Posts Tagged ‘seattle social networking companies’

Linking Businesses Through Social Media Networking

Have you ever wondered how some small to medium companies never seem to run out of clients, even though you never see them at any networking events? You might be surprised to learn that they do much of their networking from the comfort of their own offices, homes, tablets and smart phones.

Recently, we are seeing more and more often that small to medium companies are scoring new clients and big sponsors through the medium of social media networking. In a time when many businesses are still slow to even jump on a social media platform – or don’t use it once they do – then this information may have many of you shaking your heads. Isn’t social media for listening to customers? For gathering potential customers? Is it possible to make business contacts through social media? The answer to all of these questions is: yes.

Social media platforms are perfect for listening to customers and gathering potential customers, and it is precisely this use which makes it such a great opportunity to reach out to other businesses and potential sponsors, donors and investors. Of course, it’s important to remember that reaching out to potential business contacts, investors, donors and sponsors is no different than reaching out to anyone else. You want to let them know how much you enjoy and value their work, while also providing them with a reason to get in touch with you. At first, this might be a few Tweets which praise a particular ad campaign, or recommend a certain event of theirs. Consistent, but not overwhelming, contact should lead to their notice of you. If your social media audience looks large and engaged, your potential contact will see that your customers and clients trust you. This could be the beginning of a beautiful business relationship…

Have you ever used Twitter, Facebook or another social media platform to find a business contact, sponsor, donor or investor?

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Rory Martin Supports IslandWood Outdoor Learning Center

RoryMartin is pleased to announce our support of nonprofit, IslandWood Outdoor Learning Center on Bainbridge Island, in it’s cause to inspire environmental and community stewardship.  IslandWood’s methods  use technology, scientific inquiry and the arts to inspire Puget Sound-area students and their families to connect with nature and the outdoors.  There are a wide range of programs and community events offered for kids, their families, and individuals alike.

IslandWood came about when, in 1997, over 1000 acres of land were put up for sale on the south end of Bainbridge Island.  Since studies done around that time showed that half of Puget Sound’s students did not receive any overnight, outdoor education programs, local residence Debbi and Paul Brainerd proposed the idea of a children’s outdoor education center, that would offer a School Overnight Program.  IslandWood is a unique way to blend technology and nature, offering hands-on learning to Puget Sounders of all ages.

The School Overnight Programs have been a success, allowing 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to do things like listen for owls in the night, and study 150 year old trees from the top down.   In addition, IslandWood partners with the University of Washington to provide Graduate Programs that work towards building a community of knowledgeable and committed educators through experiential and multicultural education.

To help IslandWood reach its of connecting families with the ecosystem they live in, RoryMartin.com has donated to this unique experience.  “We’re really excited to be able to help IslandWood continue their nature conservancy programs.  We believe these programs will help families gain a better understanding of the natural beauty the Puget Sound has to offer and will help us become more conscious about saving our environment,” says owner, Rory Martin.  To donate to the IslandWood programs, click here.

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?

 

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.

Dos and Don’ts of Social Networking

For a good social media strategy, there’s no make-or-break way to be truly successful.  However, being successful at this type of social networking requires a little finesse (and a lot of patience).  We’ve got some tips for both companies who are just finding their niche, and established businesses who want to see more ROI from their networking efforts.

Do Give Your Brand a Personality

People, especially on social media, like to connect with people. Come up with a persona for your business, and stick with it. Followers and friends then know what to expect from your feed, and feel more like their connecting with some*one* rather than some*thing*.

The bonus is that having a personality – and a personable networking account – builds trust and authenticity.  Trust and authenticity are 2 of the cornerstones of any great social campaign.

Don’t Go Straight For the Hard Sell

Would you ever start a conversation at a networking event with “Hi, have you bought our product yet?” No? Then don’t do it online either. People like to be introduced to a company on social media networking sites before they trust or value them enough to connect.

This also draws us towards our next point – users don’t respond as well to self-promotional talk, as they do to conversation.

Do Start Conversations

You want more information about your client base; people love to talk about themselves. Ask a few questions about contentious, but relevant, topics, and soon you’ll have a full-scale debate on your feed. As a bonus: people will feel more warmly towards your brand, because you actually care what they think.

This is also a great time to show off your customer service skills by engaging and responding in a professional, friendly, and timely way.

Don’t Be Boring

Have you ever been stuck at a cocktail party with the self-absorbed bore who won’t stop going on about their own personal woes? It’s not fun for anyone. Provide value with your feed – link to interesting, informative and relevant content which your followers will value – and even share!

Don’t Use a ‘Comedy’ Photo

While it might be tempting to portray your company’s sense of fun with a photo of Dave in a cardboard crown, remember that people want to believe that you are capable of handling their complaints, inquiries and orders in a professional manner. Unless you are an actual clown, just the company logo or a serious head and shoulders shot will do.

Of course, being too stern in photos can also have repercussions.  You want to seem approachable, as well as professional.

Do Have Fun

People turn to social media to enjoy themselves, so go ahead and link to that skateboard otter story for a little light relief. Extra points if you can find something life-affirming or giggle-worthy which is relevant to your marketing pitch.

Still not sure how to make friends and influence people using social networking sites? Get in touch with our Seattle social networking experts today, to improve your business connections.

How to Opt Out of Facebook’s Email Program

Logging into our Facebook this morning, we realized our email address had been changed to the new Facebook default address – an email@facebook.com account.  We realize that many FB users probably don’t utilize Facebook’s messaging system.  This is especially true, since as one Forbes writer put it: “social network’s screwy messaging system … auto-sorts your email for you, putting emails from ‘strangers’ in a shadow inbox that’s easy to miss.”

Whether you opted for an @facebook.com email address or not, you now have an email address with Facebook. Facebook has stated that they’ve done this to make their branding (including email addresses) consistent sitewide.  Don’t fret, though – it’s easy to opt out.  They’ve also added a setting that lets people decide which addresses they want to show on their timelines.

How to Opt Out of Facebook’s email addresses.

Go to your Timeline and click “about”, under your contact info. Scroll down to “Contact Info” and hit edit. For the email addresses you want visible, switch the crossed out circle symbols to a full circle. For the email addreses you DON’T want shown, including the @facebook.com address, switch the setting from a full circle (“Shown on Timeline”) to the crossed out circle (“Hidden from Timeline”).  Click save, and you’re ready to go!

As Gizmodo notes, “This is also a good opportunity to check your privacy settings and make sure your various inboxes are visible only to friendlies.”

What do you think about this change?  Was it necessary?  Do you wish Facebook had left your email alone?  Tell us below, in the comments.

Twitter and Facebook Build Customer Loyalty

Twitter Image courtesy of Mashable.comAs a company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing, the RoryMartin.com team likes to keep you informed about new studies regarding social media.  A recent study, generated by Chadwick Martin Bailey, states that Twitter users who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to buy from and recommend that brand.  The group also produced a previous study correlating Facebook users’ purchases with the brands they “like” on Facebook.

This is good news for businesses who are using social media networks to improve their marketing efforts, especially because Twitter and Facebook  users are some of the most frequent internet users in general.  The study showed just how Twitter users were interacting with brands, reporting that 84% of Twitter users who follow brands do actually read brand tweets, making Twitter an effective form of presenting your company and products.  Even better, approximately 1/4 of users who follow brands on Twitter do tweet about the brand.  1 out of every 4 users in your Twitter audience are likely to be talking about your brand right now.

Twitter is proving itself a very useful forum for customer loyalty.  It’s important to know your audience and to make sure you’re tweeting authentic content, though.  67% of users expect unique content from the brands they follow.  In the decision to follow brands on Twitter, customers cite exclusivity and promotions as some of the top reasons they follow brands. Here are the top five reasons users follow brands:

  • 64%: I am a customer of the company
  • 61%: To be the first to know information about the brand
  • 48%: To receive discounts and promotions
  • 36%: To gain access to exclusive content
  • 28%: To receive content/information to retweet and share with others

If your business is not using Twitter right now, you are missing out on a very valuable marketing method.  The report shows that businesses shoud be tweeting to their customers as a means of building brand loyalty.  Don’t know where to start?  At RoryMartin.com, we help businesses customize their social media marketing plans, provide customized facebook pages, overall website overhauls, web design, and perfectly timed tweets.

We can help you build a Social Media Strategy that reflects your unique brand and meets your business goals. From a one-time site analysis to full search engine optimization strategy and execution, RoryMartin.com makes social media simple.

Why Should I Customize my Facebook Business Page?

With the popularity of Facebook fan pages and the releases of new timelines, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to implement a customized Facebook page for your business. Since the new Facebook Timeline feature shows your posts to your fans and your fans friends, in a ticker at the top right-hand side of the page. Your posts now reach a much wider audience – and you need to stand out from the crowd.

Offering interesting updates with a well-designed Facebook Page is often the deciding factor in whether or not your fans will choose to interact or share your page with their friends. Building interaction with your fans is an important factor – you need to have relevant information that isn’t always self-promotional.  However, we like to stress the importance of having a well designed Facebook page, that offers incentives for prospective fans to click “like”.

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Do you "like" the RoryMartin.com reveal tab?

Consider this: The first thing users see is your business’s wall – and while that may have relevant information, it may lack the branding your company needs to make an impact.  We’re finding that businesses are increasingly aware of the visual impact their Facebook page has, and trends point to the increased use of “splash pages” or reveal tabs for facebook pages.  It’s the equivalent of having an active ad built directly into your page that’s clickable.  You can set these Facebook reveal tabs to be clickabe so that users can click to like, which would reveal discounts, for example.

When it comes to the internet, looks are everything.  The design is as important as the implementation.  Having a well-designed landing tab will help you stand out from the crowd.  Keep it simple, and neat.  Don’t go overboard with apps.  Be consistent with your branding, and display different pages for fans and non-fans.  You can even engage your current fans to take another action via links or reveal tabs.  RoryMartin.com builds these welcome tabs and customizes facebook pages for a variety of clients.

And while you’re customizing your Facebook fanpage, it’s a good idea to consider implementing a custom URL.  If you have 25 or more fans, implementing a custom URL on your facebook page will increase your search engine rankings and will be easier to promote.  Consider your custom URL another step towards branding your business.

Here are a few simple ideas for implementing customizations on your Facebook Page

  • Display the services or products you offer
    • Be sure to include a specific call to action, along with a link so your fans can actively participate
  • Host a contest
  • Make sure to post about your blog, and share your blog posts with fans
  • Let people know who you are and what you’re about
    • If you do any charity work or special events, make sure to share those
  • Give fans a reason to like your page by using reveal tabs, or by letting users know what to look forward to
    • For your fans, let them know how they can contribute
  • Share your twitter posts

Now, more than ever, it’s increasingly important to make sure your social network business profiles are integrated into your marketing and branding.  If you’re not sure how to implement social media into your marketing strategy, come see us at www.rorymartin.com.

Forbes: 10 Social Media Mistakes

We found an article on Forbes this morning listing 10 social media mistakes businesses commonly make.  They range from not addressing negative feedback, to skimping on social media time, to not measuring your return on investment.  Forbes tells you what to do, and at RoryMartin.com, we tell you how to do it:

Mistake No. 1: Not Having a Plan

Sit down with your marketing guru and map out where you want to be with your social media campaign and what you want it to do for you.  Be realistic about what you can achieve in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years.  Figure out how you’re going to do it and who’s going to administrate your accounts.  Map out your monthly social media calendar and estimate how much time you need to spend on each piece of the puzzle.  Great planning produces great results.

At RoryMartin, we create customized social media calendars for each of our clients, making sure we match our marketing recommendations with your marketing plan.

Mistake No. 2: Too Much Too Soon

You don’t have to do everything all at once.   Your plan (above) should work in waves.  That way, you have ample time to put into each step of your plan and nothing is missed.  If you follow your social media calendar you should avoid that overwhelmed feeling of trying to do it all.  Keep it simple, and only build when you’re ready to take on a new challenge.

If you don’t have the time to keep up with your social media accounts, consider hiring a company like RoryMartin.com, a search engine optimization, web design and web development, social networking, and social media marketing firm.

Mistake No. 3: Not Measuring Your Success and Return on Investment

You need to know if what you’re doing is producing results, right?  Get Google Analytics and become familiar with that tool.  Check out Google Webmaster tools (and yes, the two are very different).  Create Google alerts, email alerts and Twitter alerts to find out when, where and how your company is being talked about.  Analyze which avenues work the best and build on them, which will help you cut out the unnecessary steps in your social media plan.

RoryMartin.com specializes in helping businesses create social media strategies with the analytics and reports that help you see the effects of a good social media strategy.

Mistake No. 4: Underutilizing Social Platforms for Branding

Make sure you fill out every available field you can on those social media accounts.  It’s like talking about your company or touting your elevator pitch.  The more complete your profiles are, the more accessible your business becomes and the more transparency and brand value those sites have.  Won an award?  Manta asks for those kind of stats, and that can be the reference your brand needs to pick up that high profile account.  Got a blog that offers industry insights?  Put that into your LinkedIn profile, to make sure other professionals in your industry know about your blog and have the chance to stay up to date.  Make sure your Twitter account is linked to that blog, and to your LinkedIn, and to your Facebook.  Leave no stone unturned.

Mistake No. 5: Promoting Without Listening or Engaging

We’ve talked about social media engagement, here on the RoryMartin blog.  Social media is a communicative tool.  As with any form of communication the best thing you can do is listen. Listen to your audience, your competitors, and people you want to work with. Listen, or look for conversations that you want to be a part of. Listen to, and watch social media influencers and keep track of ways that you can contribute to become an authority.

Be a part of the conversation – the HUMAN conversation. Creating relationships in the social media world is important to creating trust between your brand and the world. Develop a deeply human relationship with your audience, and your audience will reward that relationship.

Figure out why your customers would want to befriend you in their social media networks.  They want to know “what’s in it for me?”  And you need to be able to answer that question.   At RoryMartin.com, we can help you answer these questions and show you how to engage your social media customers.

Mistake No. 6: Not Addressing Negative Comments or Feedback

Instead of responding with ire, or just ignoring this conversation completely, ask those negative commenters what you can do to “make better”.  Customer service is all about finding better ways to communicate and better serve your customers.  Look at those avenues of social media as creative ways to give better customer service.  Start a dialogue with your unhappy customers, and they’ll be a lot less unhappy.

Mistake No. 7: Not Claiming Existing Profiles

Your business is most likely listed in several places you didn’t know about.  And the info on those sites may be old, outdated, incorrect or incomplete.  The strategy here is to search for your company, across the web, to find out where you are listed and what needs to be updated.  After you’ve made a list, go through and systematically update your profiles to reflect your website, your address, your contact info and interlink your profiles – adding things like your Twitter account and Facebook page.

Mistake No. 8: Skimping on Time

Let’s face it:  Social media is a time investment.  It can take months for your social media efforts to pay off, and patience is key.  That’s why tip  #2 is so important.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and know that you’re going to have to block out chunks of time to monitor and engage in your social media efforts.  If you don’t have the time, hire a professional who knows the ins and outs of social media engagement, or look for a Social Media Marketing company like RoryMartin.com who can help you build and implement your social media strategy – so that you have more time to run your business.

Mistake No. 9: Lacking Passion

If there’s one thing we have here at RoryMartin.com, it’s passion for social media.  Without the passion, your social media efforts may fall flat – you know your brand and as a business owner, you more than likely love what you’re doing.  Try to channel that into your social media efforts, since social media is an extension of the way you promote what you love.  If you just can’t get jazzed about interacting on the social web, consider hiring social media professionals who have the passion and knowledge to be the voice of your brand.

Mistake No. 10: Not Knowing When Social Media Isn’t Right for Your Business

81% of entrepreneurs still don’t take advantage of social sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and 40% small and medium-businesses don’t even have a Web site.  That said, internet users spend approximately 22% of their Internet time in social media, making social media a priority for any company that wants to be visible.  Think about your target market and your audience.  Who are they and where do they spend their time.  Maybe social media isn’t right for your business, but how will you know unless you try it?

At RoryMartin.com, we’re focused on finding the right social networking and social marketing options that are right for you.  We do the work so you don’t have to, bringing social tools to every business, and making social media simple.

The World, in Social Networks

We found a cool infographic from Vincenzo Cosenza’s blog (Vincos.it) showing the world in Social Networks.  Vincenzo says,

Facebook is slowing gaining users around the world (almost 700 millions) establishing its leadership in 119 out of 134 countries analyzed (in this edition I’ve added Ethiopia and Tanzania).

Europe has now became the largest continent on Facebook with 205 million users…

It’s interesting to look at how these numbers have changed this year.

World Map of Social Networks

Facebook is by far the social network winner here, so we encourage our clients to make sure they have a solid presence on Facebook and are actively engaging their customers.   Need to know what goes into your Facebook strategy?  In this article we tell you how to make an impact on Facebook.

RoryMartin.com is that secret weapon that will revolutionize the way you engage with your clients and end-users. We offer a comprehensive set of services from website design and web development to search engine optimizationsearch engine marketing and social media marketing for companies large and small.

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