Posts Tagged ‘social media marketing’
Are your social media efforts paying off? Only if you know what to measure.
The proof that social media marketing works is not measured in ROI or sales but rather in retention and what happens as a result of your social media marketing efforts.
The frequent questions executives and business owners ask are: “How much money will I make?” and “How many new sales will I have? While logical, these questions are not necessarily the right questions. With social media, it is not how much you make but how much of a difference your social media efforts make to attract new customers.
Even though social media has great potential, many organizations do not properly integrate social media in their marketing and communication efforts. The underlining point is that social media is not a one-way communication channel, but instead a medium for listening, analyzing, and driving those conversations.
The companies that realize the full potential of social media are not only experimenting with multiple channels, but also creating metrics to measure impact and using new tools to understand how to enter into a new conversation with their customers.
How does an organization gain not only an understanding of their audience’s social network but know when and how to reach out to a customer or prospect?
- Gain Expertise and Validation
Range of Social Relationships
Jen Roberts offers her scientific break-down from a customer perspective of their interest in being ‘friends’ with your organization as follows:
- Don’t talk to me. Ever. I’m still recovering from our last encounter.
- I don’t want to be your friend but I do need answers. Where can I find them?
- I like you and I’ve clicked a button.
- I like you and love discounts. Let’s talk.
- I love you and I want to co-create.
Benefits of Social Media
One of the benefits of social media is that it can help reinforce existing ties and that is one way of looking at consumer relationship; the strength of that tie between the consumer and your brand. Analyzing and filtering for consumer insights or preferences is a critical piece for surfacing consumer intentions that can provide a unique perspective on the degree to which a consumer wants to be engaged.
Adding videos to your blog and your business website can be a great way to share new information with your consumers. It’s a quick and easy way to make your business website more personal, valuable, and interesting to your consumers.
If you have a high-involvement product that requires educating your consumer, it can work against you to have a lot of copy in your website trying to explain it. Consumers don’t want to put forth a lot of effort once they reach your website. You have less than a few seconds to grab their attention, and an even shorter amount of time to convince them you have a solid product.
Using videos is not only a fun, easy, and quick way to explain your product, but it is a great way to increase your social media marketing activity. The amount of users on video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo give you a great opportunity to reach broader audiences.
Once you post a video on your website, people have the ability to share it with others. Because videos by nature are just easier to understand than large blocks of copy, information is more likely to get passed on.
What kinds of videos you should post
There are so many things you can use a well-constructed video for. You can have a page on your website filled with videos like:
- How-To’s and tutorials
- News and press
- Product information
- Product demonstrations
- Customer video responses
Using videos for this kind of information gives your customers a little more value. Watching someone in their own consumer market talk about your product will do a lot more for your credibility than just reading about it on your website and seeing a picture.
How it Helps Social Media Marketing
Once you post a few videos, you’ll start to see how much easier it is to share information verbally rather than through written words. Set up a YouTube channel and have people subscribe to it. By embracing the myriad of ways you can use social media, you will be able to build up a larger consumer base and your consumers will be more interested in interacting with your company.
As prices all around us begin to rise, we start to get a little uneasy about budgets, pricing, and expenditures. Even though everyone is saying the economy is on the rise and us small business owners are on the upward trend, it’s always smart to cut your budget where you can afford.
Michale Kraus, a blogger, retail consultant, and marketing expert, wrote a great post for allbusiness.com that discusses a few ways you can cut your budget as a small business owner. Using these methods can not only save you money, but will be able to drive traffic to your business, convert leads into sales, and help your business grow in general.
Here are a few tips from Kraus:
I continue to push the social media for two reasons:
- It’s free
- A whole generation of consumers live on social media
The evidence is mounting that social media does create awareness and can drive sales. And with 500 million Facebook users, not to mention millions of Twitter users,the growth of group buying sites like Groupon and Living Social, there are a lot of reasons to jump into the fray.
Reaching out to your existing customers is key. After all, they already shop with you, so why not tap into this important market and give them a reason to visit? You can offer a deal, or perhaps your messaging is about a new line you brought in. Whatever you do, make sure you’re not spamming your best customers with too many emails, since you risk alienating them — and that’s something you cannot afford to do in this fragile economy.
There’s no better way to communicate with a customer and get them back into your store sooner than with a bounce back offer. Hand them a simple printed postcard or other piece when they’re at the cash wrap. Then tell them about the offer (usually it’s good for a discount then next time they visit). The beauty is that you specify the offer and the time period they can get the deal. So push it out four weeks to drive traffic back into your store. Double down and use social media to remind everyone about the card they’re holding and when it’s valid.
Many small business owners are already taking advantage of the power of social media in their marketing efforts, but many are unaware of the tools social media has to increase internal communications and productivity within your company.
As an entrepreneur, one of your main priorities is maintaining proactive communication among your employees. In order to lead an entrepreneurial venture, everyone needs to have a sense of alignment with each other rather than a hierarchical system. This can only happen with an effective amount of communication.
Using Social Media in the Office
Many companies use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media channels to promote internal networking and encourage collaboration among different departments. This encourages stakeholders to participate and express their opinions. It gives everyone in your company a voice and an ability to be a part of the big picture – which is the key to having a great team and a successful company.
Instant visibility is one of the most useful aspects of social media. Posting something on a group wall is effective in that everyone can see it right away. Using file sharing techniques such as Google Docs or other programs is also useful that way various people can view, edit, and share important documents rather than waiting for documents to get passed around the office for approval – and you save paper!
Also, because many companies are using social media marketing, it can be beneficial for everyone in the company to have access and sharing ability on channels such as Facebook. That way, if any conversations come up about the company or the products the company offers, everyone can see it right away and take that information into account when making future product or marketing decisions.
Because everyone would be involved, have a voice, and have the visibility necessary – it can lead to an increase in collaboration and productivity. These are great assets to promote in a business setting because collaboration and efficiency can be your keys to increased revenue and profit.
Budding entrepreneurs are often faced with the ultimate barrier – having money to make money. While most mentors encourage entrepreneurs to use family, friends, savings accounts, and credit cards for startup capital, there are other alternatives to raising funds.
Here are a few options you have as alternatives to maxing out your credit cards or bumming funds from family and friends:
Do not pull out from your employer
If you are one of those budding entrepreneurs who finds opportunity inspired by a lack in your day job, you may have heard that it’s important to pull out from your employer in order to focus on your business plan. However, if you’re struggling to find capital to start up your business, your most prudent option is probably to keep your day job. You may have to work long nights as it usually takes just as much focus and work to finalize your business plan as it would to work 9-5 day job.
Just make sure your new venture isn’t getting in the way of your day job because scattering your efforts can lead you to mediocre performance in all areas rather than excellent performance in one main focus.
Pay your employees first
If you have already pulled out from your employer and have a fledgling company already up and going, it might be your best option to use the income from your acquired clients to finance your business expansion, rather than to seek external financing. Bootstrapping is an effective way to use your cash flow, at least temporarily. In order to put your company profits back into the business rather than your bank account, you’ll need to cut your expenses and really focus on acquiring leads.
There are many ways to cut expenses, like working from home rather than an office or even exercising deferred compensation with your suppliers.
As you are starting your own business, raising capital can be your number one priority as a business owner. Make sure you’re doing everything possible to cut expenses. You can easily cut your marketing budget by using social media marketing as your main channel for lead generation and brand awareness.
If you own a small business, have a business website, and practice an effective amount of social media marketing, you should be well on your way to building a strong and loyal customer base.
Some small business owners however, start to experience a mass unsubscribing or unliking movement by their leads. As if all of their leads got together and decided to stick it to them by either completely ignoring the lead nurturing efforts, or unsubscribing all together.
Why does this happen?
There are a few reasons why people may ignore your updates, emails, and offers. However, the first and most important step you need to take in solving this problem is to be honest with yourself and see if you are doing anything to drive your leads away.
Email marketing mistakes
According to Entrepreneur.com, “the trigger that prompts 54% of consumers to unsubscribe is when the offending company bombards a subscriber’s email with too many marketing messages.”
So, are you bombarding your subscribers? If you are constantly sending emails without any valuable content in them, there is no doubt that they will eventually unsubscribe or ignore you completely.
You can fix this problem by asking for feedback about what kind of information they would like to receive on a regular basis, and by offering some deals and some incentive for your leads to actually open and read the emails you send them. Again, it’s about quality not quantity.
Social media marketing mistakes
The majority of Facebook users have “liked” a business page or two during their membership. Unfortunately, almost half of those who have liked a business page rarely if ever visit it.
“Not surprisingly, excessive posting accounts for 44% of the decision to ‘unlike,’ while 43% of Facebook users indicate their account is too crowded with brands” according to Entrepreneur.com.
The basic remedy for this problem is caring about your customers. People want a brand that cares about what they like, what they don’t like, what they want to know, and what they don’t want t o know. As long as you interact with people who “like” your business page on Facebook, they will interact with you and trust your brand.
You just need to make sure you are limiting your posts and providing engaging conversations and offers.
Having a small business can be very rewarding but it can also be stressful. If you are having trouble getting the amount of traffic your small business needs, it is time to invest in a small business website. Having a website is becoming a mandatory facet of success for any business. Once your business website is set up, you should begin a social media marketing campaign.
We’ve all heard the buzz about how important it is to invest time into social media. With these tips, you can learn exactly how to execute a campaign that will create enough word-of-mouth marketing that people will notice your business website and make the commitment to buy from you, not your competitors.
Learn to listen
Social media really is all about the social experience. If you want to gain more customers, you need to establish relationships online. It’s no different than establishing a relationship in person. You wouldn’t just walk up to someone and say “here’s my business card, buy my product.” You would take the time to get to know that person’s interests before offering to help with a particular problem. This is why it is important to listen to your target audience rather than bombard your audience with links and offers.
If you spend all of your time on Facebook posting links and advertisements, people will ignore you. There is enough advertising clutter throughout every day of our lives, we don’t need it when we log into a social network as well. People will only be interested in what you have to offer if it is valuable to them. As a small business owner it’s a given that you know a lot about your product and your industry. Share some of that information. If you give people a reason to listen to what you have to say, you’ve made it half way. After you get an audience’s attention, the selling is easy.
If you own a small business and have a business website, you’re probably doing pretty well for yourself. After all the economy should be mending soon and you should have already done your homework and found a product that solves a specific problem within the market.
Now, the only difficult part after setting up your small business website is marketing it so that you gain some traffic flow and hopefully increase your revenue stream. This is where social media kicks in. Social media can help you cut marketing costs, build relationships, and network with other people both in your industry and in completely unrelated fields.
Social Media Marketing
Entrepreneur.com wrote a recent article about how to treat social media marketing like a cocktail party. I love this idea because it promotes the concept of social media as a fun, relaxing environment where people come to converse, network, get to know each other, etc. It’s no tradeshow where people are bombarded with free trinkets and obnoxious displays.
Entrepreneur.com goes on to say that in order for your social media presence to have any value, you need to focus on other people’s interests and needs. This should be a given because as an entrepreneur you should always be paying attention to people’s complaints searching for an opportunity to fix them and expand.
Your role in social media is not to advertise your existence; it’s supposed to be a tool to measure the preferences and behaviors of your target market. What better survey than the one your consumers completed on their own time and on their own volition?
According to Entrepreneur.com:
“Online marketing specialists say small businesses like yours are well-positioned to make their customers and fans feel they are the center of the conversation, via social media.”
Starting your own business can be difficult. What’s even more difficult is getting the attention of your consumers after you’ve established your business. Developing a brand reputation is tricky business. Thankfully, there are some answers.
Building your brand is so much more than having a solid business website and a Facebook page. Many new business owners tend to focus on the aesthetic appeal of their business’s presentation. If it’s online however, you should be focusing more on interacting with your customers than your appearance.
It’s a 2-way street
I was told the other day that advertisers are starting to omit the word “advertising” from their strategies. It’s now “strategic communication,” the point being – it is now a way to communicate the benefits of your business to your consumers AND to encourage communication from your consumers themselves.
In order for people to consider your company worth associating with, they need to be able to trust you. Customer skepticism and competitive clutter is worse than ever before, so you should be giving your consumers every reason possible to trust you.
As for social media, it’s not enough to simply have a Facebook page with your business information on it. It’s more about the social media experience for consumers who visit your page.
Ed Roach, founder of The Brand Experts, a brand management consultancy in Ontario says:
“Social media has one very important perspective to share with brand management—the conversation. Like branding, social media is all about the conversation and building effective relationships. They are perfectly suited to one another.”
The online market
Having your business available online is extremely crucial. However, you need to be tactful and smart because the online marketplace is extremely crowded and heavily cluttered with junk. It’s important to be persistent when marketing your brand online.
“Marketers struggle with differentiation because they give up too soon,” says Derrick Daye, managing partner of The Blake Project. “They think that this can’t be differentiated, it can’t be unique.”
You have to be creative with your marketing strategy. Figure out what makes your company different, and zero in on those attributes.
If you feel like your business’s marketing strategy is lacking and your business is not getting the attention it needs, it is important to review the skills you need to market your products and services effectively.
Marketing takes a certain amount of skill and tact. You have to know what works and what doesn’t before you create your marketing strategy. Here are a few characteristic skills you need to hone before your marketing efforts see any results.
Marketing and sales must work together
While it is important to distinguish the fact that marketing and sales are two very different avenues for a business owner to explore, they also need to coincide with a common goal. Your marketing team should respect the values and experiences of your sales team.
Sales people work with customers much more often. A successful sales person knows more about the target audience and loyal consumer than any well-researched marketer out there because sales people witness customer feedback firsthand. While your marketing strategy should still focus on gaining customer loyalty and increasing your brand equity, consulting with the sales people in your company can provide a unique perspective, and give a voice to the consumer.
Understanding social media marketing
It is also extremely important to have a clear understanding of the power of social media marketing. A social media marketing strategy should be implemented over the span of one to two years. Any results before that time will be minimal. While you may be a little apprehensive at the idea of putting forth effort for a year or two without expecting results, be aware that social media marketing can increase your brand’s reputation, your search engine rankings, and if done properly – your revenue stream.
If you choose to implement a social media marketing strategy, choose a few main channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and a blog. Use these channels to connect with your audience and gather as much information and feedback as you can. If your audience is convinced that your brand is there to help better the quality of their lives, you will have a leg up on your competition who, by the way, is probably already on Facebook.