Posts Tagged ‘create social media strategy’

Reasons a Strong Business Presence on Facebook Matters

There’s a bit of rift between long-time successful companies and relative startups. Businesses that have been turning a profit and molding their brand image for years are up in the air about whether or not a Facebook presence—or social media in general—is required to achieve success. Newer businesses, however, without the luxury of tenure, insist that it’s a must.

Image - Human, Silhouettes, Facebook, Twitter, Experience - Clipart 65924

So, which is it? Can you get by without a Facebook presence, or do you really need one in today’s marketplace? Well, that particular question can be argued until the cows finally come home, but as you’ll read below, logic points directly toward having a presence.

5 Reasons to Keep a Solid Foothold in Facebook

1: The Stats are Overwhelming

Over a third of the American population alone uses Facebook. All told, the site has over one billion users, which is going to push a lot closer to 1.5+ once India and other parts of Asia come into the fold. Over half of all Facebook users visit the platform regularly. Trust is growing amongst Facebook fans toward businesses. The stats can go on and on, including the fact that advertising on Facebook cost very little compared to other mediums, and the potential for higher ROI is enormous.

2: A Business-Friendly Atmosphere

Facebook has not only created an extremely business-friendly atmosphere, but one that doesn’t intrude on a user’s experience (unlike MySpace and other networks). With updates like Custom Audiences, Timeline, new advances in their ads via Sponsored Stories, and other measures Facebook has taken to rake in the advertising dollars, the network is currently in the midst of its own boom right now, and no one sees a dropping off point yet.

3: Ways of the World

The world today is trending Internet. There’s no other way to put it. Although Facebook only has a billion users, there are over 5 billion people across the planet who have access to the Internet. As we evolve further in terms of technology, Facebook’s numbers will exponentially increase, as well as Internet activity in general via people handling their shopping online. Any business would be missing out not to ride this train.

4: Adding Credibility

What do you think a tech-savvy customer thinks of your business when they find out you don’t have a Facebook page? (And that’s even assuming they can find you at all without one.) The odds are great that they don’t see you as credible. You’re not a part of the culture they’re a part of, so why would they trust you? Having a Facebook presence works wonders for your credibility.

5: Infinite Traffic Potential

From your business Facebook page, you can interlink an entire web network, including blogs, a main business site, Twitter, LinkedIn, and an infinite number of other sites, profiles and pages. You can reach out beyond your network and work with other businesses to share traffic. You can drive an enormous amount of traffic with a Facebook page (to and from), and there is literally no ceiling on how much you can attract.

Reasons like “free” and “easy” were left off the list, but you can include them as strong factors that may help you make up your mind. The fact of the matter is that your business might not need a Facebook page. But it’s also true that your odds of success increase with one. 

 


Author’s bio:

Eric Taylor works as a freelance writer and business developer for Qwaya, a Facebook ad manager tool. Qwaya provides extensive information, tools and up-to-date news about social media marketing trends and strategies, most specifically on Facebook. The company’s goal is to build and develop a very sophisticated tool with powerful features that are user-friendly and affordable specially for social media marketers world wide.

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Put a Public Face on Your Social Media Strategy

Here at RoryMartin.com, we talk a lot about branding as part of a good social media strategy. At a very basic level, branding is about how we want a potential customer to feel, and what we want them to think, when they see our company out and about – in advertising, on Twitter, being interviewed…

Being interviewed? How can a ‘company’ get interviewed?

When it comes to branding there is one school of thought which believes that people are more likely to connect with a person, than with a faceless corporation. You will most likely agree with this theory, but it’s probable that you will also have ‘good’ feelings when you see a Coca-Cola advert. Of course, Coke have millions of dollars to spend on advertising and marketing, and their branding is all pervasive.

Small to medium companies with rather smaller budgets for getting their brand in front of people may benefit from having a spokesperson or public face of the company. This way, a company can go the usual branding route with online networking and information dissemination but also send their public face out to meetings, networking events, and conferences to relate to potential customers on a personal level. Having a spokesperson, who is represented as an expert in their field, also provides the opportunity for guest-posting, and being interviewed!, on other industry blogs and websites, which then creates link-backs to the company website, as well as positive feeling towards the spokesperson, and therefore the company.

There can be a downside to have a public face on a company, however. Firstly, what if they were to leave the company! Some fashion companies have avoided this by having anonymous public faces, such as @OscarPRGirl who ‘reports’ from inside Oscar De La Renta, and which could be authored by anyone. Secondly, the public face on a company should live according to the company’s ethos at all times when they are in public. As a representative of the brand, it would be hugely detrimental for them to be found acting in such a way as did not represent the brand. This is ultimately quite a responsibility.

What do you think? Do you have a public face for your company? How has it worked for you? Have you ever had any problems with this marketing route?

Get the Most Out of Your Branding – Twitter Cover Photos

Branding is one of the first marketing steps that a company usually takes. The basic questions asked start with ‘How do we want the customer to feel about our company?’ ‘What tone should the company take?’ Often, the answers to these questions boil down to a few words. Sporty. Out-going. Friendly. Professional. Trust-worthy. Wholesome. Everything which a company then does in terms of marketing, advertising and other forms of publicity and outreach are then done with this brief in mind. This used to be relevant mostly to print media, but, nowadays, we have to consider social media branding.

At the most basic level, social media branding is similar to regular branding. The most instantly recognizable aspect of a business is usually their logo, and this should be used somewhere predominate. For Twitter and Facebook, where users have updates scrolling past them faster than they can read, it’s best to have the company logo as the profile photo. It’s easier to spot a recognizable picture in a list of updates than it is to even skim-read users names.

However, now that both Facebook and Twitter have implemented ‘cover photos’, it’s possible to get creative with your homepage. Your Twitter profile picture will appear in the center of the Twitter cover photo, so using a team photo will often result in someone’s face being obscured – but it might be possible to use this to a humorous advantage.  For example, we’ve seen some pretty creative cover “hacks” like this one from Ryan Seacrest

This juxtaposition shows you exactly who Seacrest is in his cover photo.  Just make sure to estimate spacing for your tagline and webpage.

The cover photos on Facebook and Twitter are an incredibly useful tool when it comes to social media branding, as businesses are no longer limited to just a 180×180 square company logo. Cover photos can be used to indicate the purpose of the company in a fun and interesting way, or to show people interacting with the company in a positive way.

Have you integrated the new Twitter cover photos into your branding strategy?  Check out some quick twitter branding we did for artist, Wyly Astley!

How to Schedule your Social Media Updates

Scheduling updates can be a contentious issue in the world of social media, and with good reason too. There are two schools of thought among social media consultants. On the one hand, social media is all about customer engagement – it’s called ‘social’ for a reason. Companies are expected to converse with their customers and clients, politely and publicly. On the other hand, social media is just another marketing tool to be used to get information out to the world. People don’t follow you because they want to chat, they’ve got friends for that. They follow businesses for specific information – offers, events, industry news. Just get the information to them when they’re online.

Of course, the reality is somewhere in the middle of these two theories. Followers and fans want information on current events, but they also want to let you know what they think, and the problems which they’re having – and they expect you to respond in a timely manner. Scheduling social media updates certainly has a place in a well-rounded social media strategy – the key is to use it wisely.

Good practice with scheduling updates is to take the time in the morning to consider what information needs to go out that day (or week). Craft a few brilliantly worded updates, and use a tool such as HootSuite or ViralHeat to schedule them. Take a look at which ones you think will generate the most engagement and write a note to yourself to check in around that time to monitor comments and mentions. This way, you don’t spend all day wondering when to tweet again and what to say, and there’s no need to religiously log in to Facebook and Twitter to respond to everything immediately. By doing your social media in chunks like this, you will save time throughout the day.

However, it pays to keep up with industry news and current events – especially if you’re attending them! Having scheduled updates which interrupt the live-tweeting of an event, or which are reporting on suddenly outdated news, will look strange to your followers and Fans, so it is still necessary to keep an eye on your future stream and make sure that it continues to be relevant.

A lot of companies only update their social media streams during business hours; when their employees are at work. This means that users likely check in to their accounts most often outside of business hours; when they are not at work. Perhaps they check Facebook over breakfast, and tweet on the train home. Scheduling social media updates outside of business hours is a great strategy for increasing the potential reach of your updates without going into overtime.

What do you think of scheduling updates as a social media strategy? Do you think that it takes the spontaneity out of the conversation, or do you see it as an intelligent response to a real need?

 

Sales and Social Media Marketing: What’s the ROI

Here’s something we’ve touched upon before at RoryMartin.com, but which people quite often seem to forget: social media is not the place for sales. Saying this straight can cause businesses to throw up their hands and exclaim “What’s the point?”, but hear us out. Social media is first and foremost a marketing tool – and your social media marketing strategy should reflect that. Even people who use social media to tweet about their breakfast are still thinking about how they’d like the world to think of them – although they probably don’t have plans to become ‘Breakfast Food Consultants’. Social media can be used to build brand awareness and positive customer (read: potential customer!) engagement. Of course, social media can be used to make sales, but if your updates are chock-full of SALE! And OFFER! people will quickly switch off.

One of the reasons why social media is not a sales tool is because people don’t go to check their accounts thinking ‘I’d like to purchase something today, I wonder what that will be?’ Social media catches people far earlier in the buying process than, say, a storefront window. Followers and fans may not even be aware that they need your product or service, let alone want to purchase it right then and there.

However, this doesn’t mean that your followers and fans will never purchase a product or service from you via social media, but the process is a longer one. Social media marketing is a long-term sales strategy. Sending out five tweets in a row about your latest OFFERS and SALES everyday won’t make you any friends, but providing constant and consistent advice and information about your products and services will. Users typically turn to social media for entertainment and information, so give it to them!

A new Follower or Fan may not immediately make a purchase from you, the same way that someone in your internet store or on your shop floor might, but over time they will come to trust and respect your authority in your business niche. Then, when they do decide it’s time to get a glazier in, they’ll turn to a name they remember – yours.

Customers who discovered your services on social media are very high value after the sale as well. They can, and often will, turn to their accounts to praise, or demonise, your business. Make it easy for them to give a positive review, and that will influence their followers, and yours. With people turning to peer reviews before making their purchasing decisions nowadays, this is the true ROI when it comes to social media – positive feedback and an increased sphere of influence.

If you’d like to hear more about how social media can benefit your business, then email Rory Martin today.

7 Solid Tips to Boost Your SEO from RoryMartin.com

1. Know your starting statistics

When implementing any strategy, it pays to know where you’re starting from, so that you can easily see if rankings and conversions have improved at any point in your SEO journey. This document can be as simple as you like; even a handwritten notebook will let you immediately spot increases (and decreases) in statistics such as conversions and inbound links.

2. Create solid, good quality content

The perceived Holy Grail of content is to create something which goes viral, but as a long-term strategy it’s better to create solid, good quality content on a regular basis, than occasionally put something extraordinary out there, and bulk up your website with mediocre content in between. Like EdgeRank with Facebook, if you put out something less than great, people aren’t going to be that keen to share and promote it, so in between viral episodes, you’re more likely to lose followers and alienate your audience.

3. Keep an eye on what’s topical

What’s trending on Twitter? What are other people in your field talking about? That viral video, does it have any themes which you could work from? While we don’t suggest you hurry something just to piggyback on the current top trending topic, it’s a good idea to see what’s creating a buzz during the week, and see if anything which you do can relate to that. Stay mindful of your long-term plans and company branding though!

4. Cultivate relationships with other sites

This goes hand-in-hand with tip #3. If your link-builder is out there every day, sourcing websites for links, these bloggers and journalists and website owners are going to prefer to link to a site which is consistently putting out good content. Here is a fantastic piece on why many link-building strategies fail: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/why-link-building-strategies-fail

5. Check your road map

Once you implement a new idea, or build that relationship link with a site or person, check your statistics to see what the relationship does for you. Are you finding that your traffic is slowly but surely increasing, but you’re not ranking any higher? Find out what’s causing that, and fix it. Remember that the point of SEO isn’t only to boost your rankings, but also to increase conversions. How are these statistics looking?

6. Don’t hang out in bad neighborhoods

Search engines can easily pick up on linkfarms, and other such sites, and blacklist them. There is almost no security or surety in purchasing links from sites like these, as they could be disregarded by search engines, or even cast a negative light on the sites which they are linking too, as well. Stick to building connections and writing good quality content for yourself.

7. Make your actions clear

Once all of this traffic has arrived at your site, you want to convert visits into customers. Make sure that your site is easily navigable so that your newly interested audience can immediately do what you want them to do on the site. Your social media profiles need to be obvious too, so that these visitors can quickly connect with you, and share what a great job you’re doing of being you!

We at RoryMartin.com hope that these seven tips improve your SEO and rankings. If you’d like more advice contact our experts today for a free estimate.

Five Ways Companies Get Social Media Wrong

  1. Social Media is not the place for the hard sell

It is incredibly common for small businesses to merge Sales with Marketing and spend all their time on Social Media trying to push people to buy, buy, buy. Unfortunately, this hard-sell strategy doesn’t work.  Most social media users don’t scroll through their timelines wondering what they can buy that day – users are looking for entertainment and information.  Provide value and your potential customers will keep coming back to you.

Social media is about building relationships and growing trust. So when your followers are wondering where they want to shop, or who they want to have a business relationship with, your company name crops up first.

  1. Social media isn’t all about self-promotion

People will follow your company because they want to know what your business is doing and when your next event or what your next special offer is, but remember that party where you got stuck with the guy who wouldn’t stop telling you about his speedboat, and never asked any questions?

You may feel like that update that doesn’t have a link to your site or product is a wasted update, but imagine the valuable feedback you could receive from your followers by asking a couple of questions a day about your brand image, latest product, or most recent conference. Thank the responders by name, and you might just have a customer for life!

  1. You don’t have to be on all of the platforms

At RoryMartin.com we keep on top of all the social media platforms in order to best advise our clients, and from our research we can tell you this: some platforms are more appropriate than others for certain businesses. Rather than spread your limited budget over ten social media accounts, pick two or three which already appeal to your target demographic and focus your efforts there.

  1. Don’t try and keep up with the big brands

Just like in tip #3 – as a small to medium-sized business, you have limited resources for marketing or promotions. Huge brands can afford to host big-ticket giveaways to promote their new products or services, but giving away a heap of iPads might be outside of your budget.

Instead, think creatively and work out something relevant to your business – find something that your target market will appreciate and which showcases your company’s particular skills.

  1. Social media isn’t “free” or “additional”

Social media is not something that you can just tack onto regular marketing campaigns, or entrust completely to the new intern. Many companies that treat social media in this way are the first to complain that social media is useless. Social media should be fully incorporated with marketing strategies from the beginning, with an employee whose job description requires that they spend a certain amount of time actioning these strategies. With dedicated time, and money going towards social media strategies, the improvement in ROI should be immediately noticeable.

If you don’t have the manpower to administer your own social media marketing you may consider partnering with a company that specializes in social media strategy – like the team at RoryMartin.com.  With a little time and patience, your business can attack the  social media vertical with success.

Have you noticed any of these pitfalls in your own social media strategy? Do you have any other social media mistakes to add to this list?

Is Your Business Truly Social?

This year, the Harvard Business Review analyzed the backgrounds of the CEOs and Directors of America’s largest companies and discovered that only 9 companies, 2% of the Fortune 500, are ‘highly digital’. It seems as though we all understand that social networking for companies is important, but when it comes to integrating social media into business practises, many companies just don’t go deep enough.

According to The Social Skinny, 65% of the world’s top companies have an active Twitter profile.

So how is it that only 9 of the top companies are rated as ‘highly digital’ by the Harvard Business Review? To qualify as ‘highly digital’ a company must generate a high percentage of revenues digitally; its leadership (both the CEO and the Board) must have deep digital experience; it must do business significantly enabled by digital channels; and must be recognized as transformational in its industry.

Many companies see social networking as an add-on to their marketing department. Something which they know they ought to have, but which they don’t necessarily accord a substantial amount of resources. It’s no surprise then, that many Board members of Fortune 500 companies don’t have a deep digital knowledge, even though this prevents them from becoming a truly social, and highly digital, company.

It’s also true that while many companies will have active Twitter profiles, they may not be using this channel to its best advantage. Without a thorough knowledge of social networking, many companies are just shouting their offers into the ether, with very little engagement or feedback from customers and associates.

So how can you create a truly social business?

You could take the time to read up on social media advances and techniques, and encourage your staff to do the same, then put that knowledge to use on your various platforms. Or you could bring in the professionals. Save your time and energy to focus on your products and services and let RoryMartin.com start building your social networking strategy.

Be Consistent in your Social Media Marketing Strategy

As Seattle-based consultants for social media strategies, one of the most frequently asked questions we receive from clients is “How much time should I spend on social media?” and what usually follows is “How many times a day should I post to Facebook? How many times should I tweet? Am I Pinning too often?” Our response is always the same – stay consistent. Perhaps this doesn’t sound like a straight answer, but consistency in marketing wins out over gimmicks every time.

Creating consistently good blog and website content will bring people back to your site over, and over again. Even if social media didn’t exist, people still have this habit of talking to each other about consistently great articles, videos, questionnaires or giveaways. A giveaway might sound like a flash-in-the-pan strategy, but not if you make it a regular feature every time a new product comes out. Customers will flock back, hoping to win that great new item, every time. Set yourself a schedule and post certain articles and videos regularly each week or month. This encourages your audience to return at certain times, whether prompted to by social media or not.

Handily, social media does exist and brands need to be consistent there too. It’s really no use setting up profiles on all social media platforms and then never updating them, or updating them sporadically. If people choose to follow or Like a brand, they want to know they are going to receive up to date information, regularly. If there are no updates on your Wall for the past three days, they’re going to look elsewhere. For optimum engagement on Facebook, post 2-5 times per day, but what’s more important on social media is frequency of updates. Post, tweets and updates should be spaced out throughout the day and evening (and night, if parts of your audience are in different times zones) so that followers and fans have less cause to feel annoyed and overwhelmed by a sudden influx of updates over the space of an hour (your allotted time that week to ‘do’ social media).

There are plenty of tools available to help businesses and companies to schedule their content and social media updates, or you can arrange a meeting with one of our Seattle social media experts to talk you through a consistent and engaging social media strategy.

What Can Social Media Marketing Do For Your Business?

There are plenty of businesses who jumped on the social media marketing bandwagon, set up accounts on every platform they could name, and then expected followers to appear and sales to skyrocket. When this doesn’t happen, many companies give up on social media, claiming that it “doesn’t work”. And they’re right. Just joining these platforms won’t “work” to make sales, there is so much more to be done before that will happen. It may even be that a company never achieves a direct sale from their social media presence. Why is this? What does social media marketing actually achieve?

The first thing to understand is that regular people don’t use social media as customers. They use it as a way to connect, and as we’ve seen through the Social7 program, they use it to build community. People use Twitter to talk about what they’re thinking, when they’re thinking it, and read their friends thoughts too. They use Twitter to catch up on the latest global news, and to feel a part of a larger conversation. People use Facebook to see what their friends and family have been up to, to share cool, funny links they’ve found, and to upload and view holiday snaps. People don’t tend to head to Twitter or Facebook thinking, ‘I’m going to make a purchase today, let’s see what’s being sold on Twitter and Facebook’.

This is why sales streams don’t “work”; because businesses are using social media the same way they would use a billboard or a banner ad. These methods of advertising tend to have captive audiences – commuters stuck in traffic or sat on trains, blog audiences & website visitors. Social media is all about choosing whose updates you see. When someone agrees to Like or Follow a company which then pushes the hard sell, the Unfollow button is right there, waiting to be pushed.

The key to a business having a presence on social media is to first understand why people are there in the first place – as connectors. People like to share what’s going on in their lives, and they do this on social media. They might @ mention the brand of a great dress they bought, or a new brand of ice-cream they tried, or even where they got their concert flyers printed. Their followers click through the mention, see the brand’s feed, and maybe go to their website. Social media is really about giving current customers the capability to be brand ambassadors. Companies can leverage the networks of their client base in order to gain wider brand exposure, and potential new customers – even without hundreds upon thousands of actual followers. And this is how social media “works” to create sales.

Do you use social media to promote your business? How do most people interact with you on these platforms? Are you thinking of using social media marketing? Get in touch with our Seattle web marketing experts to arrange a consultation today.

 

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