We often look at New Year’s as a time to set goals and make resolutions. The trick is actually following through on our well-intentioned resolves. If you’re a business owner or seeking to gain career exposure, making good on your New Year’s resolutions for achieving success is more important than ever, especially in the realm of social media.
Let’s talk about social media success and how you can ramp it up this 2014, on the 7th day of this fabulous New Year.
Social Media: The Question is ‘Why’ not ‘If’
“The question for most [business] leaders is not ‘if’ they should be using social media,” says Social Media Today. The real question is ‘why?’ What are the benefits, and how can you plan to achieve success without being labeled as spam by your audience?
Social media is about gaining exposure. It’s easy to set-up an account on every social networking and media site available, but it’s not easy to become more than a fleeting glance. More and more brands and businesses are jumping onto social networks at warp speed. There is no shortage of videos, tweets, infographics, and blog posts for people to view. It seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a product you cannot live without, an unparalleled service, a community to follow and miraculous answers to every business and life question ever pondered. Why should you add your business to the mix?
5 Benefits of Keeping Active Social Media Accounts
BizJournal makes the observation that social media benefits your company and “helps enhance all the basic pillars of good business.” Logically, social media can help you:
- Engage your target audience and closely related audiences;
- Convert on-the-fence onlookers, unsure if they should buy into paying customers; and
- Address customer service concerns and issues with a positive spin.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits:
- Engaging your public, continually. Social networking sites are made up of communities of people harboring specific interests. When introducing your company, a search through such communities can help you find the perfect audience pool to approach. Once you jump into the conversation, you own the opportunity to present a call to action, encourage people to review and buy your product or service, set the record straight regarding any negative comments and actively continue the conversation.
- Creating revenue. Once you have a social network presence, which you likely do, you’ll see an exposure explosion. Your website traffic will spike, interest in your business will grow, and leads will generate new business. Social media gives you the unique ability to keep this momentum through promotions, specials and holding interest in your business via…you guessed it, continued conversation.
- Building loyalty and trust. The constant conversation resulting from social media demonstrates a valuable lesson to your customers: your business lives by its values. As a result, you build trust. In return, you receive loyalty.
- Intellect over salesmanship. “Hang on,” you say, “I want sales. What do you mean ‘intellect over salesmanship’?” Social networks give you the unique opportunity to connect with fans and build a base of followers; a community of people who share an interest in your business and the issues of concern to you. By ditching the salesman attitude, you can slide into a more intellectual discussion, which is why people are addicted to social media! Discussions for people involving people should permeate your network more frequently than pushes for sales. Again, this keeps the conversation rolling.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). Word-of-mouth advertising still works, but the majority of people inevitably default to a Google search to find what they need. It’s important that your presence be optimized; otherwise, potential customers will never see you! Active social media accounts help your company rank higher on a search, making it much more likely to pop up.
Prosperous Copywriting for Social Media
You see why social media is an important tool for your business, but now you wonder how to go about creating successful social media content. Creating copy for network sites is an entirely new experience; it’s different from every other content frontier you’ve traversed. Don’t fret because we’ve got your back. In Copywriting for Social Media, we provide a detailed look at what makes social media content sing, and we steer you clear of common pitfalls. Take a glimpse at the guidelines we cover:
- “Ditch the Pitch.” Talk to your audience.
- “Don’t #Hashtag Yourself.” Learn the right and wrong ways to use hashtags.
- “Speak One-to-One.” See beyond the social media platform.
- “Think Quotable Quips.” Maintain a strong, unique brand voice.
- “Post with a Purpose.” Discover your purpose and stick with it.
- “Don’t Sweat the Smaller Numbers.” Social sites build small communities. Learn how to see smaller numbers in the big picture.
Achieving Success in 2014
It’s absolutely vital to understand that social media isn’t a black and white marketing tool. It’s not about how many followers or likes you manage to grab, or how often you spam out a message on a product or sale; it’s about people, building relationships and having valuable conversations. People want to know why they should grant you their time and attention. Why should they follow you, like you, join your community, read your media, subscribe to your blog, retweet, and pin you and connect to you?
Social media is more essential than ever because it opens the door to an eclectic audience. Creating successful social content can present a challenge, so be sure to follow our essential tips on writing for social media. Use these tips to write your own content or ensure your copywriter is staying on course.
The Era of Conversational Marketing
One of the trends you’ve undoubtedly picked up on is that social media is conversational. This brings us to the topic of conversational marketing, and why it is essential for your success in 2014. Chris Silver, President of Argent Media, talked about the benefits of conversational marketing for local SEO, saying, “Many traditional industries have been very slow to realize that the days of one-way-only promotional messages are pretty well over.” Instead, conversational messages are in full swing, all thanks to the multitude of social media networks encouraging individual and interactive voices.
In 2014, social media will become even more of a marketing essential. Not only will it encourage a growing audience to take interest in your business, but also it will increase your search engine rankings exponentially.
SERPs and Google Plus
“SERP” is an acronym short for “search engine results page.” Why should SERPs matter to you? “Because ranking you site in the proper SERP position will be the difference between success and failure in your search marketing campaigns,” according to WordStream. Simply put, your SERP ranking determines where you place on a search engine page when a keyword or phrase is input by the user. Most people click on the first links displayed, and not many go past the first page of their search engine results. So, the higher your ranking, the higher you place on a SERP, the more clicks you receive and your traffic grows.
In 2013, we spent a lot of time building links to improve our SERP ranking. We did this by inserting valued links into our social media shout outs from tweets to blog posts. An indispensable tool for choosing quality links to insert has been the Mozbar. The fruits of our labor have been a rise in our search engine ranking, gaining us more exposure and—to the delight of our audience—increasing credibility and exposure.
Every few years, Moz conducts a study focusing on SERP ranking. Their latest study, reported on in 2013, has revealed a notable correlation between higher SERP rankings and Google Plus. Unlike other social media platforms, Google Plus harbors “a far superior platform for SEO.” Therefore, by sharing content via Google Plus your search engine rankings can potentially be influenced.
What Sets Google Plus Apart in Social Media
Every social network is a powerful marketing tool to have in your toolbox when used properly. According to eBiz|MBA, the 15 most popular social networking sites as of December 2013 are:
- Google Plus+
Expanding your presence onto these networks can power your social media success forward in the New Year, but Google Plus should definitely be high on your list (if it isn’t already). Moz’s study reveals just why Google Plus currently stands above other social platforms and increases your search engine rankings:
- Posts hitting Google Plus+ are crawled and indexed faster, almost immediately.
- Posts pass link equity.
- Google Plus+’s platform is optimized for semantic relevance.
Wielding Social Media for Maximum Results
There’s no argument, social media is essential to your business’s success in today’s marketing world. Wielding this gigantic, multi-faceted tool properly is a key to your continued and future success. What can you do right now to ensure 2014 is your year for powerful social media success?
- Hire a Copywriter. Copywriters specialize in copy. They live for content, and any professional copywriter stays current on social media and marketing trends. They understand how to weave search engine optimization into copy that captures your target audience and keeps them engaged. They can create profitable copy, the kind that turns on-the-fence spectators into paying customers. They even know how to create multiple forms of copy, opening your marketing campaigns up to every tool in the proverbial toolbox. Finally, copywriters create copy in record time.
- Hire a Social Media Guru. Social media is an expanding industry, and the job title for the person over a company’s social media endeavors varies. Across the web, they’ve been called Social Media Officers, Coordinators, Managers, Consultants, Experts and a handful of other similar titles. Bottom line: social media is a bear. It’s a huge undertaking and can easily turn into a full time job. If you lack the time to commit to it, a social media guru is going to be essential to you success.
- Research, Research, Research. If you intend to oversee your New Year’s social media plan personally, research is about to be your best friend. You can use the links sprinkled throughout this guide to get started, but be warned: social media management is not for the time crunched or faint of heart. You’re about to take on a commitment as hefty as the creation and continuance of your business itself, but it will be worth it!
Enlisting the Skills of a Social Media Guru
If you opt to hire a social media professional, we have some tips to help you choose the best investment. First, keep in mind that many copywriting agencies provide social media content creation and consulting. They just might have a guru on staff, ready to be leveraged before and throughout your copy creation process. Should you decide to hire a guru in-house, here are the minimal skills to scout:
- Design & Writing Experience. This type of experience is especially important if you’re hiring a single person versus a team. Your guru needs to have strong skills and experience in design and writing. Expect a work portfolio to review and scrutinize.
- Editing & Proofreading. Somebody has to check what’s about to hit the social network. If that person is your guru, be sure they have a background that includes editing and proofreading experience.
- Support & Training. A solo social media professional needs resource support. While their solo work may soar, it will be even better if they collaborate, say with your marketing professional, website designer, or copywriter. Don’t be afraid to send your social media guru to train with these people. It will help them learn how to best achieve your company’s marketing objectives.
- Old & New School Knowledge. Social media has evolved over the years. A good guru will have comprehensive knowledge of both classic and cutting-edge marketing practices.
- Real Management Experience. The best gurus will have hands-on experience. They’ll provide examples and references of online and offline community management.
Generating a powerful social media presence is one of the key aspects of business success. You can make 2014 a year to remember by accomplishing a special resolution: establishing and/or increasing your social media success.