Social Media Customer Conversion

October 31, 2013

Getting your brand and message out there through social media is important but that’s just the beginning. You need to use the easily sharable messages and connections through Facebook, Twitter and other networks to your advantage and convert your followers into customers and we are here to help!

Here are some actionable marketing tips for social media:

1. Understanding your prospects goes beyond the buyer. You need to learn about who influences them to help you understand who really makes their decisions for them. You also need to see your buyer as an influencer as well. Social media connects everyone and allows everyone to influence each other in a sense. When you define your marketing persona and your social media buyer persona separately, you’ll be able to create more effective content.

2. Offer useful and relevant information instead of “marketeer” talk. People do not want random ads shot at them hoping that they will respond. Speak to your followers the way you want to be spoken to: in regular English. Maybe throw a little casual talk in there to get yourself on the same level as your prospects. You don’t want to bore people with incessant talk that they don’t comprehend. Also, when it comes to information about your product, provide useful information as well as customer reviews and ratings. This gives others a chance to see your credibility at first glance.

3. Lead your prospects in the right direction. You need to constantly make relevant calls-to-action on your posts. You can’t assume that your followers will go to your site or click a link you post but if you advertise to go to a link for something of value, they will know what to expect. However, you can’t just stop there! You need a relevant corresponding landing page as well so make sure you are giving your followers what they are expecting! If not, your credibility will be shot and you will be left with unhappy followers.

4. Stick to your goals and test them out! Your metrics should be aligned with your objectives! It’s great if you surpass them, but don’t make that a priority! You need the information of your followers in order to execute your marketing and getting some successfully is the way to go! What’s the best way to get the most out of this? By testing. Test different tactics through different social media networks to see what works best. Try and try again until you reach your goal! Once you reach your goal, continue in that path and maybe later you can try to surpass it but focus on your marketing as a whole first!

Social media may seem overwhelming and does require effort in many aspects. It’s understandable if your methods aren’t working and frustrate you but don’t let that bring you down! Try, try again until you reach your goals! You won’t regret the effort put in because the prospective outcomes give so much more back!

Maximizing Your Brand with Instagram

October 29, 2013

Many turn to the Fortune 500 companies for branding ideas due to their known success and one of the main reasons is their appearance on social media. Social media is a very strong tactic that involves effort on their end but also expands due to its nature. The ability to be liked and shared easily is what makes social media so appealing. Your audience will not only enjoy being marketed to, but they will also be likely to market to others as a domino effect. This expands your audience base and in turn, makes you more successful.

Instagram is one of the newer social media networks, but don’t hesitate to jump into that realm as well. There are over 150 million monthly active users on Instagram and these users share over 16 billion images a month at an average rate of about 55,000 photos a day. Pictures do so much more than just mere words and with the ability to artistically filter your images? Well, that’s just adding to the professionalism.

Just like all other social media networks, effort is necessary when it comes to Instagram. 90% of Fortune 500 companies have posted once and at least 15% have posted once within the past month. It is important to have a regular schedule of posting to promote your brand through Instagram. Consistency is key and if you keep showing up in your follower’s feeds, then you are making a presence in their lives.

However, boosting your Instagram presence isn’t just about posting photos daily. It is about posting things that are of value. Post special deals, new products, ads, etc. Don’t just post anything for the hell of it. Photos are content and like words, you want to present something that people are inclined to like or comment on. Stir up something from your audience so that they don’t just quickly scroll past the image in their feed! If you affect someone, they will likely show it to their friends on their smartphone and you will have a larger presence.

What also makes Instagram easier to follow with as a social media network is  “the tap”. Tapping to like an image as you scroll quickly through your feed allows viewers to simply take a second and react to what you present. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where you need to compose a comment and take time to do so, Instagram is made for those who live the fast-paced lives and scroll through feeds quickly. With the potential to gain thousands of likes on a photo, this appealing nature also helps brands to grow quickly as well. Instagram may be one of the newer social media networks but the billions of images posted by millions of users within the past 3 years show its potential.

How to Market Through Twitter Successfully

October 28, 2013

Retweets and favorites are the highlights of Twitter and marketing through this social media channel involves some tactics. Here are some ways to help you get in the top of your Twitter game.

1. Hashtags increase the likelihood of your tweet being retweeted by over 55%. These chances increase more when you hashtag something that is already a trending topic. Hashtags allow your tweets to reach a more specific audience. Those who are interested in the trending topic will see your tweet among the rest of those that have the same hashtag. Also, make sure you don’t overuse hashtags either. Tweets that have more than 3 hashtags may be confusing to others and also limits your 180 character count so choose wisely.

2. Quotation marks also makes a difference as it increased your retweet chances by 30%. Quotes are very popular on Twitter as it gives your followers inspiration in their daily lives. Whether it is from a famous person or from a friend, people feel more connected when they see quotes. They see more than just text on a screen, but an actual person that they can relate to.

3. Photos make a huge difference. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and with the 180 character limit count for tweets, pictures can tell almost the entire story for you. Including photos in your social media breaks your tweet apart from the others that only include text. Our eyes are drawn to imagery and your tweets will get more attention with photos.

However, you should be careful of what platform you are adding photos from. When adding images, don’t cross-platform from Instagram or Facebook. Things added through other social media networks are less likely to be opened. People have either already seen it on other networks or plan to look at them on the main platform they come from later. This is because people like looking at this the correct way in order to respond correctly. ie: When you look at an Instagram image on Twitter, you can’t double-tap to like it. This disrupts your natural reaction and people don’t like that.

4. Call-to-action phrases like “Please RT/help/share/spread” add to your tweet as people are more inclined to read your tweet rather than just scrolling past it. These phrases catch people’s attention as it looks important. They will see reason to read it as it can help a cause. What adds to this is that you are telling your followers how they can help. If you just tweet about a cause, people could just read it and then move on with their lives. If you encourage them to spread the word, they will understand what the tweet’s purpose truly is and it can have a greater audience reach with your help.

5. Be aware of your tweet length. People are usually scrolling through their Twitter feed and if don’t go straight to the point, your tweet will be scrolled past quickly. People don’t want to spend so much time reading through one tweet. Although there is a 180 character limit, reading all 180 characters can be too much for some viewers. Studies show that tweets more likely to be retweeted are no more than 120 characters. The most likely retweeted tweets are of the 100-115 character range. People want to see the point you’re trying to get across without investing too much time in your tweet. Tweet length makes a difference.

These are just a few simple tweaks to your tweets that you can implement for retweet likelihood. Retweets are the best thing on Twitter because it allows others to share what you have to say, giving the ability for your words to be spread to a larger audience. Your tweet will be seen by those following you and to those that are following each person that retweets you. The number of viewers can exponentially multiply in this manner and the larger the audience, the more people you can market to. Increase your reach through twitter retweets and conquer this social media network for your marketing needs.

A Simple Small Business Website Checklist

October 25, 2013

Creating a website can seem like a lot of handle for a small business. What do you you place on the homepage? What do I need to update constantly? There are a number of questions and we are here to help you with this simple checklist of what you need for a successful website.

1. A visually appealing header and logo can take you a long way. It is what people first see when they go to your website and what they judge. This doesn’t mean to use flash and crazy colors and effects on your page but rather a clean and effective design. This makes your viewers see that you are a no-nonsense and practical business. Your logo should also be the most visible aspect of your header. Think of your header like your name. It is what people first know about you and from there, they will see how your business is.

2. Simple Navigation. People don’t want to have to search so hard to get from page to page. By keeping it right below the header or down the side of the page. This will allow people to go from one important page of your site to another easily. Also, make sure that you don’t overdo it either. Do not include links that aren’t necessary. You should limit the number of links in your navigation to no more than five links.

3. Provide an offer to opt-in. You want to stay in contact with those who view your website. You can do this by giving a free offer to opt-in to. Whether it’s some tips, a newsletter or an e-book, you want to give people something of value so that they plug in their e-mail for you to reach out to them in the future. Have this offer in an easy-to-locate area of your website or make it stand out somehow. This is key to start connecting with your visitors and potential customers.

4. A static sidebar that’s visible on all pages of your website makes sure that your viewers always see what you have to offer. “Sticky content” can include your opt-in offer or a welcome blurb to new visitors. It’s common to have popular links on your site in your sidebar as well including some of your services. This will give people an idea of what your best services are. People like seeing how others react to your services and this can give them an idea. You can also have a sliding testimonial widget to move further in this realm.

5. Social media integration is important. You should also have these buttons in your sticky sidebar. This will allow your visitors to continue to opt-in to your business on many different networks and share news about you to others. It will allow for free marketing from satisfied customers. Social media also allows for you to communicate with your viewers in a timely manner. It allows you to immediately respond to questions and concerns and make your customers as satisfied as they can be with your business.

6. Contact information must be included because this is how people can reach out to you. Not everyone is involved in social media, but if you provide your phone number, email and location, you can help people with their questions as well. Professionalism is important when it comes to the web because anyone can make a website. People like seeing to believe and this makes you “real.” Providing this contact information makes you look more legitimate as a business.

Elements Any Company Can Build

October 23, 2013

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking they don’t have the potential to succeed as much as large monopolies due to the lack of resources and budget. This is not true. There are many major components of building a brand that give your small business just as much, if not more value to the people.

1. Stand out with brand value. Whether it is the product itself or the price tag, many people believe that branding makes a difference. How often have you bought a specific brand of a product because you believe them to be of more value than the others? Exactly. It’s true that many monopolies have an advantage in this case but with social media, news about a new brand or trend can spread like wildfire in a matter of hours. What’s in this way can be out the next and it’s up to you to present your brand in a manner that makes people want what you have to offer.

2. Be convenient to your audience. If there is something about your product that places you of more convenience to the people, they are more likely to use what you have to offer. Be available to on all the networks you can. Selling on the web is the easiest way to get started. From Amazon to Ebay to Etsy, you can sell your items to anyone. You can also promote to these stores from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

3. Make your brand real. Extending your brand by giving it personality and going past the logos and product itself. In today’s day and age, social media is like a cannon that everyone can use to promote themselves. If you incorporate your product into things like outfits to put together or in a popular setting, people can see how to use your brand. Sometimes, people don’t know what they want until they see other people try first. If you show them that your accessory looks cute if placed in this manner with these kind of outfits, they will be inclined to purchase as well.

4. Be trustworthy. Ratings and reviews on websites like Etsy and Ebay are constantly checked by people before they purchase something. This is for reassurance since buying from the web can be tricky. When you have great ratings and reviews, people will trust buying things from you. Those who have already been customers will come back and those that are new will continue to buy from you. Trust is a major part of business as the relationship between you and your audience is what keeps your brand from growing.

5. Don’t be afraid to evolve over time. This is where it all changes. Yes, you may be comfortable with what you have been doing for marketing and sales of your brand but in order to grow, you need to evolve as well. Some brands start small and stay successful as a small business for long periods of time without striving to become more. Comfort is great but you can’t grow from that. To transform from a small company into a larger one, one must learn to keep what’s working and find better things as well.

You don’t need the largest budget and number of resources to make a difference. The web makes life so much easier for those that are just starting out to make a name out there. Social media and online shops drives a path from you to your potential customers. Big monopolies can be successful and you can be too.

How to Make Your Small Business Look Big

October 21, 2013

Small business naturally have a limited amount of resources. This causes them to often work from project to project rather than look at the objective of their business as a whole. When you start out small, you need to maximize your core strengths to appear bigger to your audience.

Define your niche. It allows you to focus on a specific kind of audience rather than everyone as a whole. By understanding that, you can concentrate on aiming to please that crowd and you will have more loyal customers in that area. If you are a small business, it’s difficult to convince everyone to work with you. However, if you go towards a more specified crowd, you can cater to their specific needs successfully and be able to have a loyal crowd and work on other aspects of the business as well without worrying as much.

Create a business plan to get things done. When you do things without a plan, you are likely to be all over the place. Action plans set things in place and help you with time management as well. This method gets more things done and helps you to keep track of what you have done and what is still necessary. This will keep you more organized and is the foundation of your business.

Consistent brand presentation makes it seem like you are a big company that is highly organized. Many small companies feel as if they can’t fully brand themselves without having a large budget. This isn’t true. Take your core values and place them in each of your marketing aspects whenever presenting yourself. Consistency from everything including a logo, font, color scheme, layout, etc. defines your company as a brand rather than just another business. When people see that those definitive things, they should reflect them upon your company.

Create effective content. A small amount of effective content is better than a myriad of common content. When you show people that you can give them information that others can’t, then you can become a main source to viewers. This is very important because it makes you stand out among the rest. People will turn to you rather than having to present yourself to others. The advantage of this from a small company is what can turn you into a big brand.

Regardless of your budget and the actual size of your company, it is what your customers see from you that matter the most. They want to see the experience and professionalism of a large company to get the results they want. There are many companies that seem big on the outside but are actually only composed of a small number of people and we are here to help you get in the right direction.

Content Creation Marketing Research Strategy

October 17, 2013

Content marketing depends not only on the content itself. There are many aspects to consider including the platform used, the audience and much more.

Platform: Over 70% of marketeers cite websites and social media as it is the most used forms of content. This provides a base for your business as you are in full control of what content goes into them. Your website should be set overall, with a few updates to some pages as recent news and offers arise. People who have been to your website previously should expect to understand the navigation the next time they visit. In the same sense, hose who follow you on social media should also be aware of your voice and the type of things that you post. Along with this, you need to understand how critical it is to be available on the go. If your business isn’t accessible on a smartphone or tablet, you are risking being left out of this area of business.

Audience: Are you a B2B or B2C company? It’s important to understand what kind of audience you are catering for as there are different ways to go about content marketing. B2B marketeers use traditional elements of marketing including white papers and case studies. Compared to B2C , B2B marketeers use these tactics more as it reaches larger audiences. 52% of B2B companies use white papers compared to 10% of B2C companies. Also, 51% of B2B companies use case studies compared to 9% of B2C companies.

Creation: What content are you putting out there? From images to videos to formatting text, there are different influences on your audience when it comes to what you are posting. Over 70% of marketeers use images as the advantage of seeing other people participating in your offers attracts an audience. Images such as infographics are also easy to share and are easier to understand than blocks of text. Videos are also easily sharable but have bigger risks. Yes, it can tell the story but it takes up time and is very expensive. You need to analyze length of the video and whether you have the budget for this method. Over 25% of marketeers find video production to be very difficult. Long content formats are also seen as challenging to roughly 20% of marketeers. This includes white papers, case studies and ebooks.

From platform, audience and creation, there are many aspects to content marketing to analyze. You need to offer a variety of content to reach the most people. By thinking about what content to create, where to create it and who you are creating it for, you will be able to make the most of your content.

Conquering Call-to-Action on Social Media

October 16, 2013

Social media is the fastest way to get yourself out there. It is quick and with a mere 180 characters or a simple phrase, you can make a status of just about anything. However, it is difficult to measure your ROI from social media marketing because of this ease. What can you do to resolve this problem? Call-to-action gives you a chance to measure the activities of those interacting with you on social media.

When you include Call-to-action in your social media marketing strategy, you also give yourself a chance to reach out with each interaction correctly. When someone is simply asking a question, you can easily answer them. When a potential customer wants to know what to do next, you can motivate them to take the next step towards engagement and purchasing. You can even provide your followers with promotional codes so that you can follow the exact links and social network they are coming from. There are so many ways you can measure call-to-action ROI through social media.

You can’t expect your audience to know what to do next. Provide them with the correct forms to fill out when they are concerned about a certain aspect of your brand. Action verbs should always be used in your posts. This will tell your audience what to do and motivate them to get involved with what you have to offer. Using certain optimal words and correct timing, you can understand how to reach other to each kind of audience. By having giveaways and promotions, you can give people limited time offers that they can’t refuse. This gives people less of a chance to think about what to do and give in to your ads.

You should also cater your call-to-actions by which social media network they came from. From likes to retweets, you can reach a larger audience and you can offer promotional deals for those who help you spread the word.  You should also reward those that follow you so that more people are inclined to do so as well. This makes people feeling special to be a part of your network and happy that they get these exclusive deals. If everyone can get it, then what’s the point? People like having opportunities that others can’t and are more likely to participate in this manner.

However, the marketing doesn’t stop at social media posts. You need to have a great and relevant landing page for your audience. This is what can capture them one they make it into your circle of opportunities. You have to give them enough information to want more but not so much that they can leave satisfied without filling out some call-to-action forms. Once you lead them to the correct forms, they can opt in and you can analyze where and when your social media followers are connecting with you!

The Power of Photographic Content

October 15, 2013

The myriad of social media content is overwhelming sometimes and only the few that really interest a large group of people gets spread across all networks virally. What makes your content stand out to people? Think about what people look towards when reading a book. PICTURES.

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” and that is absolutely correct when it comes to capturing your audience. Pictures can show an entire story at a glance while text requires more time involved. In this generation, we are all for instant gratification. We are impatient and go for the easy route for things like looking at an image rather than reading the paragraph written about it. Now that you understand the power of an image, it’s important to see what makes an image the best it can be to get your point across.

An image can tell your brand’s story and your story is what your audience will remember.

Johnson & Johnson as a family company.
  • By using only one image to concentrate on so your viewers are pulled into the frame, you will only have one focal view point. Along with this idea is the view point of your employees, which makes your company seem real.
  • The idea of “realness” is one that brands really need to connect with their audience because then the message seems like neighborly advice that you can relate to rather than feeling like a targeted audience.

Emotions are evoked through photos. Many people don’t believe things until they see them and photos make a story genuine.

Mark Zuckerberg as face of Facebook.
  • Don’t just use stock imagery. Take real photos of the people in your office and surroundings for your branding whether it is for your web or print marketing. This makes you stand out among the others and so you’re not “just another company.”
  • These photos are a storefront for your company that lure viewers in to try what you have to offer. You have to see how your brand is seen from the viewer perspective. Is that what you would like to see in a business? If it’s what you would like to so, it could possibly be what others would like to as well.

Sometimes, pictures can explain things that words can’t.

GAP presenting their style on Instagram.
  • When it comes to things like instructions on how to assemble a complicated object, we don’t know the names to all of the required pieces. If you see a hook and there is an arrow that tells you it goes into the large tube, you get a better idea of where and how things are placed together.
  • For fashion, and make-up, there is also a lot of imagery necessary so people can visualize the outcome. Many people post how to style their outfits by either laying them out or wearing them. When you see things next to each other, you can compare and contrast different parts to see what you like best to express your style.

Simplicity is best when it comes to your photos.

Boathouse Rocketts Landing presents their "Perfect Troika".
  • Too many filters and saturation makes it looks fake. You took an image for a reason, to make your brand seem real like everyone else. If you edit the image too much, you might as well have gotten a stock photo.
  • In relation to having only one photo, don’t have more than one activity happen in one image. You want your customer to focus on what you are trying to convey. Whether it be an object or a specific action, that should be the only thing in their mind when they look at your photo.

Photos make a huge difference when it comes to branding. There are many different ways to go about this and many mistakes you can make along the way that will hold you back. Don’t fall for trying to do too much and you can get the right message across.

Overcoming Lack of Content & Budgeting Resources

October 14, 2013

Marketing through content is the strongest brand building tactic there is as it drives leads and generates sales. However, it’s understandable that building content can be difficult without a strong budget or research team. How is it that small businesses can be sustainable through content marketing? Micro-content marketing.

Provide your audience with concise and useful information. It should targeted for your audience’s wants and needs. You goal should be to make your micro content into part of your audience’s daily routine.  Think quick and simple things like quotes and tips. Simple useful things that can help people along with their day without taking too much of their time is the best method to leave an impact in people’s minds. You are constantly there, yet not annoying them with too much.

Streamlining content is the most efficient way to present content. By doing so, you get a whole batch of information that is relevant to each other. By creating a weeks worth or months worth of content, you also don’t have to worry about having nothing to put out on a day where you are just too busy to write anything. There is consistently with this method and that makes your audience look to you as a reliable source.

Easy-to-access information will be seen by the largest audience. Yes, this sounds like common sense but many businesses don’t understand that the content needs to be easily read on all types of devices. An adaptive design for your content can be as simple as text that is larger or laid out in a simpler manner on smaller devices like a smartphone or tablet. You don’t want your audience to have to zoom in on their tiny screens in order to read what you have to say. You would hate to do that and so will your audience.

Consistency is key to your branding tactic. Whether it is the layout, voice or topic of content you present, you want it to remain consistent. If you are all over the place, your audience will not understand what you are doing. They want to turn to you for information that you are an expert of writing about. By having a main topic, people will find you more reliable as a source of news. I’m not saying that you need a very specific topic, but rather a range of things that can at least correlate to each other is best for one source to write about.

Allow sharing of your content. This is very important. How does your information get viral or spread to others? If you don’t have social media sharing capabilities for your content, you are limiting your potential greatly. People also share things all over the web as it is the easiest way to show another something. A Facebook post or Tweet can go a long way with Likes, Retweets and Favorites. These are signs that show their popularity and if your content gets on there, then you have a chance to show a great number of people what you have to offer. Also, don’t just let others share your content. Spread what you have to say on multiple social media networks and share things yourself!