12 Benefits of Social Media For Your Business

12 Benefits of Social Media For Your BusinessFacebook was launched in 2004. Since then, it has grown to 1.7 billion users in 2016, making it larger than the population of any country on earth. Clearly, social media has taken the world by storm. At first, “friends” used social media to connect with each other and share free, personal content. However, it didn’t take long for companies to realize the potential the medium has for bringing their message to millions of potential customers. Here are the reasons you should consider using social media as part of your marketing strategy.

1. Drives Traffic
Content that goes “viral” can be seen by thousands of people almost instantly. This level of publicity can attract a lot of attention that you can use to promote your company. It is now easier than ever for people all over the world to see your content and spread your messages to each other.

2. Allows Relationship Building
Unlike many traditional forms of advertising, social media marketing is not one-sided, but interactive. Tweets and status updates from your customer base allow you to become “friends” with your supporters, knowing about their lives, and being able to tailor your message to something that will appeal to them. People will begin to view your company less as a faceless corporation, and more like a group of people with a vision with which they can connect.

3. Customizable and Targeted
With social media, you can create content targeted towards a particular audience, showing a chosen niche group content designed to appeal to them. Facebook in particular offers opportunities to customize your advertising like never before, so you can specifically choose to broadcast your message to people likely to respond positively.

4. People are More Respective
For many people, “advertising” has a negative reputation as something unwanted or manipulative. Therefore, the most effective marketing shouldn’t feel like you are actively trying to sell something. Most users view Facebook, Twiter, and Instagram as ways to connect with people, and are thus less likely to reject your message as marketing, and therefore more likely to connect with it.

5. Instant Response to Problems
Not only are you able to send messages, but you are able to receive them as well. If there is a problem with your company or product, social media can be a convenient way for the message to get back to you. If you are able to deal with the problem in a timely and satisfying manner, your professionalism will be on display, in a way bound to increase your brand’s reputation.

6. Fast And Responsive Content
The ideal social media content is short and punchy, and can be created and shared in a manner of minutes. An effectively created and placed post may be looked at by hundreds or thousands of people minutes after it is posting, allowing for instantaneous feedback. You don’t have to wait for a publisher or television studio to put your advertisement out there, because social media content can be seen right away, at your control.

7. A Large (Mostly) Level Playing Field
If you are a small business with a low amount of capital to invest in advertising, you are not at a significant disadvantage competing against larger internationally-known corporations. If you are able to create clever, creative, attention-grabbing, and useful information, and post it in strategic you can generate a very high level of web traffic and online sales.

8. Expand Your Customer Base
There are lots people out there who may be interested in what your business has to offer, but may not know you exist. There are many different ways social media enlarge your business by creating awareness. Twitter can connect you with people using keywords that might indicate interest in your products, Facebook allows you to join groups related to your customer base or industry, and Quora can help you answer industry-relevant questions and show off your expertise. All of these can be important avenues for disclosing your business.

9. Costs Very Little
Setting up a social media account is free with an email address, meaning that you can start creating content and sharing it with the world for free, generating interest and awareness in your products without spending any capital. Even if you do hire an online firm to manage your social media output, you are likely to see a huge return on your investment. For example, using Google Adwords will cost you $1-2 per click, whereas a targeted Facebook or Pinterest post can cost as little as $0.12 for each person who checks you out.

10. Fun and Creative
Social media is designed to be fun. You are able to interact with people directly. Displaying a creative and playful side can both make your message more likely to be shared, and be a joy to be a part of. You can host a twitter chat to celebrate a new product launch, create a meme to communicate an idea, or share a poll with your fans.

11. Know Your Competitors
Other people and companies have social media pages as well. Often, these can be very important sources of information about what trends they may be up to, or actions you can respond to or follow.

12. Know Your Customers
People use social media to share about themselves. If somebody publically declares they are a fan of your company, they are telling you important information about themselves. This can help you think about what they like, dislike, believe, and value, in a way that can strengthen how you communicate with them.

Refresh Your Social Media Campaigns

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Running a social media marketing campaign without a clear plan is like sailing a ship without a captain. You don’t want to be left aimlessly floating at sea or even worse… shipwrecked. If your campaigns have been on auto pilot for awhile, it’s easy to feel burned out. But don’t give up yet!

Keep Updating

Consistency is one of the hardest parts of maintaining an active social media account. If you feel tired or burned out, it’s not a good reason to give your social accounts a break. Regular posts are needed to keep your accounts in active order. Even if it means posting about articles that aren’t your own, interesting videos, inspirational quotes or pictures. These are also things that will help break up the monotony of your usual “business” posts. Although it can seem tedious, it’s the beginning of the battle into keeping a fresh social media account.

Get Interactive

You may have seen athletes, big businesses, or even local accounts incorporate prize giveaways into their social media posts. On Instagram, EnjoyPasadena does a good job of promoting a scavenger hunt through a series of posts and getting followers to use the hashtag. The idea is that EnjoyPasadena posts a clue or riddle about a location in the area where the prize is located. The first Instagram follower to find it will get the prize! This is much like the Hidden Cash Social Media accounts that caused a frenzy last year. But when done in this matter, encourages engagement while promoting local businesses.

Align Your Business Goals with Social Media Goals

Synergy. Your business is more likely to succeed when the goals are aligned. Luckily, this is very possible through social media. For example, if your business aims to increase referrals you can attack it from all social angles: email blasts, Facebook posts (and Sponsored posts), Twitter updates, and Instagram pictures.

Revive Your Outlook on Social Media

Nowadays, it’s rare that you’ll discover a new social media tactic that hasn’t been utilized before. But the purpose is to try what’s new and effective for your industry. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+ and contact us for more information or ideas for your social campaigns.

How to (More Accurately) Measure Your Social Media Efforts

measure-social-media It’s always been tricky to track and measure the ROI of social media efforts.The most difficult part is choosing what is most important to analyze & how that translates to your real life business. Here are 3 things that you can realistically do:

Analyze Referrals and Traffic

A quick review in Google Analytics (Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals) of referral sources to your website will show you exactly where website visitors are coming from. Referral from these sites may look familiar:

– m.facebook.com
– facebook.com
– pinterest.com
– t.co
– plus.google.com

After reviewing this, take some time to analyze whether the outcome matches up to the time and efforts spent on the corresponding social network. If you log hours in Pinterest but don’t see a return, it might be time to cut back. If you’re getting good traffic from Facebook without really trying, it would be beneficial to focus your efforts.

Track Engagement and Audience Reach

How many fans/followers (and potential customers) do your social profiles reach? The Facebook Page Barometer gives a good estimate of social engagement metrics that you can keep track of and work on. Luckily, Facebook not only shows the amount of Likes, but growth over a certain amount of time, Reach, and Engagement (via Likes, Comments, Shares and Clicks).

Quantifying Actual Business from Social Channels

Numbers, spreadsheets, and graphs look great but clicks, calls, leads and conversions are what really matters. While they are perfect for your boss or client, it doesn’t really help if you don’t see anything from social media translate into real life.

This is where a loyalty program comes in handy. Launch and track different campaigns based on specific social media sites, such as coupons exclusively for Facebook users, deep discounts for Yelp check-ins, or freebies for a Twitter scavenger hunt. There are many creative but useful ways to track just how effective your social media campaigns are.

Need a Helping Hand?

Looking to take your social media campaigns to the next level? We hope that these tips help you get started. Contact us and join us on Facebook for new social media ideas.

Is Organic Social Media Marketing Reliable?

What is Organic Social Media?

Social media is “free” in the sense that there is no barrier to entry and any business can join. While signing up is essentially cost-free, there is much more to it. Joining Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter doesn’t mean instant success. The idea that free or organic social media is reliable is quickly dwindling. Sure, it can happen organically for certain businesses or industries. But for the most part, social media marketing is becoming a ‘pay to play’ field.

There are still many benefits of organic social media: attract and keep loyal customers with engaging content; better understand your audience, and communicate. But the need for the use of ads in order to get the right attention in social media is becoming more noticeable.

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Current Social Media Trends

Because of all the noise on free social media sites, there has to be a better way to capture a customer’s attention and stand out from the crowd. This comes through in the form of advertisements or sponsored ads and content. The idea is that ads and content will be sprinkled into your regular “organic” feed while the intent is to cater to your needs and wants seamlessly.

For example, if you follow certain brands on Facebook, you might see a sponsored ad from a similar retailer. Alternatively, your favorite Instagram celebrity may sponsor or endorse certain products and services in an update. When using social media ads, the goal for retailers is to stay relevant by targeting the right audience. But in 2015, this is going to cost them.

One thing that is certain is that users don’t want to be inundated with in-your-face ads while using social media. For businesses, this makes it harder to choose the most effective types of ads as well as figuring out if paid ads are worth the while. Luckily, with the introduction of Twitter Product Cards and “Buy” buttons on Facebook, this makes it easier for customers as well as businesses.

Another trend that will continue to be popular in social media is the idea of personal and private messaging. Customers can Tweet, DM, & Message brands across all the major social media networks. And often, they’ll expect prompt replies. Keep that in mind with your current social media plan.

When You Need Help

Planning and carrying out a social media campaign isn’t easy if you’re doing it alone. Over time, it’s something that can get put off and ignored… which is why you often see social media accounts that aren’t active or engaging. Organic social media isn’t going anywhere but you have to keep up with the changes to make the most out of our accounts. There are many options for your business, no matter what size and budget you have in mind.

If you’re interested in taking your organic and/or paid social media campaigns to the next level, call Emarketed today for a free consultation.

Social Media’s Holiday Explosion

It’s never too late to invest into social media marketing and this year, experts expect that social media will play a crucial role holiday sales. Consumers in the US alone are expected to spend over $650 billion this shopping season!

Although it seems like every business is on social media nowadays, only about 70% of US businesses actually plan to invest during this holiday season. A shocking 92% of businesses plan to spend the majority of that budget on Facebook. But it actually makes sense in terms of the numbers: Facebook boasts about 1.32 billion users; Twitter 281 billion; and Instagram 150 million. Check out this study and infographic by Offerpop here.

The Concept of “Socializing Commerce”

E-commerce and brick and mortar stores have to get social some how. This holiday season, 62% of marketers plan to drive sales and extend their brand reach. The next biggest goal is to generate qualified leads and lastly, drive traffic to the website.

Instagram – The Next Big Thing for Social Networking

Users and businesses alike have been flocking to Instagram. Instagram is especially user-friendly when it comes to promoting retail goods and products, such as clothes. If you’re interested, check out Instagram ads here.

Other Social Networks Aren’t Gaining Traction

Snapchat, Wanelo, YO., Swarm, aren’t as popular and most businesses don’t plan on investing their budget into these new, up and coming social networks.

Start Planning Your Holiday Social Media Campaigns Today

It might seem a bit too early to start planning for the shopping season. It’s better to be prepared than to scramble at the last minute. This applies to social media marketing, as well as all other forms of internet marketing. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let us know if you need help with your social media marketing for this holiday season.

Take a look at the infographic below to view more important social marketing trends for this holiday shopping season:

explosion-info

How to Grow Your Facebook Page

There’s no magical solution to growing your Facebook page. Like any other form of online marketing, it requires a strategy which takes a lot of hard work, time, and patience. If anyone promises an easy solution, you should really consider what they’re offering and if it’s a short term answer or something that will last in the long run. Here are some things to remember when growing your Facebook Page:

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Covering the Basics

Before trying to promote your Page and gaining more traction, basics must be covered. This means having your Page completely filled out properly. Take time to provide value in the content you post, from status updates, photos, videos and more. Remember to focus your efforts into one main page and don’t try to game Facebook or think that making multiple Pages is somehow helpful.

Another thing, don’t by Likes. Facebook is able to recognize unnatural Likes in many ways: hundreds or thousands gained in the course of a few days, Likes from inactive accounts, and users from countries other than where your business is based. Filled Out, Provide Value in content and be active, don’t create multiple pages, don’t buy fake Likes, schedule and updates, monitor and interact with other pages and fans and measure

Inviting Friends, Family and Acquaintances

Starting out with a brand new Facebook Page and growing Likes is the hardest part. This is why it’s helpful to get those closest to you to Like first. This means asking friends, family, friends of family members, customers, clients, co-workers, employees, and acquaintances. Basically, anyone you know to help get engagement started. The goal of this step is that those close to you will hopefully be more willing to engage with posts on the Page or comments and updates that you direct them to or tag them in.

For small businesses, Facebook Likes don’t just grow out of nowhere. This is a good starting point to get some sort of activity going on before you do more out reach.

Grassroots Methods

If you have the manpower and time, grassroots methods still work on Facebook. Contacting other businesses and acquaintances (or a acquaintances of acquaintances) is a method that is unconventional but requires other resources. This might even involve some one-on-one facetime, think of it as the “street team” approach, where you go out and invite potential customers to try your product/service and Like your Page for more updates. Another method is to reach out to other businesses who are in the field or whose products/services complement your own business. There are other options: handout flyers with coupons, giveaway free swag to promote your brand, etc.

Paid Ads

Promote your Facebook Page with paid ads. Facebook Ads accommodate budgets of almost any size and you can grow your Page while investing just a few dollars every day. Facebook Ads offers highly targeted options and you can carefully test your ads and choose the right demographics. Although social media marketing is often thought of as “free” to use, the paid options will help give you the results that you’re looking for.

Incorporate Facebook Into other Marketing Campaigns

Your Facebook campaign can’t succeed if it’s not tied into your other marketing campaigns. Even big brands like Coca-Cola always tie their social media accounts into TV, radio and print ads. There’s really no place off the internet that you can’t promote your Facebook Page, so take advantage of that. This works especially well when you can stress the value that customers can get when Liking your Page. It can be entertainment, free stuff, coupons and other promotions.

Check us out on Facebook and let us know if you have any questions or need help growing your Page. Remember, there are no secrets but laying out a plan of action is what will really help your Facebook Page grow and thrive.

Don’t Buy Into These Top Social Media Myths

Like its other marketing counterparts, social media is the subject of many myths and misinformation. Find out if you have heard about any of these social media misconceptions and face the reality of what’s really true!

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1) Every business should be on every social networking site

Social media marketing should not be considered a free-for-all. Like any other form of marketing, it’s best to choose the platform that is best for your business, where you can invest the time and money to create a good strategy and engage with your audience. Not every site is a good fit for your company, or industry for that matter.

Additionally, putting your business on every social platform that exists is a waste of resources, can mislead consumers (into thinking that your business is active on all sites) and send out spammy social/SEO signals.

2) Your business should post every day, multiple times a day

Although your business should be active on social media, participating daily isn’t necessarily a good signal. Especially if you don’t have anything substantial to post. Then, it’s just like you’re posting (or automating) for the sake of posting something. Instead, it’s good to aim to make a post a handful of times a week and more frequently if you have engaged visitors or important news to share.

Social media shouldn’t be considered a game of numbers. Quality definitely matters over the quantity of your posts. Besides, who wants to see a Facebook Page that updates everyday with little to no interaction?

3) You need to be on social media because it’s free

Sure, signing up for a Facebook, Google+, or Twitter account is inherently “free” but that doesn’t mean that you’ll succeed. Facebook is quickly becoming a pay to play network, where businesses won’t see as much benefit without investing in paid ads and placement.

The cost of being on a social network is free but other indirect costs may incur, including long term investment, training and maintenance of your accounts, if you don’t have time to do it yourself.

4) Social media marketing is unlike traditional marketing

The biggest challenge with social media is measuring ROI. Other than that, it can be seen as a complement to traditional branding or marketing. It’s highly effective in reputation and brand management and a great way to humanize your company.

Social media marketing can be tied to almost any other forms of traditional marketing including: billboard ads, radio & TV spots, email marketing, snail mail, and even viral marketing. Just because social media marketing seems like a different animal, it can now be considered part of the traditional marketing family.

Misconceptions about Social Media Marketing

Now that these common myths have been busted, it’s time to spread the word. Social media marketing is no longer in its infancy and the more you avoid it, the farther behind you’ll fall. Remember to do your research and not just to believe generalized, sweeping statements. Especially when they contain the words “almost”, “never” and “all”.

Marketing campaigns should be tailored to your specific business and there’s no one correct way to do it for everyone. Keep this in mind with social media, as well.

Social Media for Lead Generation

Social media marketing has been and will always be an efficient way to spread the buzz about a business. But nowadays, that buzz might not be enough… which leads us to using social media marketing to actually generate leads. How you ask?! View the guide here and check out some highlights below:

consumer-ad-trust
Social media combined with personal recommendations makes lead generation viable on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Take a look at this Forrester Research survey on consumer trust in ads: 27% partipants trust sponsored search engine results, 32% believe what is on the company website while 70% believe what friends and family recommend! Word of mouth sure does travel and it really pays. Social media participation through Likes and comments bolster a company’s brand authority and trust level. In additional to the good signals they send to search engines, you really have nothing to lose by investing and engaging in social media.

What Type of Content to Share

The 80/20 rule of thumb, also known as the Pareto principle, states that for about 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes. Using the same thought process and numbers, this can be applied to social media marketing – 80% of the information you share should be informative while about 20% is promotional.

Other types of posts to consider those that: enhance your reputation, give fans exclusive access to something (newsletter, download, coupons), and promote giveaways/contests. These are usually the types of posts that get the most attention on social networking sites because people are looking for a reason to engage.

Social Media as an Extension of Your Website and Business’ Personality

Social media is about the fun and likable aspects of a brand but it also has to address your true business identity. And in that lieu of thinking, it’s only appropriate to address the use of ads on social sites. Ads on social networks are different than traditional ads but the same basic ideas are behind them. You’re trying to get customers to call, click, or buy but the way you present the ads is different. It appeals to a wider audience and isn’t just a blatant, boring ad. There has to be something else that’s integrated into a a compelling message with visually stimulating images. Social media allows businesses to showcase their value in natural and engaging way and the use of ads can certainly help. This is the perfect channel to grow your fan base and with that, your leads will follow.

Mastering Facebook Likes

More is always better, especially when it comes down to social media shares. Getting more Likes for your Facebook Page is always something to strive for. But the question really lies in how, why and when.

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More Pictures and Less Words

It’s a no brainer, but you really have to focus on what you post on your Page. Did you know that pictures get 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs than a regular update? And you don’t have to struggle with a lengthy post either, posts with 80 characters (or less) get 66% more engagement. Less IS more!

Think “Middle”

As for when to post to get more Likes, think of the concept of the middle. People are more likely to Like and engage with your posts at 3pm and on Wednesdays. Facebook helps people get over the “hump” in their day and week. View the infographic here. Thinking of the middle or a broad target audience can also help boost engagement. This is why question posts, even as innocuous as “What are your weekend plans?” garner so many responses. It’s something anyone can reply to in just a few seconds.

Advertising on Facebook

A quick Google search of “increase Facebook Likes” reveals a Facebook ad for Facebook Ads. Paid Facebook Ads are effective, even at a low daily budget that makes it manageable for small businesses to increase Likes and engagement. You can even be as as specific as to “Boost” certain Facebook posts that are time-sensitive that you really want/need to promote.

Contests Involving Fans

Facebook contests have always been a quick and easy way to attract attention and get Likes. While it’s nice to get Like bait, it’s best to tie the contest back to your company or industry when possible. A raffle for a free iPad is nice but what makes it memorable to your Fans? Don’t be afraid to make them work for it, as in create content (pictures, videos, posts) that tie into a certain topic. For example, starting a fan art based contest for the most popular item at your bakery. There are many ways to make Fans happy, Like your posts and get the chance to win something. Thinking of the best win-win outcome will help you gain and sustain Likes.

Why Do Likes Matter?

Facebook Likes don’t have a direct connection to your website rankings. But there are indirect social signals that may play a bigger role in the near future. For now, Facebook is a great place to showcase the human and social side of your business. Showing real people and giving a behind-the-scenes look makes your business seem more relate-able and trustworthy at the same time. Think of it as another platform to broadcast and manage your online reputation by socializing and sharing.

Make sure to connect with us on Facebook and let us know if you have any other easy-to-implement ideas or if you have any questions about getting more Likes: https://www.facebook.com/emarketed

Google+ Authorship Tips You Need to Know

Google Authorship is one reason, if not the main reason, for the fast growth and increasing importance of Google Plus. The use of Authorship helps connect your content to your social authority. This ultimately, indirectly boost your SEO efforts. Remember, there is no “official” link between better rankings and Google Plus/Authorship use. There are only close correlations in cases where this seems to be the case.

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If Authorship isn’t set up on your site and/or blog yet, you’re missing out. But don’t forget to follow Google’s best practices on Authorship. Here are a few things you should know before implementing and being more active on Google+.

- Post Relevant Information

Although this goes without saying, there is a logical reason to posting information that’s relevant to your industry and website. Posting often on a wide variety of topics can send a confusing signal. Instead of being seen as an authority on a certain subject, you’re diluting your Authorship. In return, your authority signal won’t be as strong and this could even cause your Authorship picture to disappear from search engine results. We’ve seen a similar case where a client continued to post back on track in his field and his Authorship photo reappeared!

- Don’t Post Too Much of The Same Thing

On the other hand, posting too much of the same thing, or just posting content from your site or blog can be seen as spam, which violates Google’s terms of service. As a result, Google will mark your Google+ posts as flagged, where they can’t be seen by the general public. Even if you submit the posts for review, they still won’t be seen until Google gets to them… which means you have a pretty low chance! The lesson that can be learned here is to diversify your posts (but not too much) and post regularly (but sparingly) and always tie it back to your field when possible.

- Beware of Overoptimizing the About Section of Your Profile

This is something that happens far to often. Stuffing a bunch of keywords and links in your bio not only looks bad, but in most cases, it does more harm then good. Even to the regular viewer, it looks unnatural and spammy. From an SEO point of view, try to think about quality over quantity. If you post a link to your site on your bio, that’s a good signal and will count as a new referring domain. What’s the need for pointing 20 links to your site on your bio section?

- You Can be An Author on Multiple Sites and Blogs

The first step is to put your Authorship tag on your pages on your site. You can also have multiple Authors for a blog that has different contributors (like Hubspot). This doesn’t give the go ahead for an Authorship free for all. Again, more isn’t necessarily better. It’s more logical and legitimate to Author a few sites where you can really showcase your expertise. Rather than being Author of dozens of sites where you rarely contribute.

- Don’t Create Multiple Google+ Profiles

If you can think of it, it’s probably been done. Many people have tried to game the Google Authorship system in order to send stronger signals to their website. Google wants an individual to create 1 account with their real name and true identity. There’s no need for keeping separate business and personal accounts. The last thing you want to do is confuse Google or make them think that you’re trying to take an unfair advantage by creating multiple accounts that all link up to the same site(s).

Join Emarketed on Google+ and let us know if you have any questions about Authorship.