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social-media

How do I find the time to implement a social media strategy? The short answer is have a plan and make a schedule. Like any other aspect of your marketing, it’s important that you know your audience and post content that is interesting to your audience so they want to comment, share, retweet, etc.

Have a plan and a schedule for what you will post on a daily basis. This saves you time trying to figure out what you are going to post. Here is an example and you are welcome to modify it to suit your needs:

Monday: Link to an article

Tuesday: Quote

Wednesday:  Tip of the week or a short recipe.

Thursday: Promotion

Friday: Link to a video

Saturday:  Comment on someone else’s post or retweet something. Join a group discussion and share your knowledge.

Sunday: Post a photo with a comment.

You can also use Hootsuite to schedule posts to go out at certain times of the day.

The goal is to strike a balance so you are not posting 10 times a day, but you are posting enough to be considered active. That means 3 – 4 times per week. Find what works for you. I have just given you a basic blueprint for planning and scheduling your social media interaction. You can tweak it to fit your needs. And you may not want to post every day. That’s okay, but you still need a schedule so you know what you are posting on any given day.

What is your social media posting strategy?

social-media-tips

It doesn’t matter if you are a nonprofit or a for-profit business, you will benefit from implementing a few simple strategies that have been proven to get results. In today’s world, it’s all about transparency. Let people know what’s going on in your business – profit or nonprofit – so they can feel like they are a part of the action.

1. Show people what you are doing. Anyone who contributes to your nonprofit probably wants to know if the dollars they are donating are having an impact. There are many opportunities for you to do this. For example, you can post a picture of a child on your Facebook page with a brief post letting people know the impact you had on this child’s life. You could create a board on Pinterest and pin pictures of people or places who have benefitted from your nonprofit. The bottom line is this – you want to use every opportunity on all your social media channels, blog posts, YouTube channel, and newsletters to let people know the impact you are having.

2. Use hashtags in Twitter to create an ongoing conversation with your donors about your cause. Check out my blog post to learn more about hashtags. Simply post something about your organization followed by a hashtag. For example, you could post – we are looking for ideas for our next fundraiser #nonprofitideas.

3. Use a tool such as HootSuite to listen more effectively. Find where people are mentioning your organization and engage in a conversation with them by retweeting their posts, following them, or just sending them a direct message to let them know you appreciate them mentioning your organization in their post.

4. Create videos and post them to YouTube. Post a video of someone who benefited from the efforts of your organization. Create a video that shows your offices and introduces your volunteers. This makes it a little more personal.

These are just a few of the ways you can engage your donors and supporters to increase donations, increase your volunteer base, and show people the difference your nonprofit is making in the community.

twitter hashtags, mike coleman

Successfully marketing your business online depends on creating an ongoing dialogue with your customers and prospects.

Twitter is a great social media platform to use for creating that dialogue. One way you can do this, using Twitter, is by using a hashtag. According to Twitter, here is the definition of a hashtag – “The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.”

Here is a quick example. I recently did a seminar in Morristown, Tennessee. After the event I created a short post on Twitter about the event – “Had a great group at #pinkpigpottery studio for the #constantcontact Email Marketing seminar in Morristown.” You will notice in the above post, I created a hashtag for pinkpigpottery and constantcontact. By using hashtags, you will start to create a buzz and ongoing dialogue about your product or services. In this case, it creates a buzz about Pink Pig Pottery and my business.

That is the real power of using the hashtag when you tweet something. Now someone can go into Twitter, do a search on #pinkpigpottery, and see everything being posted about that business.

If they use the hashtag – #pinkpigpottery – in their tweet, they can join the conversation, post things about their experience with Pink Pig Pottery Studio, and share ideas. And, of course, sharing and engagement are the two things that make your online marketing efforts pay off.

Here is how Pink Pig Pottery can use this. They simply ask their customers whenever they engage with their business by taking a class, making a purchase, or having an event, to tweet a comment about their experience using hashtag – #pinkpigpottery.

Over a period of time, more and more people will start to use the hashtag and create a buzz about their business Their customers will start to engage more with Pink Pig Pottery and with each other. This builds a sense of community around the business. It’s also a way for their business to get feedback from their customers.

Think about how you can use this in your business and let me know how it works for you.

social media marketing nashville tn facebook

As you probably already know, measuring ROI on social media can be a little tricky. But on Facebook, you can use Facebook Page Insights to measure a few of the metrics that matter so you can become more effective in posting content and engaging the people who ‘Like’ your page.

And having success with Facebook (or any social media) is all about engagement. Engagement can be defined as a like, a share, or a comment.

Facebook Page Insights will help you access the size of your audience and help you understand if people are engaging with the content you post.

Here is how it works … 

Log on to your Facebook account and select the Facebook Page you want to monitor. Then, under your Admin Panel, click on Show All next to Insights.

On the next page, you will see – Overview, Likes, Reach, Talking About This – towards the top of the page. Under that you will see – Graph. Then under the graph, you will see – Individual Posts.

Here are a few key metrics you can check. There are more but this will give you a high-level introduction to the capabilities of Facebook Page Insights.

Click on Likes (next to Overview at the top of the page) to see the demographics and location of the people who Like your Page,

Click on Reach (next to Overview at the top of the page) to see Total Tab views. This will show you how many people clicked on each of the Tabs on your Page along with a few other metrics.

In the Graph section, hover your mouse over the purple dots along the bottom of the graph to see the date of the individual post. Then look in the Individual Posts section under the graph to find the individual post for that date. Next to that post you will see key metrics such as Reach, Engaged Users, Talking About This, and Virality. Hover your mouse over the question mark next to each column heading to see what each one means.

If you want to download more data into an Excel spreadsheet, click on the Export button.

This is just a basic overview of Facebook Page Insights that will give you a few ideas for how you can improve your posts and give you a better idea of how you can monitor the performance of your Facebook Page.

Periodically go into Facebook Page Insights to see how your page is performing. Think about how you can use this information to improve your posts and engage more people.

Then you will start to see more and better results from the time you are investing in Facebook.

Social bookmarking sites allow you to organize and store resources online. One of the more popular social bookmarking sites on the scene today is Pinterest.

What is Pinterest? Just think about a cork board you may have in your office where you pin specific things you want to remember or pin pictures of your vacation, favorite car, or whatever.

You can do the same thing in Pinterest, except now your cork board is online where you can share the links with your friends, see what other people are sharing, and search on specific topics of interest.  And people can follow you to see what you are pinning. You can create different boards and then pin your favorite things on the boards you create. For example, you may have a favorite music board, favorite restaurant board, amazing products board, favorite websites, or anything else related to you or your business.

Why is it important? Because people are spending more time on Pinterest than on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn combined.

Now you’re probably asking, “What does this have to do with marketing my business?”

Let’s say you are an event planner – you could post pictures of your clients’ events or of your venue. The same basic principle applies if you are a musician, photographer, or selling widgets. You are sharing your interests and providing some insight into your business.

And it helps build the know, like, and trust factor that’s so important for people to do business with you. Pinterest is just another window they can peak through to learn more about you and your business.

You can set up a personal account at pinterest.com or you can set up a business account at business.pinterest.com. And if you already have a personal account, it’s easy to convert it to a business account.

There are a couple of advantages to having a Pinterest business account vs a personal account. They are adding educational materials to help businesses market themselves, along with new features and tools designed specifically for businesses.

Go to business.pinterest.com. Check out the case study and browse the site to learn more about how this tool can help you in your business.

One of the most effective uses of social media involves becoming a good listener. This means monitoring your brand, monitoring your competition, and seeing what other people are posting about specific topics. But how do you do this effectively and still keep up with all your social media accounts?

Two great tools for doing this are TweetDeck (www.tweetdeck.com) and HootSuite (www.hootsuite.com). Both applications are easy to use, save you time, and serve the aforementioned purposes.

TweetDeck is a social media dashboard you can use to manage your Twitter and Facebook accounts. HootSuite does basically the same thing as TweetDeck. Try both and see which one best suits your needs. They are both easy to setup and use. But keep in mind, you will need to have a Twitter account already set up to use these tools.

Tweetdeck has the option of setting up customizable columns that allow you to monitor the tweets of specific people you are following. For example, two of the people I follow are Michael Hyatt and Seth Godin. So I go into TweetDeck, click on Add Column, then click on Tweets. This allows me to follow their tweets. In Michael Hyatt’s case, I typed in @MichaelHyatt to add the column. If you don’t know their Twitter handle (@MichaelHyatt), then you can just search on the name to find the person.

HootSuite allows you to monitor your brand, your competition, or a specific phrase. For example, if you want to see what people are saying about cold-calling or to learn more about cold calling, you sign into HootSuite, click on Add Stream. In the popup box that appears, click on the Keywords tab. Then enter “cold calling” and click on Add. Next, click on Create Stream. This will create a stream feed that will show you every mention of cold calling in other people’e tweets. You can do the same with a company name, person’s name, or anything else you can think of that people may be tweeting about.

So, as you can see, there are many possibilities for listening using TweetDeck. I have just barely scratched the surface in this short article. But keep an eye on my blog. I will be posting follow up blog posts to delve deeper into this subject.

Let me know how you are using these tools in your business. I welcome your comments and input on this topic.

In working with clients on their social media marketing, I have observed several key challenges most businesses face when implementing a social media marketing strategy.

Here are a just few of the challenges:

Measuring ROI. There are several ways to measure ROI – number of followers, likes, connections; number of visits to website; lead generation; sales. These are the basic ways to measure your results. And you need to get your base numbers before launching your campaign or you won’t know if what you are doing is working.

Managing and growing your social media presence. Most businesses lack the necessary resources needed to effectively launch a successful social media campaign. It makes sense to focus your efforts on your areas of expertise in your business and outsource your social media marketing.

Integrating social media marketing with the rest of your marketing. It’s important that you don’t forget the rest of your marketing when creating a social media marketing strategy. One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make is focusing all their efforts on social media and forgetting the rest of their marketing.

Managing your content. Creating posts, tweeting, and engaging with your fans and followers is how you make social media work for you. Creating and managing content that gets your message across, informs, and educates your audience, while at the same time selling your services, can be tricky. You don’t want to be selling all the time, but you do want to grow your business. Learn basic copywriting skills. Keep a notebook or a file on your computer where you can write short notes for future posts. That will keep you from running out of ideas when it comes time to post something.

Monitoring your social media platforms. This can become a time-consuming task if it’s not managed properly. Set aside a few minutes every day to monitor comments and posts from others in your network. Block out, for example, 10 minutes just for this task and nothing else. Also, use tools such as HootSuite or TweetDeck to make monitoring your accounts easier.

A good social media marketing person will provide you with easy to understand reporting along with periodic strategy and brainstorming sessions to make sure everything that is being done is working. This will give you peace of mind and assurance that your marketing dollars are being spent wisely.

Social media marketing is not a one-shot deal or a campaign, it’s a commitment to posting, tracking, and measuring your results.

Even though social media has been around for several years now, I still get people asking me why they should use social media. And a lot of people still see it as a waste of time. But nothing could be further from the truth.

There was a time when just having a website was enough to support your online marketing efforts, but that is no longer the case. It takes a combination of both online and offline marketing strategies to successfully market your business or services. And using social media is just another online marketing strategy you can use to build your brand, build your list, and grow your business.

Here are three reasons for using social media:

Your competition is using it. How many businesses do you know who have a Facebook Page? Having a presence on social media sites is no longer an option. If you don’t have an active social media presence, you can bet your competition is using it to get customers in your target market.

Your target market is using it. Almost everyone now relies on social tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to learn more about a company and to share information with their friends and peers. If you are not on these social sites, you are not being taken seriously by the businesses and people you are trying to reach.

It starts the conversation. All of these platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) are great for starting conversations. On Twitter, you can build a loyal legion of followers by posting original and interesting content. On Facebook, you can invite people to like your page and to post comments. On LinkedIn, you can join groups, ask questions, and join discussions to share your expertise and become known as the expert in your field.

And one of the biggest excuses I hear for not using social media is, “I can’t think of anything to post.”

If you can’t think of anything to post, then comment on a post or retweet something one of your followers tweeted. Once you start doing this, you will start thinking of new things you can post.

Social media is not the answer to all your marketing challenges, but it is an essential part of your overall marketing strategy. So, spend a few minutes every day to post something, connect with people, and join conversations.

Harry Chapman, a local TV personality, hosts a show at Belmont University on PBS called “The Insiders View” where he interviews music industry insiders on current trends in the music industry. Harry recently interviewed Ian Rogers, CEO of Topspin, discussing the effects of technology (and social media) on the music industry. Ian said, “You want to make the unaware – aware; make the aware – fans; and make fans – customers. Those are the people who become evangelists and say you gotta see this. It takes a long time and you can’t skip steps.”

It takes time to find the right connections on LinkedIn, get the right followers on Twitter, and to get the right people engaged on your Facebook Page. But this is not rocket science. It simply requires a little effort on your part. Here are a few steps you can take to implement what Ian Rogers summed up so well.

1. You want to make the unaware – aware. One way to do this is to be consistent and proactive in gaining followers, likes, and connections. Use the search feature of each of your social media tools to find the right people to connect with. For example, if you are a professional speaker and you are seeking gigs with local companies, you can start following companies in the industry in which you want to work using LinkedIn. After you log into your account, click on the Companies menu option. From here you can do a search by industry, company name, or keyword. Start following companies within your industry to find the movers and shakers within the company and send them a personalized invitation to join your network. You have now made them aware. (And you can do basically this same thing in Twitter and on Facebook by using the search feature on each of these platforms).

2. Make the aware – fans. Now that they are aware, it’s time to make them fans. The best way to do this is to consistently provide relevant and interesting content in your posts that your target audience will want to read and, most importantly, want to share.

3. Make fans – customers. Now that they are following you, reading and sharing your posts, you have the opportunity to get them into your pipeline, add them to your database, and convert them into customers. To do this, you will need a way to collect email addresses on all your social media using an email marketing program such as Constant Contact so you can engage them directly on a more personal level. You will also need a strong call to action (CTA), such as, “Click Here To Get Special Pricing On Our New App” or “Enter Your Email Address For A Free Copy of Our Newsletter” placed strategically on all your social media platforms. Facebook Tabs in the new timeline are an excellent place for these.

That is social media marketing in a nutshell.

Have you ever bookmarked something in your web browser, such as a website you really liked, so you could easily get to it later? That is basically what social bookmarking is, but instead of saving the links to these websites in your browser, you are saving them to the web.

Since these bookmarks are online, it’s easier to to share the links with your friends. Social bookmarking sites also make it easier for you to see what other people are sharing. And you can do searches on specific topics of interest to find what other people are bookmarking.

Just as there are a lot of social media sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and countless others, there are also many social bookmarking sites.

One of the newest social bookmarking sites on the scene today is Pinterest. Just think about a cork board you may have in your office where you pin specific things you want to remember or pin pictures of your vacation, favorite car, or whatever.You can do the same thing in Pinterest, except now your cork board is online.

In Pinterest, you can create boards and pin your favorite things on the boards you create. This allows people to interact with you and learn more about you and your interests. For example, you may create boards for your favorite music, favorite books, places where you like to eat, amazing products you’ve tried, sports, etc.

It is currently an invite-only site, but you can request an invite directly from Pinterest or be invited by someone who is already a part of Pinterest. Once you are invited, they will send you a link where you can click and set up your account. You can register through Facebook or Twitter. Once you are registered, you can remove Pinterest from your Facebook timeline and your Twitter account.

And you’re probably asking, “What does this have to do with marketing my business?”

Everyone knows people have to know, like, and trust you to do business with you. Pinterest is just another window they can peak through to learn more about you and get to know you. They learn about the books you read, the music you like, where you like to eat, etc. All these things can tell you a lot about a person.

One of the things I like about Pinterest is people can follow you without you needing to approve them or do anything. And it’s easy for you to follow other people. It’s similar to how you follow people in Twitter and people follow you.

Go to pinterest.com and request an invite so you can get started.