10 Social Media Tips for Businesses

January 10, 2017

Social media can be a highly valuable tool for your company if used right, or a giant time-waster if not. Knowing how to use social media correctly can make all the difference! Here are a few tips to help you maximize your social media use:

Know your platform

Twitter is used for VERY short-form content, Instagram is all about visually appealing images, and YouTube is for engaging long-form content. When posting to social media platforms, make sure you’re posting content that suits the audience.

Plan first

Never jump into a campaign without a plan. Sit down and create a comprehensive social media marketing plan before the campaign begins. It can help you increase your chances for success, as well as prepare you to analyze the good/bad of your plan.

Engage

The truly effective way to reach more people is to engage with them. Always be ready to reply to comments, thank people for participating, and listen to what people have to say. The more you engage, the better!

Monitor your efforts

You’ve come up with a social media plan, but you have to be ready to adjust or flex as needed. The only way to know if it’s needed is to monitor your efforts. That means tracking/analyzing your social media progress to determine if it’s having the desired results. Change as the situation merits!

Take advantage of automation

Twitter and Facebook both have automation options, and you can find tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to help you schedule content ahead of time. Automation can help to streamline the process!
Target your audience – Know who your audience is, and make sure your posts reach them! The narrower your audience, the greater the chance that you’ll reach the right people with your content.

Maximize ROI

Don’t spend time posting across all platforms if only a few platforms yield the results you want. Make sure your efforts are concentrated on the social media channels that work best for you.

Be smart with hashtags

Used right, hashtags can be a great way to track your engagement. Used incorrectly, they can clutter up your content and annoy people.

Organize yourself

Part of the social media plan should be to draft a calendar that helps you to keep track of everything you are posting and when.

Advertise

It’s worth spending a bit of money on advertising via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media channels. The ad money will often yield a higher ROI than with Google AdWords marketing!

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Marketing is so much more than just creating social media posts and paying for advertising space. It comes down to a plan that will help you to reach your audience as effectively as possible, and with the best possible ROI. You have to approach it with the right mentality, which means:

Having an overall plan.

Each campaign you run should fit into the overall plan for marketing your business. With a master plan, it will be much easier to draw up the blueprints for smaller, individual campaigns and keep them all relevant to each other.

Having an objective.

Is the goal of your campaign to drive people to your website, increase clickthroughs, or generate revenue via sales? Having an objective will help you to know whether or not your campaigns succeeded.
Having metrics and parameters. You have to measure your results in order to determine whether or not they’re effective. That means establishing metrics and parameters for “success” or “failure”.

Staying under-budget.

Everyone has to operate within a budget! A small measure of success is being able to get the desired results without going over-budget.

Understanding your audience.

A lot of market research should go into your overall marketing plan. Once you understand your audience, it’s easier to know how to reach them with the right marketing campaigns.

Understanding your platforms.

You can’t post the same content to Facebook as you post to Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube. All of your marketing campaigns should be tailored to the platform you are using.

Preparing well-crafted marketing materials.

You need materials that will do what you want them to: convert viewers into customers. That means putting a lot of thought into the copy you write, the images you use, and the message you’re trying to communicate. Refine the materials until you’re certain they do what you want them to.

Setting up a way to measure results.

You need to have tools to measure the results of your marketing efforts. This means tracking clicks, page views, conversions, sign-ups, and all of the other metrics you’ve established. Going back over the results of your marketing campaign will help you to learn from your mistakes and successes. You’ll be able to make the next one better!

It’s not easy to run a successful campaign, even if you’ve dedicated your life to marketing. But the tips above can help you to prepare yourself and your marketing campaign for a greater chance of success.

There was a time that “local SEO”—optimizing your content according to a specific location, using keywords such as “drycleaners Los Angeles” or “dentist Miami”—was perceived as something done exclusively by bricks-and-mortars retailers. After all, using local SEO narrowed the audience to only people in that specific location.

However, the truth is that local SEO is important even to online retailers. Why is that?

Well, simple: your customers live in cities, right? If you can target your content according to that specific city, it’s easier to give them what they need.

Let’s take, for example, an online clothes retailer. The retailer sells both winter and summer clothes. To hit the winter-wear audience in the Northern United States, they can use local SEO for New England, Chicago, Seattle, and so on. But people living in the Southern United States will start wearing summer clothes long before their northern counterparts do, so a local SEO campaign targeting Phoenix, Miami, Los Angeles, and Houston will enable the clothes retailer to start selling summer clothes before the sale of winter clothes ends.

Google loves local businesses, and actually does more to promote them than global or national businesses. The search engine is designed to bring up local results first, especially if the keyword searched includes the location. A search for “laundromat in Glendale” will usually bring up the Glendale-specific locations, and farther down the list will be the retailers that belong to larger chains. It’s Google’s way of promoting local business and delivering the best tailored results.

Google also tries to give the most specific results according to the person searching. Your Google history will give the search engine information on the sort of information you’re looking for, according to your location and other data. If there is a business that offers what you’re looking for in the place you want it, Google is going to make sure you see it.

Proximity-based searches are more common with mobile commerce as well. Look at Uber, the app that searches for the closest vehicle to your desired location. Or Tinder, which tries to find matches nearest to you. Local SEO will be important for mobile searches as well, as Google has tried to make the searches as location-specific as possible.

Local SEO is no longer useful just for brick-and-mortar retailers. Even online retailers should endeavor to include local SEO when and where relevant. It may lead to much better engagement and reach in the specific cities where you want to find your target demographic.

Social media is one of the most powerful forces in the modern world. A single Tweet can make or break a career. A single photograph can propel someone to stardom or bring a powerful man or woman low. Social media also provides a tool for marketers to better understand their customers, as well as to find new ones. By keeping up with the latest trends in social media, brands will have a better chance of achieving their goals and reaching a larger audience.

Here are a few trends to expect in 2017:

Social messaging

WhatsApp and Messenger are the two most popular messaging apps, but Snapchat, QQ Chat, and Viber all add their weight. More and more people are turning away from Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram, and going to the apps where they can message directly with others.

Live video

Not only did Facebook roll out their LIVE feature, but Twitter and YouTube added the live video feature as well. US Instagram users also have the option for live videos. In 2017, Facebook and YouTube will both be adding new live video features to their platform, allowing people to connect with others live and in real time.

Social Commerce

A surprising number of people are using social networks to find new products to buy, so it makes sense for these platforms to eliminate the middle man (Amazon and other retailers) and simply put a “Buy” button on their interface. Facebook has introduced a Marketplace feature, and more social media platforms are taking advantage of the popularity of social commerce.

Paid social media advertising

Open your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feed, and you’ll see A LOT of paid advertisements. It’s estimated that close to $36 billion will be spent on social media advertising this year in paid adverts alone!

Social advocacy

Since the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, social advocacy—championing a cause via social media—has become more and more common. Everything from the Women’s March to Bell Let’s Talk have taken advantage of social advocacy, and it will continue to increase as we go into 2017.

The crackdown on fake news

More and more platforms and search engines will take steps to crack down on “fake news”, with the goal of eradicating it entirely. Fake news affected 2016, especially during the U.S. Presidential Elections. Facebook banned fake news from advertising in late 2016, and will continue to work on blocking and suppressing clickbait-type headlines that are intended to spread misinformation.

2017 is going to be a fascinating year for social media! It’s important that you “get with the times” and stay abreast of how your customers will be using their social media apps and platforms. The result will be much more effective, targeted marketing.

The word “brand” is usually used to refer to a company or line of products, but it actually goes beyond that. A company’s brand is the perception people have of that company. For example, thanks to Apple’s branding efforts, we all know that Apple products are sleek, cutting edge, and innovative (even if they don’t always live up to the hype) or that Nike is the brand for athletes (even if other brands have better products).

Your personal brand is the world’s perception of who you are. Building a personal brand is the best way to influence the people around you: employers, coworkers, employees, customers, supplies, even your competitors. By creating a personal brand, you control the narrative and help people perceive you the way YOU want them to.

How can you create your own personal brand?

Find the heart and soul.

What is the most important aspect of who you are and what you do? What is the “mantra” that drives your product or service? Think about what matters most to you, and that is the heart and soul of your brand.

Appeal to emotions.

Tugging on someone’s heartstrings is the best way to get them on your side. You need to think about how you make your product/service/persona to make people feel, and how you want them to perceive you. The emotional appeal of your brand is what will set you apart.

Determine your purpose.

What is it that you are offering to people? What do you have that makes you unique from others? Why do you stand out from the crowd? This goes beyond just the skills, products, or services you have to offer, but it includes your personality, character, and passions.

Describe yourself.

How would you describe yourself? Are you an artist, a leader, a strategist, or a team player? What words can you use to endear yourself to others emotionally? Think about the things about you that appeal most to others, and use that in your creation of your personal brand. Be a “passionate creator” or a “willing assistant” or an “enthusiastic leader”.

Keep it simple.

Your personal brand should be distilled to one or two simple concepts. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, but find your niche and make it work. Narrow the scope of your brand to a simple concept that everyone can relate to. The simpler the idea of you and your brand, the more easily people will be able to relate to it.

In the end, your personal brand is how the world will perceive you. It’s best if you can control the narrative and help people to see you the RIGHT way.

The internet is one of your best and most cost-effective tools for marketing. However, to use it right, you need to understand the mentality of the average web user. For most people, it’s all about finding the most appealing, concise, and easily accessible information and solutions to their problems. The vast majority of the younger web users prefer images and videos to written content. If you’re trying to reach that younger audience, you need to use video marketing!

Video marketing is effective for the simple reason that EVERYONE loves well-made, clever, and interesting videos. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, videos are worth far, far more. You can deliver a powerful, engaging, funny, clever, or interesting message in a matter of seconds using video. You can also tell a story to entice web surfers to click on your link and see what more you have to say. Well-made videos can stop any casual web surfer in their tracks, perhaps even long enough to get them interested in your product or service.

Video marketing is also effective because it’s entertaining. Go to YouTube, and you’ll find HUNDREDS of videos on every topic under the sun. Many of them are created to make you laugh, cry, think, and be interested in something new. Videos present important information in an entertaining way. People love to be entertained, and it can make learning a whole lot more enjoyable. You can teach useful things through the medium of entertainment.

Best of all, video marketing is available to anyone. You don’t have to be an internet marketing genius to use video marketing. All you have to do is know how to make a good video. That may mean hiring a video expert to help you create something informational, engaging, and entertaining. Once you have the video, you can post it to your website, blog, social media accounts, and even a YouTube channel. If the video is well-made and engaging, it has a much better chance of being shared around.

Videos tend to “go viral” (being shared all over the internet) much more often than written articles. Viral videos can get millions of views in a very short amount of time. If you’re the one who created the video, all those viewers will link the video to your company/business. The viral nature of the video means thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people around the world will find out about you and what you have to offer.

The truth is that video marketing is one of the most effective tools in your arsenal. If you want to reach the widest audience possible, it’s worth investing in making videos that entertain, educate, and engage in a clever, interesting, and animated way!

Have you ever heard the expression “Content is king?” It’s one that has become very popular in the last decade, especially with the drastic shift in advertising and marketing caused by social media and the internet.

Once, your best means of reaching people was via billboards, TV ads, radio spots, and newspaper ads. Now, the most time and cost-effective methods of marketing is using the internet (social media, company website, etc.).

The internet is designed to be an information superhighway, where people can access anything they want in a matter of seconds. Search engines provide relevant results for millions of searches every day. Guess what those results are? 9 times out of 10, they’re articles, blog posts, and content posted on websites.

If you want to get people to visit your website and find out more about your business, you MUST create content that is relevant, valuable, and consistent. Content allows you to establish yourself as an authority, which increases the likelihood people will seek you out for answers and help. Regular content posting also keeps you in the forefront of potential customers’ minds. If they keep seeing your content when they’re looking for advice or help with a problem, they’ll end up thinking of you when they need your business.

Content marketing is important for customers, as it’s a “soft sell” tactic. By delivering consistent value through your articles, blog posts, and other content, you slowly convince customers to take advantage of your product or service. In this modern day and age, most people prefer the soft sell than the in-your-face “Buy or try my product/service!”

Content marketing also matters to search engines. When people do a search for a problem or question related to your business’ product or service, you want your content to be as highly ranked as possible. The higher the ranking, the greater the chance of a search engine user clicking on your website and reading the article or post. Content allows you to take advantage of people’s desire for more information and knowledge, yet still entice them into buying your product or trying your service.

Content marketing also allows you to build a relationship with your customer. You provide them with daily or weekly solutions and answers to their problems and questions, and that endears them to you. That positive association in their mind will make them think of you next time they need your product or service. Once again, it’s about the “soft sell”.

The internet can be a highly useful tool to promote your business, but you have to learn how to do it right. Providing regular content is the key to being a smart internet marketer!

Social media has changed the marketing game forever! Where marketing and advertising once involved spending millions of dollars on physical ads (newspapers, magazines, etc.), now you can spend far less and make your ad visible across the world courtesy of social media. Social media is a cost-effective solution that allows you to reach the people YOU want to reach.

If you’re considering marketing via social media, it’s a good idea to consider Facebook. Here are a few reasons why Facebook offers the most effective option for your company’s marketing strategy:

Targeted advertising

Facebook Ads can be sent to as broad or narrow an audience as you want. Facebook has access to a wealth of personal information on each person, including location, age, sex, work history, social circles, marital status, likes, dislikes, and the list goes on. Facebook allows you to set dozens of filters to ensure that your ad ONLY reaches the people it’s intended for.

Affordable costs

Facebook advertisements tend to be far more cost-effective than Google Ads. The cost per click through is about the same as Google Ads, but people are more likely to perceive Facebook ads positively. After all, they’re on social media to relax, so they associate the things they see on social media more positively. You’d be amazed by how many impressions a mere $5 to $50 per day can get your advertisement!

Increased connectivity

Advertising on Google or even physical ads are intended to put your product in front of the right people. However, Facebook ads allow you to connect with your customer base. The interactivity features are built into the social media platform, and people are encouraged to share, like, and comment. You’ll find that Facebook offers better engagement with clients, suppliers, fans, and customers. It’s a way to build a following rather than just have people buy your products.

Easy tracking of metrics

With billboard ads, you have no idea how many people you reach. Google Ads provide you with detailed metrics on your performance, but Facebook delivers real-time analytics to help you track and improve the reach of each advertisement you run. You can make adjustments to the ad while they’re running, or learn from each ad to improve the next one. For marketers who want to stay on top of the game, Facebook is the detailed tool of choice.

Make no mistake:

Facebook knows it’s one of the best marketing platforms, so it will continue to make changes to their platform that encourages paid marketing over free. However, if you can learn to use Facebook effectively, you’ll find that spending even a small amount on the ads and marketing options is a great way to reach a broader audience and get your message across efficiently.

Conversion Optimization, also known as conversion rate optimization or CRO, is the optimization of your website/online sales funnel in order to increase conversion (turning visitors into clients). It has nothing to do with getting traffic to your website—instead, it is the art of using that website to increase sales.

The “sales funnel” concept is a simple one: you get visitors to your website/landing page from everywhere—SEO, social media, blog content, etc. Every one of those visitors can become a client. Your website or landing page contains content, images, videos, and information that will turn the visitor into a paying customer.

CRO is the optimization of your content so that it increases the chance of someone becoming a customer (conversion). CRO is often done by A/B testing or split testing: creating two similar versions of a landing page and testing them to determine which is more effective. You end up using the variant that has the highest conversion rate (clicks, sign-ups, downloads, sales, etc.). But you don’t stop there! You continue to create new and improved versions of your landing page to continue to optimize your conversion. Over time, you end up with a highly efficient sales funnel that will drive people to take action: join your mailing list, buy your product, contact you, and so on.

The good news is that you may only need to make minor changes to your website’s content, layout, structure, or presentation. Even small tweaks in theme, a few minimal word changes, or the addition or deletion of a video can make all the difference. The small changes can have a visible effect on the conversion of those visitors.
It’s vital for you to continually be looking for ways to do things better, especially in terms of your sales funnel. You want to increase your conversion rate as much as possible. You may not be able to drastically increase the number of visitors you get to your website, but you can ensure that MORE of those visitors are taking action once they’re on your site. In the long run, CRO can help you to do more even if you don’t have millions of unique visitors to your website every month.

Instead of investing in advertisements to encourage people to buy, you can drive them to your website. Once there, your content will do the work of converting them into customers. It’s a “soft sell” method that works far more efficiently than direct advertising!

You’d be amazed by how many people use social media incorrectly. They post content that tries to hit “everyone”, without any sort of targeting or strategy to reach the demographic best-suited for their product. If you’re serious about using social media to reach your target market, you can’t just post whatever springs to mind. You need to come up with a plan, targeted content that is visually appealing, and learn the ins and outs of the various forms of social media marketing. That is the only way you’re going to read that audience!

Here’s what you need to know:

Step 1: Choose the right platform.

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube all offer access to a different target audience. Pinterest is more popular among women, Facebook is more commonly used by businesses, and Twitter is the short-form social media for busy people on the go. Understanding what each platform offers—mainly in the demographics that frequently use the platform—is the first step toward using your social media effectively.

Step 2: Learn the ins and outs.

Learn how using the right hashtags can make your Twitter posts more engaging and reach a broader audience. Learn how Facebook Ads effectively help you to put your published content in front of the right people. Learn what sort of YouTube videos are most effective for promoting your content. The more you learn about the platform, the more easily you’ll be able to plan the marketing strategy.

Step 3: Learn more than one.

Sticking with just one social media network isn’t going to get you the results you want. You need to learn to use multiple networks, and learn how they can cross-promote each other. Twitter posts can be automatically posted to Facebook and vice versa, or short YouTube videos can make your Facebook feed more engaging. Instagram photos will do well on Facebook and Twitter. Learn at least three or four of the primary social networks, and you’ll have a better reach!

Step 4: Be engaging.

The primary purpose of your content is to get people to stop what they’re doing and focus on what you have to say/share. Your content needs to be visually appealing, offer entertainment or real value, but most important of all get people engaged. Ask a question, offer advice that’s likely to be shared, or solicit your readers’ opinions. The more people engage with your posts, the more likely they will be to engage with the posts marketing and selling your product or service.

Step 5: Give something special.

Your social media followers want to feel they’re getting something special for their interaction with you. Offer them discounts, special deals, or coupons as a reward for their engagement. This offers them value, which in turn increases future engagement.

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