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Improve Your Social Engagement: 4 Strategies that Work

eWhile today’s business owners are more enlightened to what makes great social media posts, there are still quite a few that are using these sites as a free advertising platform where they try to sell, sell, sell. While this drive to increase sales on any platform is somewhat admirable, modern social media platforms play by a different set of rules.

A symbiotic relationship has to be developed between a business (or brand) and their fans. You will only be able to drive results on social media when your fans really like you and what you offer, identify with the project value and find value in the content you publish.

Here are some tips to help push your business past “sales” mode and into true “relationship” mode.

See Your Brand as Fans Do

When you are working to shape a distinct brand identity to help and influence your audience on social media, you need to know what they actually think about you right now. You need to get to know how aware these fans are of your brand, what it has to offer and if they perceive you in a negative or positive manner. Other information that can be valuable is figuring out how your competitors are doing. This will allow you to make more informed decisions, opposed to just a shot in the dark.

One of the easiest ways to figure out what people are saying about your brand on social media is with a tool such as Mention. You can listen in on various conversations about your brand, as well as any related keywords across the Internet. With Mention, you can see, in real time, what is being said about your business and participate in the conversations directly.

Schedule Your Social Posts and Save Time

Being able to post relevant and valuable content regularly is critical if you want to show up on the overpopulated social media feeds of your fans. While one or two posts each day may seem relatively simple, it will not have much of an impact on your fans. The chances of your single posts showing up amongst all the others posted by family, friends and even other brands, is extremely low.

There are a number of tools that will help you organize, manage and schedule posts to ensure that you have the best possible chances of being seen by your audience.

Attract the Right Type of Attention

While you can talk up your brand on social media, you need to also spur the conversation and get others to talk about it. Professionals in advertising know a fact that social media marketers are just realizing – acquiring a celebrity endorsement is the best way to get some buzz.

A tool that can help and put your brand on the front of the New York Times is HARO. This is a real possibility, and you don’t have to spend a penny. With HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, you are connected to journalists who need interesting and new content. This is a win-win since you will have a new location to publish various ports and content.

Manage Complaints

Being able to get face to face, or even screen to screen, with your customers in real time is a unique feature of social media. You don’t have to use the traditional and impersonal options of email or phone. With this instant ability to engage in conversations, customers will be able to be heard, rather than just having a complaint resolution.

The fact is, when it all comes down to it, it is not the prices of your products, but rather the relationships you build. Getting more true engagement with your customer base through social media offers the ability to build strong and lasting relationships.

social CTA

The Ins and Outs of Periscope

Screenshot 2015-10-19 14.30.45Social media has taken the world by storm and businesses are working hard to keep up. Perhaps your business has a Facebook page and Twitter following. Great! But, did you know another effective media tool is audio and video? Your following is busy and they will consume your content, albeit at times in small chunks. However, people respond to video.

Customers will watch a video because it is visually stimulating and perceived as quick (even if the video is ten minutes). Give your customers valuable and useful information in this video and you will create fans. The challenge for many businesses is not knowing where to start. Now there is a way to make video quick and painless.

Periscope is an app launched in the Spring of 2015 and is available for both iOS and Android. It is a social networking site that integrates with Twitter and provides live video streaming from your phone. With Periscope you can use your phone to stream a live video to promote your business by offering useful information or showing your following what you are involved in.

Customers will deal with people they like, know, and trust. This includes businesses. Your live video broadcast will reveal your authentic self and show transparency. And once you build relationships with your followers using that trust factor, your business can monetize Periscope. According to Periscope’s website by August 2015, only four months after launching, 10 million people had accounts. Your community or tribe is on Periscope.

The following is a list of 5 ways you can use Periscope for your business and connect with your community.

Make an Account

Joining Periscope is easy. Just fill out the simple form and add your website URL. Think about the type of useful information and topics you want to share with the world.

Learn From a Pro

With any new technology, there may be a learning curve. Check out what other people in your industry are doing. Don’t copy them, but use this information to spark ideas for your broadcast.

Use a Snappy Headline

Broadcasts are only available for 24 hours, so you will want to make sure you get the public’s attention the right way. Create several headlines before choosing one and make sure it contains attention-getting strategies, like being unique, useful, or urgent.

Be a Good Steward of Time

Don’t monopolize other people’s time. Keep your video to less than 20 minutes at least. You may prefer to do shorter videos with a high-value punch instead of long videos that may lose your follower if you hit a slow part. With Periscope you can choose who you want your broadcast to be for, public or private. This will help you focus on what to say to your specific group or to the World Wide Web.

Tell Them What You Want Them To Do

Many business owners leave out a call to action at the end of a social media post or campaign. If you manage a company that sells high-end lawn mowers and live streamed a video on how to use your lawn mower to mulch, be sure to remind your viewer to “visit our website and click Lawn Ideas.” Any directives will do and do not necessarily have to be to order a product. You can tell your viewer to subscribe to a list, register for a webinar, or sign up for a free e-Book.

The possibilities are endless with Periscope. Your business can scope a wide range of views or topics, how-to, or even just thanking your viewers for following you. It really is all about social networking and building a relationship.

The Value of Reposting to Social Media

There’s no question about it: this is the age of social media. If your company doesn’t have a presence on Facebook and Twitter yet, it’s time to get that ball rolling. More likely, you do, and you’re struggling to keep it constantly updated—it’s a job that never ends. But don’t worry: when it comes to social media, you’re not required to post 100% original content all the time. Sometimes it’s as easy as re-posting links to content like news articles and blog posts. Here’s why you should be hitting “share” now and then.

Introduces New Followers to a Topic

When people have recently liked your page or followed your account, they’re probably not coming in completely blind—they most likely already know some basic information about your company and its products or services. So instead of only posting information about things they might know already, connect them with articles that introduce them to a relevant topic. It should have a logical connection to your industry (sharing “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Kanye West” when your company sells camping and outdoor gear will only confuse people), but not directly plug your product.

Refreshes Old Readers on a Topic

Maybe your page has been around for a while now. Try to avoid re-posting links you’ve shared before, but it’s okay to post articles or posts with similar content to ones you’ve posted before (just give it a little while in between, so it acts as a memory refresher rather than a barrage of articles that essentially say the same thing). You could share more specific articles that elaborate on a specific aspect of a topic you’ve introduced in the past, to help older customers achieve a deeper understanding of a subject they already have a surface familiarity with.

What Should I Post?

You want this information to be useful to your readership, but also help out your company. The ideal articles and blog posts to share will do both. Here are a few ideas of the kinds of links you should be looking for.

Ideas for how to use your products—without mentioning your products. So, if you’re still that camping and outdoors company, link to an article about the best foods to cook on a portable camp stove. You sell one, of course, but you don’t need to say that. Your readers are smart enough to figure that out for themselves.

Breaking news that’s relevant to your industry. Are there flash flood warnings along certain areas of the Appalachian trail? That’s something your hikers will want to be aware of. This definitely builds trust in your readership, since they’ll know you’re not just trying to sell them things; you’re also looking out for their well-being.

News about your company. It’s good to show your fan base that other people are writing about your company, so feel free to link to external news sources that are talking about you. We’re not talking about spammy press releases that you hired some SEO company to write, but real, trustworthy sources that your audience won’t have to be skeptical about.

Trends in your industry. What’s this season’s hottest outdoor athletic gear? What are the best materials for tents to be made of? Where are the most popular new camping destinations? Share information that relates to your entire industry, not only your own company.

Navigating social media doesn’t have to be hard. Reposting content is a great, easy way to connect with your readers without worrying about writing an article every day by yourself. Sharing information that’s not just trying to sell something helps you build loyalty and establish legitimacy in your customers’ eyes. So get clicking!

The Value of Reposting to Social Media

Send applicationsThere’s no question about it: this is the age of social media. If your company doesn’t have a presence on Facebook and Twitter yet, it’s time to get that ball rolling. More likely, you do, and you’re struggling to keep it constantly updated—it’s a job that never ends. But don’t worry: when it comes to social media, you’re not required to post 100% original content all the time. Sometimes it’s as easy as re-posting links to content like news articles and blog posts. Here’s why you should be hitting “share” now and then.

Introduces New Followers to a Topic

When people have recently liked your page or followed your account, they’re probably not coming in completely blind—they most likely already know some basic information about your company and its products or services. So instead of only posting information about things they might know already, connect them with articles that introduce them to a relevant topic. It should have a logical connection to your industry (sharing “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Kanye West” when your company sells camping and outdoor gear will only confuse people), but not directly plug your product.

Refreshes Old Readers on a Topic

Maybe your page has been around for a while now. Try to avoid re-posting links you’ve shared before, but it’s okay to post articles or posts with similar content to ones you’ve posted before (just give it a little while in between, so it acts as a memory refresher rather than a barrage of articles that essentially say the same thing). You could share more specific articles that elaborate on a specific aspect of a topic you’ve introduced in the past, to help older customers achieve a deeper understanding of a subject they already have a surface familiarity with.

What Should I Post?

You want this information to be useful to your readership, but also help out your company. The ideal articles and blog posts to share will do both. Here are a few ideas of the kinds of links you should be looking for.

Ideas for how to use your products—without mentioning your products. So, if you’re still that camping and outdoors company, link to an article about the best foods to cook on a portable camp stove. You sell one, of course, but you don’t need to say that. Your readers are smart enough to figure that out for themselves.

Breaking news that’s relevant to your industry. Are there flash flood warnings along certain areas of the Appalachian trail? That’s something your hikers will want to be aware of. This definitely builds trust in your readership, since they’ll know you’re not just trying to sell them things; you’re also looking out for their well-being.

News about your company. It’s good to show your fan base that other people are writing about your company, so feel free to link to external news sources that are talking about you. We’re not talking about spammy press releases that you hired some SEO company to write, but real, trustworthy sources that your audience won’t have to be skeptical about.

Trends in your industry. What’s this season’s hottest outdoor athletic gear? What are the best materials for tents to be made of? Where are the most popular new camping destinations? Share information that relates to your entire industry, not only your own company.

Navigating social media doesn’t have to be hard. Reposting content is a great, easy way to connect with your readers without worrying about writing an article every day by yourself. Sharing information that’s not just trying to sell something helps you build loyalty and establish legitimacy in your customers’ eyes. So get clicking!

Understanding the Social Media Life Cycle

When you launch a social media campaign for your business, you do not simply do so because you simply love taking time to talk to people. Maybe you do sincerely enjoy socializing, but you are ultimately using these tools because you want to reach your business goals.

In order to see results from your efforts on social media, you need to set goals and be able to monitor your progress toward meeting those goals. Your goals might be increasing the number of people who click through your social media page to your eCommerce platform, or it could be successfully launching a new product. Your milestones should be more complex and quantifiable than simply to have more Twitter followers than you had the week before.

The monitoring and reporting experts at UberVu recently released a whitepaper detailing what they call the social media life cycle. In it, they describe how you can reach your business goals using feedback loops.

What Are Feedback Loops?

These loops have been used in business since long before social media ever existed. The process is simple. A business receives feedback from the consumers and/or testers. They analyze this information to determine how they can make changes in their goods and services. Changes are implemented, and results are measured. After the changes have been in place for a significant amount of time, the business can gather feedback once again. The loop continues, and further improvements can be made.

UberVu maintains that these principles can be applied to the way that businesses use social media and design their social media marketing campaigns. They break this social media lifecycle down into four pillars: monitoring, analytics, engagement, and reporting.

Monitoring

The monitoring stage of the cycle largely involves sitting back and listening to what customers have to say without actually worrying about taking any immediate action. During this process, look at reviews, or social media comments to see if customers are praising any aspects of your business, or if they have any complaints.

Many customers will eagerly turn to social media or review sites to complain about deficiencies with a product or about a poor customer service experience that they have had. If these complaints appear repeatedly, it is important to take notice of this because potential customers certainly will.

If your business is new and does not have much information that can be used for monitoring, you can take into consideration what customers are saying about competing businesses. You can see what consumers do not like about these organizations and learn from their mistakes.

Analytics

Once you have monitored information provided by users, it is time to make sense of the raw data that you have collected. When you have a sea of data to sift through, it can be overwhelming to determine how you are going to actually learn anything from hundreds to thousands of comments and mentioned on social media.

There are numerous different social media metrics that UberVu explains that you can use in your research, including:

  • Volume of Mentions – There are social media tools that will allow you to quickly measure how many times certain keywords are mentioned in comments and posts. This can allow you to measure how many times your brand, or a particular product or service, is being mentioned on a social media platform.
  • Sentiment – Next, you will certainly want to use a metric that will let you know if the overall sentiment of these comments is negative, positive, or neutral. There are many different methods used to compute the sentiment, and some are more accurate than others. Even the less reliable metrics typically are capable of picking out the very positive or very negative comments, however.
  • Demographics – When studying social media metrics, it can be very valuable to look at the demographics of the people making comments about your business. This will help you to see if consumers of a certain age, gender, location, or other identifiable group are particularly happy or displeased with your service.

When using these metrics, UberVu recommends that you keep very specific questions about your business goals in mind, and use the analytics to find the answers.

Engagement

Once you have gathered information and found trends within the data, it is time to act on what you have learned and engage with your audiences using social media. This can include responding to questions, praise, complaints, or feedback of any kind.

When you are running a business, it is wise to have an employee or multiple employees in charge of your social media marketing campaign. Before you set them to work, you will want to create guidelines for how they are to engage with users through social media. You can create standard procedures for how to:

  • Respond to negative comments
  • Respond to positive comments
  • Respond to questions and complaints
  • Respond when influencers or competitors mention your business

Remember when engaging with people through social media that it is important to be professional, but also to give your posts a human and approachable voice. You want your consumers to feel a real connection to your brand and the people behind it.

Reporting

You will only truly know if your social media marketing efforts are working if you have a method of measuring your performance. At the beginning of the social media cycle, you set a business goal of some kind. Perhaps this was to increase the number of people who clicked through from your social media pages to your company eCommerce site.

Now that you have launched new efforts during the engagement phase, you can check your website analytics over this time to see if and how your website traffic has been affected. You can measure quantifiable data during this period to see if more people are making their way to your site, and if they are making purchases. This allows you to see if you are seeing returns on your social media marketing investment.

UberVu’s full whitepaper detailing the Four Pillars of Social Media Success can be downloaded here.

Using Demographics to Target Your Social Media

According to Fast Company, 189 million people check Facebook from their smartphones; YouTube reaches more 18- to 34-year-olds than cable television, and every two seconds someone creates a new LinkedIn account. What does this mean for your business? Your customers are spending their time using social media sites, and you need to get involved with this conversation if you want to get their attention.

But I Think Social Media Is a Waste of Time

There are plenty of entrepreneurs out there who have been frustrated by social media sites. They create a profile for their business and feel as if all of their posts are unnoticed, or they pay for a Facebook ad and do not see the returns that they expected. Keeping up with a social media profile can require a lot of time and energy, and you do not want to feel as if you are wasting your investment.

You have probably seen, however, many businesses that have very successful social media pages. They have thousands of followers and seem to constantly be advertising sales and promotions that social media users are excited to promote for them. How are they able to spark so much excitement within the social media realm when you can’t seem to get a single Facebook “like” or a retweet on Twitter?

Tailoring Your Social Media Campaign to Your Demographic

If nobody is paying any attention to your Facebook page, it could be because your target market is not on Facebook anymore. They have left Facebook for Twitter, or they are constantly checking their Tumblr page instead. It is your job to find these audiences and share information that they want to see.

The Pew Research Center recently did a study to determine who is using social media, and which sites they prefer. Their infographic explaining the interesting results can be seen below:

Which-demographics-use-what-social-media

As you can see, while millions of people do use social media, the make-up of users for each site can vary dramatically. As the research shows, Facebook attracts the largest portion of online adults, but other sites may be suitable for businesses interested in attracting specific demographics.

For example, if your target market is middle-aged, college-educated, middle- to high-income women, Pinterest might be the ideal social media outlet for you. Using the Pew Research data, Ragan.com suggests that Instagram is a great place to appeal to 18 to 29 year olds who live in urban areas, and that rural audiences tend to spend more time using Pinterest.

BI Intelligence released a similar report, focusing specifically on the income brackets of social media users, finding the following results:

chart

While these findings seem to align in several ways with the Pew Research data, Business Intelligence did uncover many unique findings regarding the demographics using specific social media sights. Some of their valuable insights included:

Facebook

While many Facebook users are very young, one of the fastest growing demographics for this site are the users between 45 to 54 years old. BI also found that 73% of Internet users with annual incomes of $75,000 or more are using Facebook.

Twitter

Comparatively, only 13% of Internet users in the $75,000 and above income bracket are using Twitter. Twitter was also found to have an extremely young user population, even for social media. Only 16% of Internet users in their 30s and 40s use this social networking site.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn was found to have a strong international appeal but has a slightly higher male user population.

Google+

Speaking of being skewed toward males, BI found that 70% of Google+ users are male.

Tumblr

Tumblr was found to strongly appeal to younger users, and does not tend to attract users in the higher income brackets.

How Can You Use This Information?

To make use of this demographic information, you must first determine your target market. Inc.com recommends using the following three sources of information to find your ideal audience:

  • Your Products/Services – Determine the benefits that users receive by purchasing your products/services. This might give you an idea as to who would need these benefits.
  • Your Current Customers – Perhaps the best way to distinguish who will buy your goods is by looking at who already is making purchases. Study your existing customers to identify any patterns. Do most of them fall into a certain age range, live in urban or rural areas, or have similar income levels?
  • Your Competition – Look into whom your competitors are targeting. You can even do your research and see if any of your competitors are having major success on any of the social media platforms. Learn from their techniques and improve upon them.

 

Engaging Your Audience Once You Have Found Them

Okay, so you have determined that you want to target the rising number of older adults who are starting to use Facebook. But, what are you going to say to them? What type of content should you post? Digital Producer Hannah Twigg is quoted within Investopedia as explaining that launching a successful social media campaign is all about listening to your audience and responding at the right time with the right messages.

Using social media, you can do very valuable market research without spending a dime. People are always eager to turn to these social media sites to talk about great restaurants they have visited or to rant about a poor customer service experience. They will also share content posted by businesses when that business posts a photo, video, or blog entry that they find valuable.

Pay attention to what your target demographics are saying and the types of posts that inspire the most activity. If you do see a complaint, respond to it, and try to sincerely rectify the situation. If a customer offers praise, show your gratitude. Consumers notice and appreciate this engagement, and they share their appreciation and recommendations with their followers. One properly timed response to a consumer can translate into numerous new, loyal customers for you.

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