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5 Social Media Marketing Tools for Your Business

Every marketing channel has tools that can make your marketing tasks more
effective and efficient. Social media marketing is one of them.
For the past few years, several social media marketing tools have been launched.
However, not all of them were created equal. So, before choosing which of these
tools you should use, it is important to have a clearly defined objectives and
measurable outcomes. This will help you determine if your social media marketing
efforts are successful.
Listed below are some of the most popular monitoring tools. Read on and decide if
these tools are the ones you need.

Viralheat
One of Viralheat’s most interesting features is that it allows business owners to
compare their overall brand mentions against their competitors. The data is then
presented in a pie chart or graph.
This is advantageous as it helps you determine if your marketing efforts enables
you to increase brand buzz across social media platforms.

Sysomos
Sysomos is especially useful for larger companies. With a $550 monthly plan, you
can throw in a few bells and whistles as it includes a dedicated account manager, 5
users and unlimited data.
Sysomos provides management of your company accounts and social media
account monitoring as well. Data Visualization is one of its best features. This allows
users to get to the root of conversations in order to understand the factors that
influence them.

UberVU
UberVU provides its users with actionable insights. When providing listening and
monitoring data, it sources the most social media networks. This tool monitors a
variety of networks such including Picasa, Youtube, Blogger, LinkedIn, Twitter and
Facebook. It also has a feature which they refer to as “Signal”, which scans all the
conversations and mentions relevant to your brand. They also detect dozens of
signals such as trending stories, spikes in sentiment and volume and influencer
mentions.

Sprout social
This is a modestly priced tool that can help you monitor and manage your company
profiles on the Internet. With a $39 monthly plan, it allows you to manage a
maximum of 10 profiles.
In terms of monitoring your brand metrics, Sprout Social only provides results from
Twitter and Facebook. However, this tool has the ability to monitor brand mentions
from other sources like news sites and blogs.

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Benefits of Social Media Marketing

There are a lot of blog posts and articles which stresses the importance of
integrating social media into your marketing strategies. Most people believe that
social media platforms provide a great impact on a business’ lead generation and
sales.
Listed below are some of the benefits of social media marketing. Keep in mind,
though, that these benefits may not be seen overnight. You have to put in a great
deal of effort and wait for a few months in order to see significant results.

Communication
Social media platforms are created in order to share information and interact with
other people. To maximize your marketing efforts, it is best to develop a social
media marketing strategy that would encourage your followers to interact with you.
This has to be a two-way communication.

Networking
Social media does not only help you extend your reach and build new relationships.
It’s also a great place where you can deepen and maintain the existing ones.

Build a reputation
As a business owner, you know that having a good reputation is one of the most
important ingredients to success. While your marketing efforts are focused on
maintaining what has been created, social media marketing makes these benefits
more pronounced.

Drive traffic
While driving traffic to your site is the main reason why you decided to create a
social media account, this comes as a great bonus. You can post a link to your
newest post and see people click the link and visit your site.

Promotion
Social media platforms are also a great avenue for promotion. Promote your brand
or your newest products, provide information about them and increase awareness
about your brand. You can also use social media to promote your events. Capture
people’s attention, create buzz and invite them to attend your event.

Extend reach

There are millions of users who access their social media accounts on a daily basis.
With this, it would be easier to reach as much people within a single post.
With over 150 million registered users, Twitter has been named as the 9th most
popular website on the Internet as of May 2011

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4 Social Media Marketing Tips for Beginners

Social media marketing is beneficial for small business owners as it helps them build awareness about their business and products or services through different social media channels. With the right tactics, you’ll be rewarded with increased product visibility, a new batch of potential clients and bountiful sales as well.

As a beginner, building a social media presence may not be that easy. We have compiled a few tips to make the process easier for you.

Choose a social media platform

As a beginner, it would be best to choose 1 or 2 social media platforms and stick with it. This would be easier instead of working across different platforms at the same time.

A great way to determine which platform is best for you is to follow the influencers and learn about their success story. Follow the leaders in your niche and check out their Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media accounts.

If they have 50,000 Facebook fans but only 5,000 Twitter followers, then Facebook may be a more suitable social media platform for your niche.

Optimize your social media platforms

Decide which social media tools you’ll be using and optimize your profiles. You are more likely to get more followers and boost your SEO efforts by optimizing your profile.

If you wish to have a trusted profile, then using a real photo would be of great help. Social media is all about connecting with people, so you have to show the people who you are in order to get their trust.

Connect your social media accounts with your blog or website

If your social media profile is ready, connecting your blog or website to your social media account would be the next step. Each platform has a certain set of procedures to follow. So, you have to abide by these rules and do it correctly.

Add social media buttons to your blog or site

Adding social media buttons on your blog or site is beneficial as it could help reader share your content easily.

For increased exposure, it is best to place the buttons above the fold. Also, larger buttons are more visible and are more likely to get you more clicks compared to smaller buttons.  

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Social Media Strategy in 8 Steps

When working in an industry like social media you can’t create strategies for the present. By the time you complete your marketing strategy, all the tools and networks you rely on will have changed. In order to be strategic and be ahead of your competitors, you have to look into the future. What trends are on the horizon for social media? What’s coming next that we need to prepare for? Here’s what we think:

Step 1: Build an Ark

Nobody should “own” social media strategy in your organization. Social impacts all corners of the company, and should be more like air (everywhere) than like water (you have to go get it). Thus, the first step in the process is to create a cross-functional team to help conceive and operate the rest of the strategy.

 

Step 2: Listen and Compare

It’s an old social media strategy chestnut by now, but “listen” is still good advice that’s often ignored. The reality is that your customers (and competitors) will give you a good guide to where and how you should be active in social media, if you broaden your social listening beyond your brand name.

 

Step 3: What’s the Point?

Yes, you can use social media to help accomplish several business objectives. Butthe best social media strategies are those that focus (at least initially) on a more narrow rationale for social. What do you primarily want to use social for? Awareness? Sales? Loyalty and retention? Pick one.

 

Step 4: Select Success Metrics

How are you going to determine whether this is actually making a difference in your business? What key measures will you use to evaluate social media strategy effectiveness? How will you transcend (hopefully) likes and engagement? Will you measure ROI?

 

Step 5: Analyze Your Audiences

With whom will you be interacting in social media? What are the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your current or prospective customers? How does that impact what you can and should attempt in social media?

 

Step 6: What’s Your One Thing?

Passion is the fuel of social media.

It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you sell, your product features and benefits aren’t enough to create a passion-worthy stir. How will your organization appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head? Disney isn’t about movies, it’s about magic. Apple isn’t about technology, it’s about innovation. What are you about?

 

Step 7: How Will You Be Human?

Social media is about people, not logos. 

The mechanics of social force companies to compete for attention versus your customers’ friends and family members. Thus, your company has to (at least to some degree) act like a person, not an entity. How will you do that?

 

Step 8: Create a Channel Plan

Only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure social media strategy success should you turn your attention to the “how” of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest. This channel plan should be distinct, in that you have a specific, defensible reason for participating in each.

 

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Pinterest Marketing Tips

 

Pinterest can be a great way to expand your social media presence and market your products. Make sure you are using the Pinterest business account (you can easily convert your account if you need too).  Promote your products using a theme. Think of something that can be categorized, weather its colors, designs, materials, ingredients, or whatever is relevant to your company. For example, say you own a furniture store. You could create different boards around the colors of different rooms.  The goal is to make your boards visually appealing. Make sure to label your boards creatively, while also calling attention to the organization.  This will also help your search engine optimization, If you organize by colors, make sure to put that keyword (color) in the board title, board description, and pin description.

Do your research. Check out the Pinterest boards of big companies in your industry to get ideas. Invite people to pin on your boards, and do your best to gain an audience. Be sure to specify the category of your board under the “edit board” option.

Emphasize your most popular products. Create a popular products board to show your audience what is selling! Pin the images and be sure to include a description of the product. You should also add the price! Tell users how they can get the product. Be sure to link the image back to your company website, or include directions in the description of how to get in touch with you. Keep the board updated and current. Remove products that have fallen in rank or are no longer available.

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Is Your Facebook Contest Special?

Any company can give out free gift cards or electronics, so that really is not enough to hold the attention of social media users anymore. What is taking your contest to the next level? If you are running a contest, you must make sure your contest stands out among the rest. Here’s how:

Do your users have a reason to keep coming back to your page? Include your fans and contest participants in every possible step of the contest. Brands often do this by allowing the fans to vote on a winner, respond to a question, or  answer a poll. Get creative here and choose what seems most relevant to your brand and product.

Consumers are constantly interacting with social media on their mobile phones. This means it is vital to take advantage of location. Urge users to check-in on social media when they are interacting with your company’s physical location. Offer some sort of incentive such as a discount, a charitable donation, a few points in a contest, etc.  Getting social media users to check in not only allows you to generate more traffic, but also creates a deeper user interaction (physical and digital).

Would other social media platforms be appropriate for your contest? Your contest may be Facebook based, but ask yourself if the nature of your contest could be enhance on other platforms. For example, say you are the marketer for a line of gluten-free butter and your Facebook contest asked users to post pictures and recipes of things they made with your butter. In this case, it would make sense to start a Pinterest board, displaying the recipes.  Using more than one social media platform can allow you to reach a larger audience. The key here is to make sure your second social media platform is relevant to your contest.

The whole concept behind Facebook contests is to increase consumer brand interaction. Remember that anybody can make a Facebook contest, but your goal is to expand that user interaction as far as possible. Think of ways to take your contests to other social media platforms, physical locations, and beyond.

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How To Generate Traffic To Your YouTube Channel

How do you get more people to watch your YouTube videos? One way to generate traffic is to use the power of Pinterest. To boost your business and increase your subscribers, link your YouTube channel with your Pinterest account. If you already have both a YouTube and a Pinterest account, you may as well leverage the influence of both these social media platforms.  Remember, your YouTube videos cannot help your business if they are not seen!  Here’s how to get started:

If you do not use Google Chrome, download it now (it will make this much easier. Google Chrome offers a “Pin It” button that lets you take an image from any site and put it to your boards.  Once in chrome, to get the “Pin It” button go to http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/ – then simply drag the “Pin It” link to your bookmarks bar.

Before you do any official linking between your YouTube channel and Pinterest, you must make sure your YouTube channel is fully optimized to your brand. Anything in your YouTube description box must have a URL/link back to your blog or company website. This is usually where viewers look to get more information. You also want to ensure that your YouTube profile is fully developed – add a personal photo or company logo, and keep your description short and sweet (all of this will help to leverage all of your traffic from Pinterest).

Let’s go back to the “Pin It’ button you downloaded earlier. Simply click the button to Pin the video you want to share. Create a board that is dedicated to your YouTube channel.  When coming up with a board name, remember to focus on keywords. Pinterest not only generates traffic from its own community, but also from Google Search. So it is very important to consider search engine optimization.

Now that you have pinned your video, it is time to add keywords to your pin description.  Whatever you do, do not leave this box empty. It is also a good idea to add the complete URL to your company site inside the description box. This makes it easy for viewers to get back to your page.

Since you have pinned your video from your YouTube channel, users who click will automatically be taken back to your channel. In linking your YouTube channel, Pinterest account, and company blog you are generating more traffic to all three of your marketing platforms. Remember to pin all of your videos!

 

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Small Businesses on Social Media: Get It Right

Most small businesses feel a sense of urgency to get onto social media because of the tidal wave big brands have made on all social media platforms. Focus on your social media goals. Whatever they are, the bottom line should be to build relationships and grow customer trust. That means that social media is not the place to display your promotional copy. Get rid of anything remotely resembling a “BUY ME” button. Social media is about social engagement. Think of yourself in a social situation – do you spend the entire time talking about yourself? Hopefully the answer is no. This type of etiquette applies to social media as well. Just as you would in a social environment, strive to be interesting on social media. Post content that gives your followers or friends something to react too. If someone were to walk up to you and give you a compliment or ask you a question, you would never just ignore it. You would acknowledge it with a “thank you” or a reply. The same thing should be done on your social media platforms.

You are a small business. Your budget is probably much smaller than that of Starbucks. Inevitably, your social media strategy will be different than those big brands – that is okay! You don’t have to keep up with Pepsi. If you do not have the budget to giveaway the latest IPad – don’t do it. Offer a prize your company can handle such as a service, discount, or small product.  This also means that the participants in your giveaway are likely to be interested in your company, and not just in it for the free Ipad.

You have probably already picked up on the fact that there is no physical cost to join social media.  As a small business, marketing without fees probably sounds like the best kind.  But don’t be fooled – social media marketing is anything but free. Doing it right requires serious man-hours. The commitment to social media is unrelenting and endless. Engaging with followers and sharing valuable content is a full time job.

As a small business, you do not need to be present on every social media account. If you use Facebook over Google +, it does not mean you are a social media failure. The biggest error you could make is to have a Google + account that is completely neglected and shows inconsistent activity. It is better to have one or two active and up to date social media accounts than have five accounts that are not receiving adequate time and management.

Small businesses tend to make these mistakes, which can do serious harm to their social media success. Make sure your business gets it right!

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Holidays: The Season For Social Media?

People love the holidays! The chances are your business already has something planned to participate in the cheerful season. Holiday discounts? Holiday office party? Whatever it is, make sure it shows on your social media accounts!

December is already here, that means people are gearing up for the holiday season. This season is a great opportunity to adopt new social media tactics – with a holiday twist. People are already spending time on social media sites, and are getting excited about the holidays.  So why not get people excited about the holidays and involved in your company at the same time?

Give your followers another reason to engage with your company this holiday season.

  1. Start a Facebook Holiday themed promotion. There are several ways to do this. Consider a limited-time-only discount, supporting a charity, or giving a gift back to loyal customers. All of these promotions are ways to add a little something extra to your company’s Facebook effort.
  2. Promote a holiday-themed hashtag on Instagram. Encourage followers to upload holiday pictures using the hashtag, or pictures that are relevant to your brand. Make it a contest and award the contestant with the most “Likes” a holiday gift.  Make it easy for fans to enter the contest by just simply using the hashtag. Once a winner is selected, contact them to claim their prize through their social media account.
  3. Start a New Years countdown, asking users to share their resolutions. Try to think of ways your business could be part of a New Years Resolution.
  4. Host a gift giveaway that takes place between Christmas and New Years…this is sure to keep your fans in the holiday spirit!
  5. Use Twitter to show your holiday enthusiasm and excitement! Be sure to tweet any other contests or giveaways you have started on your other social media accounts!

The holidays are about giving back, so do something different and thoughtful for your fan base – thank them for supporting your business all year.  Even something small, like tweeting out holiday jokes or adorable pictures, can put a smile on a customers face! The holiday season is known for love, happiness, and positive thoughts for the New Year – make sure to be a part of that when it comes to social media.

 

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Marketing With Pinterest

 

 

The social media site Pinterest has over 11.7 million visitors a month now, and about 17.8 million registered users! It has become one of the most popular social media sites for a few main reasons.

The visually appealing aspect of the site draws in viewers and keeps their attention. The fact that users sign into the site using their Facebook or Twitter account allows them to be automatically integrated into their existing social network sites. So, sharing across social media sites is already built into Pinterest. The site has a clean and simple interface, so people are able to use it easily, with little confusion.

However, compared to other leading social media sites, Pinterest does not offer as many discovery methods. It can take a little effort to trace a pin to the user who initially pinned it, making it somewhat harder to directly engage with fellow users. Pinterest also does not yet have a way of recommending or directing pinners to other pinners or boards based on activity. This can be a little inconvenient for brands trying to build and grow an audience.

Another key aspect of Pinterest is that its demographics are quite unique compared to those of Twitter or Facebook. Half of all Pinterest users are parents, and 68.2% are women. Facebook and Twitter have a more evenly split gendered audience. This means that for brands with a predominately female target market, Pinterest might be the best sight to utilize to engage with fans.

For companies who have passionate followers across several platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, you can bet that those followers will also engage with your brand on Pinterest. Pinterest can be a great site to engage on a personal level with followers because you share your own, personal interests with your users. While the site clearly helps build relationships, it is not so efficient in “selling” products to followers. But, remember that engaging, not selling, is the ultimate goal of social media!

Pinterest is also a great platform in terms of sharing. You can easily post pictures from your own site, or pin images from other sites. A “Pin It” button can be installed on the Safari browser, making sharing images and information across the web easier than ever. You can also place a Pinterest button that links to your Pinterest account on your website or blog. Facebook even allows you to add a Pinterest tab onto your timeline.

The fact that fans can pin your images onto their own boards is another way that fans engage directly with your brand. You can use the “Pin It” button next to images on websites that you would like to share with your fans. This provides a chance to make viral connections, as followers of your fans will see their pins.

Additionally, there are a few apps available to help you to build a community on Pinterest. The app, Shareasimage, converts text found on the web into an image that can be shared on Pinterest. The app also works for Facebook and Twitter. Another app, Url2pin.it, lets users “screenshot” a picture of a website then share it on Pinterest. This could be a great way to share interesting sites with your fans, or it could be used as a promotional tool for your own site.

Pinterest is a site that truly models the purpose of social media: to be social! The site does not sell; it shares. Sharing with your consumers is how you must market with social media in order to gain brand loyalty and expand your fan base!

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