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Social Media Marketing Isn’t Rocket Science: Here’s What You Need to Know

There’s a reason why social media is the first thing that the marketing experts are recommending for your website and blog promotion. You’re probably aware of it, but you just don’t know where to start and how it should be done. You’re not alone: thousands of small businesses are struggling with the same problem. We’ll help you connect a few main dots so that you can better understand how social media works and how you can utilize it for growing your business.

 

Every company should have an active social media marketing campaign so that they can reap the following benefits:
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Content: the online king.

Although it may seem that using Facebook (and other social media) for business purposes is a lot like using it for personal purposes, you have to be aware that there are some things that you should do differently. Just like with website SEO, regularly posting content is one of them.

Your fans and your potential customers will remember you if they see your posts consistently; as long as the things you’re posting are interesting, useful and engaging. Creating your content strategy is an important part of social media marketing. If you don’t have one and if you’re posting things “as you go,” you’ll soon run out of the things to share, and your fans will quickly see that you’re doing it randomly. You should be careful about the content you’re posting – it has to entice the engagement and the emotions of your fans. 

 

Self-promotion is a big no-no!

The marketing role of social media is getting people to like you and your brand; that’s why your content (and that includes statuses, re-tweets, and any other big or small piece of thought that your fans can see is coming from you) and your posting strategy should paint a picture that your brand is fan-friendly. That means that you should have a dose of a personal approach, but you have to know where to draw the line and not to go in too much self-promotion. People who are your fans already know, or suppose, that your company is great – they don’t need you to constantly remind them. Instead, show them that your company is awesome by providing excellent customer support, or some educational or fun content that isn’t directly related to the product or services you’re selling.

 

 

Social media is only a channel.

One of the common mistakes that people make is to start using social media instead of their website to directly sell their products or services. That’s why you will hear from most of them the social media isn’t worth the effort. You have to understand that your primary online marketing tool is your website, not social media. Social media is only a means to get people acquainted with your brand and to direct them to your website when they intend to buy something. Use social media to reach more people and to make them think of you as their friend, to entertain them and to help them solve some issues within your realm of interest. Social media is a marketing tool, and you should treat it like that.

 

Every business needs a social media strategy.

Social media is definitely something that every business, big or small, should incorporate into their marketing, but it can’t be done without a plan. If you want it to get results, you have to know what it is best used for, and act accordingly. The best way to use social media is to post quality content and to be there for your fans, knowing that your role is to educate and entertain them. This approach will make you their best friend, and the next time they need to buy something that you’re selling, they’ll think of you and not of your competitor.

The bottom line.

Social media is a vital marketing channel and is here to stay. It provides businesses with the unique ability to connect with their customers at a personal level, have them share your brand’s story, and influence the choice to buy.

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Benefits of Social Media and Small Business

We have all heard or read about the detrimental effects of social media in the workplace. Perhaps we have even been involved in a social media related dispute ourselves at some point. The press has been full of hard-luck stories concerning dismissed employees or disgruntled business owners ever since social took off, but what about the positive aspects of social media? What benefits does it hold for the smaller business?

1. Setting up your business social media accounts is easy. Why not get started?
2. It will make you look contemporary, progressive and forward thinking in the eyes of your audience – including rival companies.
3. It will give your customers the chance to post glowing reviews about you and your services in an organic way that doesn’t look staged.
4. It is free. You can easily update your social media page with new products and services, new strategies and new offers and promotions, and you can massively increase brand awareness.

You could also consider setting your employees up with social media accounts and giving them 20 minutes every morning to post the most exciting piece of news related to your business. Just make sure you offer a clearly defined set of rules and boundaries; a bad or negative post could be detrimental to your business – so make sure they are aware of what is at stake.

 

 

So Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use?

In theory, you could use any or all of them, but it really depends on what your business is and your target audience. Put some research into what is most suitable for you. Facebook might be seen by some as more “casual” – the delinquent younger brother to the more upstanding and respectable Twitter. There is perhaps some truth in this; there is arguably something more “corporate” about Twitter, and even Alan Sugar and Barack Obama are confirmed fans! It is certainly an effective way to establish valuable links with other smaller companies and business owners. People quickly move on with Twitter; it is a social media site which reflects our modern, fast-paced lives. But Facebook should not be ruled out for its ability to showcase a wide range of media. It is also incredibly accessible, and with 500 million+ users, there is certainly an audience to be had.

Alternatively, if you rely on images to promote your business then Pinterest or Instagram could be an excellent option. They are well designed, simple to use and could be used to launch an excellent image-led campaign. Catering businesses, fashion-related businesses, photography are some of the companies that would benefit from Pinterest or Instagram.

LinkedIn is specifically (though not exclusively) designed for the more corporate end of the business and offers the world’s largest and most comprehensive professional network. If your business model includes business-to-business (B2B) sales, then consider LinkedIn. 

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Can’t Afford A Social Media Marketing Agency but Need to Start Now?

Here are four of the most important social media tips used by agencies around the world.

Social media trends change more than Kim Kardashian’s shoes. 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. 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?

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1. Digital Media Jumps into Real World

Remember, social media is not a strategy, it’s a channel in which to unveil your strategy. Engaging your target audience via events and discount promotions is an effective jumping point for any social media strategy. When your target audience has gotten to know you, your product, and what you stand for, social media outreach will have a stronger, more sharable impact.

2. Keep Your Message, Play with Your Tone

Many studies have shown 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 a 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.

3. Blogs Ahoy

If your business doesn’t already have a blog, create one immediately. Content marketing is here to stay. 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.

4.  Get Organized (and integrate)

With so many different social media sites, it can be hard to keep up, and difficult to keep track of what’s happening and where. Fortunately, there are several apps, both desktop, and mobile, that will allow you to integrate all your social media sites into one dashboard. Apps like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and Bottlenose, all allow you to get everything you need on one stream so that you save time and keep on top of everything all in the same place. Definitely a must for the social media maven.

5. Time Post

Some posts are time sensitive, others, on the other hand, are not. Particularly if you’re in business when you post something to social media can be as important as what you post. Even for personal users, you don’t want to slam everyone’s newsfeeds with eight posts an hour. Consider using a service like Buffer, which will let you determine when your posts are released to different sites, even if you’re not sitting at your computer at the time. Buffer comes in desktop and mobile versions, letting you time your social media releases to the second.

6. It’s All About the Profile

An awful lot of social media is about the profile. If you’re in business your profile will determine who decides to contact you, and if it’s personal your profile can mean the difference between being spammed or not. Your profile is your first impression on any social media site, and whilst that might not be such a big deal on Facebook, on sites like LinkedIn it very much is. Make sure that your profile is up to date, and that it represents you as you want to be represented. If you’re not sure, you can always hire a profile writer to make sure that you’re really getting your point across.

7. Interaction

It can be easy to forget that social media, despite the word “social” in its title, is about more than one person. If you want to build a successful following in whichever site you use, the key to popularity is interaction. Social media isn’t just about posting your status or profile or interest, it’s about recognizing and responding to others. The more interactions you have, the more contacts you make, the more successful your social media experience is going to be. This means that not only do you need to post your own stuff, but you have to make the effort and go out there and respond to others’ comments and posts, to acknowledge ideas that have come from other sources, and to link yourself to as many people as possible.

8. Value

The final important thing about a good social media experience is to give value. Sure, chipping in on a popular subject sometimes is fine, but if you want to be recognized, you need to be different. Offer new information, new opinions, new memes, but it needs to be new. Stating the same old, same old might lose you a few bored friends on Facebook, but it could also lose you some valuable customers on Twitter or a potential employer on LinkedIn.

 

Does marketing on social media actually work?

You probably hear constant discussion about the need to be actively marketing on social media networks. However, it’s sometimes hard to know whether social media marketing is a good use of your time. It can be time intensive and hard to measure the direct impact on your business, yet social media definitely needs to play a part in the modern media mix. What’s the right balance, and how do you know when you’re being effective?

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