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Gain Brand Loyalty with Email Marketing!

 

 

When you combine the benefits of email along with social platforms, you can promote any product, increase sales and build brand loyalty in more ways than ever.

Big brands like Starbucks, and daily deal brands like Groupon have found success from combining rewards and discounts with their social media strategies. But what about businesses that aren’t so well known, or don’t promise amazing daily discounts?

You don’t need to be a top name retail brand or have thousands of Twitter followers to get the most benefit out of your social media strategy this year thanks to combining email and social marketing.

By combining social media efforts with a well-targeted email marketing strategy, companies can easily gain customer loyalty. To do so, you must use the perfect incentive and target the perfect audience, at the perfect time. Use these three ideas to increase your word-or-mouth marketing and boost customer engagement by using both social and email strategies:

1. Offer an appropriate incentive

Discounts are great, but there are other ways to push your email subscribers to get social with your brand. Some techniques marketers use to increase engagement include altruism (the idea of people passing on information they find valuable) or use unique social games like engaging videos or fun quizzes. Whatever technique you choose, make sure that the content and tone of your incentive align with the interests of your target audience.

2. Look for the social butterflies

Doing some research to customize your social engagement strategies will end up being more successful than simply asking your email subscribers to “like” or follow your brand. Find the consumer “influencers”-those who are active social media participants. Market to these people so they can help influence potential clients and bring more customers to your brand. You must find how engaged certain email subscribers are to your brand and pick out the most active social members, most loyal to your brand. To do this, use social data, social monitoring and listening platforms to examine existing email files with information about subscribers’ social interactions. With this information, you can come up with email-marketing segments based off subscribers’ social profiles. If you discover you have an active group of subscribers, think about creating a referral marketing campaign to push those subscribers to recruit new potential customers.

3. Learn your consumers’ passions

The key element of social media is about people being brought together who share a common interest. If you try to force your brand on an audience not interested in what you have to offer, no marketing strategy is going to work. You must find out what your target audience likes and interact with them based on those likes.

You might find your audience has a common interest in your product or service, but you must dig deeper to find the best way to get them excited about your product or service. You can’t expect your customers to buzz about your brand just because they’re interested in what you have to offer. Come up with ways to market to your audience that involves their passions. If your company sells car parts, think about igniting your consumers’ passion for cars and racing. Don’t just make your marketing about car parts; be creative and think of ways that can get people who share the common interest in cars to be active with your brand.

A thorough marketing strategy that utilizes the benefits of email and social tools can provide new and exciting ways for companies to build brand loyalty and boost sales. No matter what your company has to offer, it all comes down to how you connect with your consumers!

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Seven SEO & Social Media Trends For 2012

 

 

In the year ahead, there seem to be some major social media tactics you can expect to see affecting businesses. Some of these trends have already been carried out by companies, but in 2012, expect to see a mass adoption of these plans carried out by all types of businesses.

1. Google+ Explosion

Google+ will continually come out with new features, and Google+ pages will continue to become more business-friendly. The integration with other Google properties, like in paid search ads, its search engine results page, Google Reader and YouTube will be the greatest advantage for Google.

Google had a strong focus on social media last year by basing its employee bonus and salary structure off of its success through social media. This has resulted in everyone involved the Google world constantly considering social media. This internal focus will lead to an external force where consumers will make Google+ a main social media platform in 2012.

2. Creating Engaged Communities

Businesses will be sure to pay attention to their current community members in 2012, as marketers become more advanced in planning and measuring their campaigns. There will be a stronger emphasis on creating an engaged community as opposed to mere numbers of followers. So, community managers need to energize community members and engage with them in multiple areas, like market research, product development and product discounts, for example.

Managing and building communities is about the consumers, the information and staying consistent. This strategy will be seen heavily in 2012 and will become a key part of community management.

3. Stronger Marketing Intelligence

Last year there was a lot of new technology platforms that changed social media monitoring and provided advanced data to help drive marketing campaigns.

This year, businesses will move beyond just looking at company mentions and influencer scores, and move more toward combining different social data in order to create a marketing intelligence that will drive future marketing campaigns. Many tools do this already, but there is sure to be more this year.

4. Social Media Driving SEO

The usual on-page SEO factors will still remain constant, as it makes your content search friendly, but in 2012, strong sharing activities through social media will drive SEO results.

SEO conversions will be higher and simpler to measure on organic search. And as a result, more companies will carry out a closer collaboration between their social teams and searches.

5. Real, Quality Content

Everyone appreciates content that is relevant, engaging and unique to the consumer. In the past few years, companies have worked hard to come up with content with the sole purpose of creating content for SEO.

In 2012, there will be a more structured way for businesses to form content with a focus on giving unique value to consumers that will lead to higher engagement levels with community members.

5. The Power of Facebook

In the past, companies worked to get a somewhat superficial quantity of Facebook fans without considering the quality of those fans. This year, expect to see companies focus on finding greater profitability with a sharp ROI emphasis in the form of Facebook ads, contests and promotions.

Companies will find that there’s more to Facebook than measuring a linear conversion path from a fan to a consumer. Marketers will measure the non-linear path of ROI more by making Facebook-exclusive promotions to drive foot traffic to the retail stores.

Facebook Ads campaigns will be measured based on the profitability that leads to revenues or supports.

7. SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile)

More integrated campaigns that combine social media with local offers involving mobile devices will be seen in 2012. Socially promoted mobile content can build brand loyalty, and ultimately increase sales.

Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon are good examples of using deals to drive local sales. Foursquare is another example of the SoLoMo strategy.

It’s clear that the quickly changing social media environment can be overwhelming. However, by staying on-top of the latest social media tactics, your company can stay strong in the social media world.

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Selling Your Products and Services With Social Media

 

 

In 2012, more companies will come to realize that doing business through social networks is a huge payoff. People are becoming more aware of how social media works and are getting comfortable with it.

With this level of comfort with social media finally reached, it is now the goal of marketers to experiment with ways on how to go above and beyond with social media! While using social media correctly takes lots of patience, finding the latest tricks to make your social media efforts unique is the key to becoming (and maintaining) a thriving business.

The main cause companies do not find success with social media marketing is when there are merely sending out sales messages through social networks. Communicating sales messages might work to an extent on an advertising and email marketing level, but they fall short when considering that most people do not join social networks to shop. With this in mind, sales pitches can come across as annoying or harsh to social network users.

If you want to find your optimal path to selling your products and services with social media, here are some tips.

1. Communicate to the right target market.

While there may be millions of people on Facebook, you do not need to target all of them. To find your perfect market, you need to communicate that, “We sell this” or “We help with that, and for anyone who wants this or that, we are talking to you!” It’s also important to use data to create your social media messages that will precisely spark interest to those looking for your product or service.

2. Use only the best messages.

With social media sites like Twitter, companies try to use 140 characters or less to advertise in attempt to get their audience to “retweet” and interact with their brand. But, this isn’t a technique that is easily mastered. Try using Google AdWords to experiment with compact messages. When you come across a message that gains clicks, you know that message is likely to have similar success as a tweet or other social network message!

3. Engage with your audience.

This is one of the most powerful Internet marketing tools. You want to gain information from your audience, on top of giving out your business information. You want your audience to share their thoughts and rate things in order for your business to get feedback and cater to your audiences needs/wants, likes and dislikes. Make feedback forms part of your way of doing business in return for providing great products and services. Make your content easy to like, tweet and email, so it becomes social.

4. Prove you’re a worthwhile company.

Even if you can compose the most convincing tweet, it’s still hard to get someone to buy into your company based off that one tweet. Make your relationship with your consumers about value and interaction right from the start. Think about giving something away that your target market needs and wants. Then become the company whose free products and services are better than other companies’ paid stuff! People will certainly want to engage with your company this way, and hopefully become loyal customers to your brand.

5. Listen to your audience.

After your company has authentically and carefully done all this work to get on the right track to social media success, let your target market know where your company is headed and keep them on board with you. Imagine how your current customers view your company and try to get them to see where your company could take them in the future. Don’t automatically think that your customers will see the full potential of your company! Help them by showing them how to get the most out of your business. If you do this, and still don’t see sales, you will at least have gained the right to ask your consumers what it is you’re not doing well, and they will guide you on how to serve them better.

Many Internet marketers use these tips in their social media efforts, but when all of them are used together, in a cohesive effort, your company will find the pay off in social media marketing. Always remember that it takes hard work and patience!

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Optimize Social Media ROI-Return on Influence!

 

 

Return on investment with social media can polarize several public relations, marketing and advertising efforts since there are a growing number of agencies and businesses utilizing social media marketing and analysis efforts to see return on investment. While some companies get ROI through social media use on Facebook or YouTube, marketers need to realize that in order to optimize their social media efforts, true ROI is about influence from consumers!

ROI needs to involve connections companies make with their customers. Companies’ social media marketing should act as recommendations and inspirations to buy certain products and services. The goal is not to get an instant purchase from consumers, but to get the customer interested as they search a companies’ social/mobile web, and potentially gain a customer for life.

Relationships with customers are directly linked to the value companies get in return from investment in social media. With Twitter, it should not be a brand’s objective to sell the most products by tweeting. Instead, Twitter should be used to inform customers and show them all about their brands’ experience so they understand what the brand is all about, not just what they’re selling.

The stronger the connection brands have with their customers, the more likely those customers will be inclined to buy into the brand for life. Some ROI models for social media are focused on a direct marketing approach, also known as an offer and response approach. The problem with that is that companies end up chasing a platform where their target market might be, instead of understanding how to influence that target market with a social experience. Companies need to stop focuses on seeing ROI from social media coming strictly through direct sales!

Strong, productive social media marketing will influence business outcomes, just as a good public relations campaign will. Positive media coverage leads to awareness and inspires interest and discovery of the brand. Social experiences can provide brand-advertising benefits and push consumers to purchase sooner, and/or more often.

When it comes to social media marketing, most markers are just chasing popular platforms with their own ideas of what they think will motivate their customers to buy. But, what they should be doing instead is interpreting customer preferences and optimize their efforts to address the kinds of social experiences that will bring about a purchase and gain loyal customers. Social media is a platform to help businesses serve customer needs throughout a lifecycle, not just during a time of peak sales. With this in mind, new opportunities in social media marketing are available for those businesses willing to be influenced by their consumers!

 

 

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Business and Marketing Trends in Social Media in 2012!

 

 

 

What’s going to happen in the New Year with social media? Social Media is expanding quickly and marketers everywhere are catching up! Look out for these trends to come.

Disappearing Social Media Marketing:

Social media is becoming an integral part of all aspects in marketing our businesses. Therefore, social media marketing will be included in overall marketing plans; it won’t be a separate tool. Just like email marketing or SEO, social media will be a vital activity.

Integrating Social Media:

Big brands will start using social media more to connect to customers through user-generated content. This helps businesses get the most out of their true customers and loyal fans.

Supporting Social Media:

The integration of social media into marketing will result in people reporting their problems through their channel of choice. Companies should try and find ways to avoid having their social media channels turn into a mere helpdesk, but social media integration will indeed let consumer problems be handled by peers.

Increasing Social Sales:

Customers will get a stronger real user experience before making purchase decisions with social media integration. People can make purchase decisions based on a brand’s marketing materials and receive feedback from existing customers through ratings, comments and reviews.

Leveling off of Group Buying Sites:

Group buying sites will level off. They will not go away, but businesses will better understand how it works and use it accordingly. With group buying sites, businesses buy an opportunity to allow potential consumers to sample their offering at a discounted rate with the hope of getting continuous business.

Growing ROI:

Social media ROI is an important topic and still less than half of marketers claim to see it. As budgets grow, social media will become more important in a brand’s marketing mix. ROI will be seen through direct sales from Facebook, or perhaps more conversion rates of people from social channels.

Growing Social Media Advertising:

Social media channels are trying to find ways to get at your advertising budget so they can turn a profit. Social media sites are looking at new ways to display more marketing messages to users. This will result in larger budgets dedicated to social media advertising.

Mobilizing Websites:

More businesses will start making their sites mobile. 10 years ago companies began making websites because other companies were, now companies will start making their sites mobile as more and more companies are starting to!

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The Future of Branding, Marketing and Social Media: 3 Important Facts

A new report from Havas Media titled, “Meaningful Brands For A Sustainable Future,” is one of the most insightful reports in revealing the punitive aspect of the social business marketplace, which is often overlooked! It specifically examines the expanding awareness and capacity of consumers to punish brands that lack social responsibility.

Three key facts stand out in the report as warnings that all marketers need to be aware of!

1. Just 28% of consumers worldwide feel that businesses today are effectively working to solve the social and environmental challenges people care about.

There are two things to consider regarding this fact. First of all, this statistic proves that a very small percentage of consumers think companies are working efficiently to address social crises. Secondly, the phrase, “challenges people care about,” should be taken into consideration. A hallmark of social marketing is that it’s a real-time conversation between brands and consumers. If businesses want to get loyalty from consumers, they must perform and communicate in a meaningful way to be apart of their consumers’ lives. Ignoring social and environmental challenges that consumers care about means companies could become irrelevant and/or experience consumer backlash for their lack of social responsibility.

2. 64% of consumers feel most businesses merely “act” responsible to improve their image.

Consumers consistently demand that brands use social media platforms to promote their products and services in an authentic manner. It’s a major issue if over half of all consumers think brands are not genuinely addressing issues that are important to consumers. Our current marketplace gives consumers the ability to gather information and share it through social media. So, with more companies seeking to connect to customers, there’s competition in this marketplace to win the loyalty of consumers. But since consumers have so many options, if they feel a company is insincere in their social efforts, that brand will immediately lose that customer’s loyalty.

3. If 70% of brands disappeared in the future, most people would not care.

This fact highlights a deep consumer distrust of brands in the marketplace.  Just because a brand has strong leadership as a company does not guarantee its security in the market. Technology is quickly changing how business is conducted across all industries and now consumers are pushed more than ever before to find and embrace the tech-savvy AND socially responsible brands.

The Havas Media report concluded that brands that improve our personal and collective world systematically will be rewarded with greater consumer attachment and brand equity. The bottom line is brands MUST be meaningful to their customers’ lives!

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Successful Advertising with LinkedIn in 5 Steps

LinkedIn is a growing social media platform with over 100 million business professionals worldwide.

Business messages are well received within the professional environment of LinkedIn, which makes the site ideal for advertising for lead generation for B2B companies.

LinkedIn ads appear along the sidebar with a photo and text. They include the photo, a 25-character headline, and a 75-character description. You can also try different versions of your ad to test which ones drive the most click-throughs.

As you create your ads in LinkedIn, keep these five tips in mind for success!

1. Use powerful copy with relevant images

Come up with a great ad before fine-tuning your campaigns. Write an effective ad copy; on LinkedIn, it will only allow the copy to be 75 characters of description, so every character counts! In your copy, convey a sense of urgency and highlight a unique benefit. With PPC ads, the picture is very important! Make sure the image matches what you’re offering.

2. Target ads to specific audiences

Only target your ads to the most relevant prospects. You can choose this based on industry (marketing, Internet, banking, etc.), job function (academics, engineering, marketing) and groups. The more specific your offer and targeting are, the better chance your ads will be successful!

3. Split-test different versions of your campaign

Each campaign on LinkedIn has its own targeting options, daily budget and ads. It’s recommended that you create at least three ads per campaign, each with a different headline, different call-to-action phrases and images. You’re allowed to come up with 15 different ads per campaign, so take advantage!

4. Spend your money strategically

LinkedIn will display ads at different rates throughout the day depending on when users are active on site. So, consider spending 50% of your budget in the morning, and maybe 25% in the afternoon, and the other 25% towards the nighttime. After you hit your daily budget limit, your ads will stop showing for that day.  Keep calculations of your average spending per day for the past week, then compare that amount to your daily budget and figure out if you can increase your daily budget to get more clicks. Also, an “auction” will occur between your ad and other advertisers each time a prospect visits a page on LinkedIn. The site will give you a suggested bid range or an estimate of current bids from other advisers. The higher your bid, the more likely it is to win the auction.

5. Measure your ads performance

Pay attention to metrics to understand your ads’ effectiveness. Also consider your overall business and marketing goals before you consider your goals for LinkedIn ads. Be sure to measure CTR; according to LinkedIn, good ads have a CTR higher than .025%. Also measure leads and take your landing pages into consideration.

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The Best Facebook Page Apps to Improve Communication with Fans

With over 100,000 Facebook applications available, it can seem overwhelming to try and determine which apps will be the most important for your business. To help you out, here are four essential Facebook apps that will help you to communicate and interact with your fans!

1. Tweets to Pages

This app has about 1.2 million monthly active users! It creates a tab on your Facebook Page that shows your company’s most recent tweets displayed in a timeline. This feature is great for giving real-time information to Facebook users without a Twitter account and helps to avoid annoying fans by constantly streaming your tweets to Facebook as wall updates.

2. Static HTML: iframe tabs

With 61.8 million monthly users, this app simplifies the process of creating a custom landing page. You can simply copy and paste textboxes for your custom HTML, CSS and JavaScript instead of creating a developer account and your own application. You can also remove scrollbars and enable Facebook’s FBML if you’d like. And you can enable “like-gate” if you want to incentivize Likes on your Page.

3. ContactMe

This app has 180,000 monthly active users. It adds a contact form tab on your company’s Facebook Page that allows anyone visiting your page to easily contact you the minute they’re interested! It also has customization options, like choosing whether you want to show your company’s contact information or social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Skype. It also lets you add, remove, reorder and require specific fields in a simple user interface through contactme.com.

4. RSS Graffiti

With 1.5 million users, this app lets you post wall updates automatically, whenever there’s a new item in one of your specific feeds. This saves you time and effort in having to create a new wall update every day to distribute your company’s content. It also has customization options to make it stand out. The configuration interface is intuitive and easy to use!

If you don’t have time to sift through the hundreds of Facebook apps available, start with these four apps to better communicate with your fans!

 

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Combining SEO and Social Media

Experts suggest marketers integrate their SEO campaigns and their social media accounts into one strategy.

When SEO and social media are divided into separate entities, firms often end up choosing one over the other. This could end up being costly in the long run.

A more efficient strategy is to utilize a joint social media and SEO campaign in order for your business to get the most out of both tools.

Online marketing blogger for columbiatribune.com, Rob Stretch, explains, “One channel can be leveraged to improve another benefit to a whole campaign; such is the case with social media and search engine optimization.”

Stretch also explains how social media can be used to establish and expand brand relationships. These relationships can then be used by SEO to create links between the interested parties.

Additionally, Twitter can be added to generate content and spread banner messages to put businesses in contact with influential people in their distinct industries. This will then boost brand awareness and build further connections.

These social media connections should then be promoted. Place tabs on each web page to allow users to “Like,” “Tweet” or “+1” it, to help further promote the website and its content to the target audience while giving it greater authority in search engines as well.

On yourdailyupdateblog.com, Stretch concluded that, “Despite multiple differences, both channels are the same in that they can be leverages as traffic sources to your website.”

In your company’s social media efforts, it’s clearly a wise choice to consider integrating social media and your SEO campaigns to a single strategy to see the greatest benefit!

 

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Be Heard with Social Media Marketing

 

 

 

Businesses today have an increasing number of online tools for social media marketing to quickly inform consumers about their products and services.

In addition to the well-known sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google+, companies can access over 300 social media sites, like Buzzy, StumbleUpon and ZingMe.

But, with such a multitude of social media sites, businesses must develop a proper online marketing strategy to see success. Managing director of the Institute of Online Business, Nicole Coughlin-Smith, claims that, “Creating a social networking existence is paramount in this age of new technology and businesses that don’t engage in some form of social media communication will struggle to survive over the longer term.”

Smith suggest to, “Invest in a Facebook page dedicated to your business, a Twitter account where followers can see instant news and updates, and a YouTube account which is an ideal platform to show how-to tips or product testing videos to potential or current customers.”

Here are five simple business tips to make social media work:

1.The key factor to remember when making a social media platform is to always redirect customers to your original site. You will maximize potential conversions by allowing customers to link back to your main business site.

2. Focus your social media marketing on a few platforms, rather than taking on too many at once.

3. Interact with customers through social media before, during AND after a sale.

4. Remember that Twitter is very effective for short news updates and information bulletins, so take advantage of short 140 character postings.

5. Facebook’s recent change to give businesses more functionality on the site allows businesses to no longer have to link their profile back to a personal profile. This makes it easier to track traffic, control posts and customize settings.

 

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