The Best Posts for Each Social Media Account

It’s a well-known fact that social media has become a crucial part of modern marketing. I don’t need to waste your time preaching this to you. We are constantly reading and hearing about the importance of being engaged on Facebook and Twitter to build our brand. Nobody, however, seems to have an answer for how exactly we should engage on these social networks.

“Make sure you are active on social media and post engaging content!” Okay great, but how exactly do I do this? After doing our own research on what works and what doesn’t when posting to social media, we have discovered the best ways to use each unique platform. The best way to get your page noticed and improve your fan engagement is to stand out. Post what others aren’t posting. People are always mindlessly scrolling through their feeds until they see something worthy of stopping and looking. Here are the best ways to accomplish this with each platform.

Facebook

For the average Facebook user, much of their News Feed will consist of status updates that feature just text with an occasional photo or video. To compete with these posts, it is important to be as visual as possible. Promoting a holiday sale or new offer should not just be a simple sentence. Create a nice visual like a photo or graphic that can go along with your text. The same goes for linking to an article or blog. Just including the URL link will not draw in a lot of eyes. Be sure the link includes a clickable image that users’ eyes will be drawn to.

LinkedIn

Typically, your LinkedIn feed will be filled with notifications that people have new connections, skills or jobs. If you follow “influencers” you are likely to see a large number of links to articles and maybe some infographics. Posting content similar to what your influencers post won’t nearly be enough. Mix it up! Throw in an update with just text to stand out from the rest. In our experience, updates with just text received the most attention of any other post type on LinkedIn. It’s possible that this is because too many links and articles can appear spammy. A post that is honest advice without being clickbait is refreshing to many LinkedIn users. Being visual is great but sometimes it’s necessary to change things up.

Twitter

For a business on Twitter, you must not lose sight of why people followed you in the first place. Most likely it was to learn more and not to be advertised to. Tweeting out informative bits like statistics or industry advice is a great way to earn favorites and retweets. Like all social networks, Twitter is flooded with links to try and earn click-throughs. Keep your followers guessing by posting different types of content on a regular basis. Links to your blog will be great for driving web traffic, but it will be the interesting and informative tweets that earn the most retweets and boost your visibility.

Check out our last post on product launches.

The Best Posts for Each Social Media Account

It’s a well-known fact that social media has become a crucial part of modern marketing. I don’t need to waste your time preaching this to you. We are constantly reading and hearing about the importance of being engaged on Facebook and Twitter to build our brand. Nobody, however, seems to have an answer for how exactly we should engage on these social networks.

“Make sure you are active on social media and post engaging content!” Okay great, but how exactly do I do this? After doing our own research on what works and what doesn’t when posting to social media, we have discovered the best ways to use each unique platform. The best way to get your page noticed and improve your fan engagement is to stand out. Post what others aren’t posting. People are always mindlessly scrolling through their feeds until they see something worthy of stopping and looking. Here are the best ways to accomplish this with each platform.

Facebook

For the average Facebook user, much of their News Feed will consist of status updates that feature just text with an occasional photo or video. To compete with these posts, it is important to be as visual as possible. Promoting a holiday sale or new offer should not just be a simple sentence. Create a nice visual like a photo or graphic that can go along with your text. The same goes for linking to an article or blog. Just including the URL link will not draw in a lot of eyes. Be sure the link includes a clickable image that users’ eyes will be drawn to.

LinkedIn

Typically, your LinkedIn feed will be filled with notifications that people have new connections, skills or jobs. If you follow “influencers” you are likely to see a large number of links to articles and maybe some infographics. Posting content similar to what your influencers post won’t nearly be enough. Mix it up! Throw in an update with just text to stand out from the rest. In our experience, updates with just text received the most attention of any other post type on LinkedIn. It’s possible that this is because too many links and articles can appear spammy. A post that is honest advice without being clickbait is refreshing to many LinkedIn users. Being visual is great but sometimes it’s necessary to change things up.

Twitter

For a business on Twitter, you must not lose sight of why people followed you in the first place. Most likely it was to learn more and not to be advertised to. Tweeting out informative bits like statistics or industry advice is a great way to earn favorites and retweets. Like all social networks, Twitter is flooded with links to try and earn click-throughs. Keep your followers guessing by posting different types of content on a regular basis. Links to your blog will be great for driving web traffic, but it will be the interesting and informative tweets that earn the most retweets and boost your visibility.

Facebook Instant Articles: A New Marketing Obstacle

Some major changes are about to be made to Facebook and your news feed. Over the course of the next month, the social media giant will begin incorporating “Instant Articles”. This new feature will allow people to view an article without actually leaving Facebook’s website. Rather than waiting for the new page to load after clinking the link to an article, the Instant Article will appear without any load time. A video promoting this new feature is on Facebook’s website.

 

There’s no denying that this new feature looks awesome. Viewing articles from your mobile device without any load time and with the new image viewing technology (shown in the video) will make the experience far more enjoyable. From an SEO standpoint; however, this new feature could prove to be harmful to businesses posting content to their company Facebook pages. Many fear that without any inbound links from Facebook, overall referral traffic will skydive and directly impact their rankings in Google.

http://instantarticles.fb.com/

Another cause for much concern is that the link will no longer redirect viewers to a company page where they could transition into qualified sales leads and move deeper into the buyer process. Instead, the viewer will simply read the content without even leaving Facebook and get right back to his or her news feed afterwards. Facebook gets a great end of the bargain with this change. Content producers provide the content while Facebook gets the site visitors before and after the article is read.

 

According to Kipp Bodnar of Hubspot.com, “Maintaining control of your content is key to driving long-term, sustainable business growth.” With Instant Articles, it seems like we are losing the full control of our content. Facebook is too popular of a social network to abandon completely. Maintaining brand exposure is enough reason to deal with these frustrating changes. But there is no denying that this new feature will have a negative impact on referral traffic and possibly take away from generating leads via your website.

 

One bright spot is that clicks on the articles do in fact count towards the publisher’s site traffic. Those numbers will not be negatively impacted. The lack of inbound links from Facebook on the other hand, will most likely detract from your sites authority in Google. Yet another obstacle that marketers will have to overcome thanks to Facebook’s ever-changing platform.

3 Reasons Why LinkedIn is a Marketer’s Best Friend

It’s no secret that Facebook is by far the most popular social network out there. With 1.19 billion monthly active users compared to LinkedIn’s 332 million, the discrepancy between the two is hard to miss. However, when it comes to marketing and improving yourself as a professional, LinkedIn is far and away the best tool you can use. Of course, we already know that it has the reputation as a professional networking and b2b communications website, but it is the features within the site that give it a marketing edge over Facebook.

  • Pulse

    Without even leaving LinkedIn you can become up-to-date on everything going on within your industry with their offering, Pulse. With news, blog posts and articles written by your favorite business leaders, you are able to create a custom newsfeed that presents you with only the most relevant content. Pulse is a great tool for reading about new marketing fads and learning new approaches to social media and marketing as a whole while reading advice from some of the most successful people in the world. Want some ideas on how to improve your approach to business or just some ideas for your next blog? This is a great place to look.

  • Groups

    Similar to Pulse, joining groups is a great way to find content that can help generate new ideas for your company. The only difference is, this is also a space for you to contribute new ideas and even market your brand. The majority of the posts are links to group member’s blogs so in a way, groups are all about promoting your company, without a hard sell. This, however is disguised as the sharing of advice or insight into a particular topic. A great way to utilize the group feature is to follow groups relevant to what you do. For instance, if you’re the digital marketing manager for a wealth management company, there will likely be a group revolving around generating new ideas for these companies.

  • Posting Content

    Just like Facebook, LinkedIn has its own news feed but considering the reputation and purpose of this social network, your business-related posts are more visible. Links, articles and shared content do not need to compete for space with videos of cats or status updates about someone’s wild weekend like it would on Facebook. Instead, everything shown on LinkedIn’s news feed is professional and business related. Posting to LinkedIn rather than Facebook is a simple way to weed out most of the irrelevant impressions your post might receive. That way you know you’re reaching people that will actually be interested in your content.

These days it seems like everyone puts the majority of their focus into Facebook and building their audience on just the one platform. If you aren’t paying much attention to LinkedIn, it’s never too late to start. From a marketing standpoint, it is your best friend. Content generation, growing your brand and b2b networking is made easy if you just use the tools effectively.

Social Media and the Consumer Voice

I recently came across an article written by Mark Hurd, the CEO of Oracle Corporation. In his piece, he details the importance of “customer-obsessed marketing” and the ways in which it can bring a competitive advantage to companies. He credits Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the rise in importance of customer involvement.

With social media, there are newfound expectations from customers for personalized content and quick response rates. Those expectations are warranted given that social media is a great tool for meeting the demands of customers in real time. How can businesses use these growing demands to their own advantage?

Well, reading this article made me want to explore some of the companies that have already realized the importance of customer-obsessed marketing.

One marketing campaign came to mind almost immediately. In 2012 Lay’s began running an annual contest called “Do Us a Flavor” where contestants were asked to come up with a new Lay’s potato chip flavor using up to 3 ingredients.

The contest was/has been an undeniable crowdsourcing success. Participation not only boosted customer involvement on social media, but it also generated new ideas for the company. What better way to brainstorm than using millions of minds rather than just a small group around a table?

The contest has allowed customers to see that Lay’s is listening to them and their requests. In the meantime, new and exciting products are being released on a yearly basis thanks to this contest.

Another company that has capitalized on social media’s capabilities and harnessed customer-obsessed marketing is JetBlue. Using social media, JetBlue has excelled in meeting customer demands and earned a reputation as one of the airline industry’s best in terms of customer loyalty.

They do so by quickly and effectively responding to customers’ complaints and questions on Twitter and Facebook. When you mention their brand on Twitter, they will notice and they will more than likely respond if you have an issue or question about your flight status.

Responding to customers quickly and effectively leaves a lasting impact on the customer. It lets them know that the company hasn’t forgotten its purpose, which is to make the customer happy.

Here at DME, we may not be as large or well-known as JetBlue and Lay’s however, there are ideas and practices that we can take away from these two companies.

One major takeaway is that listening to your customers can improve your customer service reputation through word of mouth. When people can see that you listen and respond to your customers and act on what they say, it builds trust and customer loyalty. Listening to your customers can also can generate great ideas for your company including new products, services and approaches to business.

Social media then, is more than just a way to market the company. It’s also a tool that allows you to communicate with an audience that wants you to hear what they have to say. It’s a tool that can benefit both the consumer and the seller.

How has social media helped you communicate with customers or businesses?

 

5 Tips to Create a Sustainable Social Media Marketing Plan

In business, social media has long been thought of as something that is expendable. It’s an afterthought. Something that will be taken care of when we get through with all of the other ever-present things that consume our waking hours spent at work. But as marketers and non-marketers alike have learned, that is simply not the case anymore. Having a social media marketing plan adds to your exposure, leads to increased sales and makes your brand an integral part of your consumer’s life.

Here are some tips to creating a successful social media marketing plan:

 

1. Plan ahead

Don’t wait till the day or moment of to configure a post or come up with content. If you do this, you are stuck with whatever you can find in a time crunch. Your schedule is busy, so you may not have the time to look right then. Instead, try to carve out an hour or two a week to gather content and schedule posts. That way your social media marketing plan can be adjusted on an ongoing basis. Use a program like HootSuite (it’s free!) to schedule posts across platforms. That way, when you get caught up working a project, social media won’t be on your to-do list.

2. Be Consistent

At the minimum, on most platforms, you should post daily. Some platforms, like Twitter or Snapchat, may require more attention. Know the time requirements before you commit your brand to one platform over another. A worse thing than not having a social media account is dead air. So keep this in mind when creating your social media marketing plan. When I am making a purchase, the first thing I do is view a company’s social media accounts. This tells me what they are like, if there are coupons and what people are saying about them. If I see a company hasn’t posted in a year or even a month… I write them off. It’s important to consistently upkeep your accounts with posts and interesting information.

3. The 80/20 Rule

While in a round-about way social media is a sales platform, it’s not in the traditional sense. Do not make the mistake of only posting your own content, or only trying to push your agenda. Share useful tips from other sources, post a funny picture or join in on a current viral trend. Also, consumers use most social media platforms for their personal lives, so be personal. Here you are not just a brand, you are people and individuals. Share pictures from company events and highlight employees. Put faces to the brand.  Eighty percent of your content should fall into these categories, only 20% should be sales content.

 4. Talk Back

Another big mistake that is made by companies is not interacting with their fans and followers. This is not a one way form of communication, so don’t treat it as such. Likewise, understand that there will be negative comments at least once. Address them, don’t delete or ignore them. If handled the right way negative comments won’t hurt your business and can actually increase loyalty. Acknowledge the good and the bad. Most of all, show your consumers that you care about their praise and their complaints.

5. Have Fun

And the most important part: have fun! While social media can give you serious results, it’s not meant to be a serious platform. Show your humor; show your company’s personality. Formal posts have less chance of being shared and going viral, so give your fans content that they would like. Get creative with your posts and topics. Not everything has to somehow relate back to what you do. Sometimes it’s enough to post something relevant for that time.

 

A social media marketing plan is a viable way to grow your business and gain new consumers. It doesn’t have to be a complicated venture, and can be quite fun. Share your social media tips below!

Content Marketing in Its Natural Habitat

In my last blog, “Get Your Feet Wet with Content Marketing”, I detailed how to start content marketing. Today I’m in need of a diversion so let’s study content marketing in its nature habitat by looking at three of my favorite content marketers. As far as I’m concerned these three brands are getting everything right. They know their audience, their products and their platforms so let’s take a page out of their book.

 

  1. Starbucks’ Instagram

The Starbucks website’s “About Us” section notes that although Starbucks is obviously selling coffee, it’s also selling a connection, “a moment in time – just one hand reaching over the counter to present a cup to another outstretched hand.” Their Instagram account captures that connection.

Instead of posting photos of a perfect latte like you might see in the pages of a glossy magazine, they capture moments that their audience can relate to. They “regram” their follower’s photos, too and have propagated the hashtag, “#BaristaLove,” for photos of the cute writing and drawings Stabucks’ baristas leave on Starbucks cups or sleeves.

I would be lying to you if I said I’ve never been tempted to visit Starbucks after laying my eyes on one of their creative Instagram posts.  But judging by their 2,565,778 followers, I’m in good company.

 

  1. Airbnb’s Neighborhood Guides

Airbnb, founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, CA, is a growing website community where users list, discover and book unique accommodations. Airbnb has listing in 34,000 cities and 192 countries with 600,000 listing worldwide and growing! You want to stay in a castle, lighthouse or treehouse on your next vacation? You came to the right place.

I’m guilty of “window shopping” but have yet to book an Airbnb listing; however I have discovered their Neighborhood Guides. And I’m impressed. Online travel guides are nothing revolutionary but Airbnb does it right. While many websites try to pigeonhole a destination into a one page, must-see guide with a few pictures, Airbnb breaks a city up into neighborhoods( Boston has 28!) and then allows the visuals to tell the story.

You leave one of their Neighborhood Guides feeling as if you’ve gotten a taste of the locale and now want more. The way they leverage that feeling is by cataloging their most popular and visually appealing listings in that neighborhood at the bottom of each guide. This is incredibly effective, and it’s hard not to just take a peak (And can a peak REALLY hurt? I think not.). And before you know it, the reservations are made!

 

  1. King Arthur Flour’s Blog “Flourish”

King Arthur Flour, America’s oldest flour company, has been in the baking business since 1790 but their blog “Flourish” is anything but old school. The name comes from the words “Flour + Nourish” not “flour-ish” like I thought when I first read it. Pronunciations aside, this is a top notch food blog.

If the scrumptious recipes and photos aren’t enough to keep you coming back for more, main author PJ Hamel’s laid back and fun to read writing style, pop culture references, personal anecdotes and step by step photo directions should! And the icing on the cake? She actively answers and interacts with readers. Her readers feel like they matter, she made a connection with them they won’t soon forget, especially when they are standing in the flour aisle!

Read our last post on why your direct mail efforts fail.

Now it’s your turn! Who is your favorite content marketer and what lessons can we learn from them? Comment below or tweet us @DMEdelivers #DMEtips

The Number One Tip for Every Direct Marketing Professional (not what you’d expect!)

Drumroll please.

 

My number one marketing tip…make sure you have the right tools in place! Modern day marketers are expected to be responsible for a wide range of strategies and tactics, and the only way to make sure you are being efficient and effective is to know what tools are out there to help with each area. This list is by no means meant to be inclusive, but it should give you an idea of just how many resources (both paid and free) are available out there.

 

1. General SEO

(Raven Tools, Moz Suite, Majestic SEO, Ahrefs)

 

2. Technical SEO

(Screaming Frog, Xenu, Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster, Schema Creator)

 

3. CRO

(Clicktale, Visual Website Optimizer, Inspectlet, CrazyEgg, Unbounce, UsabilityHub)

 

4. Social

(Buffer, Sprout Social, Hootsuite)

 

5. Keyword Tools

(Wordstream, Ubersuggest, Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Wordtracker)

 

6. Email

(Streamsend, Mailchimp, ExactTarget, Constant Contact, Sendgrid)

 

7. Customer Feedback

(Survey Monkey, Qualaroo, SurveyGizmo, Google Forms)

 

8. Automation

(Marketo, Hubspot, Net-Results, Pardot, Silverpop, Infusionsoft)

 

9. Mobile

(Localytics, Flurry, Appboy, Appfigures)

 

10. Personalization

(Monetate, Demandbase)

 

11. Data & Analytics

(Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Kissmetrics, Geckoboard)

 

12. PPC Advertising

(Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Linkedin Ads)

 

13. Retargeting

(Adroll, Retargeter, Perfect Audience)

 

14. Content Marketing

(MyBlogGuest, StumbleUpon Paid, Contently, Scribe, Feedly)

 

15. CRM

(SugarCRM, Salesforce, Sage CRM)

 

16. PR

(Buzzstream, Vocus, HARO, PRNewswire)

 

17. Organization

(Trello, Google Drive, Dropbox, Basecamp, AtTask)

 

18. Customer Support

(Uservoice, Freshdesk, Zendesk, Happyfox)

 

19. Competitive Research

(Compete, SEMrush, SpyFu, iSpionage, Mixrank, TrackMaven)

 

20. Local SEO

(Bright Local, GetListed, Yext, Whitespark)

 

21. Chrome Extensions

(Scraper for Chrome, Moz Bar, Link Clump, Awesome Screenshot, Similar Sites)

 

22. Brand and Social Monitoring

(Google Alerts, Topsy, Social Mention, Mention)

 

23. Miscellaneous

(SenderScore, Wayback Machine, Prezi, Uberflip, Copyscape, IFTTT, Boomerang)

 

24. Bonus Tip – To get insight into some of the tools other companies are using, you can use BuiltWith. This will identify (most) of the technologies your competitors, favorite websites, and Fortune 500 companies are using.

 

25. Bonus Tip 2 – Many of the paid services mentioned in the blog post will offer a free trial – some even without a credit card. Make sure to take advantage of these trial opportunities!

 

Knowing the tools, what role each plays, which are in your budget, as well as which one(s) are right for your business can take a lot of time. It’s something that we definitely recommend every marketer take the time to research – it makes a world of difference!

 

So you have any favorite tools you don’t see on this list? Share in the comments below.

As always…happy marketing!

5 Tips for your Social Media Strategy Plan

Where should you invest your time and marketing efforts? What will have the biggest returns on your investment? Here are some helpful tips for your your social media strategy plan.

Whatever your industry or business it’s become increasingly clear that social media cannot be ignored for marketing purposes. Social media is in itself a daunting task as there is a multitude of platforms to choose from to do your social media strategy plan. Where should you invest your time and marketing efforts? What will have the biggest returns on your investment? Answers to those questions can be answered by looking internally, but here are some helpful tips for your your social media strategy plan.

 

1. Treat it as a necessary part of your business and budget

It’s easy to think of social media as something that isn’t mandatory or is something that can be handled by any employee. That is simply not true. According to a study done by Digital Insights, 4.2 billion people use their phones to access social media sites. If that doesn’t blow your mind, then… Every single second, 8,000 people like a photo on Instagram. You want to reach these people with carefully cafted messages that raises brand awareness.

 

2. Don’t spread yourself to thin

It’s best, unless you have endless resources, to focus down on a handful of social media outlets only.  Instead of spreading your manpower thin over too many networks, decide on a select few and create a clear and concise plan.  Which networks you utilize will depend on your target audience. Looking for professionals? Try LinkedIn. Targeting adults? Twitter. Looking for people 40+? Facebook. Trying to reach teens and young adults? Instagram.  With your plan in place, one person can easily update and manage 2-4 social profiles regularly. Which is number two…

 

3. Update your social media regularly

In today’s time, almost everyone utilizes social networks. We all check them multiple times a day without even thinking about it. So nothing is more confusing to customers or prospects than a company who has profiles but doesn’t update them. It gives the viewer a bad perception of your company. Maybe they went out of business or maybe nothing new is happening with the company are some of the first thoughts. Make sure if you have profiles you make the commitment of updating them at least twice a week.

 

4. Create a marketing plan ahead of time

While it may seem like an easy task of updating social media, that is not always the case. Updating twice a week and especially on a daily basis can drain your content supply pretty quickly. Therefore, it’s always helpful to have an outline of updates and the time frame for posting at your disposal. Trust me, your social media specialist will thank you.

 

5. Use them to engage your customers

It is called a network for a reason, it’s a networking opportunity. Don’t let this be a one way street, as this is a place for your customers to communicate with you. Engage them by holding contests, giveaways and responding to their comments. A company that is approachable and takes the time to speak one-on-one with customers is a successful company today.

 

While the websites and apps may change, social media shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, 76% of companies plan to increase their activities on the websites.  So what networks do you use personally? How about your business? Let us know below!

Paid Advertising and Social Media

By now we are all familiar with traditional paid advertisements on social media websites. Facebook and LinkedIn are famous for offering static advertisements on the side panels of their sites. Slowly but surely, those advertisements have trickled into the newsfeeds of patrons and have become increasingly inconspicuous. You may have noticed the word “sponsored” popping up more frequently on your pages.

Well, another social media giant jumped on the paid advertisements bandwagon recently.  Instagram, made popular by its picture sharing capabilities, is now offering paid opportunities to get your content directly in the picture feed. Because of the nature of the application and the ability to follow business accounts, users may not even notice the infiltration of advertisements into their feed. Instagram will only send advertisements your way that are tailored to your interests. A young woman may receive pictures featuring make up or designer bags and clothes, while a male may receive sports oriented images.

The first advertisement was posted by designer Michael Kors in late October and was met with mixed reviews. The post received over 229k likes compared to the designer’s average which is around 60k. In the comment section, however, users were not as nice. Posting things that ranged from “no ads please” to how this was the beginning of the end for Instagram. Since the first advertisement, other sponsored posts have been kept to a minimum, but users can expect more in the future.

Paid advertisements are nothing new in the Facebook platform, but an update in December allows videos in the feed to automatically begin playing without being clicked on.  This opens the door for sponsors to place short eye-catching clips that users won’t be able to avoid. Facebook also recently looked to acquire the highly popular app Snapchat for a cool $3 billion. While Snapchat, who is currently not a revenue generating company, turned down the offer, it sparked speculation that Snapchat users will soon be receiving sponsored pictures sent directly to their phones. The primary users of the app range from 15-25 making it a marketing goldmine for brands targeting those audiences.

While good marketers know they cannot only rely on paid advertisements, it is a fast and easy way to generate buzz and general knowledge about a brand without putting in a lot of effort. However, brands need to be aware that the new infiltration of paid sponsorship into “organic content areas” is not always met with open arms, and sometimes with complete hostility.

Does your company plan to use these paid advertisement areas in the future? Let us know in the comments!