Why You Need A Social Media Marketing Strategy & How To Start One

So, you’re about to take the plunge into blogging, but you have no idea where to start.

That’s okay because I’m sure you already know that blogging can:

• Generate a huge audience (and if you’re a well-known person, this can be immediate)
• Make you some serious money if you know how (want proof: check out Pat Flynn’s running total on his homepage)
• Turn a blogger into an influencer with a little bit of hard work and a great networking community
But, how can you achieve this with your new blog? With so many blogs around, you have little chance of getting noticed.

What’s the solution? Well, a perfectly defined social media plan and strategy is just what you need.
This post will walk you through why you need a social media marketing strategy and how to start one for your blog.

Is Adopting Social Media That Important?

Yes, it is.

Social media platforms have revolutionized marketing and blogging. Google too has adopted “Search Plus Your World” signaling how social platforms are crucial.
So, if you think you only need SEO to generate traffic, you’re dead wrong. Traffic via search engines isn’t the only way to generate a huge audience. Bloggers today are also leveraging social media for their targeted traffic.

With so many people today using smartphones and tablets, the digital world is everywhere. And with more people being online, social media has skyrocketed as a main form of communication for users.

Social Media Isn’t Just a Fad

With the popular social sites being mobile-friendly, this makes it easy to view your Facebook page, scroll through tweets and check out a pin from Pinterest – while you are out and about.
All these reasons suggest that engagement across social networks is never going to end; rather, users will keep on Instagramming, Tweeting or Liking – or doing whatever the next big social media platform will decide.

Hubspot claims that social media marketing is not just any fad, and if you want to be a part of the blogging world, you better be on social media. Almost every successful blogger is using social media platforms to reach a target audience.
So, as a newbie, you need to be on social media to get exposure, promote your blog and generate traffic.

Social Media is Easy and Inexpensive

As a new person to blogging, you may think you need a big budget to get your blog up and running. But, your social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to be expensive.
What’s great about social media is it’s easy to set up and once you’re on various social media platforms, you’ll find you can reach a wide audience without spending much on analytics.
Social media is here to stay and it’s not a passing phase.
So, now that you know how important social media marketing is, let’s uncover how to strategize a social media marketing plan step by step.

PART I: SETTING UP YOUR BLOG

1. Add Social Engagement Elements To Your Blog
Have you ever come across a great post and want to leave a comment or contact the blogger, but you look around and find there’s no comment box or link on the blog?
If you’re new to blogging, the best thing you can do is make yourself available. Readers want to have the option of engaging on your blog. They also want to know that they can quickly contact you.

So, make it easy for your readers to get to know you. Here are some ways to do this:

• Add a Contact page to your website with ways to contact you (phone number, social profiles, email)
• Add Follow buttons on your site to make it easy for people to find you
• Make sure to enable comments on your blog. While you may get some negative feedback, don’t let that stop you from developing a relationship with your readers.

2. Add Share Buttons

You know you have great content on your blog. Heck, I’m sure you’re convinced you wrote a killer blog post. But, no one is reading it and the only people going to your blog are your best friend and brother.
Why is no one talking about your epic blog post? It’s because you forgot to provide a way to share it with their friends and followers.

Having sharing buttons on your blog, placed above and below each blog post makes it super simple and super easy for people to click and share.

Here are some great social media plugins to try on your blog:
• Ultimate social media and share icons
• Floating social bar
• Super socializer
• Shareaholic

PART II: DEVELOPING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY

Your blog is up and running.

You have engaging and easy-to-read blog posts that are ready to be shared across social media.
To get your content on social media where people are talking about it and to have engaging comments on your posts, follow these seven tips.

3. Automate Your Posts

It takes a lot of time to promote your blog post on social media. If you really want to leverage social media for traffic, you’re going to have to promote it on all the popular social media platforms.
Instead of manually tweeting or pinning each new post you write, why not use a social media tool to make your life a little easier? Here are some applications to automate your posts on social media:

• HootSuite
• Buffer
• Socialoomph
• Sproutsocial

4. Engage With Those Who Share Posts
The actual strength of social media lies in the engagement with your readers. If you’re not social on social media, then it’s pointless to be on Twitter or Facebook. This is a great platform to really get to know your target audience.

What did they like about your content? What would they like to read more of?

The power of using various social platforms can be leveraged to create maximum benefit only if you engage with your readers and especially with those that share your posts.
If you’re using HootSuite, there is a search box where you can paste the URL of your blog post and it will list tweets about your blog post shares. Just start out by re-tweeting those tweets and posts to start building relationships.

Google+ and Facebook allow searching options using your blog titles to find out who is sharing your posts.
So, connect with people on social media and keep them engaged. This can generate traffic on your blog when you reciprocate by acknowledging people’s tweet and tweeting their posts as well.

5. Know The Right Time To Share Posts

You can hit the social media jackpot if you correctly time when you share your posts.
For example, Google+ users are most active in the morning, while Twitter users seem to prefer afternoon. Combined with the social automation tools mentioned earlier, you can time your shares perfectly giving you huge competitive advantage over some of your less-savvy competitors.
You can also check trending topics and using those hashtags across Facebook and Twitter. This will present you with optimal times to share relatable content that users are currently talking about.

6. Plan Future Posts

Almost every social networking platform provides analytics. You can find many free analytics tools to help you with this.

Using a social media analytic tool can help with getting ideas about future posts that perform best across networks and help you elevate your social media marketing plan. This will help you in:

• Writing your next post
• Providing topics for your content calendar
• Understanding trends across networks

You can also get new and exciting content ideas by analyzing the comments on your blog posts. Check out what people are saying on your posts, or keep a close tab on what people discuss across your social networks.

You may find that people want to know a specific answer, so use this information to write your next blog post. After all, you are writing for your audience, and understanding what type of information they are seeking can help you in creating content specifically for them.

7. Connect With Influencers
Social platforms allow connecting with anyone from any location. So, why not follow expert bloggers in your niche? These influencers have the ability to help boost your blog to more traffic and social shares.

You can also learn from these influential bloggers by seeing how they use social media to their advantage. Maybe you noticed that they spark engagement by posing a question to their followers every morning. This is something you can do in your social media marketing strategy.

8. Be Socially Responsible
It’s a great feeling to write a blog post. You want to share it all over social media and tell everyone about it. But, don’t get in the habit of spamming timelines and flooding them with links to your posts 24/7.

Try not to tag people with your post without appropriate context.

For example, if you write a post and very briefly mention Jon Morrow’s name and then tag him with a link to your post, this would be considered inappropriate. Only include influencers or other people in your social media status if it relates to your post.

For example, if you wrote about them extensively in your post, or if it’s something you know they want to read about then go ahead and tag or @mention their name.
The best thing to do is just be social. Comment on other people’s posts, share other people’s content and engage with your readers.

9. Have Useful Content

All the effort you put in to marketing your blog will be useless if your content is not original, useful and engaging.
People want to read your experiences, opinions, thoughts, and advice. When you provide this type of content, people will come back to read more and share it on their social media channels.

How do you make your content useful?

• Have supportive information by providing internal and external links in your blog post.
• Be honest. Tell people your failures and what you are doing to start over, whether it’s trying to monetize your blog or trying to score that next job interview.
• Tell a story by using facts and stats that back up what you are trying to say in your blog post.

Are You Ready to Start Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Starting a blog is exciting. You have the potential to create great content that people want to learn about. With the right social media plan, you can find your target audience and tailor your content to them.

Take the time to learn as much as your can about social media to leverage it for your blogging success. These tips should help you start your social media strategy and get your blog noticed.

So, tell me, which tip do you find the most useful in having a strong social media plan?

Source: http://www.twelveskip.com/

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How to create a holistic brand

To be successful in business you need to create a holistic brand experience. If you don’t, you are losing money.

Branding your business is just as important as your business plan, your storefront windows and your personal style. This is especially true for retailers on and offline. Think about getting dressed for a VIP meeting with a potential client. You wear your best outfit, right? Something appropriate for the meeting. When you leave the meeting what does that potential client do? They go to your website. Imagine the horror if your website is underdressed or your last twitter update was ages ago, maybe you don’t even have a twitter page! In the web world – thanks to tools like Pinterest, Instagram, and RStyle.me – you are outdated in 5 years. It’s like a pair of shoes you have worn out – it’s time to get a fresh, more current pair.

Your followers are sophisticated enough to recognize when they are being taken for a ride, and a bumpy one at that. To be successful in business: fashion, retail, professional services, you need to create a holistic branding experience for your clients, customers and social media following. If you don’t, you are losing money. How do you get started with the perfect client experience? Evaluate what works and what doesn’t…do some brand spring cleaning. We can help you get started with a free 30 minute phone consultation today.

Take a look at online personalities as an example of great holistic branding. Think Marie Forleo with The B-School, Gwenyth Paltrow with GOOP, our Bright Lady Alexa Von Tobel with LearnVest – I heard her on Sirius XM radio giving advice this morning. She’s got her act together. Pop over to her website – she is walking, talking proof of well rounded branding. Her incredible website backs up her work and her respectable brand.

You may be able to piece together a top from Anthropologie or a full skirt from J.Crew  – but how does that translate into a complete outfit? Just as you take your business and your wardrobe seriously, take your brand just as seriously–this is what your potential clients and customers interact with everyday. Beautifully thought out design is an investment, an investment in the future success of your brand and product, even if your brand is just you! This is exactly what Step Brightly does for small to medium-sized businesses with incredible ideas.

Together we can make your brand sing your personal style with ease. Our branding services are tailored to fit your needs, specific to your industry. Pick up the phone and let’s have a chat about design, style, taste and the future of your business. We’d love to learn more about you!

Source: http://stepbrightly.com/

Do You Have A Social Media Productivity Plan?

Do You Have A Social Media Productivity Plan?

We all want our social media efforts to yield great results, but most of us realize it isn’t as easy as “tweet it and they will come.” Like anything else in your business, you’ll need a plan. But don’t worry! Creating a social media plan for serious success is easy, and doesn’t take a ton of time, which, if you are anything like me, is one of your most precious commodities! In this post I will outline four steps for a social media productivity plan:  Create Reasonable Goals, Formalize Your Plan, Measure Success, and Repeat!

1. Create Reasonable Goals

It’s one thing to say “I want more social engagement!” or “I need more likes.”  But try to quantify it. How many likes would be really helpful? Is it more important to focus on shares and retweets? I remember working with a Chiropractor who only had room for about 50 patients at any one time, so for her, getting 80 likes on her Facebook is fantastic, and then the focus can be shifted to getting her patients (and her potential patients) to share her content. At MarketMeSuite we focus a lot on the Retweets and shares, because social is a huge part of our inbound marketing strategy. Think about your business and what is truly necessary to see some real value.

2. Formalize your Plan

You have your goals, but how you are going to reach them is another story! This is a step that if not executed correctly could be a large time sink. My team creates a social media calendar for each month, so we can focus on execution once the month starts. Some things to consider putting in your plan are:

– Upcoming Events: Live events are fantastic for social sharing. Make sure to create or find out the event hashtag to get additional sharing power around it.

– Content Calendar for social sharing: This includes thinking about calls to action (like a banner at the bottom of each post) to maximize retweets and shares.

– Press Releases: Do you have any news to share? Formalize it in a release. The format is pretty straightforward, and you can feel free to “borrow” it from MarketMeSuite’s press section. 😉

– Monthly themes of what are sharing: For example, August could be focused on “Social Productivity” and everything in the sharing plan has that underlying theme

The screenshot above is my actual spreadsheet to keep it organized.  I found that Google spreadsheet is often the best way, so I can share it with my team and make the planning collaborative.

3. Measure Success

Was your goal 60 followers in four weeks, or a certain amount of clicks on shared posts? Check in regularly and make sure you are tracking toward your goal so you can make tweaks as you go. If you aren’t seeing your following grow, perhaps you need to focus more on your engagement outreach strategy, perhaps you need to retweet more of other people’s content to get noticed. These regular check ins help you avoid having to do a major shift in strategy keep you productively working on the right stuff to reach your goals.

One example of a tweak that really worked was when we started to introduce more photos into our social sharing calendar. Posts with photos immediately got more clicks and shares than our text-only based posts, so we shifted, mid-month to put a higher percentage of visual posts.

4. Repeat!

See how the first month goes, make adjustments, and start the cycle over again. By being realistic about what you are looking to achieve, organizing and formalizing a plan, and staying focused on success, you’ll never run the risk of burning cycles on social without the results.

So, what do you think? That’s not too much work, right? Let use know how you tackle your social media plan!

Source: Maximize Social Business, Tammy Kahn Fennell

Social Listening

Social Listening

Companies have always been interested in learning more about their customers. In today’s digital age, they have a plethora of tools available to learn what conversations their customers are having (and where) about their company, their brand, and their competitors.

What is social listening, exactly?

Social listening is the process of monitoring what is being said about a company, a product or a brand, across all social channels.

Sentiment                                          Actionable insight

Real time data                                   Conversations

Volume                                              Share of voice

The data is then collected, filtered and analyzed to provide real-time business intelligence.

Now I’m listening

Here’s what the social landscape looks like:

More than 15 million brands, businesses and organizations have Facebook pages. Facebook users share 2.5 billion pieces of content per day.

Source: VentureBeat, Mobilemarketingwatch, Nielsen

2.6 million companies have pages on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is nearly three times as effective for lead generation as Twitter and Facebook.

Source: VentureBeat, Mobilemarketingwatch, Topdogsocialmedia.com

53% of people recommend products in their tweets. Brands take an average of six hours to respond to direct questions on Twitter.

Source: socialnomics and socialbakers.com

90% of customers trust peer recommendations on social sites.

Source: Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey

79% of Twitter users would recommend a brand after becoming a fan or follower.

Source: Why social media matters to your business, Chadwick Martin Bailey

71% of consumers would make a purchase after social media referrals.

Source: Hubspot

How do I do it?

Effective social listening can happen in four steps:

  1. Monitor. Focus on what they do, not just what they tell you. Listen to what your customers and prospects are saying – and monitor what they are actually doing, using the right techniques and tools.
  2. Separate the signal from the noise. Navigate the chatter and get to the 3% of what your customers really care about.
  3. They love me today, but will they love me tomorrow? Consumer conversation can be robust, so it’s critical to listen to specifics and explore trends in volume and sentiment.
  4. From data to insight to business strategy. Compare and contrast relevant insights and findings to inform strategic decisions. Use a real-time sense-act-learn platform.

Knowledge is power

Several critical functions can benefit from business insights gained via social listening:

Business areas                                                                                   Insights

HR                                                                                                           Real time customer insights

Customer Service                                                                                   Industry trends

Product development                                                                              Competitive intelligence

Marketing & PR                                                                                        Sales leads

Sales                                                                                                       Marketing opportunities

Risk & Compliance

Socially acceptable behavior

Use insights gleaned via social listening to transform your business processes:

Redesign your marketing and sales

  • Create social personas to understand customer needs
  • Monitor key promoters and detractors

Enhance the customer experience

  • Anticipate reaction
  • Respond strategically
  • Build trust with transparency and honesty

Reinvent products and services

  • Surface unmet and unarticulated needs
  • Explore alternative ideas
  • Co-create features and options
  • Concept test

Be proactive in monitoring risk and compliance

  • Listen for early warning signs in complaints
  • Look for patterns in customer “chatter”
  • Monitor trends in key risk indicators

Source:PWC.com

Your Cheat Sheet for Writing Headlines

Your Cheat Sheet for Writing Headlines

H Helpful

Deliver value by being helpful. Make it obvious the reward for reading further is you will gather helpful information

E Emotion

Evoke emotion by appealing to the two most prevalent drivers of behavior: achieving pleasure and avoiding pain.

A Ask

The question headline is enormously effective. Find and ask questions your target market wants answered.

D Do’s and Don’ts

Education is central to effective content marketing. Offer “do” and “don’t” lessons your audience will find valuable.

L Lists

We’re wired to love lists. They’re great for article teasers, blog post titles, and any type of headline.

I Inspire

Write headlines that speak to your readers’ desires. Inspire them and you’ll have the ultimate hook.

N Nightmare

Speak to a problem that keeps readers up at night to write a killer headline. Blogger Jon Morrow calls it the “2a.m. test.”

E Empathy

Earn the trust you need with headlines that demonstrate you understand and care about your readers.

S Success

The proven approach to headline nirvana is to make a promise you’ll deliver a little success package.

Source: Feldman Creative

Deliver content anytime, anywhere! Contact us now and find out how we can help you grow your business and reach your customers!

5 Laws of Content Marketing

5 Laws of Content Marketing

Newscred hosted their annual Content Marketing Summit which brought together 700+ leaders in Marketing, Media and Technology and addressed how content is shaping the future of marketing. The five lessons below come from presentations by executives at Buzzfeed, Cisco, Dell, Diageo, Dr. Pepper, Forbes, Havas, Mindshare, RedBull, SAP, Spotify, Target, Twitter, VICE Media and more.

  1. Content is No Longer a Suggestion – It’s a Necessity.

Content is the only way to comprehensively engage your audience at every step of the customer journey. Marketers need to create amazing content that is sharable, hilarious, emotional, entertaining, and informative – or best, all of these! You should be obsessed with the content you create. If you don’t want to read it, why would your audience want to share it?

The idea of creating content for content’s sake is borderline psychotic.” Alex Jutkowitz, Group SJR

  1. Data and Measurement Are Crucial To Content Success.

It’s essential to have a solid measurement framework in place so that you can try new ideas and find out if your content is working. That said, many marketing experts lament that lack of “hard numbers” when it comes to measuring success. 2015 will be the year measurement becomes standardized across platforms. The marketing tools of the (near) future will be highly personalized, letting you know which members of your audience are the most valuable.

“As a team, we talk everyday about what’s working and what’s not, and we measure like crazy.” Dustee Jenkins, Target

  1. Authenticity Never Goes Out of Style.

We’ve heard this a million times but it’s worth saying again. Your brand needs to “know thyself” in all aspects of marketing. Don’t jump in on a meme or trend that won’t jive with your brand or audience. Be funny, everyone loves funny (even in B2B), but don’t be fake – your audience is smarter than that.

“Humor evokes positive emotion, cuts through the noise, demonstrates authenticity, and redeems.” Tim Washer, Cisco

  1. ROI is Crucial – But Don’t Let It Kill Something Good.

While measurement is crucial, don’t kill an idea that you know is a winner from the start just because you can’t predict its success. Marketers need to try a variety of messages and products, spend slowly, and measure carefully before picking a clear performer.

  1. The Future of Marketing is Personal.

New marketing tools are opening up a wealth of possibilities to reach consumers. Better understanding their needs and motivations will help you provide personalized, comprehensive experience. Companies who go to the extra mile with content that is desired and not a disruption will succeed. Brands need to think about the fact that every share, “Like” and tweets is created be a real person.

Hope the list above give all of us some insights about Content Marketing. Please do share other tips that will help each one of us!

Don’t forget folks! Like, Follow, Share with US!

10 Crucial Strategies for turning your online presence into something your business can actually use

10 Crucial Strategies for turning your online presence into something your business can actually use.
  1. Do you know who your customers really are? If not, it’s time to find out. Identify your customer personas (with back stories) and address your content to them as individuals.
  2. Do you place more emphasis on the visual design of your website than the structure and content? “Pretty” only gets you so far. Without substance, people will not visit or stay and search engines will not index.
  3. Does your content truly help your customers? Is it actionable, informational or education? Is it written from a plan? If not, your content can cause people to disconnect. Use an editorial calendar, sales funnel and targeted offers.
  4. Is your company and your staff empowered to “do” online? Does your online partner “handle” it for you, or do they work as true partner in your success? With the Google Humminbird algorithm update, your entire teams are now critical players.
  5. Does your website have a blog? If not, you are missing out on “the” most important and effective tool available. Just don’t get promotional or you’ll push visitors away. Instead, use great content to attract visitors, share knowledge and build trust.
  6. Are you making the most of the new art of SEO & findability? Search success really comes down to how well you can be found by the right kinds of prospects. It is a combo of content, social engagement and avoiding SEO tricks that’ll get you into trouble.
  7. Do you look at social media as networking yet? You should. The basic human desire to do business with other people that we know, like, and trust means embracing social tools to connect with prospects. They are the audience for your content.
  8. Do you craft offers that are relevant to your target audience? Searchers are looking for answers. Provide them at all levels of your sales funnel and build a case in favor of your solutions. Each offer is a touch point in your sales process.
  9. Think you can set it and forget it? Think again. Getting started is only the beginning. Building an online presence takes time and effort. If you haven’t set a budget for ongoing marketing efforts, analytics, content creation and engagement, you’ll get left behind.
  10. Do you keep an eye on your analytics? It’s one thing to have an idea about how many visitors your site has, but what about conversions, popular pages, competitor activity or even Google algorithm changes? Watch your analytics like you watch your accounting. Nothing beats good intelligence.

The bottom line: A Successful Business Website Isn’t Built From Any Single Thing.

Any other ideas on how to improve small businesses using content marketing? Share it we love to hear it from you!

Don’t forget to Like, Follow and Share with us!

Source: Kayak Online Marketing