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Top 4 Tips to Connect with Your Audience on Social Media

If you are only focusing on business in your social media posts, you’re doing it wrong. The reason it’s called social media is to socialize. If you are at a dinner party, you wouldn’t talk only about work, you share funny stories, jokes, and personal experiences. You might talk to someone about how you know the host, about the food that is being served, or learn something about the people you are talking to. Social media content is not much different than this.

Here are 4 ways to make better connections with your audience on social media:

1)  Cultivate Relationships

Instead of giving a hard sell to your followers all the time, it is essential to create goodwill with them.  Posting things that people can relate to or find humorous is a good way to cultivate these relationships. This creates a sense of personality and makes your online presence appear less robotic.  For example, Miller Lite posted this funny internet meme on their Facebook page.  It’s culturally relevant, funny, and mostly likely would appeal to their target demographic.

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2)  Integrate Relevant Events

Find ways to integrate relevant events into your brand posts. For example, Tide used The Dress Debate to tie in their product to this wildly popular controversy. It’s current, lighthearted, and easy to relate to, which also helps cultivate relationships with your followers. This post ended up having almost 2000 shares, 16,800 likes and almost 800 comments. I’d say they nailed it.

Tide Facebook Image

3)  Create Calls-To-Action

Creating a call-to-action allows your followers to interact with your brand, for example liking a post or sharing a photo. This in turn will enhance your business goals of either purchase or lead generation. Pampers campaign of #PampersFirsts encourages their followers to post photos of their baby’s firsts, from the first time they smiled or had solid food or spoke their first word.

Pampers Tweets

4)  Curated Content

Social Media Examiner proposes that sharing curated content that is relevant to your product or brand will also create goodwill. It shows that the business is not all about them all the time.

Chobani’s Pinterest account is an excellent example of this. Kierra Stein says, “A yogurt brand associated with health living, Chobani caters to its audience with tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They use their Pinterest account to share recipes, workouts, inspirational quotes, ideas for setting up your kitchen and more; and most of these are repins or pins from other sites.”

Chobani Pinterest

 

 

The business side of your work is important, but so is cultivating relationships within your online presence. Applying these tips to your social media posts will give your content the best online personality.

3 Myths About Inbound Marketing

All businesses use their own jargon when discussing internal projects, and it can sometimes be a little confusing. Marketing is definitely not an exception to this rule, and inbound marketing is one of those often confused terms.

Inbound marketing is the creation of quality content that attracts people toward your business or product. “By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic.”  Even with this defined, there are still many people confused about what it means and there are many misconceptions surrounding inbound marketing.  Here are 3 common myths that surround inbound marketing:

Myth 1:  Inbound marketing is a fancy way of saying SEO.

SEO is actually a fundamental part of inbound marketing, but it’s just one part of it. Inbound marketing brings traffic, that traffic turns into leads, which eventually and hopefully, turns into sales.

Inbound-Marketing Graphic

Myth 2:  One person can handle doing all the inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing needs all hands on deck. It really shouldn’t be one person’s responsibility, there are many skill sets needed. It’s SEO, social media, content writing, design, development, strategy, project management, data analysis, business thinking, and audio/video production.

Myth 3:  Inbound marketing is formula driven.

Inbound marketing isn’t a to do list of things to check off:  writing blog posts, tweeting, publishing white papers and Facebook posts, and done! While these things are important, they don’t necessarily need to be done each day or week. Personalizing the content to your audience is the key to successful inbound marketing.

HubSpot agrees that “it’s a commitment to focusing on your customer/client, not you. It’s a focus on creating a business that matters. It’s a decision to be a human business that shows personality.”

At the end of the day, creating a big online presence for your business takes more than just a few clicks of the mouse. Inbound is a mindset. Specific strategies should be developed for this online presence.  Learn more about your consumer first and serve them what they want, and in turn it will help you build up your business’s personality.

 

Learn How to Create Facebook Video Ads

Facebook video ads can create great opportunities for your business. Video ads give the user a quick overview of what you are marketing through visually and audibly.

Creating a Facebook video ad may sound intimidating, but with Facebook’s easy to use Power Editor and Live Advertising Interface, you’ll be creating audio visual content in no time flat!

Social Media Examiner gives a great tutorial of how to create video advertisements with both Live Advertising Interface and Power Editor.

Creating Video Ads With the Live Interface

The live interface is direct and takes almost no time at all to get your campaign up and running.

  1. Log into your advertising manager and click on Create Ad on the top right hand side of the screen. rab-create-ad
  2. Then, select Get Video Views.rab-get-video-views-ad-option
  3. Facebook prompts you to choose which page you want to use to promote the video.
  4. Next, Set Up the Campaign. Place the campaign name and then select your target audience demographics (location, age, gender), interests and behaviors. Finally, pick your bidding strategy and budget.rab-ad-targeting
  5. Once the campaign is set up, upload your video. The format needs to be .MOV files. Upload file up to 1 GB with a resolution of 720p and the aspect ratio of at least 16:9.
  6. After the video has been successfully uploaded, setup the text and the call to action. This is very important step, you only will be able to set up a landing page if you pick one of the eligible calls to action. The CTA will show up while the video is playing, you won’t see it in the preview.rab-call-to-action

Power Editor How-To

The power editor may seem complicated, but it’s the the most efficient option to create variations of your video for testing purposes.

  1. To begin, go into Facebook Ad Manager and click on Power Editor.rab-power-editor
  2. Download your advertising account in Power Editor before you begin the campaign creation procedure.
  3. First, sort your data by campaign, then, create a new one.
  4. Insert the name of the campaign, the ad buying type and objective. To increase traffic, select Video Views as the objective.rab-create-video-view-campaign
  5. Switch to the ad set view within the Campaign tab and make a new ad set for your video ads.  Ad sets are groups of ad that target a specific group of people. Each target group needs its own ad set. Segment your ad sets, compare the results of the campaigns at the target group level.  Setup the targeting method, budgets, placements and the bidding model at the ad set level, as is now required by Facebook.
  6. Switch from the campaign view to the ad set view in the vertical menu. Select the ad set you just made and then click the Ads tab. Now you can create a new ad.
  7. Name your ad and then customize it.  Select the page you will use to promote it, insert the text, upload the video you want to use and select a CTA to insert your landing page URL.  Here’s how to set up the ideal viewer profile for your video ad.rab-select-facebook-page

The advantage to using the Power Editor is that ad can be created and then duplicated quickly so you can run split tests. You can also duplicate ad sets to target other groups.

If you’re new to videos, this is a great way to do some testing.  The set up is user friendly and video ads can take your marketing to the next level!

Reorganizing Your Marketing Strategy for 2015

In years past, the thing to do was to get on as many social media platforms as possible. Or write more blog posts, more twitter posts, more status updates on Facebook. While this technique may seem like a good idea, the quality of your work might be suffering and you’re losing traffic and/or potential traffic. This year, think about what you can trim off your marketing strategy in order to make your business more efficient and effective.

Take a look at your current marketing plan and make some honest decisions on what is actually working for your business and what is not. Then cull out the pieces that aren’t getting your analytics to rise.

Ginny Soskey from Hubspot Blogs writes about 6 things that should be cut from your marketing in order for it to be more effective. I’ve highlighted 4 that will make the most of your marketing.

  1. Real-time marketing – this was cute until it wasn’t. Remember the Oreo cookie ad that was tweeted during the 2013 Superbowl when the power went out?  “It was relevant, it was quick, it was witty, and the general public loved it.  So many marketers thought that real-time marketing was the next big thing,” explains Soskey.  Oreo Superbowl TweetA popular pizza company attempted this technique with the #WhyIStayed (a hashtag that supported domestic violence victims), and ended up insulting a large part of their audience. It was downright insensitive and got a lot of kickback.

    Real-time marketing can be effective, if it is used for pure purposes, and not that of viral ones.

  2. Using Social Networks that aren’t working for you – Did you know that the average B2B marketer promotes their content on six social platforms? Your strategy should reflect that of your consumers. Look at your metrics and see where they are coming from. Spend more quality time on the posts written for those social networks. This could be Facebook or even a niche social platform.

    Soskey offers this pro tip: “If your ultimate goal on social is to generate sales, be sure to investigate the entire funnel before cutting a platform. You may find one network doesn’t generate a ton of traffic but does convert that traffic into leads really well, for example. In cases like that, you probably wouldn’t want to cut the platform — instead, cut time from another platform that isn’t driving many bottom-line results.”

  3. Bad Stock Imagery – No one wants to look at a generic piece of stock imagery that barely even relates to your business. Instagram, Canva and other photography solutions should be put into practice. They are relevant, interesting and usually much more creative than the cliche man in a suit on a street with a pigeon sitting close by on a park bench.
  4. Not Optimizing Conversion Paths for Mobile – Making your call-to-action noticeable and user-friendly is key for mobile marketing. A hard to find or click link for a contest or a giveaway is an automatic out for someone who is using their mobile device.

This new year, trim the fat and start looking at your social strategies and make some positive changes in your techniques.

 

3 Examples of Successful Marketing Campaigns

You’ve probably heard the saying, “no need to reinvent the wheel”, and that can definitely apply to marketing.  When it comes to successful marketing campaigns, there’s no need to start from scratch.  Learn from what others are doing and figure out how you could do something similar using your brand and target audience.

Social Media Examiner came up with a list of 10 examples of successful marketing, here are the top 3 that we think really stand out.  We hope that these campaigns will inspire you to come up with your own amazing and unique marketing ideas!

  1. Dove.  Time and time again, Dove has created moving videos that are highly sharable and truly touch people’s hearts.  In these videos, they rarely mention their brand because they aren’t selling your their product, they’re telling an honest and beautiful story.  And that, my friends, is how you create a viral video.  (well, that or having your cat do something hilarious)  Dove also knows how to create engagement by encouraging their followers to tell a story about someone and then tag them in their post, as seen in the screenshot below.  Dove Facebook Post
  2. Humans of New York.  What started out as a lone photographer sharing his candid and startlingly honest photos of strangers on the streets of New York City has become a recognizable brand with a cult following.  How did he do it?  The photographer isn’t just sharing his photos, he’s sharing people’s stories.  Real people, raw life experiences, beautiful love stories, everyday struggles.  The snippets are short but impactful, and the fact that they’re all shared on Facebook makes it easy to create a following.Humans of New York Facebook Screenshot
  3. Starbucks.  Being one of the most recognizable brands in the world doesn’t mean that you can phone it in with your marketing efforts.  One of the reasons Starbucks has been so successful on social media is that they don’t just promote their products, they teach you how to use them.  In the example below, they show followers how long to brew various teas and what color it should be when properly brewed.  In addition to the helpful information, they included a beautiful visual image of the brewed teas as well. Starbucks Facebook Post

I think the common thread between all 3 of these examples is that the brands are not forceful in promoting their brands or products.   They tell a story or help you learn something new.  In today’s world of marketing, people are done being marketed at, they expect something more than that.

Do you have any successful marketing campaigns you’d like to share?  Please leave your ideas/experiences in the comments section, we’d love to hear them!

 

Should You Take a Social Media Vacation?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a season of celebration for many, and for those who do not have holidays to celebrate this month it can serve as a welcome break while the business world slows to a crawl.  Depending on what type of field you work in, most people take at least a day or two off around this time, but what about social media marketers?  Can they take a social media vacation?

Social Media Break

This interesting article from Lance Ulanoff asks and dissects the very question, “Can I really take a social media vacation?”  Ulanoff’s case is slightly unique in that he himself is his brand, and all his tweets, vines, and other social posts are amusing quips that come straight from him.  Because he is his brand and the only person in charge of maintaining his sites, it does make it difficult for him to take a break.

There is also another thing that makes it difficult for Ulanoff to take a break.  He says, “there are times when I’m tired and I don’t want to Tweet, Vine or Instagram. I do so at those times because I fear my silence will lead to a wave of unfollows. I mean, I get this feeling if I haven’t tweeted for two hours. It’s a wonder I can sleep six or seven hours a night. I should be waking up at 1, 2 and 3 a.m. to post something, right?”  This is a common fear of social media marketers, that even a moment of silence will cause a mass exodus of your followers.

So, we’ve seen that for a solo entrepreneur, it can be difficult to detach from the ever present social media, but what about for a larger company?  Can they, and more importantly should they, take a social media vacation?

Chances are, your office is going to be quiet around the holidays because many people will be on vacation, which could make it difficult to push any work projects forward.  This might lead you to believe that by this logic, you could stop posting to your social media sites, but you would be wrong!

In my opinion, most brands should continue to regularly post around the holidays.  Here’s why:  With so many people on vacation what do you think they’re doing?  They’re at home on their computers!  They’re checking Facebook on their iPhones!  If you have a recognizable brand with a large audience or sell a tangible product, this could be an ideal time for you to post to a captive audience.

However, I will contradict myself and say that if you do not have a large social audience it may not be worth your time and efforts.  In this case, I’ll sign off on your social media time off request and say it’s fine to take a little vacation.

So, will you be taking a social media break this holiday season?

Facebook Introduces a New App: Facebook Groups

If you’re on Facebook you may have noticed that back in August they introduced, and then forced all Facebook users to download, a standalone app for Facebook messaging.  Well, they’ve gone and done it again, this time with Facebook Groups.

Facebook Groups App

Facebook Groups is a feature that already exists within the main Facebook app, and per this article from Mashable, their reasoning for breaking it out into a separate app is to “make it easier for power users to engage with their groups.”  Facebook also says that creating a separate Facebook Groups app will make the service faster on mobile devices.

The app also offers a new “discovery” feature which will recommend groups for you to join based on your interests.  This could become an interesting feature for business owners and marketers to promote their brand and discover new target audiences.  For example, if you’re a food blogger, you could create an open group like the one in the image below, “Cooking Diaries” and share new recipes with your group members.  It’s a new way to engage with Facebook users and we’re excited to see the creative marketing strategies businesses and individuals come up with.

Facebook Groups 2

Top 3 Tips for Supporting Your Brand in Social Media Images

In a world that is increasingly dominated by visual content, it’s a well known fact that if you want to maximize your social engagement, you better be including some darn good graphics and images.  But how do you know if you’re using them correctly to support your overall brand?  Social Media Examiner asks, “Do you use fonts, colors and clever effects to make your company’s images more recognizable?”

If you’re not using a consistent branding message across your visual content, you are missing out on maximizing your efforts.  

Social Media Images

 

Here are 3 tips to help you up your visual branding game in social media posts:

  1. Integrate Brand Colors.  This may seem like an obvious one, but the key is to use your brand colors in new and creative ways.  Use your brands color not only in your logo, but in text and images you use in your marketing materials.  Here you can see how Cadbury uses the colors purple and white in a simple, yet impactful Facebook post.Color Branding
  2. Use Clever Product Placement.  One way to market your product without using your brands signature font or color is to focus on the product itself.  The key here is the ability to identify the right setting.  Anna Guerrero says, “A good way to think about this is to identify the kind of experience you want your product or service to empower- this will help appeal to your target audience.” Visual Branding
  3. Choose Images to Fit Your Style.  What product, service, or experience are you trying to sell?  What does your audience typically respond to?  When you have your answers, find images that represent them.  Lululemon does an excellent job capturing the spirit of their brand with these two images.  They may not sell cereal, but their brand represents healthy living, so it works.  Branding Image

For more tips on how to create social media images that support your company brand, click here to read the full article from the Social Media Examiner.

The Only Facebook Cheat Sheet You’ll Ever Need

If you’ve ever created or managed a Facebook page, you’ve likely run into a few issues when trying to upload images to your page.  We’ve all been there, whether you’re trying to upload your company logo as your profile pic but it keeps cutting off the last letter, you have gray space around a shared image on your page, or most frustrating of all, your beautiful image is showing up as a tiny thumbnail.

It’s enough to push any good social media marketer over the edge, after all you’re so close to finishing a post only to spend half an hour fruitlessly trying one thing after another to get this blasted image to appear in full size.  Because social media posts typically perform much better with an image, ditching the graphic so you can just get this post up isn’t an option, and we all know how good Facebook support is. (Hint: It’s basically nonexistent.)

Facebook Infographic Smaller Image

If you identify with any of the above situations, then Christmas has come early in the form of this infographic.  This helpful infographic by AllFacebook.com details all Facebook post and ad dimensions, across both desktop and mobile.

 

Save this infographic on your computer, or if you’re old school you can print it out and pin it on your cork board for quick reference.

Facebook Infographic

Facebook Reviews: What Marketers Need to Know – via Social Media Examiner

Facebook Reviews: What Marketers Need to Know

If your business has been on Facebook for any length of time, you’ve likely seen some reviews and star ratings posted. Good or bad, these reviews can affect the way your company is perceived, so it’s important to keep a close eye on new reviews and respond in a timely manner to any issues that may arise. Kandice Linwright of Social Media Examiner discusses the pros and cons of showing reviews on your Facebook page, how to respond to negative reviews and, if all else fails, how to turn the reviews feature off. View article