essentially created an online business card that will help you grow an audience and make valuable professional connections.  


7 WAYS TO GET NOTICED

  1. POST DAILY:  Two-thirds of LinkedIn users are working professionals ages 25-54.  This group is getting news and information from the site and more importantly, they are networking.  Daily posts speed up the connection process.  Remember to not only post during typical work hours but also after business hours.  Then, engage! Ask questions and comment frequently. Update as needed and post/share career opportunities.  Job seekers average 30 minutes a day on this platform.  

  2. MAKE CONNECTIONS:  LinkedIn offers a unique approach to making connections through its 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level connection system.  1st level connections are direct connections who will see your posts in their newsfeed. However, as soon as they begin to like, comment and share, your content, it will be seen beyond your immediate network to their connections (2nd level) and connections of connections (3rd level.)  This system allows for networking beyond your immediate circle potentially putting you in contact with important new connections.

  3. LINKEDIN GROUPS:  Join groups, this is a social network after all!  Search and join industry-related groups. Don’t forget to seek out regional groups as well.  Get active. Share experiences and insights. Ask questions, offers answers, and message group members.  

  4. ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS:  LinkedIn is geared around professionals, so recommendations are a great feature on this channel.  Connections can also endorse you for skills. Both build up your personal profile and can lead to new connections and job opportunities.

  5. TAG STRATEGICALLY:  When done correctly, tagging can draw attention to your posts.  Bonus, you don’t have to be “connected” to the person to tag them.  If you mention or quote an influential person in your post/comment, he or she may repost your content or connect with you.  Networking like this is a win-win.

  6. PROFILE VIEWS:  Another great way to grow your audience and make connections is by checking out who’s viewed your profile.  Making contact through sending invitations, following or messaging profile viewers is a great way to network.  LinkedIn’s free version allows users to see 5 recent profile viewers, the paid version allows users to see all profile viewers.  Keep in mind that profile viewers can browse in private mode, keeping their identity hidden. 

  7. KEYWORDS:  Using keywords on the LinkedIn platform can help connections find you when they need a product or service you offer.  Make a list of keywords related to your business and use them in your profile.  

LINKEDIN PUBLISHING

Publishing on LinkedIn is a must.  Longer content allows more in-depth audience targeting on the social network.  By publishing blogs and articles, you can make more connections through shares, get noticed by others in your industry, and grow your own personal credibility as an industry authority.  Publishing also provides SEO benefits such as backlinks from LinkedIn and indexable content. Be sure to tag your content for increased traffic after publishing. Doing this means your published content will have lasting searchability.  The best published articles include the following: great headlines, articles under 1,000 words, content about careers, and compelling visuals/images.

LINKEDIN FOR BUSINESS

A company profile on LinkedIn serves as a broadcasting tool to grow your brand and create awareness.  This is a great place to share company updates and job opportunities.  While it’s important to remember that people want to connect with other people, a company profile will show up in searches, solidify company branding, bring employees together, and allows a company to run ads.  

ANALYTICS

Every social media channel offers analytics LinkedIn is no exception.  Viewing insights offered on this platform informs users of their reach, helps make additional connections and gain valuable business insight.  LinkedIn insights can help you directly connect with those reading your content and key industry leaders. Analytics measure page views and shows you how often a unique viewer is visiting your profile or reading your content.  Users can also monitor impressions (the number of times the post was shown to LinkedIn members,) engagements (the number of interactions divided by impressions,) and clicks (the number of clicks on your content, company name, or logo.)  

BEST PRACTICES

The biggest takeaway from LinkedIn is that this is a business-minded social network.  Professionalism is key. LinkedIn largely serves as a personal marketing tool and as such users should go in with goals in mind.  Showcasing your expertise, posting blogs and articles, sharing milestones, launching products, and highlighting industry-related news all happen here.

UTILIZING USER-GENERATED CONTENT TO GROW YOUR SMALL BUSINESS AUDIENCE

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UGC:  Today’s Low Cost, High Impact Marketing Strategy

User-Generated Content (UGC) has been compared to traditional word of mouth marketing, only better!  Today, customers are encouraged to share their experiences with brands and companies online who will then, in turn, share these same posts, videos, reviews, and testimonials through their company’s social media channels.  The exchange is a win-win scenario as it increases brand awareness, grows credibility between customers and businesses, and ultimately propels audience engagement—generating marketing buzz AND sales all the while! Bonus, capitalizing on UGC costs little to nothing making this strategy a must for start-ups and small businesses.  

DETERMINE GOALS & AUDIENCE FOR UGC

For small businesses, UGC acts as a social media secret weapon giving power and purpose to customer food pics and selfies.  This free content is created by the customer putting your brand or business in the spotlight. As with any social media marketing campaign, it’s important to develop your UGC strategy with specific goals in mind.  While conversion is the end prize, growing your target audience is a good place to start when implementing a UGC marketing plan.  

Brands should first determine a key demographic.  Age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, region, and education level are categories to consider.  Next, choose a social media channel(s) that best attracts this demographic: Instagram and Twitter for Millenials, Facebook for a large cross-section of adults, Pinterest for a female demographic, and LinkedIn for a professional audience are some of the top platforms on the list.  Make sure your plan includes metrics such as Audience Insights, Likes, Pins and Tweets to help measure your progress. Many of these social media channels offer free analytics, a budget-friendly incentive for small businesses and start-up companies.  

UGC COMMUNITY CREATION

Businesses should begin with community creation.  Showcase your product or service through social media content, blogs, vlogs and be sure to include polls and contests.  Your content should be engaging with a specific Call to Action (CTA,) a powerful hashtag and social media tagging opportunities that encourage followers to begin sharing their own posts, videos, reviews, and testimonials.  Small businesses can greatly increase the size of their page following with the addition of prizes, discounts and insider exclusives in exchange for UGC. Keep in mind that your brand should always ask permission to repost, give credit to the post originator and offer something of value in return.  

Fan-powered campaigns have proven successful on a variety of levels.  Consider the innovative “Share A Coke” marketing strategy that created a huge splash across the nation.  Popular names printed on Coke bottles quickly filled social media posts and tweets.  Small businesses were watching and soon followed with unique hashtags of their own. For example, #TheSheJewels is a small business that specializes in hair scrunchies and jewelry.  The company has a website and is active on four social media channels that meet their younger demographic. The social sites have an extremely small following compared to Coca Cola, however, this small business utilizes UGC every day, sharing posts and testimonials from satisfied customers.  They frequently run contests and include surprise rewards in the packages of return customers. As an added bonus, customers see their name as a pop-up on the website celebrating their purchases. These are winning UGC strategizes that create community and keep customers coming back time and time again.  

UGC SOCIAL SHARING

Authenticity is key among customers and potential customers.  Nearly two-thirds of customers rely on endorsements and reviews when it comes to making a purchase.  Many customers note that they are more likely to trust a fellow buyer when considering a new product.  And the recommendation from a friend offers additional credibility to the endorsement. These are all important factors to consider as your brand begins the social sharing process.  Through a quick keyword search and tagging, businesses and brands will be able to quickly find positive UGC to share. Small businesses can use these posts to create a content library to help promote their brand now and in the future.  

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK AS UGC

UGC doesn’t just occur through hashtags and tagging, businesses should mine their product review page and seek out testimonials as well.  Today’s marketing is a two-way street and includes conversations between customers and brands. Customers are looking for opportunities to share feedback and they expect their voices to be heard.  

A great example of this includes a small coffee shop in western Kansas.  Patrick Dugan’s Coffee House not only uses its social media sites to create brand awareness but also as a way to authentically connect with its customers as they develop trust in their product.  While they only utilize two social media channels, their posts are frequently shared and questions are quickly addressed. Simply tagging them or using their hashtags in a post will almost immediately be met with not only a response but also with a comment as well.  They are also known to reply to reviews further creating that customer and business bond. In the short time that this coffee shop has been in business, they have seen great success and recently added staff and space to their business.

UGC DOs & DON’Ts FOR AUDIENCE GROWTH

  • Do use specific CTA keywords to encourage UGC.

  • Don’t forget to promote your UGC hashtags across platforms.

  • Do make sure you ask permission before posting and sharing UGC.

  • Don’t take credit for content that you didn’t create.

  • Do offer rewards and incentives for UGC.

  • Don’t ignore your UGC creators.

  • Do monitor keywords, hashtags, and tagging. Engage your audience by responding to posts and reviews in a timely manner.

  • Don’t skip the metrics. Analytics will help your business to know what kinds of UGC are working for your brand. Use this insight to reinforce or create future campaigns.

We know that small businesses and start-ups have fewer and limited resources when it comes to growing their audiences.  Creating a UGC social media strategy is a great way to save time and money while building brand awareness and increasing your following.  Through a careful selection of social media platforms, smaller companies can consistently connect with customers and potential customers proving this low investment, high impact strategy works for businesses of all sizes.  

Quick Tips: Pinterest for Business

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Pinterest is making a name for itself among the top social media channels for business.  No longer is the platform relegated to soccer moms and crafty homemakers! Today, Pinterest has positioned itself as a prominent search engine similar to Google and YouTube and marketers are using the platform to create brand awareness, increase website traffic and ultimately grow their business profiles.  

WHY PINTEREST

With a hyper-engaged audience of over 200 million users under 40, Pinterest represents a huge opportunity.  The social media channel is growing in popularity especially among men and minorities.  Statistically, two-thirds of Pinterest users say they’ve discovered new brands and products from Pinterest features like Promoted Pins and half of all users say that Pinterest helps them find new products to buy.  Pinterest is a go-to channel for mobile users as well with nearly 80% of pinners accessing the platform via mobile technology.  When marketing on Pinterest be sure to bring your A-game because this social media channel boasts big returns!

PINTEREST FOR BUSINESS

Setting up a Pinterest account for business is easy.  Users have three options here.  Set up a solo business account, link your personal account to a business account (you can have up to four,) or convert an established personal account into a business account.  No matter which option you use, the business account status comes with a lot of perks.  

  1. FREE business account (this allows you to set up paid advertising on the platform.)

  2. Ability to select a business category so “pinners” can find you.  Don’t forget to select “Featured Boards” to add to your profile.

  3. Links to business email and website to draw traffic to your site.

  4. The ability to claim your website, Instagram, Etsy and YouTube accounts.  Linked accounts mean cross-promotion!

  5. Download a Pinterest Browser Button making “pinning” your posts quick and easy.

PINTEREST BASICS

  • PINS:  Visual bookmarks that users can collect and categorize.  You can “pin” items while browsing Pinterest or add new ones from your favorite websites.

  • BOARDS:  Used to save and organize pins.  Categorized by names you choose.

  • REPIN:  Adding a “pin” to your own boards.  When you “repin” the person with the original Pin will also get the credit.

  • PROMOTED PINS:  Paid “pins” that a user sees based on interest and activities.

  • RICH PINS:  There are four types of rich pins—Product, Article, App, and Recipe.  The process requires a little extra work, but utilizing meta tags and going through the Rich Pins validator can greatly improve pin visibility and boost your business profile.  

WHAT TO PIN

  • Pin your best ideas!  Make sure your pin has clear content and is actionable for a specific audience.  When users click on a pin they expect to be directed to a landing page for more info so be sure to link your accounts!

  • Blog posts are ideal for pinning.  Pinners want direct links AND information so they can discover and buy new products.

  • Use vertical graphics with text overlays.  Pinterest is a visual platform. Make sure your graphics always point back to your brand or business.

  • Pinterest allows videos to play right from their platform.  This drives traffic straight to your website instead of linking to another social media channel. Video pins are only allowed on business accounts.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

Eye-catching pins draw in an audience so it’s important to know who you’re targeting.  Is it women, men, both? What age? Does your product have regional, national, or global appeal?  Going in with clear goals helps. Keep in mind that most Pinterest users are females age 40 and younger with household incomes between $50 thousand and $125 thousand dollars.  Millennials are also using the platform just as much as Instagram.  Pinterest makes growing an audience easy through categories, keywords, and hashtags.  Pin consistently (daily) for best results.

  • Connect through Categories:  Pinterest is set up similar to a search engine.  Pinners can select categories and the platform will offer up a list of suggestions AND other category suggestions for pinners to explore.

  • Connect through Keywords:  Similar to SEO, businesses have some control over the categories their pins show up in through keywords.  While pinning, businesses should ALWAYS include keywords in the pin description. It’s important to also include links back to your website at every opportunity.

  • Connect through Hashtags:  Hashtags help your content perform better.  Pinners can find your pins via a hashtag search and hashtags are listed chronologically, so regular business pinners can quickly move to the top of that list. 

PINTEREST ANALYTICS

Pinterest offers a variety of analytics for its users.  The number of monthly viewers is probably the most important stat to pay attention to on your profile page.  Audience Insights is another great way to take that number and adjust content to gain more traffic.  On this channel, businesses should be more concerned with views and saves, and not necessarily likes and comments.   Monitor top pins to know what works. You can filter your “Top Pins” by “Impressions”, “Engagements”, “Closeups”, “Link clicks”, and “Saves”.  Then revamp and repost.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Pinterest is a great option for businesses of all sizes.  It offers a longer shelflife for content because content can be discovered at any time and doesn’t disappear into a newsfeed.  Pinterest users utilize the site with the intent to purchase. Cross-promotion opportunities abound on this platform with direct links to websites for quick and easy conversions.  With pin ready images, share buttons, linked accounts, and the ability to appear in numerous “searches,” Pinterest is an excellent platform to showcase your brand and grow your audience.

Quick Tips: Twitter for Business

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Love it or hate it, Twitter is a global social media powerhouse.  With 500 million tweets posted each day, your business can’t afford to overlook Twitter!  Here, your business and/or brand can really shine and show off its personality.  Described as a “microblogging system,” Twitter makes it easy for both mobile and PC users to tweet and retweet short messages and quickly exchange banter.  This social media channel entertains a wide variety of users with audiences ranging from youth and young adults to politicians, researchers, educators, professionals, the news media and more!  Twitter's key demographic includes 18-29 year-olds with a large number of users located outside the United States.  

WHERE TO BEGIN

Unlike other social media accounts, establishing a Twitter profile for your business requires some additional forethought.  Without an official “business” designation, users must quickly establish a “voice” in order to build a following. Twitter has also stopped its “verification process,” so “voice” is imperative.  Will you operate as a strictly corporate account, a corporate led-persona account, a business/personal hybrid account, or a character account?  Determining “voice” early will help your business to develop and cement its personality and ultimately determine business goals for this platform.  

Twitter insiders remind us that within the account profile one should include a brief business summary, a link to an existing website to draw in traffic, and finally, a “pinned tweet.”  Additionally, don’t get too cutesy with the name, your account handle should clearly reflect your business. Once you’re set-up, immediately begin following industry leaders to build your own profile and attract an audience.  Don’t forget to monitor your competition, too!

TWEET WITH PURPOSE

  1. Post often, but strategically to gain a following.  Timing is everything.  The lifespan of a tweet is about 18 minutes with 7,000 new tweets sent every second.  Statistics suggest posting Monday through Friday as well as on weekends.  Insiders further recommend tweeting in the afternoon between noon and 6 PM.  Don’t have something to tweet?  Well, don’t let that stop you. Businesses can further build their audience by posting comments on other businesses’ tweets.  These exchanges can draw attention to your brand. Nearly, one-third of users say they can recall specific Twitter posts, so utilize every opportunity to build your audience.  Don’t forget to include @mentions and tag influencers...drive a little traffic their way and watch them reciprocate.

  2. Use photos, gifs, videos and polls to engage audiences.  Utilize these media formats to promote your business but also to share your point of view.  Here’s where you can really show your brand’s personality. Like other social media channels, great content begins with great visuals.  Keep in mind that Tweets with a GIF get 55% more engagement, 93% of Twitter videos are viewed on mobile, and Tweets with video attract 10x as much engagement.  Storytelling should be brief but intriguing.  Remember you can always link back to your website, blog or article to share additional info.  Be sure to mix it up!

  3. Include RELEVANT hashtags. This is a biggie!  Tweets that contain hashtags receive twice as much attention as those that don’t.  Hashtags help to group subject matter together making it easier for audiences to find trends, industries, and specific topics.  When you use a hashtag, your content becomes a part of this grouping. Similarly, you can search hashtags to seek out groupings that you want to be associated with.  Don’t forget to check “trending” hashtags to use as needed in your tweets and get creative, develop a hashtag specific to your business, but don’t get greedy—too many hashtags are a turnoff.  The keyword here is RELEVANT.

  4. Direct Message responses.  You can use this Twitter feature to welcome new audience members, engage in conversation, answer questions, and troubleshoot.  Your businesses’ response should be professional and prompt as if you were helping a customer face to face.  Direct Message is another key way of developing customer loyalty and should not be overlooked.  

  5. Live Tweet, Twitter Chats and Interact with Influencers.  With Twitter, it’s not just who you are, but who you know.  Take advantage of Live Tweet opportunities! Look for trending current events and topics, or create your own.  Make sure you grab the right hashtags and then start posting.  Prepare before you begin and then tweet and retweet away. Similarly, you can engage your audience through Twitter Chats.  Address current industry topics and show your knowledge as a means of growing your audience and establishing trust for your brand.  At all times, keep in mind the power of influencers in your field and interact when appropriate, this is another opportunity for @mentions and tagging.  

TWITTER ANALYTICS

After establishing Key Business Requirements, creating content, and tweeting, Twitter offers several opportunities to measure your company’s goals.  Twitter’s At Home feature is like a report card for your business profile.  This feature allows you to track statistics from month to month.  Your Tweet Activity Dashboard gives you important metrics for each of your posts and allows you to discover which tweets are performing best and at what time.  Finally, stay connected to your audience through the Audience Insights Dashboard.  Here you can monitor followers' growth, interest, and demographics.  Knowing the metrics will help you to make adjustments to your social media marketing plan.  

LAST THOUGHTS

Twitter is supposed to be fun!  With a young demographic, mobile interface, quick responses, trending topics, and more there’s a lot of room to play and interact with your audience.  Twitter users are looking for the “next big thing.” This social media channel moves fast so remember to vary your tweets, take advantage of Twitter features like Live Tweeting, @mention influencers, discover new hashtags, and follow your industry’s movers and shakers because Twitter is all about personality.  Success on Twitter is as much about listening to your audience and monitoring analytics as it is about learning the ins and outs of this social media channel.


Quick Tips: Instagram for Business

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Serious social media marketers know that Instagram can be a game-changer in the business world.  With 1 billion+ users, Instagram’s mobile-first philosophy allows the company to engage with target audiences to build brand awareness, debut products, drive website traffic, and sell online.  Engagement on Instagram is high, its users are brand loyal and extremely hashtag and trend-savvy. Key demographics for this social media channel are 18-24 years olds, with most users under age 35—all with money to spend.  80 percent of all accounts follow businesses on Instagram, making it worth the time and energy for companies of all sizes to utilize this social media channel!

GETTING STARTED

The Instagram audience is 70 percent more likely to buy via mobile and nearly 40 percent of online users utilize Instagram.  Instagram makes it easy to create and maintain a FREE business profile, but it’s not enough just to set up an account.  While business accounts are automatically set to “public,” allowing billions of potential likes, views, and visits from around the globe, smart marketers build their profile section, do their research and study their competition.  

  1. Build Profile:  Include contact information, physical location, website address and utilize business-only options like corresponding buttons.  Be sure to select your category, giving you a leg up in reaching out to potential customers searching for your business type. Make sure you offer clear branding for your company allowing your business to reach new audiences.

  2. Research:  Determine who your customers are and who currently follows/buys from you.  Age, socioeconomic background, interests, region, etc. You can gain a lot of infor from audience insights on your other social media channels, too. Keep in mind the under 35 demographic.

  3. Study Your Competition:  Don’t be afraid to get nosy.  Various apps and websites exist to help you hone in on keywords and hashtags.  Follow your competitors and take advantage of the “similar accounts” page recommended by Instagram to expand your audience and grow your page followers.  

Each of these points will help you as you set Key Business Requirements and Key Performance Indicators for your business and Instagram account.  Make sure you establish upfront the type of metrics you will follow to measure success.

BUILDING AN AUDIENCE

Unlike other social media channels built around groups and friends, Instagram offers an explore feature, additional search options and advanced insights for business accounts to further build a following.  Here you can see your content rated from most viewed posts, activity insights (like interactions, discovery, reach and impressions,) as well as an audience tab. It’s important to note here that Instagram only measures your audience insights once you obtain 100 followers, so this is an important threshold to reach.  

  1. Engage with the right people through the right hashtags. Select hashtags relevant to your product/service/brand.

  2. Take advantage of “suggested” accounts.  Follow and engage with these accounts for audience growth.

  3. Use the “places” search option to zone in on key event venues, cities, and regions where your target audience can be found.

  4. Utilize the explore feature to browse by categories—this one is BIG. Find related categories, influencers, and accounts and tag them in your own posts expanding your audience reach.

  5. Capitalize on established connections.  Instagram offers ready-made audience builders through the setting tab.  Choose Close Friends, Discover People, and connect through Facebook options.  

Throughout this audience building process “like, follow, comment” and “message” personal and business accounts to grow your own following.  Statistics show that the more you engage on the platform the more opportunities you have to grow your account.  

CONTENT CREATION AND AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

Now that you’ve found your audience, create content that will pique your audiences’ interest, meet customers' needs, tell a compelling story, entertain, and otherwise build your brand.  Instagram is mobile and visually driven. Audiences respond to aesthetically pleasing photography (think Kylie Jenner,) infographics, and videos. This social channel moves fast and caters to a young demographic, so it’s important to make sure your content is captivating from the get-go!  You’ve researched your audience, tapped into their passions and further established relationships between brand and audience. When it comes to engagement, take advantage of the best Instagram features.

  1. Posts:  Compelling images with catchy captions that can quickly tell a story.  Include hashtags.

  2. Instagram Stories:  Creative and longer interactive narrative via the stories feature.  Stories run from one image to the next. Use this for product demos, to ask questions, to create polls, share music, go live, and draw your audience back to your website with Call to Action buttons.  

  3. IGTV:  IGTV is connected to the Instagram platform and offers new opportunities to connect with your target audience.  The video is in the vertical format, making it eye-catching and different from other social media channels.  Businesses can use up to 60 minutes of video. Apps allow for editing and text options, as well. A great option for how-to videos, to showcase feature products, and hosting FAQs.

AUDIENCE ANALYSIS & INSIGHTS

Finally, evaluate your audience growth and engagement.  Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Are you growing your number of followers, utilizing the right hashtags, consistently engaging with the audience, and posting relevant content for the 35 and under crowd on a daily basis?  Instagram offers helpful Insights to analyze success. Your business account keeps a log of Feed Posts, Stories, Promotions and an Archive allowing you to review your best efforts and explore audience participation allowing you to grow your business.

Quick Tips: Facebook for Small Businesses

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Compared to traditional marketing, social media marketing offers new, and relatively, inexpensive ways to grow businesses of all sizes.  So it’s no surprise that companies around the globe turn to social media giant Facebook first as a central part of their marketing plan. The numbers don’t lie.  Facebook touts itself as the most prominent social media channel globally with more than 2 billion monthly average users.  It reaches 20% of the world population with the average user spending at least an hour every day on the platform.  Today more than 65 million businesses use Facebook Pages and more than six million advertisers are actively promoting their company on Facebook right now.  Basically, a large chunk of the world’s buying population is on Facebook, and if your business isn’t—it should be!

BASICS

One of the keys to Facebook’s success is that it’s extremely user-friendly and customizable.  Creating a business page is similar to setting up a personal Facebook profile, but with several additional perks.  Page owners can tailor their business page by adding a logo and cover photo, including vital information in the “about” section, and linking to their company website or other social media channels.  Through the creation of a business page, friends, followers, clients, and potential customers can receive news, updates, and exclusive offers via a simple post. Content creators can (and should) add images or graphics to their posts to further appeal to their audiences, but these basics merely serve as a starting point as Facebook offers so much more!

TARGETING AUDIENCES

Your business can’t grow without customers and great business content needs an audience.  Facebook is here to help! Another feature available via this channel is the ability to find and engage with a target group inside and outside of your page.  Using business.facebook.com, business page owners can explore Audience Insights.  Now, instead of being limited to an audience of friends and existing customers, businesses can obtain demographic and behavioral data about their audience as well as their competitors in order to generate new customers.  Audience Insights can be an important tool in determining the type of content that your audience wants. Business page owners also have the ability to invite people to their page as a way of expanding their reach. Here a personal invitation can go a long way!  Through Facebook Notifications, a business page owner can see the profile of someone who has “liked” a post and then send that user a message to “like” the page and see future posts as well.

ENGAGING CUSTOMERS

Engaging with customers has never been easier.  Similar to a Facebook personal profile, users are encouraged to like, share and comment on a post.  Smart business page owners can interact with customers here, create contests, offer polls and quizzes, “caption this image” post and “fill in the blank” posts.  Another great way to engage customers is to share User Generated Content (UGC) to your page.  People love to see their photos shared on a large platform and, like social media influencers, UGC can grow your brand!  Page owners can also utilize Call To Action buzzwords encouraging current followers to like, share and invite their friends to your page. It’s important to remember that Facebook rates a page’s response time to Messages so engaging with customers quickly is key.  

VIDEO

Video content is king on social media and Facebook has seen great success with its “go live” feature.  Facebook Live videos are watched 3x longer than standard videos and 54% of users say they want to see more video content from marketers.  Statistics like these are good news for social media marketers who are looking to connect with their audience in real-time.  Additional ideas for video use include adding a featured video on your page and utilizing video within Facebook stories.  Marketers can also create Facebook 360 videos allowing for virtual reality as a communication and social interaction tool.  These types of video content can be leveraged through Facebook features like events, promotions, reminders, and links drawing in your audience for a “must-see” presentation.

FEATURES

Business owners can also utilize Groups, the Facebook Marketplace, and the Jobs Board as a part of their overall social media marketing plan.   Through Groups, there is the potential to grow your business page audience and subsequently find new clients and customers through interaction and discussion.  Through the utilization of Facebook Stories, a business page can create still images and mini-vignette videos that capture the attention of their audience, too.  Stickers, emojis, text and CTAs can also be added as well as direct links to a company website. Facebook has also made moving between social media channels easier through its acquisition of Instagram.  Now business owners can connect the two platforms and post both stories and posts simultaneously, saving time. Furthermore, Facebook increased the capabilities of its Messenger service whereby business owners can send automatic messages to subscribers to receive “insider” information and deals thus creating its own “insider” club vibe.  

AD CAMPAIGN

Social media managing tools like Hootsuite and Buffer offer great blogs to help business owners optimize their Facebook Ad campaigns.  Knowing the different types of ads available goes a long way in creating a strategy. Link click ads, video ads, boosted page posts, page like ads, and even Messenger ads are a few great examples of where to start.  Once an ad is created, business owners can then choose a target audience based on several criteria:  people who like the page, people who like the page and their friends, keyword, demographics, and target location among others.  Finally, business page owners can choose the duration and budget for the ad.  

ANALYTICS

In order to measure your business page’s Return on Investment (ROI,) you must review the analytics.  Page owners have an opportunity to review ad performance during and at the end of their ad campaign with Facebook analytics doing all the work.  Business owners have access to in-app performance graphs and charts. This allows for tweaking the ad (if needed) and noting any changes that can or should be made before the next ad campaign begins.  These ready made tools are key.

Facebook has rolled out the red carpet for business owners and marketers over the last few years and even offers tips through its own sponsored ad posts.  Using Facebook’s many options for creating, maintaining and engaging audiences helps marketers to create concrete goals and ultimately measure the success (or failure) of their ad campaign all within one social media channel.  


Identifying KBRs & KPIs for Effective Digital Marketing

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An effective digital marketing strategy has clear goals and outlines the metrics needed to meet these targets.

  • Key Business Requirements (KBRs) identify business goals and expectations.  They outline a purpose and help to map out priorities.

  • KBRs are an important FIRST STEP in a digital marketing strategy.

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) determine the metrics you will use to measure how well you’re meeting these objectives.

This distinction is important because in today’s business climate we have access to an incredible amount of data.  While this is ideal, if we’re not paying attention to the metrics that will help our company to meet its goals, it doesn’t really amount to much. For example, monitoring “likes” on a social media platform only helps us move product if we can get the consumer to the website where a purchase can be made. However, if your goal is brand awareness then the “likes” become valuable information. Without these objectives, we’re basically just collecting meaningless stats with no end result in mind. Creating a chart with clear KBIs and KPIs can help. This approach maps out a digital marketing strategy where business owners, stakeholders, and marketers can all see the objectives and the measurements required to reach their goals.


10 Ways to Build Your Social Media Content Calendar

MIX AND MATCH FOR A MONTH’S WORTH OF POSTS & TWEETS

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Your social media strategy can make or break your business!  Between maintaining your brand and engaging with customers, it can be hard to find the time to keep up with it all.  But if consistency is the key (and it is,) you can’t afford not to make your social media content calendar a priority.  A recent study shows that seventy percent of all Americans are active on social media, many engaging in several platforms multiple times per day proving that it pays to be seen!  Make sure your brand gets the attention it deserves and layout a content calendar using these ten ideas.  

  1. Original Post  The queen bee of all social media posts!  The original post is most authentic to your brand.  Through graphics, video or photography, you can engage with your current and potential customers.  It’s helpful to have a series of professional photos of your product/service on hand to create this type of content.  

  2. Blog  The blog is the heart of your narrative.  Here you can sing the praises of your product/service.  No one knows what you offer as well as you do, don’t be afraid to share.  Through conversational writing and bullet points, blogs make for great social media calendar content that can be used repeatedly on a number of platforms.   Plus, regularly updating your blog on your website increases your visibility on search engines.  Win, win.

  3. Quotes  No need to recreate the wheel here.  Pull select quotes from your blog and link back to it.  Another option is to share quotes that directly relate to your product/service.  For example, make a list of five keywords that describe your business. Use these words as a starting point for finding quotes that speak to your brand.  

  4. Links to Published Pieces  A personal favorite.  Smart business owners monitor leaders in the industry.  Share items that relate to your type of business. If you're a realtor, perhaps you share landscaping tips on Tuesdays from publications like Better Homes & Gardens or Garden Design magazine.  Similarly, a personal trainer might link to articles on healthy eating as part of their content calendar.

  5. Website Share  Generate more clicks for your already existing website and create calendar content at the same time.  Most websites have several ready-made content items. Everything from your About page to your Events page can become a link.  Use photos from your website to create continuity in look and tone.

  6. Testimonials  The bread and butter of a well-run company is positive feedback from customers.  Car dealerships provide a great example here. Often times, a car sale and a positive referral from a customer make up the bulk of the social media content on a dealership’s account.  Customers are excited and happy about their purchase and this is an easy photo op that becomes quick content.

  7. Giveaways  Everyone loves a prize!  EVERYONE. Create a Call to Action asking for followers to like, share and tag a friend for an opportunity to win your product or service.  Stretch the promotion out for a few days and instant social media content. Plus, the word of mouth generated following the giveaway doesn’t hurt either!

  8. Polls and Questions  Take the temperature of the room with polls and questions.  This is a very informal way of product testing to create content.  Polls can be as benign as color choice or you can offer a more in-depth questionnaire with a handful of selections.  Either way customers and even potential customers love to be a part of their favorite company’s decision-making process.

  9. User-Generated Content  Your fans are your greatest asset!  Digital entrepreneur, Pat Flynn smartly identifies super fans as a company’s “free” marketing team. Search your mentions and hashtags for followers who give a shout out to your product/service and then share their praise (always ask permission.)  In today’s social media climate we all have the potential to influence our own followers. User-Generated Content is a fun and easy way to fill up your own content calendar.  

  10. Newsletters  List your accomplishments and what’s next via a company newsletter.  Your newsletter is like a highlight reel, use it to share important news and product reveals.  With several free newsletter templates, creating a polished and professional newsletter is easy and can be shared more than once!

Creating a content calendar is vital to today’s business. Remember, you can repurpose the content throughout the month with new lead-ins, keeping in mind holidays and other important dates. Be sure to track engagement.  Analytics can help you determine which posts received the most attention and help you decide which days of the week (and even times of the day) your customers are most likely to engage. The scheduler feature on many social media platforms is also helpful or use a social media content calendar service (several are free) to help you manage your posts across platforms.  

Now, let’s get started!


Build Your Brand for $0 (I’m Not Kidding)

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TAP INTO THESE 5 NO COST PROMOTION IDEAS USING JUST A SMARTPHONE

You’re starting your own business!  With any luck, your new venture will pay the rent but creating a company goes way beyond product.  In today’s entrepreneurial environment, building a business requires branding. Branding is more than a logo and tagline.  It’s the personality and vision of your business, and it requires getting your name out there. Sound expensive? It doesn’t have to be.  Here are five zero cost strategies for marketing your company using just a smartphone.

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA

    First things first, your business needs a social media presence.  Take advantage of the numerous FREE platforms available. Be sure to set up a business account on the three main outlets—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Business account designation gives credibility, provides networking opportunities, access to analytics, and allows for reviews/recommendations.  

  2. BLOG SITE

    Nobody knows your product like you do, so start writing about it!  Create blogs that feature product details, satisfied customers or tell the tale behind your company.  FREE blog site options exist on WordPress and Medium. Simply create an account, name your blog, and go!

  3. IMAGES

    A picture is worth a thousand words, but we’re not all professional photographers.  That’s where royalty free image services come into play. Websites like Unsplash and Pexel provide FREE, high quality, professional images.  With thousands of photos at your fingertips, your business promotions will look like a million bucks!

  4. GRAPHIC APPS

    Downloading a graphics app will let you add that special something to your social media posts.  With creative fonts and designs, your posts will really pop! Several FREE apps exist. Try Adobe Spark Post for still or animated graphics options.

  5. EMAIL MARKETING

    FREE email marketing services like MailChimp will allow subscribers to receive emails, newsletters, etc. from your company straight to their inbox.  With easy to use templates, you can create professional quality emails that effectively market your business in minutes.

Promoting your business doesn’t have to break the bank.  In fact, with today’s smartphone capabilities you can create and manage your entire marketing plan with a few clicks.  Be sure to subscribe to podcasts like The Science of Social Media and Social Marketing Academy for additional tips and ideas.