Tag Archives: social media strategy

Tips for Holiday Marketing on Social Media

 

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Social media is all a-twitter with holiday promotions, holiday party selfies and businesses competing for your business and spreading holiday joy! The social media world can become a very noisy place during the holidays, but here are a few ways you can ensure your small business can stay ahead of the crowd.

Hashtags

Using holiday trending hashtags can keep your business visible among your target audience. Choose hashtags that your target market is already using or might be following. By providing content that aligns with the current conversations on social media you can ensure that your brand will not be forgotten when people create their holiday wish lists.

Seasonal trends

Stay tuned to what’s trending this season and share content that shows your brand is in-the-know when it comes to what people are talking about.

Visual aids

Getting noticed is all about standing out. Create captivating graphics for your social media posts and blogs that are sure to grab people’s attention and make them want to click. (lighting, graphics, design, colours)

Ads / promotions

Social media ads are the most effective way to grab the attention of potential customers. You can create custom audiences of people who may have already visited your site or may already be on your mailing list. This allows you to focus directly on an audience who is already familiar with your brand and thus more likely to follow through with a sale.

Use email

Email is still the most effective way to follow up with customers and potential customers. Many email clients can connect with your online store to help you follow up with website visitors who may have “window-shopped” without finishing their order.  Try sending exclusive coupon codes to your email list for special holiday offers.

Above all, remember that there are real people on the other side of the network who are just as busy as you are this time of year. Present them with solutions to solve their problems and make their life easier. Stay social and engage with your audience online through relatable, interesting and engaging posts and make sure to take time to answer back!


To learn more about how to maximise the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing efforts, schedule a complimentary consultation with Teach Me Social. Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Businesses through social media since 2012. Teach Me Social offers effective social media services which include training sessions and consulting as well as full-service social media account management.

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10 Reasons to Tweet Today

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When I talk about Twitter to small business owners, I am usually greeted by a look of trepidation before being asked, “Do I really need to be on Twitter?” Twitter has evolved from a simple social network since the first Tweet was sent in March 2006 to the global news source and intricate social sharing environment it is today. Recently, Twitter has even taken leaps into the future of live broadcasting by signing deals with large networks to provide live content via the platform.

With 310 million monthly active users, it is hard to ignore the power of Twitter for small businesses to reach an engaged audience. But, if you need more convincing, here are 10 reasons to start tweeting today!

1.FREE:  Twitter is free to use – The only cost is time and effort to send unlimited Tweets. Of course, like all social platforms, there is also the option to ‘promote’ your tweets with PPC advertising which has grown 208% year-on-year in 2016.

2.CURRENT:  Your presence on social media platforms such as Twitter shows that your business is keeping up ‘with the times’! Did you know that 1.3billion Twitter accounts have been created and over 500 million tweets are sent daily?

3.INDUSTRY NEWS:  Using Twitter can help you keep up with what is going on in your industry.  You can keep tabs on your competition and get the latest news by following relevant hashtags. (ie. #CSBWBiz)

4.QUICK: Twitter is a fast way to get a message out, especially about upcoming events or sales.  Printing, distributing and even website and email marketing take time and planning. Keep in mind that tweets with pictures get 150% more retweets!

5.NETWORKING:  Using Twitter gives you the chance to meet and talk with tons of new people, influencers in your industry, and the opportunity to discover leads you might not otherwise have made.

6.REACH: Twitter can expand your market reach through followers, re-tweets, and #hashtags.  People may stumble across your profile and tweets by chance and 55% of Twitter users admit they have taken action based on a tweet from a brand. (ie. clicked on a link)

7.COMPETITION:  Your competition is quite likely already on Twitter and tweeting away. 70 percent of small businesses are on Twitter and the average Twitter user will follow at least 5 businesses.

8.FEEDBACK:  The conversations, re-tweets, and favorites you receive in Twitter can act as great feedback as to what is popular and what is not in terms of your online brand, not to mention that 77% of users said they felt more positive towards a brand that replied to their tweet!

9.ENGAGEMENT: 80% of Twitter users have mentioned a brand in a tweet, and Twitter allows you to maintain customer relationships both before, during, and after a purchase and act as a constant reminder that you exist.

10.SHORT: With only 140 characters each tweet is short and sweet that allows you to share tidbits and updates without having to write an entire blog post.


 

Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over four years. Teach Me Social now offers services ranging from training sessions for small business owners and their teams to full-service social media account management. Visit teachmesocial.ca to learn more about our service offerings or to book a no obligation consultation, including an audit of your existing social media channels.

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Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media

Teach Me Social Blog - dealing with negative comments on social mediaIt’s happened to all of us. We work hard to publish an article or a social media post only to have someone come along and respond with a negative or defamatory comment. It’s disheartening, frustrating, upsetting and even angering and it takes every ounce of patience to not want to write back an equally negative and snarky reply. I’ve been there, and I’ve felt the same way. But I can honestly tell you that the best way to respond to negativity on social media is with positivity.

Sir Isaac Newton described his 3rd Law of Motion by explaining that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” In elementary Mathematics, we are taught that a negative and positive number of the same absolute value cancel each other out in an equation (ie. -4 + 4 = 0) What does this have to do with social media? Well, the same notion of countering forces can be applied to all positive and negative forces, energy and comments.

As a rule of thumb in customer service, it is always best to respond to customer complaints in a calm, professional manner. As business owners, we need to recognize that the customer just wants to feel validated for their complaint. This can be handled in a number of ways, but it is always best to acknowledge their negative experience and try to offer a solution. There may not always be a mutually agreeable solution, but remember that an angry customer has more potential to do damage to your business’ reputation than a happy one.

Here are some important Do’s and Don’t’s when considering how to respond to customer complaints, reviews or feedback on Social Media…. KEEP CALM AND RESPOND WITH CALM Poster

What not to do –  

  • Don’t ignore it. It might be tempting to try to delete the comment, or hope it quickly fades down in people’s newsfeeds, but there is never any guarantee. It is always better to respond and address the problem than ignore it and hope it goes away.
  • Don’t respond back with negativity. In the world of debates, two negatives never equal a positive! Responding with anger or offence is just going to add fuel to the fire. It’s upsetting for everyone involved and surrounds your business with negative energy.
  • Don’t get into a battle. There is nothing to be gained from trying to have the final say. Anyone following the discussion on your social network will be able to “see” the entire battle unfolding and each of your followers has an easy click to unfollow you and refuse to see any future posts from your business.

What to do instead –

  • DO take time to formulate an appropriate response before typing any reply to the comment. If possible, ask a colleague or trusted friend to read your reply first before you publish it online. Taking time not only allows you to respond with a clear head, but it also has likely given your disgruntled customer a chance to cool off too.
  • DO respond with professionalism and offer to address the complainant’s concerns offline, perhaps via email address or over the phone. Offer a solution to the problem right up front so that the next step is in their hands to either take you up on the offer, or to walk away.
  • DO end the discussion quickly, after a single, well composed reply. There is nothing to be gained by carrying on the discussion if you first response did everything to address the complaint, offer a solution and provide a non-social media form of communication to use to continue the conversation.

Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over for years. Teach Me Social now offers services ranging from training sessions for small business owners and their teams, to full-service social media account management. Visit teachmesocial.ca to learn more about our service offerings or to contact us today for a no obligation consultation, including an audit of your existing social media channels.

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Social Strategy SOS

SocialStrategy

In the third post in this series, I discussed why you need to consider your customers as “users” and how you go about creating a User Persona to help you target your Content Strategy to your ideal users. Over the next 3 weeks of this series, we’ll finish fleshing out the remaining pieces of the content strategy puzzle, and this week we’ll tackle what is possibly the most perplexing and time consuming part of your digital business: your Social Media Strategy.

Do I really HAVE to have a social media strategy?

Social strategy is complex: there are so many social networks, and sometimes it feels like there is a new one every day.  How does a business owner know which ones to pay attention to, and which ones to ignore?  Engaging in Social Media can be extremely time consuming with little visible return on investment: It can be difficult to clearly see how a social media strategy can help your business.

But social media can also be a virtual goldmine of new customers.  It can be a way that you can develop a relationship of trust with your customers, engage in customer service activities, and even recruit new employees. Social media is here to stay and it is an essential part of every business owner’s sales, marketing, and business development toolkit.   A smart, targeted social strategy can deliver brand awareness, new customers, and even conversions, but it is important to understand why you’re doing it and what exactly you should do, and this is unique to each and every business.

Conversion has changed – forever.

Think about how your customers convert nowadays.  It used to be that customers would become aware of your brand or product through a limited number of expensive and highly controlled channels: perhaps through a television, radio, or newspaper ad, or perhaps through word of mouth.  Their decision to buy was made primarily at point of purchase, that is, when they saw your product on the shelf in the store: the “first moment of truth”, as it was called in the traditional marketing model.

Google has recently described a new model that very accurately captures the new way consumers become aware of, and make decisions to purchase, products and services today, and they call it the Zero Moment of Truth.  The Zero Moment of Truth is all about digital discovery: the extensive searching, recommendation reading, and consulting with Facebook friends that we now engage in before making a purchasing decision.  For products and services big and small, we rarely convert until we have had at least 7 and sometimes as many as 17 digital “impressions” or touch points with a brand.

ZMOTequation

This Zero Moment of Truth is perhaps the most compelling reason that each and every brand, every business selling every product or service, needs to ensure that when the consumer is engaging in this foraging behaviour, that they are there, building trust and clocking impressions that may lead to conversion.  These impressions come from your business website and your social media activities, especially what people are saying with you and about you in social media.

There may be a small segment of the population that doesn’t use social media, but this is a rapidly shrinking segment.  The fastest growing segment of social users is adults 45-54, and more and more seniors come online every day.  In many ways, Social Media IS the Internet, and the Internet IS Social Media.  It’s difficult today to grow your business without a strategy that covers how, for whom, and how often you will engage your customers in the two-way conversation that Social media has to offer as a marketing tool.

So Many Platforms, So Little Time.

Scheduling tools like Hootsuite make it easy to track and control the frequency of your social media communications, and they make it easy to post the same content simultaneously to multiple social platforms.  But while it may be tempting to try and broadcast your messages to multiple platforms at once, it is rarely a good idea.  In his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, Gary Vaynerchuck makes a strong argument that business owners should heed: not all social platforms are created equal.  The kind of storytelling that works really well on Facebook for a particular user will not work on Twitter, or Linked, In, or Pinterest, or….

Knowing which platforms to prioritise is perhaps the most difficult part of your social strategy but also the most critical.  You stand to lose a lot of precious time if you prioritise a platform that really doesn’t work for your business, and you can even erode or undermine your brand if you post something clearly inappropriate for that platform: so how does a savvy business owner choose?

There are three factors to consider:

1) What are the various social platforms “good at”?

2) Which of the social platforms do your users tend towards?

2) What is the nature of your business conversion funnel?

1) A Brief Primer on Social Media

There is much crossover between the various major social media platforms: all of them are, of course, social, meaning they are about engaging in a dialogue with others.  But because each one operates in a slightly different way with different rules of engagement, they require different kinds of Storytelling.

Twitter

  • Has over 230 million monthly active users
  • Twitter followers are 60% more likely to recommend you than a Facebook Liker
  • The average age of a Twitter user is much higher than Facebook, at 39 years
  • 70% of Twitter users expect to hear back from a brand, and 53% want that response within the hour
  • Twitter is good for establishing thought leadership, expertise, for sharing news, and for customer service and customer relationship management

Facebook

  • Facebook is the largest social platform in the world: if it were a country it would the third most populated, after only China and India
  • Facebook does have an influence on purchasing behaviour, even if not a direct one. Your Facebook fans are more likely to convert than non-fans.
  • Facebook is great for visibility in social search
  • Facebook is getting into the retail game with Facebook shops if you are selling a product
  • The new killer app on Facebook is the short video

YouTube

  • Has moved from being primarily a video search engine to a powerful social platform where many brands have been born and built. Khan academy, for example, and Justin Bieber.
  • Web videos are a great way to reach out to new and current customers and generate inbound links to your website
  • Because it is owned by Google, embedding YouTube videos on your website gives those pages a double-boost in Search Engine Optimisation

Google Plus

  • Great for local businesses, reviews, and Google search “juice”
  • Ties your business address into a Google Map and ties into other Google services

Linked In

  • The largest professional network, you must have a personal page on LinkedIn; it is far more common to connect with business contacts on LinkedIn than to keep a Rolodex or stack of business cards or emails.
  • Linked in generates 200% more leads than the other social networks

Pinterest

  • The fastest growing as of December 2012
  • Pinterest is very visual, about ‘things’, items they find interesting, but it works even for small businesses that aren’t visually stimulating.
  • Pinterest is good for referral traffic because the source of the pin is a link to your site, especially images you might be posting in your blogs. Even if you don’t maintain a page or presence on Pinterest, installing a “pin it” button on your website pages is a good idea

2) Where Are Your Users Hanging Out?

The short answer is, everywhere.  But you have to narrow that down a little to come up with a feasible strategy.  It’s important to note here that there are multiple social platforms not listed above, many of them attracting niche audiences where you might find a treasure trove of users interested in exactly what you have to offer.  This article outlines 60 niche social networks and it is worth doing a bit of digging to see if any of them resonate with your business goals.  Another tool that you can use is socialmention.com; social mention searches blogs and social networks for topics or brand mentions and can be a good way of finding out where conversations are taking place that align with the kinds of conversations you want to be having with your customers.  And social crawlytics at socialcrawlytics.com can be very insightful, generating a report that will tell you which pages of your website have been shared in social media, where they have been shared, and even by who.

3) What is the Nature of Your Conversion Funnel?

Typically, the more expensive the product or service, the more touch points the consumer will require before purchasing.  What are you selling, and how many touch point’s do you think your customers need before they buy?

Is your product or service more suited to an active discovery process or a passive discovery process?  For example, if I need an emergency plumbing repair I tend to engage in some very active discovery to find one.  I search Google and will probably call the first few service providers I see.  Social Media is better at passive discovery, at marketing products, services, and ideas that consumers don’t need right away or in an emergency.

Do you have a lot of competitors, so will need more touch points or more visibility in the market, or very few competitors?  Are you in the B2B or B2C market?

How much customer service does your product or service require?  And how much brand awareness do you already have in the market?
SocialStrategySOSWorksheetImage

Document the answers to these questions on this worksheet; by indicating on the sliders in the worksheet where your business lands on these various conversion factors will give you some pointers towards which platforms you might want to prioritise as well as the frequency of posting you might want to consider.  Note that the worksheet is more art than science and is intended only as a starting point: they only way to really get good at social media is by doing it, so start small, perhaps with your LinkedIn page, and build slowly using the worksheet as a guide.

The biggest question the Content Strategist has to answer is “Do I need a website AND a Social Strategy”?  The answer is yes, for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the findability of your content in Search.  Next month, we’ll cover Search Engine Optimisation and Influencer Marketing, the two biggest ways you can make your website work for your business.

For more resources and information on Content Strategy and to download a detailed description of what content strategy entails, go to analyticalengine.ca/resources or download a Content Strategy Info graphic at http://bit.ly/1qY9tYp.

Christine McGlade is a Business Analyst, Content Strategist, and Usability Consultant.  With over 25 years experience in the media business, Christine helps small business, social enterprise, and Not for Profits how to leverage the power of the Internet to grow their business.  Learn more about Christine at analyticalengine.ca

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