Many small businesses and even corp behemoths have no idea that social media marketing platforms are not cost free, requiring curated content updates to drive engagement, monitoring the platforms, measuring social ROI and engagement.
A well done LinkedIn profile will take 4-6 hours to create and optimize and should be update on a regular basis.
An optimized Pinterest account requires great content (images, infographics and videos), well done Account Profile, Board and Pin Descriptions with keywords and hashtags and hundreds of images. With ongoing content updates and interaction.
Standing up a brand on Facebook and expecting it to generate traction organically with no advertising is a “fools game” and doesn’t happen. For big well known brands “organic” traction works on Facebook; but, not for small businesses.
Facebook is really an Ad Platform disguised as a social channel and brand exposure is dropping all the time - your at the mercy of their endless algorithmic changes via Facebook’s Edge Rank (kinda like Google).
With over 645 million users and 58 million Tweets per day standing out on Twitter now takes creativity and a well thought out marketing strategy. The digital land grab is over, it’s a fight to the finish to just get heard.
Every business today needs an overarching Digital Strategy with integrated digital assets, platforms or channels and ROI measurement.
Ten Plus Attributes that Drive Great Social Marketing Strategy
- Recognize the “free platform” will require sophistication in content marketing to build an engaged audience.
- Understand “free” is a not free – selectively pick one or two social platforms and create engaging profiles coupled with ongoing content.
- Recognize the unique demographic attributes for each platform: Facebook is great for consumer facing brands: LinkedIn and Twitter better for B2B brands, G+ still evolving but definitely good for SEO and B2B engagement.
- Generate long form brand story and “snackable” content to engage your target market demographics.
- Know free content syndication platforms don’t do anything for your business unless they are coupled with stellar content and an editorial calendar.
- Have an awareness the feature sets of these free platforms are always evolving - will be incumbent for your brand to stay on top of these changes.
- Tracking ROI via these platforms is critical to understand your ongoing content investment costs – use Google Analytics with social accounts connected and track: conversions for specific platforms (sales!!), monthly visitors, bounce rates and time on site.
- Less is more with social media marketing: pick one channel and build social engagement and interaction. Then build out on this marketing beachhead and move to one or two additional platforms.
- Recognize the need for good community management to enable your B2B or B2C brand stand out on a platform: these channels are competitive and you need an experienced manager to drive tangible social media engagement.
- Twitter and LinkedIn are the best platform for B2B brands, Facebook for consumer facing, coupled with Pinterest or Instagram, depending on your product marketing strategy.
- Content syndication will help to lower your content marketing costs and should be utilized after you have “stood up” one or two social media channels.
- Your best marketing methodology will always start with blog content. It can be shared with an endless rinse and repeat cycle across the social web. Drives brand story, SEO rankings and gives your business a social voice.
- Curated and build Twitter Lists: these present an opportunity for you to drive more relevance with your account
- Participate in Twitter Chat Discussions: some are like drinking from a fire hose, but dive in and Tweet to get your brand heard.
- TweetUps are another way to drive brand awareness.
- Change your profile frequently; it gets ranked by Google immediately.
- Connect your Twitter account with other platforms (this is just good content marketing) and don’t forget to embed Twitter account with email newsletter.
- Use high impact images on Twitter: 20-40% of your Tweets should have attached images.
- Use Twitonomy to understand what your competitors are doing: follow their lists, assess their content marketing strategy: what they are sharing, hashtag usage, who they are Following.
- Twitter has “jumped the shark” Be patient and expect to spend 3-6 months to build up a Following on Twitter; forget your Follower count: a smaller and engaged community is much better than larger group of Followers who are not engaged.
- Used Tweetdeck to segment lists (“columns”) of users, hashtags relating to your industry, competitors and your own lists.
- Twitter’s Advanced Search can be used to pull up hashtags or keywords used by potential customers who are Tweeting about a problem they are having. This is 1.0 data-mining and labor intensive; but, can be useful for sourcing leads or partners.
- Twitter’s new profile page is a great way to use a dramatic image that makes your brand stand out – change it at least once a month. Pin your best Tweet every few days to your profile page: should be a Tweet linking to your blog or other branded content.
Creating a LInkedIn Personal Profile: Best Practices
- Create a full Profile: Keyword driven Profile Summary, Past Jobs/with dates, Bio picture, Education, Non-Profit Work, Skills/Expertise, Add Presentations/White Papers – prepare to spend 8-10 hours on a robust profile and use LinkedIn’s completion percentage algorithm.
- Don’t create a profile w/out a bio picture; it increases your connectivity by 11X – so many ignore this and also don’t put quality time into profile.
- Pay it forward and provide Endorsements to others and others will reciprocate in kind – this is a part of LinkedIn’s social fabric (these show up in your profile).
- Join some finite number of Groups (10-20) that you want to at least check out once or twice a week and also provide comments and/or share topical news via your Groups and be mindful of Admin’s “rules of the road” and group etiquette
- Connect your WordPress Blog to your LinkedIn profile account during setup so blog posts are automatically shared on the platform.
- Pro Tip: LinkedIn owns SlideShare; so, integrate any PowerPoint Presentations with your Profile.
- Share your Content (Blog Posts, Valuable News) with Profile Status Updates 2-4 times per day; remember, content curation is important. Some Pros use TwitterFeed to share News from 3rd party sources.
- For better or worse, LinkedIn’s Newsfeed is becoming image centric; so, don’t rely solely on textual updates – be creative with your images.
- Remember your connections drive your newsfeed – demographic targeting is a good thing. Although some pros just look for high volume connectivity with minimal targeting.
- Use LinkedIn’s publishing functionality as it can drive significant traffic, adds luster to your profile. Don’t forget to add a blurb at the bottom thank others for reading & commenting, and cross link all of your published content on each single piece of content, add links to web site and social profiles.
- Update your Profile frequently: 3-5X per every 60 days at a minimum.
- Pay attention to LinkedIn’s new profile analysis tools which show your levels of engagement: these are not robust but will give you some perspective.
- LinkedIn’s “People You Know Tool” has been recently upgraded (integrating an algorithm with import features via email) – useful for building connections. And their Outlook Pllugin is cool too.
- LinkedIn has a cool Mobile Phone App that has good basic functionality (picture below) and mobile growth is skyrocketing.
- Linkedin has opened up their API (Application Programmer Interface) and there are a large number of plugins that work well – here is a great collection of the top ten via Mashable.
Exec Summary for Consumer Facing Brands Building a Business Page on Facebook
- Whether your a big brand or small business, the key metric for effective social media marketing on Facebook is creating great content and engaging with the community. And, using Ads to drive engagement as below.
- Your profile description should be complete and your web site URL should be showing right at the top so it’s visible to anyone who visits your page, not buried in your text.
- Use Tabs to give visibility for your other social platforms and email newsletter signs ups such as Pinterest, GetResponse (email vendor), YouTube, Awebber; the list is endless – you can have up to twelve tabs with four showing at one time.
- Your Cover Photo should be creative and your Profile picture can/should be your company logo at launch; change these later and rotate images you think add some sizzle to your page.
- Use Advertising on Facebook to accelerate growth for your page. But, don’t rely solely on advertising to build a large community, as engagement rules this platform: Facebook’s Edge Rank Algorithm is tuned to measure how this community is engaging with you: comments, your comments back, virality (shares of your content) and how/when consumers are sharing your content with their friends. Think of ads as the icing on the cake with your content being the foundation.
- It’s a fools game to buy “likes” on this platform. Don’t do it – these consumers (if they are in fact real) will never engage with your brand and if you do this at some point you’ll have to delete your business page and start over.
- Nurture your community on Facebook and cross promote your other social media channels and remember to “rinse and repeat” your content, as only about 20% of your community will see your status updates at one time.
- Hasthtags are the new short form currency of the content realm. Don’t forget to use the same hashtags on Facebook your brand is (hopefully!) using on Twitter and Pinterest. These should be a brand specific hashtag that you can “own” and a series of second tier hashtags. If you are GEO Targeting we love the TrendsMap platform which will give you a visual representation in locales for trending hashtags.
- Use WishPond to drive consumer engagement – they are the market leader in contests, email campaigns and landing pages. Their customer service is excellent, services are low cost/high value.
- Facebook has a built in content filtering capability for businesses: use your “like” pages to curate content you want to see and share. Many brands never even use this built in resource on a business p
Pick your battles when utilizing social media marketing – in today’s hyper connected economy you will get more traction with a “less is more” with a concentrated marketing firepower vs. trying to market on all social platforms at once.