Tips On Creating Social Media Success For Your Business

image flickr @jerrybowleyBusinesses of all sizes often rush to start initiatives without a plan. A newly approved direction or idea prompts a domino chain reaction and suddenly staffers are blindly implementing new processes without knowing why.

For example, a company buys a new CRM solution but doesn’t ask its departments involved what features they will need for sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, IT, etc. The system gets installed and then the company doesn’t offer training. Suddenly, a major investment has been made and there are no tangible benefits or returns because the right questions weren’t asked ahead of time and the staff does not use the new system.

With social media, as well as all marketing and business initiatives, you need to start with a plan. Only then can you set measurable goals, have everyone on the same page and move forward.

Marketing Tech Blog asked “What Factors Make for a Successful Social Media Strategy?” The article examines Brian Solis and Charlene Yi’s recently published infographic “The Seven Success Factors of a Social Business Strategy.”

The factors include:

  • Define the overall business goals.
  • Establish the long-term vision.
  • Ensure executive support.
  • Define the strategy roadmap.
  • Establish governance and guidelines.
  • Secure staff, resources and funding.
  • Invest in technology platforms that evolve.

“These factors are not only crucial for a successful social business strategy, but also for any large project or initiative for any business,” says Valorie Luther, Executive Director of Creative Concepts. “One more item I would add is to review all factors on the list, often.  As early as two to three months into the new project, ask if the goals still work, is the vision still in place, is the roadmap working, are the guidelines being followed, are there too little or too many staffers, did you pick the right platforms and keep asking these questions to make sure you are always on task. Without all these components of the strategy included and assessed something will be lost whether it’s time, money or customers.”

Image from Flickr via @jamesbowley

9 Common #SEO Mistakes to Avoid

seo tipsSearch engine optimization (SEO) is a key factor in the success of digital marketing initiatives. Having a content marketing strategy is pointless unless your content can be found.

Here are a few tips from Content Marketing Institute’s article “Don’t Make These 9 Common SEO Mistakes.”

  • You focus on likes, not links. Likes are good to have, but links provide more viral reach and can link back to your website which should be the central hub of your online activity.
  • Content doesn’t go to a source. Again, posting messages on social media is good, but linking back to your website is better. Having all of your information on your website ensures the search engines will find and index your content for search.
  • You are targeting the wrong audience. Your content needs to add value to your customers and also to the search community.
  • You don’t get help from a power user. Influencers can help promote your content to their networks and communities. Share useful content to these people and establish relationships with them.
  • You use the wrong (or no) words. Make sure your keywords are not industry or technical terms. Ask your customers what words they would use when searching for your company or products/services. Use Google Trends and Soovle.com to research common phrases.
  • You break your website. When updating your website, be sure the high performing older pages have proper redirects so their SEO rankings will not be lost. Also make sure images and links are properly reconnected.
  • You don’t have a plan for outreach. Create processes to build an outreach of influencers.
  • You don’t gather data. Competitive intelligence gathering is important to stay ahead of the competition. Know what keywords are working for them online as well as your own.

For more great SEO advice, check out Content Marketing Institute’s website.

(Image via Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The Ideal Length of Online #Content

internetzooHave you ever wondered what the ideal length of a social media message should be?

As communicators, choosing the right words is important to effectively convey your message. Selecting the right length for different channels and platforms can be challenging.

This infographic from SumAll and Buffer, titled “The ideal length of everything online,” shows how long online content should be. It is a great guideline to use for online messaging.

Here are a few examples:

  • Facebook – 40 characters. Posts with 40 characters receive 86% more engagement than posts with more than that amount.
  • Tweets – 71 – 100 characters. Tweets shorter than 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate.
  • Blog Headline – 6 words. People tend to read only the first and last three words of a headline.
  • Email subject lines – 28 – 39 characters. Subject lines of this length tend to get a click rate of 4% on average.
  • YouTube Videos – 3 minutes. Most videos are pretty short – the average length of the top 50 videos is 2 minutes, 54 seconds.

Read the infographic below to find out about LinkedIn, Slideshare, Podcasts and more.

It helps to experiment with message length and see what works best for your business.

Ideal_Length_of_Online_Content_Infographic

 

Is Your Business Ready for #Online Holiday Shopping?

ID-100110478E-commerce continues to rise this year as more people choose to do their holiday shopping, or at least part of it, online. The top shipping companies expect a 14% increase in parcel deliveries this holiday season.

The main question is, is your business ready?

Kelly Spors discusses this in the OPEN Forum article “Online Shopping Will Be Red-Hot This Holiday Season. Is Your Business Ready?” The article lists four areas that businesses need to focus on to be prepared for the holiday online shopping season.

Here are they key points for businesses to consider in preparation of the upcoming holiday season.

  1. Make sure your website is up to par. Your website is your central hub online so make sure it is easy to navigate and up to date with the latest in-store promotions and news. Point all of your online activity to your website and cross promote your in-store and online shopping. Highlight gift products and make it easy to search.
  2. Make sure your business can be found online. There’s nothing worse than having a holiday-ready website that no one can find. Optimize your website for search engines and add a blog to highlight new products, services, promotions and more. Carefully choose keywords with three words or more to help with holiday gift searches.
  3. Offer something more. Offer low cost shipping or free gift wrapping or special services to stand apart from competition. What would your customers want? Ask them.
  4. Target your customers on their busiest online shopping days. Cyber Monday and Black Friday are just two of the top online shopping days. Learn which days are best for your customers through research reports from Google Analytics. Spors writes about this in “The 5 Best Days for Online Retail During the Holiday Season.” Experiment with some pay-per-click or sponsored ads to boost online sales.

A fifth point is to reach out your best customers through holiday email marketing. Offer VIP type specials that only subscribers will receive. Have them bring a coupon in to the store or give them a special online shopping code for extras.

With planning and preparation, small businesses can compete with the larger retailers during the holidays. What has worked for your business?

 

Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How #SocialMedia Can Help You Connect with Customers

connect with customer through social mediaSocial media can help you reach your customers in exciting new ways. It’s like a pipeline of channels that serve as an extension of your traditional marketing outlets.

When social media is integrated into your overall communication strategy, it can help build engagement and generate real time feedback for your brand.

So, how can social media help you better connect with your customers?

Social Media Today wrote “25 Ways to Engage Your Social Media Following.” The article offers many tips on how to build and engage your social media following.

Some of the top tips include:

  • Become a student of social media and set up your own accounts on the networks of interest so you can learn how they work.
  • Sharing is key, think 80/20 rule and stay away from the hard sell.
  • Think local. Connect with your local community and build a rapport with other people and businesses in your area.
  • Experiment with messages on different networks. What may work for Twitter may not be the case for Facebook.
  • Adding visual elements is always a good idea on any network which explains why Pinterest and YouTube are so popular.

Hubspot wrote “How to Use Social Media to Engage with Customers and Build Your Brand.”

A great tip they give is to start out listening, then interact with your audience.

  • Find out what your target audience wants. Set up a keyword/hashtag monitoring stream and find out what they are saying about you, your industry, competition and more.
  • Read and respond to your comments on social media accounts. This gives you a firsthand account and puts your finger on the pulse of what is happening right now with your market.
  • Ask and answer questions. Social media is like an informal focus group – it’s a great way to have a conversation and generate feedback.
  • Be transparent and be true – show your personality, make a connection and see what happens.

How have you better connected with your customers on social media?

 

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Find the Best Days and Times to Post on #SocialMedia

screenTiming is everything on social media. Run a campaign on the wrong day or time and it will be lost. So, how do you find out the best days and times to post on social media?

There are lots of factors that determine the best days and times of the week for your business. Factors like your industry, do you target businesses or consumers? Where do your target audiences go online? When are they most active? For B2B, it might be during the work week. For B2C, it might be weeknights and weekends.

Social Media Today recently wrote How to Find the Best Days and Times to Post on Social Media. They list a variety of tools to help gain insight on the best dates and times.

There are external social sharing tools such as Buffer and SproutSocial that let you examine your statistics and discover what your most effective posts were.

Internal tools give further insights for each social network. Checking your analytics on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus and other platforms will give you the data you need to determine what’s working and what’s not.

The following infographic from SurePayroll shows data garnered from top industry sources with the best and worst times to post on six platforms. For more information, check out their article Post, Pin & Tweet – The Best Time to Outreach.

Pull your analytics and test out different dates and times to determine what works best for your brand.

Post-Pin-Tweet-Best-Time-Outreach
Courtesy of: SurePayroll

 

Visual #Content Marketing Tips

mobile device web usageWhether you are just getting started with a visual content marketing campaign or have a designer and run them regularly, these tips and tools are invaluable to keep in your content marketing toolkit.

Social Media Examiner wrote “How to Get Started with Visual Content Marketing” and provides a wonderful list of visual content creation resources that are valuable to have on hand.

Desktop tools such as Canva and PicMonkey allow for making quick visuals when time is of the essence and if your designer is not available.

One idea to save time is to create custom branded templates to share quotes or images and text in a campaign format.

One tip that could prove valuable for all members of the team? Creating an image library. Having an image library on hand allows for easy sharing and availability whenever there is a need.

When you are on the go and you need to create a visual image for your content marketing on the fly, make sure you have some of these apps at your fingertips: Word Swag, Videohance, Over and Little Moments. Try them out – some are only available for different operating systems.

What are your favorite tools for creating visual content?

#Content Marketing Tips To Help Your Business Grow

blog-327073_640Buyers are searching the internet for solutions every day. By utilizing a content marketing strategy, your business increases its visibility on the web.

Content marketing is becoming an important component of marketing strategies – 93% of B2B marketers now use content marketing as part of their overall marketing plan.

Companies that publish their own content and measure their campaigns are seeing increases in leads and sales.

However, determining content marketing ROI is still a challenge for most businesses.

Why custom content?

  • More than half of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that publish their own content.
  • B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than businesses that don’t blog.

Mashable recently reported that while content marketing is a priority to many businesses, only 29% are effectively tracking ROI of their content marketing campaigns.

Captora’s new content marketing infographic shares new data on metrics of success as well as other content marketing tips like best days of the week to share content and more.

Review your content marketing plan and make sure you are measuring your campaigns with the metrics listed below.

 

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Image via Pixabay.

Creative Concepts Touts Twitter Tips

Twitter tipsWhether you are a Twitter pro or tweet novice, Hubspot’s 50 Tweetable Tips You Wish You Knew Years Ago is a great refresher guide.

Many of the tips seem simple, but you would be surprised by how many people don’t have an image or a complete biography for their social media profiles.

Take a look at your Twitter profile and make sure it is filled in with links, keywords and images.

As far as sharing information, being helpful is key and keeping self-promotion at bay is best. Let your personality show through your tweets and don’t be afraid to start a conversation on Twitter. Creating Twitter lists is a great way to read tweets by topics.

Favorites are great to use as bookmarks for later reading or for showing appreciation for a tweet. Hashtags are useful when discussing by topics like #pr or #marketing so if people search the topic, your tweet will appear.

Optimizing your blog post title for Twitter is useful and gets more retweets. Using social share buttons and Click to Tweet makes your blog posts easier to share.

Using a platform like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck allows you to manage multiple accounts and schedule messaging.

Check out the entire list for more great Twitter tips.

What tips do you have for Twitter?

Image courtesy of SweetCrisis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Looks at Ways to Increase Press Release Visibility

infographic_multimedia2012Press releases remain an essential way to communicate corporate information to the media, bloggers and even buyers.

With the growth of the internet and online press release distribution services, there are ways to increase press release visibility to stand out from the rest of the pack.

One easy way to boost press release visibility is to add visual components such as photos and videos.

In a recent study of its press release database, PR Newswire found that 86 percent of releases did not include visuals. When visuals were added, exposure of those press releases skyrocketed.

PR Daily recently wrote about the study and posted PR Newswire’s infographic showing how multimedia drives discovery in press releases.

The findings include:

• A text release with just one visual element sees a 92 percent increase in visibility.
• A text release with more than one visual element sees a 552 percent increase in visibility.
• A multimedia release with links to campaign microsites sees a 5,092 percent increase in visibility.

As you can see, simply adding visuals can boost the impressions of your release. What visuals work best for your business?

prn_multimedia_drives_discovery