Social media trends change more than Kim Kardashian’s shoes. The landscape of social media for businesses is a lot like the wild west. It’s an industry in its booming infancy, but the “laws of the land” are yet to be defined. This leaves businesses racing to leverage every possible, profitable nook and cranny they can find online. Thirty eight percent of CEOs dog ear social media as a high priority in their market spend, according to TheSocialSkinny.com. This number doesn’t seem to be going down any time soon. With so many businesses in a frenzy toward the top of the social media game, how do you make your business stand out? There isn’t a magic equation that can ignite your profits like a wildfire. Social media success is more like a cultivated, tilled field than a viral windfall. It is an art just as much as it is a science. When you hit the ground running with your social media campaign, what will your “crops” look like?
Digital Media Jumps Intâ€‹o Real World
Social-media expert Lilach Bullock reminds us that social media is not a strategy, it’s a channel in which to unveil your strategy. Engaging your target audience via event and discount promotions is an effective jumping point for social media strategy. First, generate their interest by teasing them with real-life rewards for attending your event. Then, be ready to follow through with a smile and a business card, which you can print for less than you’d think (they come in handy at every business event, and can further promote your social media).
When your target audience has gotten to know you, your product and what you stand for, clever social media outreach will have a stronger, sharable impact.
Keep Your Message, Play with Your Tone
A study by Nielson research reveals that consumers’ trust in advertising is nearly extinct. Your audience is more impenetrable than ever before, no matter how clever your slogan might be. The survey also revealed that 90 percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends or family, which leaves only 10 percent affected by online advertising.
For your social media plan, this means that your outreach needs to reflect more than cleverness. Social media outreach should be careful, slow reflection of who you are. Build trust by taking advantage of the art of conversation. You can even enlist your audience in your decision making process by asking them what they think of your brand, or even ask for suggestions.
If your business doesn’t already have a blog, create one immediately. Content marketing is the wave of the future. Blog articles are a perfect venue for you to show off your content. Studies in user behavior have shown that customers will search for insight into an industry before they will make any buying or loyalty decisions. The number of sources users reference before buying continues to rise, and every piece of content you put out there increases your chance of being one of those sources.
The other day I asked someone I recently connected with on LinkedIn if he was on Facebook. His baffled reply was “Is there anybody on the planet, who can access internet, not on Facebook.” Well if so is the situation then you can make a safe bet that whatever your business is, you will definitely find your target audience on Facebook. That alone explains the success of B2B marketers like Hubspot. Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has become a powerful marketing channel not only for B2C companies but also for B2B companies. All one needs to do to derive effective results is utilize this channel to the hilt.
The conception that the power of social media marketing works better for B2C marketers than B2B is fast changing. Irrespective of the type of business you run it has become important for all marketers to use all marketing channels effectively. Hence, B2B marketers have started seeing Facebook as not only a supplement to, but also an extension of, all existing engagement channels. As a result the more social channels they use the more engagement and connections they create with their target audience. This in turn is generating better revenue.
The B2B social marketing myth and reality
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Measuring engagement is social channels is quite easy. B2B marketers obsessed with the number of likes and followers and connections have now demystified the engagement tactics. This has generated results important results in terms of their approach to social media. Likes, followers and connections matter a lot for you to communicate about your company and products, services and offers but just maintaining that is not enough.
Marketers should never rule out engagement with their followers, because that’s what is going to get more audience to their social pages. It is very important to post content that become viral easily and help in building and spreading the brand reputation. Also, social is such a vibrant field that it requires page managers to maintain their online reputation, because negative feedback, unresolved cases, unanswered queries only becomes negatively viral and may also result in decline of your fan base. Hence, it is very important that marketers analyze other engagement and conversation metrics rather than just increasing the number of likes. Luckily, Facebook makes analyzing much easier with its insights tools and there are various other tools available across the web.
As shown clearly in the infographic below 36% of B2B marketers believe they are moderately involved with social media as compared to 30% of B2C marketers. Given this data it becomes important for us to know how much revenue they are generating through this channel.
Image Source: www.webmarketing123.com
It turns out that as far as generating revenue through social media goes, the gap between B2B and B2C is fast closing in. And remember what a B2B company earns in one transaction a B2C company takes several transactions to achieve. So, imagine if B2B companies start gaining as many transactions the revenues will soar higher than any of the B2Cs.
Image Source: www.webmarketing123.com
So how do you create the buzz on social? It is exactly similar to what all successful B2C marketers are doing. Here are five steps which will help B2B Facebook marketing success:
Build your fan base—Methods like fan-gating content, which requires you visitors to like your Page before they can access content on a tab on your Page will get you more fans. Consider running a contest or promotion to grow your audience.
Share engaging content— Creatively tie up your business with fun videos or pictures, these make for successful viral campaigns. Share your company’s success stories this will attach more credibility to your brand. Give offers and discounts on your service with creative banners, this catches the viewers attention a lot. Remember your content shows up on the news feed of your fans and when your friend engage with your content it shows up on the feed of friends of fans. So content is most important to get more fans. Use the SHARE button on your tabs and encourage, better still incentivize your fans to use it to share it with their friends. It’s all about making your content viral.
Capture leads—Applications that allows you to capture contact information of your audience is a fantastic way to get new leads. These leads can be converted into buyers with your regular email campaigns.
Make it personal and fun—Relate to your customers. Even for B2B ventures, who might not be selling an “exciting” product, engaging in fun and personal conversation helps in building a brand perspective! Customers will connect more with your brand if you can consistently maintain your brand image by creatively blending in some fun with it.
Amplify through ads—Ads help promote your page and gather fans. You can easily target your ads once you have identified your section of audience. But the real power of Facebook lies in its ability to reach friends of fans. Facebook ads offer a variety of ways you can segment and target to ensure you are reaching the right customer profile.
Bio: Pooja Roy works at Visual Website Optimizer, the world’s easiest A/B testing software. She’s been involved with web content development, UI design and ecommerce marketing for about 5 years. She vigorously helps online businesses around the world to market their products and services effectively by discovering the value of Conversion Rate Optimization, split testing, and multivariate testing.
The increased involvement of the creative content writing and the article writing in the social networking sites and social media has changed trends for the year 2013. A brand manager alone cannot deal with the promotion and advocacy of a brand. Therefore, the best way is to turn out the satisfied customers of the brand into potential brand advocates. Here are a few tips:
1. Believe In Your Satisfied Customers
The satisfied customers of a brand are the potential advocates. They are the people who, in the life away from the social media, advocate your brand in their companion circle. Believe in these customers. Even if these highly satisfied customers do not use influential tools or language for marketing your brand, yet their level of satisfaction will play a great part in your promotion of the brand.
2. Seek The Advocates
There are several ways of finding the advocates in the satisfied customers.
A. According to one trick, you can post on your social media site that ‘rate the brand from 0 – 10 with 10 being the highest number of satisfaction’.
B. You can check the people who share your posts on the social media like Facebook, Twitter and Pintereste etc. much more than anyone else. Believe in sharing and not liking. There are several software and applications for creating such a checkpoint.
C. You can check the active customers on your social media site and rate them in the table of highly satisfied customers, satisfied customers, average satisfied customers, least satisfied customers and unsatisfied customers.
3. Turning process
Don’t believe in incentives or gifts for bringing out the brand advocates from the satisfied customers. People are interested in the perks until they receive them once. You should adopt a different strategy rather. You can ask your satisfied customers to contribute to your social media site by writing reviews about their favorite products from your brand. In the social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pintereste etc. you can ask the customers to post their favorite products on your page. People interested in such an activity would have the potential of becoming your brand advocate.
Separate an advocate who is highly interested in sharing the facts about your products and the features due to which he or they like your product. Amplify them by boosting up their morale and incorporating business expertise in them. You can teach them the tactics of SEO, keywords etc. You can also hire them on a temporary basis for some payment.
5. Track The Results
Check the results of the performance of an advocate analytically to plan the strategy for their future. If you feel that you are putting in too much effort in that advocate and the results are lower than expected, then you can switch to some other advocate also. Remember that you have to manage your time with the advocates. Your personal interest in the advocate should not influence your marketing performance on any social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pintereste or other social media forums.
6. Believe In Authenticity
Don’t buy the advocates. Such a marketing tactic now comes in black marketing. Bring out real and authentic advocates and trust their skills, however, analyze their performance frequently to save your time, money and effort.
Maria Bennett is a guest blogger for Next Day Flyers an online printing company where you can order custom postcards, brochures,high-quality booklet printing and more for your small business. Their prices are great and quality is top-notch.
Launched in 2011 as Google’s response to social media, for online businesses Google + is anything but the networking graveyard it was initially perceived to be.
An accessible platform for sharing corporate content to social and professional networks, Google + has vast SEO benefits, the added advantage of Places/Local linking, and great business-minded content marketing features. So to stay ahead of non-plussed competitors, it’s worth taking the time to integrate it into your online business strategy.
How Google + can help:
Quality content is set to be the force driving SEO in the near future. Designed to share and connect information, social sites are the perfect place to display such valuable content – and none more so than Google’s own social network.
Integrated with all Google products and applications, as social power may be more influential than links, just having Google + offers incredible SEO benefits; from enhancing ranking to increasing business visibility in local searches.
How you should integrate it:
- Google + links easily with Google products such as Calendar, Gmail, Play, Voice and most importantly Local. Be sure to harness this integration to reach a wider consumer base- wherever they’re camped out online – from social followers to Google searchers.
- Ensure your Google + account is correctly linked with Google + Local to improve visibility in local searches, and to encourage user reviews, as both will benefit SEO. Google will notice if people say they like you!
- Improve your social strategy by using Google Analytics to see what content is most popular, when it’s most shared, and by who.
- Use Google+ Authorship to link your posts around the web to your Google + account. This will increase your authority, help your valuable quality content appear in searches, and give you important author credit!
Sharing and privacy advantages
How Google + can help:
Social networks are designed to help you connect and share, but unlike other sites (Facebook or Twitter), Google + does this uniquely; with sharing and privacy features which enable you to selectively organise your audience into ‘circles’.
Incredibly valuable from a content marketing perspective, this means content can then be directed at specific pre-grouped demographics. And as all Google products are integrated, sharing is simpler (i.e. you could create a corporate event in the Google calendar, then share it with a select ‘partner’ circle).
This means you can tailor your Google + approach to suit demographics uniquely, rather then just have one, overarching social front.
How you should integrate it:
- Organise your followers into specific preference circles, to share (or censor) content with them selectively. In addition to having obvious categories, say past or present clients, if you have a wider consumer base, use their interactions to split them into communities (i.e. consumers who prefer one of your products to another)
- Remain active, and share content consistent with your brand tone. Share other people’s tips, your own corporate news and updates etc, and try to encourage return shares and ‘+1’s for your site.
How Google + can help:
Google + takes a lot of great social features (say Twitter’s trends and hashtags, or Facebook’s simple status updating) and combines them to make one easy-use, interconnected, SEO beneficial social site.
With enormous potential audience reach (anyone with a Gmail account, by default also has a Google + and YouTube account – even if they’re unaware of it), investing time into Google + and having a complete, active account can boost your online presence more effectively than other social activity.
How you should integrate it:
- In the ‘Explore’ section, trending news can be seen, followed and acted on using hashtags – the same way digital strategies would with Twitter.
- Using the ‘Events’ tab, create and share events with your circles, and edit your Google calendar within Google + – it is far more comprehensive than a Facebook event, and can be sent to your Gmail contacts.
- Build Google + Communities (similar to Facebook groups or networks) to encourage interaction and conversation about your brand.
- Use video Hangouts to chat with an audience of up to nine participants – this can be used from a customer service potential, or could be used to hold talks with business partners.
- Create business pages to enhance brand visibility beyond that of simple networking. When linked to your corporate site, Google + Pages for business (similar to Facebook business pages) will improve SEO and traffic, so use them to build communities, inform followers and for customer service purposes.
- Encourage followers to ‘+1′ you as this boosts authority. Have ‘+1′ endorsement buttons across your corporate site, ecasts etc.
- If Gmail users are signed up to your mailing list, try to encourage them to connect with you on Google+.
Lastly remember; a sturdy, quality presence across Google’s integrated products will improve your online visibility and strategies as a whole – so time to incorporate Google Plus into your everyday actions now!
Alastair Kane is an online marketing executive with digital marketing agency Strategic Internet Consulting. They are based in the UK and offer Web Development, Mobile App Development and Digital Marketing.
How many people, whom you know, still use Delicious, Digg, Reddit, or Stumbleupon these days? With many social networking sites, headed by Mark Zuckerberg’s creation, dominating the Internet, do you still consider social bookmarking sites as useful tools?
Come to think about it, more people turn to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest when they have something interesting to share. Despite this, bookmarking portals are still around.
There is just the question of “Are they still relevant?” In order to answer the question, it is best to look at what they can do.
It provides social signals
Getting a load of these is helpful if you want your portal to get a good placement in Bing, Google, or Yahoo. Sure, likes, shares, and +1’s help with ranking efforts, but so do bookmarks.
This is why it pays to include bookmarking efforts when you want to increase your visibility in search engines. One of the best ways to achieve this is to allow your content to be shared on portals like Delicious, Digg, Reddit, or Stumbleupon.
This is done by providing buttons at the end or beginning of your articles. This is helpful as it encourages visitors to share what you have written to various channels conveniently.
When you think about it, it is easier on your part because the task of sharing is done on your behalf.
It is a source of backlinks
Link building is one of the pillars of search engine optimisation (SEO). It is an extremely useful strategy to employ if you want your Web site to do well in search engine results.
You might ask, “doesn’t guest posting and getting links from authority sites count as great ways to build backlinks?” Yes, but so does posting links of your content on social bookmarking sites.
Think about it this way: if you want your portal to rank well, you must be willing to try all possible ways of getting the results you want.
It drives traffic to your website
If you want your domain to receive relevant Web visitors, it is important that your site appear in results after a user hits the “Enter” key. Now, there are lots of strategies that can be implemented to draw several people to your portal.
Some of the best include employing good SEO practices and sharing content through social media sites. In addition, did you know that getting your articles bookmarked is helpful?
Since the links posted on bookmarking domains lead back to your own site, this provides an ideal way to get traffic. Once you get a healthy stream of visits, the chances of getting your website ranked greatly increase.
Whether you have a website for your business or a blog to share your thoughts, its success lies in being found by your target audience. There are several ways to reach your market, and one of them is through social bookmarking domains.
To draw this topic to a close, know that social bookmark sites are still relevant in terms of boosting your online presence. Plus, it helps if your bookmarking efforts are coupled with good SEO and social media practices.
Over to you, what are your opinions regarding social bookmarking sites? Feel free to share these in the comment box!
About the Author
Jonny Lis is a Digital Marketing Specialist who oversees more than 300 campaigns for Smart Traffic, a company specialising in SEO strategies to ensure their clients achieve high search engine rankings.