Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Strategy

Posting blindly on your social media platforms with the hopes of vitality and engagement, you’re wasting your time and your money. Taking the time to develop a custom social media plan is a necessity if you want to see engagement on your posts, interact effectively with customers, and establish an online presence reflective of your company’s mission.

Customer Relations

According to an article by Revlocal.com, “It’s no secret that social media has, essentially, taken over our lives. The latest data has us spending five years and four months on social media over the course of a lifetime.” With so many people and businesses on social media, you need to have relevant content that draws customers to your company versus your competitors. A strategy based on engaging with customers can enable you to receive valuable feedback, and create lasting brand loyalty.

Establish Your Brand

Social media is likely to be the first thing a customer sees from your company. From Facebook posts to Instagram pictures, the best way to get your brand out to as many people as possible is through social media but you need to know how you want your brand to be perceived. Do you want the rough and rugged attitude of Duluth Trading Co. with their clothing or do you want to bring out your inner athlete with Under Armor? Each company has a brand they’ve built and continue to showcase through their advertisements and social media. You’re creating your own exclusive brand that will then be shared with the rest of the world. Think about what steps you go through before you purchase from a business. Main Street ROI says in their article, “Of course Google is one of the top sites to search, but many are also turning to Facebook and other social media networks to see if a company is established there.” Customers want to see what type of environment surrounds your company and if other people trust you.

Organization

It becomes much easier to create posts and ads when you set specific goals. How many posts do you want per week? How long should the posts be? Who do you want to see these posts? Questions like these help steer your strategy and enable you to see the kind of results you’re getting through analytics. Knowing what you want to accomplish helps the planning process. Like outlining a paper, you know what you want to do before you do it. It makes the actual process of content marketing more beneficial and utilizes your time effectively.

Having an Advantage

Posting blindly without goals in mind is times consuming and wasteful. Let your competitors do that. You want to give yourself and edge by posting with a purpose. Having a plan enables you to properly prepare posts and use the responses and interactions on those posts to calculate their effectiveness. Your post may do well at 9:00AM but you’ve noticed that posts made at noon seem to have more interactions. You can use that knowledge to plan your posts and adjust but without taking the time to review your posting strategies and the results of them, you’ll never improve your social media standing.

Many companies have established their brands through social media. From Wendy’s roasting people to small businesses posting quick vlogs on Twitter, your ability to reach out to the public has never been greater. Study what you’ve done and use it to make adjustments to your plan and maximize your efforts. Take the lead in your market and niche, establish yourself as a thought leader. Social media is here to stay but it changes rapidly. Be sure to keep up.

4 Things Your Social Media Is Lacking

Your business’s social media profiles are about staying connected with clients and customers, sharing updates with your audience, establishing your brand, and staying relevant. That’s why we post frequently on Instagram, respond quickly to Facebook messages, and tweet and retweet on Twitter, right? If businesses only posted once every two weeks and only created boring formulaic posts, they’d fall into irrelevancy quicker than MySpace and Xanga. You need to stay on top of trends. You need to create interesting, eye-catching, and value-driven content. You need to relate to and interact with your client base. While navigating the social media maze can be difficult, here are four things to help boost your social media interactions.

Professional-looking Photos

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are no longer in their infancy. iPhones and Androids both have developed to the point that everyone can now be a professional photographer. You have no excuse for taking out-of-focus, poorly lit bathroom selfies to be used to establish your business’s social media presence. You need photos that illuminate your company’s missions and goals, ones that bring attention to the hard work of your team, and ones that highlight what a client gets out of your company that other companies can’t offer. You believe your company is unique. Your social profiles are the spot for you to show that it is. Check out Daniel Lemin’s fantastically-detailed article with Convince & Convert which details photography for social media tips.

Videos

The widely known and trusted SocialMediaToday.com predicted that “80% of all internet traffic will be video in 2019.” So far, the trends of internet usage have not proven them wrong. Especially as a business utilizing social media to connect and influence customers, failing to introduce videos into your marketing and social media strategies might actually leave you in the past. Facebook and Instagram are currently booming with video content and companies are beginning to notice. When it comes to sales, you need to listen to what customers want. According to an article in Social Media Today, “90% of consumers say video can help them make buying decisions.” Let me say that again, 90%! Videos are becoming the difference between making a sale and giving it to your competitor.

Links to Other Sites/Sources

Links to other sites are essential. When you’re citing a statistic, giving information about consumer response to a product, or quoting someone, you want your words to be credible and citing from reputable sources gives you that edge. It also shows customers you aren’t just pulling stats out of thin air, you’re actively researching best practices and proven data which build on the original point of your post. Having links to other reputable websites as sources not only establishes your credibility, but also highlights the hard work of those other companies which, in turn, highlights your own. Other companies will soon start quoting your articles and using you as a reputable source, drawing more traffic to your website and placing yourself in the realm of credible businesses.

Info about Your Company

Some companies over do it on their social media, posting their daily monotonous activities. Others, post random things that have nothing to do with their business or market just to make it seem like they’re actively engaging with their followers. If your post doesn’t provide relevant information or leave a positive effect on a follower, it is virtually useless. Your customers and followers want to know what you do, how you do it, and updates about your company. They don’t need information that doesn’t pertain to them just for the sake of a post. Krusecontrolinc.com says in their article, “Relevant content that users engage with creates an atmosphere of community. They think, ‘This brand gets me.’ When prospects see content that’s relevant to them, they connect with you on a deeper level. That’s the goal of any marketing or advertising.

You’re a professional. Enable your social media profiles to reflect that professionalism and hard work. Showcase your goals and mission by having clean professional photos, high quality videos, credible content, and engaging posts that draw in more customers. Social media is a tremendous tool for companies and individuals alike. Use it to your advantage.

 

4 Reasons You Need Social Media

Social media has taken over the way companies reach new and current customers. Forbes links articles on their website, Wendy’s roasts people on Twitter, even police departments around the country have Instagram accounts where they post updates and interact with the community. These social platforms have revolutionized the ways in which companies reach consumers.

Establish Your Brand

Any opportunity to get your brand on someone’s timeline is valuable. Your company’s first contact with a new client could be as they stumble across a post of yours on their timeline. Social media is exactly where people can hear your company’s voice and goals for the first time, rather than researching your mission statement on your website. According to Hubspot, “92% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses.” Social media gets your company in people’s field of view and allows it to grow.

Shareable Marketing

The ability for people to share their favorite posts of yours is something that is new to the world of marketing. In the past, if articles were shared it was done mostly via email. Now people can share articles, posts, and other materials immediately on their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and even by reposting pictures and captions on Instagram. Facebook even allows you to create ads that “can target customers by factors like age, location, education level, industry and even user behavior.” This ability to have instantly shareable ads that reach all across the land of Facebook and other social media sites allows marketing to reach more people than ever before.

Interact With Your Customers

Social media enables you to communicate with your customers instantly. Hubspot points out, 72% of marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans.” Boundless amounts of valuable feedback are at both yours and your customers fingertips along with the ability to create and maintain relationships. These types of relationships can increase brand loyalty and enable you to provide better service to your customers, leading to a profitable relationship on both sides of the coin. Forbes notes “if a customer complains about your product on Twitter, you can immediately address the comment, apologize publicly, and take action to make it right. Or, if a customer compliments you, you can thank them and recommend additional products. It’s a personal experience that lets customers know you care about them.”

Company Updates

New product lines, additional services, and customer tips are now easily shared with your community of followers. Press releases are easily shared across multiple platforms. Your customers are more in the loop, hearing of new developments in real time. News sources, businesses, universities, and many other institutions are utilizing social media to interact with and keep their followers up to date with the developments their experiencing, enabling customers to feel like they’re a part of the action and as a result feel closer to the community to which they’re subscribing.  

Social media drives companies forward as more and more customers shop online, do their research online, and communicate online. Being a fast and accessible means of gathering information, social media is the link between your and your potential customers who are on the fence whether to go with your product or another company’s. Seeing an established social profile full of videos, pictures, and relevant information carries a lot of weight when a customer is deciding who he/she should do business with. People want to know about you and your products. Provide the link that allows them to see just how great you and your company are.

4 Social Media Secrets For Business Owners

Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are drawing more users than ever before. A recent study by Statista.com shows that 81% of Americans have at least one social media profile, and that number is growing steadily each year. For business owners, social media offers a great opportunity to boost exposure and improve the bottom line of that earnings report. In fact, Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, says “over half of American companies report sales increases after adopting a social media platform.” However, managing a social media platform isn’t all that easy. Keep these trade secrets handy when developing your social media presence.

You Need a Plan

Like any marketing strategy, a social media platform calls for direction. Above all else, know your business, your audience, and your goals. Understanding the consumers in your industry will help you tailor your content to exceed their expectations. Kimbodesign notes the importance of diversifying your social media, having a content strategy, and establishing a schedule for your social media to keep your strategy on track. Create a schedule early stay on top of it. Monitor your progress in terms of followers, views, sales, and other metrics that are valuable to you.

Content is Crucial

As a business owner, you work your tail off to provide the best goods and services on the market. Share your achievements with the world, and build your brand! Posting unique and creative content will increase your popularity among users. Part of your strategy should involve brainstorming for new ideas. Again, your content largely depends on the needs of your customers.

You Have to Acknowledge Your Followers

Social media has made interaction with your customers easier than ever before. You would never ignore a comment or suggestion in person, right? You might not meet your customers face-to-face with social media, but building a rapport with them will strengthen your reputation and make your company more personable. With that in mind, remember to be yourself. For example, have you seen Wendy’s roasting people on Twitter? You might not take the sarcastic yet hilarious route with your replies, but this shows how an established business can communicate and interact with its customers to get easy immediate feedback.

There’s Always a Cost

Social media might not affect your wallet unless you use ads or promotions, but it will require some time and attention on your part. As a business owner, you know better than anyone how valuable your time is. Investing in social media is a smart investment, but you will have to decide whether you can afford to manage it yourself. If not, utilizing a social media manager may be the more cost-effective route for you to take.

None of these facts should scare you. Instead, they should help you see the opportunities available with social media so you can take advantage. For more questions about social media management, talk to the specialists at MarketLeaf Solutions, LLC.

Ryan Pierson is a contributing writer and intern for MarketLeaf Solutions. His expertise lies in his ability to connect with clients, his research, and his ability to look outside the box in his approach to marketing.

4 Tips For Your Facebook Business Page

Facebook is a tremendous tool for your company if you know how to use it. Unfortunately, not enough companies know how to use it and many use it incorrectly. It’s not meant to be a personal page. You can use it to interact with your customers, potential clients, and allow for your posts and information to be shared with a larger audience. Here are some tips for your business’s Facebook page.

Set The Right Tone

This is a business page, not a personal page. You want your Facebook page to properly reflect your company’s image. While many Facebook pages look similar, the business page allows you to state the type of business you are, your location, your hours, and other information that your potential clients need to know, for example, how to reach you. You don’t want them to think it’s just another Facebook page. You want them to see your business’s identity and personality flow off the page. It’s similar to your website in that you have control over it and gives you an opportunity to show your customers what your company’s all about.

Share Business Updates

Using Facebook to post upcoming events and updates for your business is such a great way to interact with customers. Lindsay Kolowich says in her article, “with 1.09 billion people logging in daily (a 16% increase year-over-year), it’s still the most popular social network around.” With so many people logging in daily, it’s a great way to reach out and connect with new customers. Updates about your business show potential customers that you are constantly making progress and it keeps them in the loop.

The Direct Link

Many times, people will go directly to a company’s Facebook page when they have inquiries, comments, or need to get in touch with a representative. It’s a direct link between you and your customers and allows for open communication. You can benefit from interacting with your customers and getting honest feedback. Newtek says in their article for Forbes, “at the end of a post, remember to invite fans to comment, like or share. When people do respond, keep the conversation going with comments of your own.” The more engagement you get on your posts, the better it is for your business.

Make Your Page Exciting

If you have a logo, feature your logo in your profile picture and use another eye-catching image for your cover photo. Remember, this is where you can show visitors your company’s personality. Aside from the information you need to include like hours, location, etc., you can use Facebook to post things about your company. Post articles, blogs, and other updates to your Facebook page. Be sure to include videos or pictures with your posts! According to Hubspot.com, “visual content is 40x more likely to be shared on social media.” Think about it, aren’t you more likely to click on a post if there’s an image with it?

Creating a Facebook Business Page is a great way to connect and interact with your customers. Posting blogs, articles, and updates to your page and linking them to your website allows for you to reach a greater number of people. Be sure to include pictures and videos with your content so it will be shared. It’s practically free marketing. Use your page to reflect the personality of your business and allow your potential customers to see what you’re all about.

3 Tips For Writing Blog Posts

In this age of universal Internet access, starting a blog is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your small business. For business-to-business transactions, marketers with blogs generate 67% more leads than their competition, which means higher sales figures. On top of that, Ramona Sukhraj says in her article for Impactbnd.com, “a company with a blog is thirteen times more likely to experience a positive return on investment.” What kind of organization would turn down those benefits? Before you jump onto the blog bandwagon, wait just a moment. Without the proper knowledge or vision, your blog might never reach its full potential. Keep these principles in mind when crafting your blog posts and your business will reap the rewards in no time.

Target A Specific Audience

If you plan to gather a following and improve your sales, your blog posts need direction. Identify your audience early in the process and tailor your message accordingly. Of course, you have to know yourself before you can reach others. When you understand your industry inside and out, you can better relate to your audience.

Grab Attention

While 80% of people read a headline, only 20% read the rest of the article, according to the Huffington Post. Once you target that audience, you need to capture their full attention. Create an eye-catching title with a number, if it makes sense in context. Include a strong opening paragraph to reel in your viewers even further.

Provide Relevant Content

Without useful information, that intriguing title goes to waste. Be original and creative with your content, but stick to the topic at hand. Feature statistics and quotations from well-known sources to establish credibility among your readers. Consistently relevant content is the key to developing a loyal following.

Abiding by these principles will provide a solid foundation for your posts, but there is no “ideal” blog. Above all, make it yours! Let the personality of your business shine through your writing. Your style and charm are equally as important for satisfying your readers and building a consumer base. Before long, the results will begin speaking for themselves.

 

Ryan Pierson is a contributing writer and intern for MarketLeaf Solutions. His expertise lies in his ability to connect with clients, his research, and his ability to look outside the box in his approach to marketing.

3 Tips For Your Company’s Blog

Most companies at this point have a blog on their website. If they don’t, they either have some other outlet they use to interact and divulge information with their customers or they are seriously behind the game. What a lot of companies don’t do though, is properly post to their blogs and media outlets in a way which both engages their customers and gives them just the right amount of information. Not too much, not too little. Here are some tips on keeping your company’s blog interesting, relevant, and worthwhile.

Post Three Times Per Week If You Can

Too many companies post to their blogs almost every day. No one reads their blog that often and the information they’re presenting can’t be all that useful if by the next day it’s obsolete. Posting three times per week is a good frequency because it keeps your audience engaged, allows you ample time to write a proper post with reliable and interesting information. If you post too often, all of your posts seem to blend together and no single one will stand out from another. If you post too little, your company’s blog won’t have a following and no one will know when you post. Forbes says in their article, “those that post 16-plus entries a month enjoy 4.5 times the amount of traffic as those that upload only 0-4 posts.” That averages to just about one post every two days. Especially for small companies, this can be difficult but it is also worth it. Consider outside help or posting at least once a week.

Keep Posts Relevant and Interesting

You don’t want to beat a dead horse. If you see every other company in your market posting about something, chances are you’re already too late on the trend. Post something new, something original. If you have the same topic, use different bullet points and ideas. No sense in reiterating something that people have already heard from three different articles. Make your posts stand out. Make them as unique as your company.

Make Your Posts Credible

Don’t pump out a blog post with information from unknown and unreliable sources. It’s a surefire way to prevent people from coming back. Don’t use click bait or other gimmicks to get visitors. They will click into your article, see it for what it is, leave, and never come back to your site. Use reliable sources. Neal Taparia says in his article, “no matter what you write, it should be verified as true. The easiest way to do that is to show proof that the information came from a reliable, credible source, especially for your audience. Evidence-based writing is rooted in good writing, and while it is not always necessary to add a citation or footnote for every piece of content, you must know (and prove) where the information they used comes from.” Be skeptical of your sources and evaluate their reliability. Your visitors are going to lump the credibility of your sources and you together.

Keeping up with your company’s blog can be difficult. Fresh material may be hard to create but it’s even harder to come back from earning a bad reputation from posting nonsense articles or click bait. Your readers want to be able to trust what they’re reading from you and it’s on your shoulders to provide it. Establish your blog’s reliability from the onset and then the only hard part is finding new material to write about and the time to write it.

5 Things No One Told You About Starting Your Own Business

For many people, launching a business seems enticing. The promises of independence and wealth draw young entrepreneurs every day. In fact, business.com claims that a new firm is born every minute in the United States. However, too many of these entrepreneurs fail to recognize some of the essential truths of starting a company. The business world can be a cruel and unforgiving place at times, but certain parts of it will pleasantly surprise you. Learning these important lessons now will better prepare you for your own venture down the road.

You Need To Make Your Product Unique

Whatever you might be selling, there will always be competitors with a similar product. The key to beating the other guys is finding a benefit that only you can provide, such as a higher quality product, great customer service, improved ease-of-use, or another identifying factor that only you can provide.

You Can’t Do Everything Yourself

No matter how gifted you might be, no one can handle all the work alone. Unless you run a lemonade stand, you will eventually have to hire employees or outsource specific tasks. Effectively managing these relationships will become crucial if you plan to sustain future growth.

There’s a Good Chance You’ll Fail

Even with an innovative product and a solid business model, profit is never a guarantee. The Small Business Association reveals that only half of small businesses survive the first five years. Just remember that even the likes of Bill Gates, Henry Ford, and Walt Disney failed in the business world before achieving great things.

Your Life Will Change

That independence you were searching for? In some ways, you never really find it. Instead of the 9 to 5 life, you’ll be bound to the needs of the business. If you want to be successful, the business will often become your highest priority. Your family has to understand that you might not be around for every dinner, recital, or sporting event. You could even find yourself pinching pennies at home for a while just to keep the company afloat.

There’s No Limit to Your Success

Success requires lots of time and effort, and it will never happen overnight. Elon Musk needed over ten years to transform Tesla into the nearly $59 billion powerhouse that we know today. Not everyone can be Elon Musk, but nothing says you can’t become successful on your own terms.

Of course, five tips can only explain so much. Every entrepreneur faces unique obstacles and challenges along the path to success. However, understanding these universal concepts early in the process will help you find your footing in the world of business and prepare you for the life of an entrepreneur.

3 Ways To Measure the Effects of Social Media

Social media is becoming a massive factor in today’s business world. All over you can see businesses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. But social media can be a bit of a gray area since the benefits can be a little harder to show. One benefit that’s obvious is the ability to easily communicate with potential clients and establish a brand presence. But how can you measure social media’s effect on your business? Is the time it takes to tweet and post actually bringing you revenue? Well, here are three ways to measure the effects of your social media profiles.

Analytics

Almost every social media platform available today comes with software that can measure your post’s reach, how many people are viewing and clicking it, and whether or not your business is being talked about. Facebook offers analytics software for business pages that allows you to see your posts’ engagement, narrow the demographics of your posts’, and allow you to see if they are bringing more unique customers your way. Twitter also offers software so you can see how many potential followers have seen your posts, new followers you’ve gained, and see how many people are using a unique hashtag related to your business. Both of these sites allow for reports that show new followers, the number of people reached, and unique impressions that are solid measurable progress for your business. Tom Pick says in his Webbiquity article, “website traffic and “vanity metrics” (friends, followers, “likes”) are the most common metrics marketers use to measure the business impact of social media.”

Social Media Interaction and Revenue

According to Phys.org, “participating customers on a firm’s social media site contribute 5.6% more revenue and visit the business about 5% more than non-participating customers, [Ashish Kumar] explains.” These studies done by Texas A&M and the University of Buffalo actually found solid evidence of something social media users have questioned. Building online communities of users does increase revenue as those users who interact on social media platforms are more likely to purchase items from that business and are also more likely to be repeat customers.

Goal-Driven Campaigns

Setting out to reach specific goals with a social media campaign is a great way to narrow your focus and energy. Your type of campaign will depend on your type of business. For example, for businesses with online stores, your goal could be to turn visitors into buyers. You can track the number of visitors and the number of buyers, establishing a conversion rate, as well as seeing what those buyers did on your site that led them to finalize a purchase rather than just visiting. Christine Moorman says in her Forbes article, “If a social media campaign is designed to generate brand awareness, then engagement is an appropriate metric.” This is for simply getting your business out there and reaching more unique users, a fantastic way social media gets more people engaged in your business.

Social media used to be a difficult area to navigate. There were no means to measure its effects on businesses and revenue. Now, each social media platform comes with analytics that do exactly that, measure how your profiles are being engaged and by whom, allowing you to see just how social media is bringing you closer to old customers as well as starting relationships with new ones. By utilizing social media analytics, establishing goal-driven campaigns, and interacting with users on social media, you can see just how much your social media profiles are bringing to your business.

 

Everyone Is Selling Something

You may not notice at first glance, but everyone around you has something to sell. While only 12.3% of jobs in the U.S. qualify as sales positions, a physical exchange of goods and services is not the only means of conducting a sale. Often, a sale requires persuading someone to see your point of view. In other cases, it is simply the art of establishing your personal brand, which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos defines as “what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” I will not deny that certain people abuse their ability to persuade, but a sale should never reach the point of manipulation. Ideally, it involves mutual advantages through mutual understanding.

When you visit a restaurant, for instance, the major sale that occurs is clear. As the buyer, you might purchase a meal, beverages, or other services. However, you can identify several more subtle sales without even leaving your seat. The waitress sells her skills as a valuable employee by serving you exceptionally well. Meanwhile, a man at a nearby table tries to sell himself as a suitable partner for his date. When you leave the restaurant, you will likely see similar sales everywhere you go. You will even find yourself participating in your fair share of sales. With this in mind, you should learn a thing or two about handling yourself when you encounter a sales situation.

In business applications or daily life, one of the keys to selling is establishing a relationship with the consumer. Without this connection, it will be difficult to accurately assess his or her wants and needs. For a moment, imagine yourself as a salesperson at a car dealership. When you meet potential customers, how can you begin to list facts and features without understanding their preferences? An elderly couple probably has no use for a vehicle that belongs on the drag strip, while a single man in his mid-20s likely has little interest in a minivan. An effective salesperson asks questions and acquires necessary information from the buyer, tailoring the sales pitch to satisfy those wants and needs.

For this relationship to be successful, the customer has to play an important role as well. As the buyer, you should distinguish between things you want and things you need, making sure to express these distinctions to the salesperson. If not, you face the possibility of dissatisfaction—or worse, manipulation. As a naïve middle-schooler, I would often be easily convinced to buy things I would use once, only to stow them away in my closet somewhere. I lacked discipline as a consumer because I failed to recognize the difference between wants and needs. Maintaining this discipline is essential to building a successful connection with any salesperson and finding the right product for you. 

According to CEO and TV personality Robert Herjavec, “Grasping the importance of creating a buyer-seller relationship as the first stage in successful selling is perhaps the most important key to understanding how the entire process works.” Of course, these relationships apply for every type of sale, even for those without any physical exchange. Perceiving life in terms of sales can be eye-opening in several ways. Genuinely concerning yourself with the wants and needs of others seems simple, but it can help you forge stronger bonds with those around you. If it can help you adapt your business model to improve your sales, that would just be a bonus.

 
1“Fun Facts – Interesting Stats about Sales.” Sales Force Training. N.p., 17 May 2016. Web. 05 July 2017.
2 Patel, Sujan. “Sharing Your Company’s ‘Why’ Through Social Media.” Inc.com. Inc., 26 June 2017. Web. 06 July, 2017.
3 Herjavec, Robert. You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017. Print