Social Media

16 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Social Media Marketing

THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Today we don’t have a choice whether we use Social Media for our business or not, the question is how well we do it.

The technology around us is evolving at an exponential rate. At no point in human history have we had the capability as both organisations and individuals to reach, engage and connect with so many people, locally, globally and in real time.

Social Media has completely transformed modern marketing, making it more critical than ever for businesses and organisations both large and small to have a voice within the online sphere. Fortunately, it has never been easier to get your organisation online and reaping the benefits. Social media has already proven its value to small, medium & large businesses and it is established that Social media is here to stay.

Social Media Marketing increases brand awareness. A company’s social media presence, when done correctly, tells consumers that their brand is active and focused on thriving communication with consumers.

16 REASONS WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow your brand. Some people still dig in their heels and say, what is social media marketing going to do for me? Do I really need it? Yes you do — and here are some of the most compelling reasons why:

THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR WEB TRAFFIC
  • [1] Social media posts can be used to drive targeted traffic. Creating a new page on your site is like taking a really great selfie. You want the world to see it and bask in its brilliance, but you don’t want to beg for attention (or worse, pay for it). That’s why for selfies and landing pages, well-placed social media posts can make all the difference. We’ve seen a single link on Reddit drive over 20,000 visitors in one weekend and links submitted to StumbleUpon can take a page that was consistently earning a handful of visitors a day and increase that number to hundreds. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on that?
  • [2] Using social media for business boosts your site’s SEO. Search engine crawlers know which pages are consistently earning traffic and which are just floating out there, forgotten and ignored. A killer content strategy for SEO is the most important part of earning top spots in search engine rankings, but driving traffic to your optimized pages will cause them to climb much faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Social Media is THE BEST Tool to Connect with (and Learn from!) Consumers.
  • [3] If you’re doing it right, social media will lead to real relationship building. Part of what makes things like Twitter and Instagram marketing so cool is the interaction you get to have with your customer base — you can read their tweets and status updates to get insights into their daily lives (and maybe adjust your marketing strategy as a result). What products are they buying and why? What are they doing on the weekend? What kind of posts do they love to share, and from what websites?
  • [4] Users are receptive to your messages. People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say. This translates to serious web traffic when you link to your site and posts that market themselves as your friends and followers share what you’ve posted.
  • [5] Social media ads allow targeting and re-targeting. One of the reasons social media is important is because of the highly customizable nature of social media ads. Facebook ads, for example, allow you to target users by things like location, education level, industry and even purchase history and the pages they’ve liked. You also have to the option to install a Facebook pixel on your site and use it to re-target the users who visit you — these people are far more likely to convert into solid leads and sales!
  • [6] Social media can help you get noticed at events, and even generate earned media coverage. Whether your business is sponsoring a charity fundraiser or attending a major trade show, there’s no better way to leverage your presence than with the help of social media.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR BRAND IMAGE
  • [7] You can respond to problems immediately. If there’s a problem with your product or service, you want to know about it right away. With the feedback you get in the process of social media marketing, you’ll be the first to know when there are issues – and you can take steps to resolve them right away. Study after study has shown that consumers appreciate companies that respond to customer complaints (and don’t hesitate to rant online to anyone who will listen when companies don’t take the time to make things right).
  • [8] A strong social media presence builds brand loyalty. A report published by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers. It’s easy to imagine why: when you’re engaging and interacting on social media (not just tossing your posts out onto the web hoping someone will stumble upon them) you become less like a corporation and more like what you truly are — a unified group of people who share a vision.
  • [9] Your competition is getting social, so you should too. This isn’t something you want to fall behind the competition on, because it’s much harder (and more expensive) to play catch up than it is to get in on the game early. If your competitors get to your potential customers first, they’ll earn their loyalty and you’ll have a hard time winning them over. If you’re active and engaging on a variety of networks, you can gain those friends and followers first and your competition will be playing catch up instead of the other way around.
  • [10] The social media marketing arena is a (fairly) level playing field. Some brands may have bigger ad budgets than others, but all companies start off on pretty equal footing when it comes to social media marketing. The people and brands who thrive and go viral in are those with the most clever, attention grabbing tactics (and the most ridiculous gifs) and the most useful, link worthy content. In short, they’re providing value to their target audience while also showing personality and being entertaining. If you want to get lots of traffic and really increase your sales online, you’re going to have to outwit, outnetwork and outwrite your competition while offering superior products and customer service. Isn’t that what business is all about, anyway?
  • [11] When it comes to newsjacking, social media is king. Sometimes your brand is mentioned on a cable TV show. Sometimes it’s not, but you know just how to slide your product into the story to aim the spotlight in your direction. Facebook, Twitter and even Reddit marketing give you a front row seat to the news that’s becoming viral right as it’s happening. Jump in at just the right time and you’ll earn some major media attention — and that’s something you just can’t do with a traditional ad campaign.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR SALES AND ROI
  • [12] Social media marketing will get you more sales. Did you know that 70% of business-to-consumer marketers have acquired customers through Facebook? Or that 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions? Not surprisingly, when you stay in front of your customer base, they’re more likely to buy from you when they need the products you sell. Social media marketing doesn’t just keep your company’s name in front of potential buyers, but it also gives you the opportunity to constantly give them incentives to buy. Try sharing coupon codes, with a unique code for each social channel – you may be surprised at which social network drives the most sales.
  • [13] You’ll find customers you didn’t know existed. If you set up streams to follow keywords in Twitter, you can find people who are looking for the products you sell and direct them to your site. Using Twitter for marketing is great that way – telling people who want your products how to get them from your company is just an @ away.
  • [14] Customers you didn’t know existed will find (and buy from) you. In the process of marketing with Facebook, you’ll probably join a ton of groups related to your products, industry and customer base. By posting links in these groups, you’ll help influence customers to check out your site. Answering questions on Quora is another option. Post a link today, and two weeks/months/years later you might see a sale from it.
YOU CAN’T BEAT THE PRICE (OR ROI) OF SOCIAL MEDIA
  • [15] You heard that right — it’s free. How can you argue with that? If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets. If you hire a social media management or online PR agency (like us), it will cost around $1,250 to $7,000 per month, but it’ll be an investment that you’ll be likely to see a return on. If you’re intimidated by interacting with people online or your writing skills leave something to be desired, hiring an online PR agency is definitely the way to go. Posting poorly written content or conveying the wrong kind of messages on social networking sites can seriously affect your digital PR presence.
  • [16] The ROI on social media ads is unbeatable. The average cost per click on Google Adwords is between $1 and $2 and depending on the keyword targeted, you can end up paying $50 or more for a single click. Through targeted boosted post, we’ve been able to send traffic via Facebook and Pinterest for as little as $0.12 per click. Why pay ten or twenty times as much for each visit when social media ads make earning that traffic quick and easy?

Simply put, social media marketing is part of doing business in the new millennium. If your business isn’t already active on social networking sites, now is the time to start.

CONCLUSION

Why is social media important to businesses? Because your brand doesn’t really exist online if you’re not represented across all social channels – and regularly interacting with your followers, journalists who cover your industry, thought leaders and taste makers, etc.

Here’s one very important reason you may not have considered — it’s fun! Hosting a Twitter chat to celebrate a new product launch, getting your geek on while you A/B test Facebook ads, or sharing pop-culture polls for your followers to weigh in on — these are all activities that build brand awareness, boost web traffic and lead to loyal customers. But unlike many traditional marketing tactics with the same goals, these tasks are actually fun in addition to driving real value for your company.

Social Media Channels that are Best for Business Marketing

Social media has been the game changer in almost everything that surrounds us. With the birth of social platforms, custom targeting of prospective customers is easier than ever. One of the greatest innovations of technology is social media, not just in our ability to communicate but in our ability to market directly to those we want to reach.

One of the best features social media marketing has for businesses today is its low barrier to entry. Gone are the days where a business is required to spend thousands of dollars on advertising to reach its prospect. You can now reach your audience spending as little as five dollars per week!

But which platforms are the best for businesses to use? In order to create a successful social strategy, you have to be familiar with how they work. We’ve provided a list of platforms for marketing business and acquiring new clients.

1. Facebook

With more than 1.59 billion users, Facebook comprises of the largest blend of demographics of any social platform. It provides an extraordinary medium for your business to connect with your prospective customers all around the world. And from an advertising perspective, it’s the easiest to manage and allows for the best possible targeting.

2. Twitter

Twitter’s value lies in its ability for your posts to go viral: the more people share your posts and “re-tweet” your content, the more followers you will attain. You can post recent news, updates and articles. Hashtags make a big difference in building momentum for your posts, so pay attention to what is trending today and include relevant hashtags. You can also re-tweet people who have many followers to increase the likelihood of them following us back.

3. LinkedIn

If you are working in a B2B field, this is the social media network for you to focus on. Connecting with business professionals in any industry is easiest with LinkedIn as it allows you to target them by industry, job title, etc. As with all social media, LinkedIn prioritizes relationship building more than any other. Don’t lead with a sales pitch; start by building a connection. One of the best features for businesses are LinkedIn Groups. Businesses should establish Groups in your target niche or industry and invite others in your target market to join.

4. Instagram

This popular photo-sharing platform can be used at events and trade-shows. Whenever you’re hosting events, you can always offer an incentive for the attendees to post photos to Instagram using event hashtag.

5. Pinterest

Only use this channel if you have great images to share. Quality images are likely to go viral on this site due to its visual nature. If your image is pinned by a highly-followed member, it has the potential to be viewed by millions. It’s also great for promoting products.

6. YouTube

Aside from being the second largest search engine, YouTube is owned by Google. So when it comes to search engine optimization, videos are more likely to appear in search results than other websites.

7. Yelp

Yelp is critical for businesses today. If you don’t have an active strategy to build reviews on Yelp, your customers may do it for you soon enough. All it takes is one poor review to harm your abilities to build your social platform. Asking your customers to review your business on Yelp prevents any negative review from standing out.

It’s up to you which among these platforms will likely be a marketing paradise for your business. Just remember that it is not just the social media site that you have to check, but the compatibility it has for your business.

9 Advanced Twitter Tips and Tricks

Here are 9 things you should be doing to up your Twitter game.

1. Follow the leads. Twitter isn’t just about your tweets; it’s also a great source for information on your competition. Monitor their engagement, find out what the hot topics are. This will give you fresh insight on how to broaden your own following and what those people are looking for. It may even show you what your competition is doing better than you. With a little tweet tweaking, you may be able to get those followers to convert to your own company.

2. Save the sales pitch. Don’t get caught up in using Twitter as a selling tool. Instead, use it to increase customer loyalty and offer valuable information to your followers. Overmarketing will merely leave a sour taste in followers’ mouths, and you may even end up losing them if their feed gets too clogged with too many promotions. Be viewed as a resource, not a door to door salesperson.

3. Keep it short. Posting links and content is a great thing, but Twitter users are all about brevity, so be sure to shorten your links may be by using a redirect service. Twitter will also automatically shorten your links using their built in T.CO shortner.

4. Reply with a period. Twitter filters allow users to only view replies if they are following each side of the conversation. But by starting off your reply with a period, the post won’t start with @–it will instead be viewed as a separate tweet and will be seen by all of your followers. Breaking grammar rules never felt so good.

5. Lose a few characters. Yes, 140 characters is the technical limit on Twitter, but all the cool kids are now only tweeting with 125 or less. Short, punchy tweets will grab your followers’ attention rather than getting lost in their feeds. The more characters left, the easier it is for people to retweet and add their own comment as well.

6. Ask Questions. People want to feel like you value their opinion and asking questions, even simple ones, tend to receive more engagement.

7. Be a resource. Providing value and being seen as a resource is a sure way to build a quality follow and to get retweeted. In a sea of nonsense and worthless tweets, if you’re the one sharing quality, interesting content; you’ll stand out. If you spend all of your time sharing what you ate or drank, you very well could lose followers.

8. A picture’s worth a thousand tweets. I can’t stress enough how important pictures are in any social media platform, and Twitter is no exception. Twitter now displays images in timelines, and if you’re not taking advantage of this you’re missing out. An image attached to any tweet is sure to increase visibility and engagement.

9. Don’t be too good for people. No matter how well known you are, or how busy you are don’t be that person who thinks they are too good to reply to anyone. I’m typically slammed, but I still take time every day to answer each and every person (that I see) who tweets me, thanks me, says they are reading my book etc. I believe in building your fans and brand champions one engagement at a time. It’s amazing how one quick conversation or reply can make someone feel appreciated and turn them into a brand champion or personal fan.

10 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing

To some entrepreneurs, social media marketing is the “next big thing,” a temporary yet powerful fad that must be taken advantage of while it’s still in the spotlight. To others, it’s a buzzword with no practical advantages and a steep, complicated learning curve.

Because it appeared quickly, social media has developed a reputation by some for being a passing marketing interest, and therefore, an unprofitable one. The statistics, however, illustrate a different picture. According to Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use.

This demonstrates a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but a lack of understanding on how to achieve those results. Here’s a look at just some of the ways social media marketing can improve your business:

1. Increased Brand Recognition. Every opportunity you have to syndicate your content and increase your visibility is valuable. Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognizable for existing customers. For example, a frequent Twitter user could hear about your company for the first time only after stumbling upon it in a newsfeed. Or, an otherwise apathetic customer might become better acquainted with your brand after seeing your presence on multiple networks.

2. Improved brand loyalty. According to a report published by Texas Tech University, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers. The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study published by Convince&Convert found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands.

3. More Opportunities to Convert. Every post you make on a social media platform is an opportunity for customers to convert. When you build a following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Every blog post, image, video, or comment you share is a chance for someone to react, and every reaction could lead to a site visit, and eventually a conversion. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click-through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant. And as I pointed out in my article, “The Four Elements of Any Action, And How To Use Them In Your Online Marketing Initiative,” “opportunity” is the first element of any action.

4. Higher conversion rates. Social media marketing results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways. Perhaps the most significant is its humanization element; the fact that brands become more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies.

Additionally, studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing, and a higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust and credibility in your brand, representing social proof. As such, simply building your audience in social media can improve conversion rates on your existing traffic.

5. Higher Brand Authority. Interacting with your customers regularly is a show of good faith for other customers. When people go to compliment or brag about a product or service, they turn to social media. And when they post your brand name, new audience members will want to follow you for updates. The more people that are talking about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your brand will seem to new users. Not to mention, if you can interact with major influencers on Twitter or other social networks, your visible authority and reach will skyrocket.

6. Increased Inbound Traffic. Without social media, your inbound traffic is limited to people already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for keywords you currently rank for. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate, and more traffic means more leads and more conversions.

7. Decreased Marketing Costs. According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic. Six hours is not a significant investment for a channel as large as social media. If you can lend just one hour a day to developing your content and syndication strategy, you could start seeing the results of your efforts. Even paid advertising through Facebook and Twitter is relatively cheap (depending on your goals, of course). Start small and you’ll never have to worry about going over budget—once you get a better feel for what to expect, you can increase your budget and increase your conversions correspondingly.

8. Better Search Engine Rankings. SEO is the best way to capture relevant traffic from search engines, but the requirements for success are always changing. It’s no longer enough to regularly update your blog, ensure optimized title tags and meta descriptions, and distribute links pointing back to your site. Google and other search engines may be calculating their rankings using social media presence as a significant factor, because of the fact that strong brands almost always use social media. As such, being active on social media could act as a “brand signal” to search engines that your brand is legitimate, credible, and trustworthy. That means, if you want to rank for a given set of keywords, having a strong social media presence could be almost mandatory.

9. Richer Customer Experiences. Social media, at its core, is a communication channel like email or phone calls. Every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate your customer service level and enrich your relationship with your customers. For example, if a customer complains about your product on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologize publicly, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend additional products. It’s a personal experience that lets customers know you care about them.

10. Improved Customer Insights. Social media also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your customers are interested in and how they behave, via social listening. For example, you can monitor user comments to see what people think of your business directly. You can segment your content syndication lists based on topic and see which types of content generate the most interest—and then produce more of that type of content. You can measure conversions based on different promotions posted on various social media channels and eventually find a perfect combination to generate revenue.

These are the benefits of sustaining a long-term social media campaign, but if you’re still apprehensive about getting started, consider these points:

Your Competition Is Already Involved. Your competitors are already involved on social media, which means your potential social media traffic and conversions are being poached. Don’t let your competitors reap all the benefits while you stand idly by. If, somehow, your competition is not involved on social media, there’s even more of a reason to get started—the field is open.

The Sooner You Start, the Sooner You Reap the Benefits. Social media is all about relationship building, and it tends to grow exponentially as your followers tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends, and so on. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to start growing that audience.

Potential Losses Are Insignificant. Realistically, you don’t have anything to lose by getting involved in social media. The amount of time and money it takes to create your profiles and start posting is usually minimal, compared to other marketing channels. Just six hours a week or a few hundred dollars is all it takes to establish your presence.

Conclusion : The longer you wait, the more you have to lose. Social media marketing, when done right, can lead to more customers, more traffic, and more conversions, and it’s here to stay.

Choosing the Right Blogging Platform for You

Are you looking to start a blog or get back into blogging? Perhaps you’re getting bored of the platform you’re currently using, but you’re scared to deviate from what you know. Not to worry – our guide focuses on some of the top blogging platforms on the web – we’ll do the grunt work for you. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read.

WordPress

Hands down, the heaviest hitter on the market is WordPress. There are two versions available WordPress.com and WordPress.org, both of which have different features. WordPress.com is basically a cookie-cutter blog that users can create. The pros are that you can start a blog in no time and WordPress will host it for you, along with spam protection, automatic updates and backup, security, and a great selection of plugins. In terms of design, you won’t be able to make many design changes, but there are a lot themes you can choose from. Which brings us to the cons – obviously lack of design freedom as mentioned. Plus, since there are so many users, your domain name will be something like “yourfifthdomainchoice.WordPress.com”; however, you can pay extra to get rid of the “.WordPress.com” suffix. Other limitations include a strict upload limit on pictures and you will have to pay extra to upload video directly (you can embed video, though). With all this being said, WordPress.com is still a great option for the blogger just looking to get started.

WordPress.org is for those looking for more customization out of their blogging platform. You can upload your own themes, install your own plugins (or choose from their 19,000+). While the application is free to download, you will have to find a host for your site. Backups and maintenance are other aspects of your blog you will need to do yourself. Basically, hosting a blog on WordPress.org is similar to hosting your own website. While .org is free, there can be some trickiness and if you’re inexperienced you might be on the help forums for a long time before you’re up and running.

Tumblr

Bought out by Yahoo! for over a billion dollars, Tumblr is a media-focused blogging site with a very strong following. The design and layout is different from WordPress; users post their own content, usually in the form of a photo or video with a caption, as well as like other content from other tumblrs and share or reblog them on their own page. Themes are easy to install and there are many free ones, as well as themes you can purchase. Finding content on tumblr is very much the same as Twitter as it also uses hashtags (#). To be a tumblr you simply have to find something you like, and post about it – it’s that simple.

Blogger

Blogger is a Google-based blogging platform which requires you to have a Google account to get started – that’s it. The platform is easy to use and simplistic; layouts can be arranged, rearranged and applied at the click of a button. The Advanced design features enable users to change the fonts, backgrounds, columns, size of columns and more, but the layout can look a bit old-fashioned compared to other blogging platforms. Bloggers will have two options when hosting their blog – automatically hosting the blog on Google’s Blogspot, or users can move the blog to a custom domain, removing the “.blogspot.com” suffix. Google no longer offers the option of purchasing the URL, so you will need to purchase a custom domain from a domain registrar first if you wish to choose this option.

Typepad

An old veteran, Typepad has been around since the beginning. While you will need to pay for an account, there are some great features like unlimited storage, customer service, and a great design set. The main draw to Typepad is that it’s easy to set up. In order to get the most out of Typepad, however, you will want to invest in the “Unlimited” package as it jumps the monthly uploads from 150MB per month to 1000MB per month and increases the number of blogs you can post from 4 to unlimited. The “Premium” account includes everything the “Unlimited” account does except doubles your monthly upload limit and includes priority support, but it comes at a cost of double the price. For $30/month you might want to find a hosting provider that may give you more freedom.

Medium

For those looking to focus more on writing and less on fancy design, Medium, created by the same guys who created Twitter and Blogger, is a great place to start. The easy to use interface and simplistic layout allows bloggers to make words the main focus. Recently they have added the function to embed various types of media like tweets, YouTube and Video clips, vines, and more. They use Embedly as the embedding service which supports most media types. In terms of feedback on your posts, there isn’t the traditional “comments” section at the end of the post. Instead, users have the ability to comment on each paragraph by using “notes”. The idea behind this is that everyone can share ideas and collaborate on a blog – the author always gets creative control on what is seen, though. The community isn’t open directly to the public yet, but they appear to be sending invites to those who follow and tweet them.

While this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, it is meant to give you a bit of a taste of the big platforms out there, as well as a hint of the newer trends hitting the scene. Blogging is about getting your voice heard, and all of these platforms provide an outlet for that. The key is to find your platform, pick something you’re passionate about, and start writing.