Posts Tagged ‘social media’
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.
Using social media is becoming one of the most popular strategies to retain customers that visit your business website. By directing your viewers to your Facebook page or Twitter account, you have opened the door of opportunity to continue communication with customers who have left your website without purchasing.
Your business website needs a way to direct people to your social media channels, to encourage communication between your customers and your brand. By including links to your social media pages on your website, you make it easier for you customer to learn everything they can about your product, and read why other customers are happy with what you have to offer.
Have social media buttons on your home page
In order to guide people to your Facebook page or Twitter account, have social media buttons on your homepage in plain view. Many online shoppers actually prefer spending time among social media platforms rather than business websites because social media is comfortable, familiar, and eliminates the customer’s wariness of salespeople.
Rich Brooks, of Social Media Examiner says;
“Many companies now see the long-term benefits of gaining a follower, fan or subscriber on a social media platform, even weighed against the short-term risk of sending them away from the website.”
The buttons should open up your social media sites in a new window. Because you’re sending your potential customers to a site other than your own website, having them open in a new window gives the customer easier access and incentive to return to your business website.
Why social media works
Having a social media presence so readily available to your consumers is a huge advantage because your consumer base is interested in what goes on behind the scenes in your company. By posting photos, videos, product tests, special offers, and anything else you can think of that’s fresh and new, you give your company a more personal touch.
Having a personal touch is the best way to have a leg up on your competitors. Your social media platforms will really show the true personality behind your brand.
Having a business website can be a huge cost advantage and very profitable. However, there are some downsides to it. For example, having a brick and mortar location in a high-traffic area can get you some great sales, but how do you get people to notice you on the web?
As a small business, you need to devote most of your time towards marketing your website to consumers that need your products or services. You just don’t get the natural traffic that larger brand names have and because of that – you have to work a little harder.
It’s difficult to stand out on the web, but in order to appear higher up on a Google search (clearly a priority since most people never search past the second or third page of search results), work on your search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of weaving popular search keywords into your copy so Google is more likely to rank your website above others when people are searching for something that relates to your brand, product, or service.
You can also use social media to your advantage by working a Twitter page or a Facebook page. Once you find people talking about issues that relate to what you’re selling, you can jump into the conversation and provide a solution. For example if you run a daycare business, listen to people speaking about the trials of having young children, join the conversation and offer a solution.
If your site is easy to navigate, provides fresh (continuously updated) content, and unobtrusively directs people towards purchasing your product, you’re well on your way to having a profitable web presence. Your site must look professional, organized, and trustworthy. For example, if you can’t take quality pictures of your product, ask your supplier to send you some images you are allowed to use on your website.
There are so many little things you can do to engage your customers and encourage people to buy from your website and not your competitors. Take the time to review what you have, and invest the time to improve your business website and current market position.
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.
If you are considering venturing out and starting your own business, you may be looking for some great ideas; one up and coming trend that is booming in the online commerce industry is social gaming. While Farmville on Facebook set the trend, many new social games are close behind.
Why social gaming can make you money
Social gaming is a huge trend. It is especially profitable because the target market that is now participating in social games is the younger Gen-Y group. This group has grown up with e-commerce and is much more comfortable with online transactions and are more often than not Internet consumers.
It is important to note that even though the middle aged generation may have more purchasing power and may be an easier market to target, the middle aged generation expresses much more hesitance when it comes to making monetary transactions online – which is why it is so important to hone in on those already making purchases via the Internet.
Social gaming is successful because the market enjoys playing virtual games, period. When a game gives an incentive to advance further and reap more rewards through a game (by way of paying a small fee of real money), it gives the gamer that much more of an incentive to spend money online.
How to make it work
If you choose to develop a social game, always make sure that your incentives for gamers to make purchases are valuable. Buying virtual goods can be a huge revenue source for you, so you should design your game around these virtual goods while also providing an exceptional customer experience.
For example, I mentioned in an earlier post about a company that allows users to build villages by buying virtual goods. The company uses the revenue made from users buying these goods to actually supply and build villages in need in Uganda. Once these goods have been purchased and delivered, the company will post and tag photos of these deliveries to keep the users involved. The users feel as if their purchases have value and rewards – a great way to give users an incentive to continue purchasing.
You will never make money online if you don’t give people a reason to buy. By involving your consumers in the bigger picture and making them feel like they are a part of something much more important than a simple online transaction, your business model will excel.
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.”
Besides the fact that many people are reporting an improvement in the economy, there are so many reasons why you should set up your own business. There are plenty of problems in the market, if you could set up a business focusing on solving that problem, you’re good to go.
Allbusiness.com wrote a great article on the top 10 things small businesses can be thankful for, so I’m going to give you 5 of these blessings as reasons you should go into business right away.
You are your own boss.
The best part of running a small company has always been that you’re in business for yourself, not someone else. So go ahead, take Friday off — the boss won’t mind. You are a part of a team that shares a vision. You focus on innovation, motivation, achieving the same goal as your peers – rather than an administrative environment where everyone is focused on meeting deadlines and climbing their way up the ladder.
Small is the new large.
Revolutionary changes in technology — including the increasing consumerization of business tech, the rise of cloud computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) are dramatically cutting the cost of equipping a business and building a computing infrastructure. Best of all, these trends seem tailor-made for the needs of small businesses — especially startups — not saddled with the legacy systems that can hinder many older, larger companies.
The economy really is getting better.
No doubt about it, things are still tough for many people, but there are more and more positive signs out there, boding well for companies large and small. The major stock market indexes have shown surprising strength, credit card issuers report that delinquencies have slowed, and U.S. retail sales currently stand at their highest level in more than two years. That’s all good news for small businesses, especially consumer-facing firms. Even as most prices small businesses pay remain low, some small businesses are reporting that they’ve been able to increase profits by raising prices.
The Internet and social media.
From Facebook to Twitter to eBay to email marketing, the Internet‘s impact on small business is impossible to overstate. The Internet has made it possible for even the smallest companies to sell their products and services around the world, to work with suppliers and employees in remote locations, and to inexpensively market to millions (or billions) of people at once. On the Web nobody knows you’re a small business — in many ways you’re competing on a level playing field with the Fortune 500. And that’s not all. The Web also makes it easy to get the information you need to make your business successful — not to mention network with your peers for advice and support.
Small business owners have the privilege of leading some of the most dedicated, resourceful, productive workers in the world. And unlike large multinational corporations, small businesses often get the opportunity to work directly in cooperative teams with their employees, free of much of the bureaucracy and red tape that hobble bigger organizations.
There has been a tidal wave of blog posts throughout cyberspace discussing the idea that a business does not necessarily need to have its own website if it is able to effectively establish relationships via social media. While social media can be very effective in marketing your product, I am here to tell you why a business website is an absolute must.
Your website is just about equivalent to your brick-and-mortar location in real life. It is a location where people end up (hopefully – if you’ve optimized your website correctly) after seeking out your product or service, receive viable information, and make the decision of whether or not to commit and purchase.
Your website should have your brand personality written all over it. It should be professional, and reflect what your business is all about. Facebook and Twitter can be very limiting in this aspect. Also, customers are used to shopping online from an actual website. Do you really expect people to find out all the information necessary to make a purchase from you on Facebook? You should use Facebook to guide people to where the magic happens – your business website.
You need to have a website that users can trust and give people incentive to give you their email accounts so you can follow up with promotions and personal offers. Social media is so open and public that people should very well be hesitating to make high-involvement purchase decisions after reading a few wall posts on Facebook.
You don’t own your social media site
It’s important to understand that while you have many options to customize your Facebook and Twitter profiles, they are still third-party sites. If people are discussing your brand or product, it seems a little silly to refer people to your Facebook profile rather than your business website, it’s less professional.
This isn’t to say you should disregard the potential social media has to generate your leads. You absolutely should establish relationships and participate in conversations through social media, but ultimately, you should be driving those leads and conversations toward your business website, that’s where the transactions should ultimately take place. Your business website is your property and it represents your brand, use it wisely.