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social media guide 2014

Consistency Is Key for Social Media: 20-Step Management Guide

We’ve already established that going social for your business in 2014 is not a matter of if, but why. Armed with that knowledge, we thought it was only fair to share the nuts and bolts of howto establish and manage your social media presence.

We have not 5, not 10, but 20 concrete steps to take you from “What social media platform is best for my industry?” to “What, you don’t have a social media manager?” in no time.

2014: It’s Social Media Party Time!

Let us invite you to our party. That’s right, with all our talk of cake lately; we’ve also gotten in the mood for parties. And with social media’s emphasis on engagement and, well, being social, we thought a party with all its intricacies — from venue to wardrobe and guest list — was the perfect illustration. So, for the duration of our time together, it’s party time. Who knew reading a blog could be so much fun?

Pick Your Parties: Platform Selection

Think of each social media platform as a swanky party. Each has its own vibe, venue, and party-goers who can’t get enough. It is your mission to find the parties your business should attend and get in the conversation. Which leads us to…

 

Step #1: Finding the Right Social Media Platforms for You

It’s tempting to setup a profile on every available platform to get the most exposure for your business. But as a small business owner, your time is precious and this one-size-fits-all strategy runs the risk of wearing your resources too thin.

Instead, you need to research and find out where your social media target demographic hangs out, and go to those parties. You wouldn’t see a bunch of guys at brunch, would you? So if you run an online Poker site you wouldn’t necessarily need to party on a Pinterest page (used predominantly by women at 84%, according to Business Insider).

The only exception to this rule? Google+. Although this platform is overwhelmingly used by men, all businesses could use the SEO pick-me-up this site provides.

 

Dress to Impress: Social Media Profile Set Up

You know which platforms to focus on. Now, how should you prepare your profiles for the best exposure possible? This next tips and tricks will get your business profiles dressed to impress in no time.

 

Step # 2: Choosing the Right Profile Picture

If your company has a logo, you are probably farther along on this step than you think. The perfect profile image is, you guessed it, your logo. Already a key part in your branding, your logo will make it easy for potential clients to identify your business, no matter where they bump into you.

 

Step #3: Using Quality Imagery

Banner. Cover. Header. Theme. Channel Art.

No matter what the platform calls it, most of them have space for a larger image on your profile. Think of it as your chance to accessorize your party-perfect profile picture (your logo, right?) with an engaging pop of color and personality.

To brand your profile further, we suggest using your website’s color scheme and images as the inspiration for your larger feature image. It is also crucial to adhere to the imagery guidelines for each platform. Fuzzy images or an overuse of text, like too much makeup or a clashing tie, will totally throw off your look.

 

Step #4: Choosing an Easily Identifiable and Keyword-Conscience Username

Your social media handles need to be easy for customers to connect with your company name, tagline or main service, according to Forbes. In other words, when people see your posts on their feed they shouldn’t be confused about who the post is from – that’s as silly as not introducing yourself. So, thoughtfully pick a social media name and stick with it across all platforms.

And remember to use keywords. Say you are a Wedding Planner. Instead of using your company name, you may want to consider including your location and main service, like “DallasWeddings.”

 

Step #5: Crafting Consistent Company Taglines and Descriptions

Before you complete your profile set up, take some time to distill your company’s goals into a succinct tagline, longer description, mission statement, and history blurb. As with the “big picture” in step #3, you can take key points from your website to craft this information. Once you (or the copywriter you hired) write a tagline, long description, and mission for your business, you can plug them into all of your profiles.

Consistency is the name of the game here, too. Not only do you want to coordinate with the formality and tone on your site, you also want all of your profiles to communicate the same message as well. And as with your username, remember to use industry keywords while maintaining a written-for-people vibe.

 

Step #6: Providing Consistent Contact Info, Address, Hours

This party parallel is pretty obvious. If you met someone interesting at the party, they would need a way to get in touch with you. Your social media profile should tell customers exactly where and how to contact you.

 

Step #7: Claiming Custom URLs

Just like a manicure adds imperceptible polish to any party prep, your effort to claim vanity URLs will add a much-needed touch of professionalism to your profiles.

First, a pop quiz: Which URL looks more polished and inviting?

A. www.facebook.com/yourbusiness

or

B. www.facebook.com/yourbusiness/390691057733835

(The correct answer is A, of course.)

This step takes a bit more effort because some platforms have requirements to claim your URL — like these for Google+. The extra elbow grease is totally worth it to provide a more inviting persona for your customers to interact with.

 

Get the Party Started: Social Optimization

Help people find, connect, and share content from your pristine profiles with these next steps.

 

Step #8: Making It Easy for People to Connect with You

After all of your (readable, but SEO-friendly) profiles are created with their shiny, custom URLs, you need to spread the word. From the social side, simply add the links of your profiles to each of your other profiles for a seamless experience. Your super fans will be able to connect with you at every party you attend.

 

Step #9: Connecting Your Social Profiles to Your Site

Another crucial way to spread the word? As soon as your profiles are established, add social icons to your header or footer — or both. If you have room, add some encouraging copy like “Connect with Us!” Another fun touch: You can even get your site developers to add a live Twitter feed to your sidebar.

 

Step #10: Allowing People to Share Your Content

You also need to make it easy for people to post your blogs and pages to their social media profiles by adding share buttons wherever possible.

 

Party Personality: Consistent Messaging

These next tips will help you find your social media voice and the right content to share.

 

Step #11: Creating Consistent Personality

Before you post your first tweet, you need to decide what personality or voice you want to have. Totally professional? Friendly, conversational? Again, you want to represent yourself well, so your voice needs to be consistent with your industry and your social media engagement as it grows.

 

Step #12: Picking Consistent Content

Next decide what kind of links to share. Think of this as your acceptable list of conversation topics you have up your sleeve when approaching party-goers, ahem, potential clients.

Here are a few lists you can make to help you find quality content.

1. Competitors sites. Never link to pages that could give your top competition business over you!

2. Acceptable industry relevant sites. You know your industry and what people interested in your industry like. Take some time to find some sites that regularly generate great content on your industry. Check them daily for potential posts to share.

3. Fun sites. Does your industry lend itself to any type of playfulness? We’re big fans of puns and wordplay here. Going back to the poker site example, you may want to find movie clips of famous poker scenes to share for your social platforms. This little bit of entertainment will help establish the personality behind your brand. Don’t overshare this type of content, but a few entertaining posts will enhance your personality potential.

And don’t forget to generate your own quality content (like a blog) to share via social media.

 

Step #13: Linking to SEO-Friendly Sites

This year SEO is all about quality content, so you should make sure to link to trusted content that’s valuable or interesting to your potential clients. One tool that makes this super-easy is the MozBar. You can download it to your browser’s toolbar and access each link. You are looking for a site with a Root Domain DA of 40 or above.

 

Time to Chat it Up: Consistent Connection

You’re at the party, you’re dressed to kill, and you even have some conversation starters in your back pocket. Now it’s time to get in there and engage. Bonus points for making a plan.

 

Step #14: Finding the Right Friends and Clients

Now that you’ve entered the scene, the most important thing to share is information relevant to your industry. Remember you’re not going for a certain number of likes; you’re going for quality connections. Here are a few ways to find the right people to engage with.

Say you’re a local grocer. You can conduct a Twitter search for keywords that match your top products. You find someone who needs milk you carry. Take the opportunity to respond and share your pricing and deals. Odds are, you have gained a new follower, and more importantly, a new customer.

Another option: Offer incentives or run games. Social Media Examiner shares 4 great (and fun!) ways to build engagement on Facebook. Try them!

 

Step #15: Timing Posts Just Right

Timing — just like telling a great joke at the best moment — is crucial for clicks and engagement on social media. So study up! Find out the best days and time of day to post for the platforms you are going to focus on. From Huffington Post, this guide to optimal Facebook and Twitter timing is a great place to start right about…now.

 

Step #16: Responding Consistently

Social media can be a great place to deliver spectacular customer service. So set a time to check all of your platforms and address any customer complaints, requests or rave reviews as soon as possible. For any disgruntled customers, don’t hesitate to message them with an email to take the conversation out of the public sphere. That way, you can take the time to give them the personalized attention each customer deserves. This gesture, and each speedy response, will do wonders for building customer loyalty.

 

Step #17: Planning to be Consistent

Ready, set, PLAN! You look great, your tone, perfect. Now you need to set goals and plan your level of commitment to posting. And, going a step further, decide how many posts will be to your blogs, industry articles and fun topics. Here are 3 sample plans you could put into motion.

Plan 1 – Minimal Management:

Schedule requirements:

  • 1 industry relevant or entertainment post to all platforms weekly
  • 1 link to a blog, video, or picture from your site (we like to think of this as “fan bait,” this is rich, engaging content that should tell customers WHY to check you out and share your content with their friends)

Feeling overwhelmed? Think of this as social media light. With just 2 posts a week, you’ll have time to test the waters, practice your tone, and get the hang of finding content. This is a great place to start, but we’d encourage taking your involvement to at least the next level.

Plan 2 – Traffic Flow:

Schedule requirements:

  • 2 industry relevant or entertainment posts to all platforms weekly
  • 1 link to a blog, video, or picture from your site
  • Engage in conversations
  • Respond to any incoming messages or comments

With the addition of engagement and customer service, you’ve upgraded your presence from wallflower to party participant. Having trouble with the interaction piece? Try to compartmentalize – set aside 15 minutes each day to search for conversations to join and respond to any comments. Just a little bit of time can make a big difference.

Plan 3 – Life of the Party:

Schedule requirements

  • 3 industry relevant or entertainment posts to all platforms weekly
  • 3 links to a blog, video, or picture from your site
  • Share seasonally-relevant content
  • Run occasional polls, surveys, & games
  • Engage in conversations
  • Respond to any incoming messages or comments

You’ve finally arrived. Adding engaging touches like seasonal content and games gives your social media profile a vibrant, lively feel. Suddenly YOUR page is who everyone wants to talk to. This does take a lot more work, so you may need some help to achieve this “Life of the Party” status.

 

Step #18: Consistently Communicating

This step may seem silly, but even the most amazing plans can end up being worthless if not implemented. If you are overwhelmed by this multistep process, it may be time to call in reinforcements.

 

Short on Resources? Time to Call in Some Help

Feel like you’ll need 3 hands to get everything done? Try one (or both) of these tips to get the job done.

 

Step #19: Using the Best Tools to Help

There are a lot social media content management tools out there, but Hootsuite is our current fav. Why?

Wide Connection: You can add all of your social media profiles — from Facebook to Google+ — onto your company’s Hootsuite dashboard. This makes it a snap to post updates to all at a time or just one if you need to.

Clean Organization: Hootsuite allows you to organize information into different streams and different tabs. That way you can focus in and “listen” to a certain social media profile as closely as you need to.

Perfect Timing: If you’re still scratching your head over step #15 (timing your posts just right), Hootsuite offers an answer to that, too. According to the Hootsuite blog, their social media auto schedule feature “uses algorithms to determine the best time to post, per network, and schedules your post to take advantage of that timeframe.” Just use that feature to get your posts onto potential clients’ feeds at just the right moment.

Analyze That: Hootsuite includes analytical tools to help you understand what works and what doesn’t.

 

Step #20: Finding a Manager

And finally, it may be best to give your social media management over to a pro. Don’t feel bad, many companies have a full-time social media expert on staff. Why? It can become a full-time job.

So yes, you know the value of social media. And yes, you may even know what you should do. But you don’t have the time to generate content, find content to share, craft engaging posts, take time to engage, address any questions and more.

Parties are fun, but as a business owner, attending them all the time may not be an option. Finding a manager who can set up your profiles, develop a plan and represent you could be the best investment you make this year.

 

 

social media tips and tricks

A 2014 Social Media Guide: New Trends and Solutions to Live By

In 2013, the importance of social media in a successful business marketing plan became undeniable. According to Eloqua, “a reported 78 [percent] of companies now have a dedicated social media team.” As we step into 2014, we continue to see the emergence of new social platforms and the impact that a strong social media presence can have on our business. In all likelihood, we can expect Eloqua’s reported percentage to grow ever upward.

 

How Social Media Evolved in 2013 and What to Expect in 2014

 

Throughout 2013, we watched as social media platforms evolved into cutting edge marketing tools. Twitter is now considered a strong marketing tool by over 90 percent of marketers, who now use it regularly to generate new and return business. The Twitter network boasts a stunning 232 million active users, who manage to send a jaw dropping 500 million tweets per day! Twitter also launched Vine, their version of a video tool, during 2013.

In the past year, Facebook expanded their advertising platform and continued video ad testing. Meanwhile, Instagram celebrated a big year thanks to their introduction of a video and paid advertising program to their social platform. Also, a steady increase in picture and video sending popularity surfaced in the past year, indicating an interesting new inclusion of these marketing trends in future marketing strategies.

 

The Top 3 Social Media Trends for 2014

A review of social media marketing in 2013 has produced several “must have” trends for every 2014 marketing plan. As you round out your marketing budgets and put the finishing touches on your well planned strategies, here’s what you need to know in order to reach your customers more effectively in the New Year:

  1. Thoroughly understand your audience and product or service. In 2009, the University of California published a report in which they concluded that the average person sees over 34 billion bits of information every day. 34 billion bits of information equates to reading approximately two books per day. As a result of processing so much information, people are beginning to tune out; their attention is becoming a rare commodity. What does this mean for you? It means you need to have an acute understanding of your audience and how your product or service relates to them. In a high “Pinterest-ized” social media world, you need a visual, shareable message that demands and holds limited attention within seconds.
  2. Mobilized material is a must. People are leaving desktop technology behind and flocking to their smart phone and tablet devices. The Pew Internet & American Life Project published a research paper in which they determined over 90 percent of Americans own a mobile device, and 57 percent of them surf the Internet with those devices. Smart phones are quickly outnumbering other types of technology, ushering in what many are dubbing “the mobile revolution.” It is imperative that businesses take their digital properties beyond mere mobile optimization in 2014. Digital properties need to be responsive and adaptive, able to fluidly change and respond to the viewing capabilities of any mobile device. Audiences are also expecting the delivery of real time information based on relevance and location, which means digital properties must be search engine optimized for local search parameters. Audiences are expecting one-to-one personalization, and mobile technology is handing business owners the ability to give it.
  3. Out with analytic and in with predictive tools. Thus far, we have grown accustomed to simple analytic tools, the ones that give us basic information. Today, we are rapidly moving into the era of predictive tools. Predictive means that today’s tools use diverse techniques from data mining, machine learning, modeling and statistics to drive the analysis of current and historical information, thereby making predictions. It’s currently too early to tell exactly how this trend will evolve in 2014, but one thing is certain: simple tools no longer excite. The world and its audience are looking for ways to use all of the diverse data at their fingertips, meaning predictive technologies will find new traction in 2014.

 

These three general trends for 2014 all focus on a simple concept: effectively understanding and reaching your audience wherever they will be found. We can expect 2014 to be the year of positive customer experience and exemplary customer service.

 

3 Social Media Trends to Incorporate in Your Marketing Strategy

2013 has seen the most changes and largest leaps forward in social media advertising. 2014 promises to be a year of even grander developments. As a result, there are three trends in social media advertising you need to jump on board with:

  1. Facebook Video Ads. Twitter has been the big talk of 2013, and for some of us the appeal of Facebook has waned. Now is the time to rekindle the Facebook flame. Video advertising is turning into a huge 2014 social media marketing trend, as it rightfully should. After all, television advertising is still a fundamental tool in the modern advertiser’s toolbox. The world is shifting their television habit to the cyber world, which means video advertising is shifting alongside it. Facebook has been testing video advertising for a while now. They prominently feature videos in their feed organically. Their testing looks to increase in 2014, meaning video advertising is about to play a much larger role in Facebook ads after New Year’s. Overall, Facebook has become an undiscovered, underused advertising gem to many businesses that have had tunnel vision on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You can find a few fantastic tips for boosting the popularity of your brand or business by reading our 3 Awesome Web Content Tips… blog.
  2. Twitter Ads. There’s no denying that Twitter had a big year in 2013. The platform grew substantially, even filing for and successfully completing their IPO (Internal Public Offering). Marketers the Internet over all agree: we can expect big things from Twitter. In 2013, Twitter awed us with a successful overhaul of their advertising interface and an increase in targeting functionality. They launched TV ad targeting, creating impressive Lead Generation Cards. Since their IPO in October 2013, Twitter has kept their momentum. 2014 promises to be a year where we see use of tailored audiences, accounts promoted in timelines and a real “broad match” for keyword targeting. Now that Twitter is bound by shareholders, we can expect development of this platform to continually exceed expectation because advertisement revenue equates to happy shareholders.
  3. The Possibility of Google+ Ads. When it comes to creating a successful online marketing campaign, those of us in the business know that Google is the All-powerful, Almighty Decision Maker. Google sets the SEO trends, maps out the dos and don’ts of online marketing, and swoops down with fury upon anyone deliberately cheating the system for rankings. It’s been somewhat surprising that Google+, Google’s personal social media platform, has been missing ads. 2014 may be the year this changes. Google has unveiled their new project: testing of +Post Ads. It’s important to note that based on the information currently available, this is not an ad unit on Google+. Rather, it allows businesses and brands to use quality Google+ posts and advertise them across the Google Display Network. 2014 should prove to be an exciting year as this project is tested.

 

Top Marketing Solutions for 2014

2014 is no doubt the first year in which marketers will be challenged to take into consideration a mountain of different technological tools, devices and new digital solutions—all of which will no doubt rapidly evolve throughout the year as development teams’ continue to trudge forward. If your goal is to effectively reach more customers, fans and even investors in 2014, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Video marketing is in. Over 50 percent of all web traffic has become video-based. Audiences feel they can make a more positive purchasing or investing decision after viewing a video. You cannot afford to ignore this in 2014. Video advertising should be catchy, short and simple because you’re fighting to demand attention from a world where attention is an increasingly rare commodity.
  2. Mobile marketing is a new cornerstone. According to a study released in early 2013, nearly 40 percent of time spent on the Internet is via some sort of mobile device, and this percentage is forecasted to increase. Mobile marketing is no longer a marginal feature; it’s a necessity. Therefore, the digital platforms and marketing solutions you choose to invest in this year must be mobile friendly, responsive and adaptive. The good news is that most digital platforms and themes are now designed to scale appropriately with mobile devices. However, you should confirm this ability through your own testing, never assume anything is mobile until your confirm it.
  3. Offline material is just as important as online. 2014 is the marketing year of connectivity. In other words, your business needs offline print solution designed to connect the audience to your social channels and online tools. A fantastic feature for accomplishing this is a QR code. QR code generators look to be incorporating color printing and even images in 2014. Aside from this, it looks like it’s finally time to ditch fax numbers for Twitter handles, and prominently present your social and website information throughout business presentations, white papers, etc.
  4. Revise and incorporate SEO (search engine optimization) practices. Even though the world of SEO has been growing and evolving in leaps and bounds over the past five years, many business owners still scratch their heads when discussing it. In 2014, SEO becomes more easily understandable to even the most reclusive of professionals. Google has made SEO all about quality and relevant content, audience appeal, social media activity, customer voice (reviews, testimonials, etc.) and a small smattering of keywords directly related to your business. If you haven’t already, it’s time to review the new best practices of SEO and bring your content in line with them.
  5. Use social media strategically. At this point in time, we can safely assume that people understand the need for an active social media presence. Unfortunately, many seem to falsely believe that starting a profile and drumming up discussion about themselves is all that’s required. However, it’s imperative to realize that social media marketing—the successful kind—cannot be self-centered. You need to integrate your social media presence with other marketing tools and engage your customers and fans. A truly incredible example of using social media to its fullest is demonstrated by Starbucks. Not only do they understand how to use the most popular social media options, but they also dedicated an entire page of their website to customer-based product and service ideas called, My Starbucks Ideas. The ideas are voted on and the company’s blog gives updates on the adopted suggestions. Now that’s using social media to engage the audience, market a product and promote a company!
  6. Create an online presence that engages and inspires. In 2014, marketing and public relations will shift from a focus of winning customers to goals of gaining investors and supporters to push their company’s online presence to a new and exciting level. This shift involves creating an interconnected online presence that inspires fans while engaging potential customers and investors to buy. Developing a professional, clean website and a strong logo are a start, but as you’ve seen in this guide, building a social media presence will be a new cornerstone to marketing and public relations.

 

Stay Onboard in 2014

The world of social media is anything but static. 2014 promises to be a year filled with exciting new development, cutting-edge techniques for reaching precisely targeted audiences and more. We can expect advertising campaigns to grow increasingly more visual, and interconnectivity to become a new marketing standard.

As you can see, the social media ship for 2014 has set sail with new trends and marketing solutions. It’s not too late to jump onboard, and it’s obvious not doing so could capsize your business endeavors. So, will you be onboard with the rest of us as we sail into the exciting new technological era of audience focused social media marketing?

 

 

Killer seasonal content

How to Create Killer Seasonal Content For Your Social Media & Blogs

So the holidays are here—we are in the thick of it. Did you hit a store on Black Friday to buy five TVs you didn’t need just because they were on sale? How fun was it fighting the masses of people bumping into one another? Well imagine how it is on the business themselves. Are you a business owner? Either way the holiday rush leaves little time to attend to things like social media.

Now for businesses, social media and blogs are great promotional tools. As a business owner these should not be abandoned just because of the holidays. In fact, it can be a fun way to get people in the doors. Who is up for a surprise sale? “10% discount for the next hour.” Think of offers that get people engaged and entices them to come in “NOW”.

Creating Content Over the Holidays: 6 Social Media Tips For Businesses

For the average Joe and Jane your social media and blog content can probably use a holiday break. But it is a valuable tool for you. Sure, it isn’t about money or getting your customers in the doors. Do you have family that lives far away though? How about friends you haven’t seen in years? They probably want to know what is going on with you and your family. Your parents in Fort Lauderdale want to see pictures of the grandkids in Flagstaff.  So in a way it is important for you to be proactive on social media and your blog this holiday season and next.

 

But the busyness of the season! How do you find the time to do it right?

 

Let’s start by assuming you are a business

(If you are not a business then read these for fun and move on to the you are a person category.)

 

1. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Once upon a time there was one social network and you could check in once a day and that was that. Now there are one dozen (at least). Update Facebook, Tweet this, Instagram that, so on and so on. It can be a full time job updating all of this stuff, just ask any 13 year old girl who spends 24/7 online.

Focus on the biggest social networks and the places where you have the most frequency. Don’t worry about updating every single page you maintain with social media content and blog content. Jon Henshaw, who is an internet-marketing expert, encourages his readers to, as he puts it “leverage social networks.” If you absolutely can’t find the time, a recent article on Small Business PR discusses 3rd party tools that can be used to post on your social sites at predetermined times.

 

2. Think ahead. You have a million things going on. Not only are you managing the needs of your business for the holidays, but that of your family too. Why not add trying to figure out what to post or blog about on top of all of that. We recently discussed maintaining a content flow during the holidays (by planning ahead) in three of our five discussion points. How do you add more onto an already unstable pile of tasks?

  • Before bed take ten minutes to think up some things to post tomorrow
  • Keep it simple with things that require followers to build content. Polls and contests are good.
  • Photographs. They take no time and little effort. Shots of holiday dishes, sales, etc.
  • Plan way ahead and in September and October prepare a list of subjects. Remember they must cover Halloween to New Years.

 

3. Branch out. Step outside the box of your normal content. The holiday season is a fun time, so be fun with it. Find or create funny holiday photos to post to your social media page or blog. Do you own a motorcycle dealer? Then fire up Photoshop and pop Santa on a Harley. Normally you wouldn’t post silly stuff like this, but this time of year people want to enjoy themselves.

Consider what you offer as well. It’s a season of giving right? So give. If you are running a retail business then go ahead and offer some exclusive deals. Give out a coupon code to your Facebook fans. How about a Twitter contest? Whoever retweets your post can be entered to win a free dinner at your restaurant.
 

4. Consider a cause. Once again it is the season for giving. Thanksgiving and Christmas brings about a lot of focus to charities and noble causes. Pick a charitable cause that is unique to your business or that means something to you. Now get on your social media pages and promote it. This does three valuable things.

  • Gives you content to talk about
  • Shows that you are not just a business but rather a community partner
  • Ties in to deals. Donate to this cause and receive 10% off any one entrée.

 

There are literally thousands of causes out there.
Small businesses in particular should choose a cause that supports the local community.

 

5. Your blog is your solution. How does your business influence the holiday season? Do you run a restaurant? Then your blog content can discuss holiday meal solutions. Not everyone cooks, so maybe you offer up a complete holiday dinner. Hot and ready for your dinner table, only $12.99 per. What about writing a blog sharing your cooking tips? Come on, celebrity chefs do it. Write a blog post and give your readers a great recipe to include with their holiday meal.

 

6. Appreciate the people who make it possible. You can offer all the deals in the world and share all the helpful hints you can think of. The easiest thing to do though is be thankful. The fans of your business likely spend their money with you and make you successful. So do you want a brilliant idea to talk about in your seasonal social media content? Take the time to write your fans/customers a letter. You can say “thank you” when they make purchases with you. However, even a paragraph about how much their patronage means to you will do wonders. People love to feel like they are part of something and love to feel their efforts are worth something. Let them know you appreciate them, because the truth is without them you wouldn’t be in business.

 

Creating Content Over the Holidays: 6 Tips For The Other People

So that was a look at some ways businesses can optimize their social media posts during the holiday season. Not everyone runs a business though. Remember we discussed letting far away family and friends know you are thinking of them? Amid shopping, and kid’s school concerts, and pretending you want to be stuck at work during the holidays – how can you do the most to be sociable?

 

1. Time management and relevance. Just like the small business owner, you are busy. If you have kids they have school activities. You have to take care of your Christmas shopping. I can go on and on with the extra tasks that the holiday season puts upon us. Make a schedule though and find the time to reach out to the important people in your life. Don’t forget to wish your old friends a happy holiday or to share photos of your kids with Santa.

At the same time post things that are relevant. Everyone loves to share a crazy news story or funny photo, but is this the best use of your time? If you are bargaining your time online then focus on your holiday social media posts and leave the other stuff for after the New Year.

 
2. Extend your reach. It can be hard when families are apart of distance comes between old friends. That is just a reality of life and the holiday time makes it harder. Social media has opened up a new way to bridge these gaps. Sure it won’t bring your family to the same house for Christmas dinner, but it can allow you to interact just the same. Share holiday photos on Facebook and Instagram. Have you thought about video recording your kids opening their gifts on Christmas and sharing it with far away family? Just as the internet and social media are popular ways for businesses to reach out, the everyday person can use it for the same reason.

 
3.  Theme your blog content. While you may not be a business owner, it is very possible you run a successful blog. What is it about? Let’s use cooking as an example. The holiday seasons deal a lot with food. No kidding, right? Theme your cooking blog though to the holiday in question.

  • July 4th- The best homemade Bar-B-Q sauce to complete any meat you can grill
  • Halloween- Spooky sugar cookie ghosts your kids will never fear
  • Thanksgiving- spruce up boring mashed potatoes with
  • Christmas- Holiday treats for guests of every taste

 

These are examples but they make the point. Just as you decorate different ways for each holiday theme, your blog content should share that same theme.

 
4. Give the gift of you. During holiday time people can read the same boring blogs about the same boring topics. Before sitting down at the keyboard and typing up your next blog, think about you. What sets you apart? Why do people read your blog in the first place? Don’t give your readers the same run of the mill stuff that everyone else is doing, put your personality into it.

And you may be thinking “my blog is about sports betting (just an example) how does that relate to Christmas?” The simple answer is it doesn’t. Now the trick is to put a spin on it and figure out how it can. You write a highly successful blog here, right? Then you must be a creative person. So use that creativity and find ways to theme your posts to relate to the season at hand. It may take some extra thought, but it will be unique. Guess what unique does? It gets people’s attention.

 
5. Don’t overdo it. Sure this is all about getting the most out of your seasonal social media and blog content. The thing to remember though is if that seasonal time can mean 4th of July, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. All of these times are times in which giving the most of you to your family is important. So by all means share the necessary photos and send the cheerful holiday wishes. Know when you are done though. Plan all of your seasonal social media activity ahead of time so when the holiday arrives you can step away from the computer and enjoy some valuable family time.
 

6. Open up shop. You may not be a business owner; however the holiday season can be the perfect time to do some business. Seasonal items can bring in extra money for the holiday season. The thing about them is they serve a limited market. These are things like crafts, baked goods, snow removal, decorating services, lawn care, and mobile auto detailing. Granted some of these like lawn care and auto detailing can be done year round in warmer climates like the South West. Nonetheless, these types of businesses while hectic to run, can bring in a lot of extra money.

So how does social media play into these seasonal businesses? You are not opening a storefront, and you’re not designing a website just to sell stuff for three months. Sites like Facebook are a great alternative to a web based store. In fact it can be better. You can show photos and descriptions of each of your products and interact with customers. Facebook sharing features allows your items to be shared with anyone. You post a photo of your item, your sister shares it to ten people; at least six of them share it with four people. Get the idea?

 

Use these tips to get your seasonal business going on Facebook and other social media posting sites.

 

  • Post regularly and be active. Your business has a shelf life (sorry to say it) so overkill is not a bad thing in this sense. You are trying to sell as much as possible in a small window of time.
  • Do not use your personal accounts. Nobody needs to see a funny high school reunion photo in-between your product posts.

 

  • Consider the ad tools that Facebook and others offer. It may cost you a few dollars but the return can more than compensate it. Come on, where else can you get online ad space for under $30.00?

 

All in all, social media and blog posts are about being social—no matter the season. A little thought and a lot of heart will take you a long way.

 

social media

2014 Success #6: A Guide on Powerful Social Media Success in the New Year

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Google Plus+
  5. Pinterest
  6. Tumblr
  7. Flickr
  8. VK
  9. Instagram
  10. DeviantArt
  11. MySpace
  12. CafeMom
  13. Tagged
  14. Meetup
  15. LiveJournal

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.