Best practices for social media marketing

Social Media Planning and the Super Bowl

Social media planning could be the key to truly getting your brand out there and making a post viral – especially during a big game or event like the Super Bowl. Did you tune in last weekend? If so, you might have been there for the big Bowl, for the halftime show or even just for the commercials. Super Bowl organizers know how to do it right – they throw in a little something for everyone to pile on as many extra viewers as possible.

Social media is no different – now it’s standard to live tweet big events like Bowl games, so of course big brands are getting on board. JC Penney’s ‘mitten’ tweets are now famous –

JCPenney Super Bowl Ad

People seriously thought someone in JCPenney’s social media department was partying a little too hard during the big bowl game and might not have a job come Monday. Then this happened:

JCPenney Super Bowl Ad

At the time of this writing, the last JCPenney mittens tweet received 3718 retweets and 1985 favorites. Not bad!

Careful Social Media Planning

Utilizing social networks to broadcast messages like these is a great idea. On Superbowl Sunday, your audience is going to be in front of the TV, but will also have laptops and smartphones out live tweeting and Facebooking about the event. This means that your brand should definitely be at the party – but with conscious content that’s relevant to the event at hand.

Sure, you can sell your services – but events like these are a time to figure out how you can present them in a way that’s fun and relates to the Super Bowl. You also don’t have to be stuck in front of your computer during the big event – you can use Lead Liaison and other tools to create great content and schedule it before you leave the house. This will allow you to ensure the right social media is posted and gets out there during the big game.

Answering Back

Even if you’re busy during major events, ensure you spend some time the next day responding to Tweets and Facebook questions about your posts. Being there for your audience is a big part of not only being recognized as an interactive brand – tweeting back can increase the visibility of your posts and your marketing message.

You can automate everything. Good social media planning allows you to take the time you need to enjoy your Sunday while your marketing is still doing its work. The Lead Liaison team would love to help engage your social media planning into something that ends up in tremendous results. Let’s talk today!

Why Social Media Content Should Include Text

Why Social Media Content Should Include TextSocial media content is what drives engagement for your brand. Whether you’re posting just a few times a week or interacting daily with your customers, it’s important to create and maintain a social media presence over time.

Part of creating a social media content strategy is knowing what your customers want to see. For many businesses, the only way to truly find this out is to test various forms of content over time. Many people respond better to images, some to news stories, some to blogs from your own site. And of course, there are infographics.

The Power of the Infographic

Infographics are awesome, but splitting up your content into different types will really determine how your audience wishes to engage with you. You can never really be sure what will go over best. It’s a good idea not to make the assumption that every person in your audience is a visual person and enjoys seeing their social media content in picture form. Images don’t appeal to everyone – in part because they don’t always load quickly on certain connections.

Facebook is Not Instagram

Instagram is a great way to share image content. You can even use that content to showcase your products or services. As long as you’re interacting with other Instagram users, they’ll follow you and you’ll have an opportunity to put what you’re selling right in front of them. It can truly be a powerful platform.

Because Facebook is capable of hosting various types of multimedia content, why not set up your company Instagram to send images straight to your Facebook? That way you can save your Facebook postings for social media content relevant to information from your site, news posts, blogs or other text-ready updates.

Social Media Content is Necessary

If you’re posting a few times a week, you may not have enough content out there to drive engagement. This is particularly the case if you’re only posting images and not sharing multiple forms of content. It’s a good rule of thumb to mix up your content and test it using all the capabilities Instagram has to offer.

Some folks stick to images because they simply don’t have the wordsmithing abilities to create blogs and content for their site, much less social media content updates. We can help! Lead Liaison offers social media content services right within your dashboard. Simply send out your request and our writers will take care of your needs within a specific timeframe – whether you’re looking for social media content updates, blogs or other pieces of writing. Let’s talk about your content needs today!

SEO is Dead, Content Lives

SEO is Dead, Content LivesSEO is Dead, Content LivesIt’s possible you’ve heard the headlines throughout 2013: “Is SEO Dead?” Search engine marketing experts are still working to figure out how Google’s algorithm changes this year affect websites on the whole. Out of all the research that’s been done and the rankings that were tallied, the truth is emerging: content is king.

It’s Time To Beef Up Your Content

The “Is SEO Dead” question has little to do with whether or not people will still use search engines to find what they need. They absolutely will. It’s evident that with sites tanking, more and more small businesses will rely on PPC to get their websites and products out there to users. Traditional SEO isn’t dead – but the “tricks” advertisers have used over the years to game the search engines aren’t going to apply anymore. Old-fashioned, keyword optimized onsite content is going to be the only true way to rank up through the search engines and make your site indexable.

The more content and the more relevance to your audience, the better. It’s not just about putting as much content out there as possible – it’s about making sure your content is engaging and your audience wants to see it. The more eyes on your content, the more comments and the more general engagement from social media, the more you will find yourself ranking.

Is SEO Dead?

As long as it’s possible to be on the search engines, and as long as people are typing in their chosen keywords, SEO isn’t dead. It’s very much alive and kicking – and not just because our advertising partners are still doing well for their clients, but because people are still using Google – and because it’s still possible to get your site to the top of the search engines.

If you’re not creating good content for your site right now, there’s no better time. Websites who have been upset or penalized by Hummingbird are trying to rebuild their sites to catch up with the latest updates, so you have just as much of a window to create content as they do. Don’t wait – get started creating keyword-rich content that your audience will love today and watch your website excel.

If you’re looking for content resources to help SEO your website, we have what you need! Our Lead Liaison dashboard provides an opt-in content resource that allows you to receive the postings you need. Our writers are a trusted, proven resource for clients who can provide content that comes right in through your Lead Liaison marketing automation dashboard. Talk to us about our content resources today!

Do You Have Time for Your Social Media Marketing?

Do you have time for social media marketing?Your social media marketing commitment has to be one you can handle. There’s really no alternative – regardless of whether you’re hiring someone to do your social media or making time weekly to do it yourself, keeping an eye on your social media and how it affects your overall marketing campaigns is critical to success.

Hiring

Some people alleviate their social media management issues by hiring a team to take care of their Facebook, G+, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media marketing pages. This is always a great idea if you can afford it- but what about supervision? How will you know your social media marketing team has your best interests in mind and is posting engaging content that’s relevant to your business?

Ask any team you’re considering working with if they have a strategic way of targeting your audience. You should also ask how and when they plan on reporting back to you. If you or someone on you team isn’t monitoring an advertising team you outsource to, you won’t have any control over what’s posted about you.

Making Time for Social Media Marketing

Time constraint is a huge factor in how social media marketing is handled. You can schedule time weekly to check out engagement, use a social media aggregator and make any necessary updates to your profiles. However, many folks are going a step beyond that. Some small business owners vow to check into social media daily and answer questions, but simply don’t have the time to do it.

If you’re doing your own social media marketing, methodology is important. Have a set schedule that includes what tasks need to be done for the week along with a time frame. If you can’t make time to do these tasks week after week, or someone on your team isn’t doing them efficiently, it’s time to look at other options like outsourcing.

Tracking Social Media

Engagement is about more than getting people to notice you, come to your website and buy from you.  It’s about building trust between you and your customers. Analytics and tracking allow you to see how effective your social media marketing campaigns truly are. If you’re not checking metrics such as brand mentions, clicks to your website from social media or new followers, you could be missing a good opportunity to leverage more interaction for your brand.

Most analytics tracking systems don’t give you the data you need to single out and nurture individual customers who come from your social media marketing efforts. Lead Liaison can! Talk to us today about upping your social media game and tracking customers from entrance to exit.

7 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

7 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Marketing CampaignMarketers have been flooding social media channels for over three years now. Some brand leaders have effectively embedded social campaigns into their marketing strategies. But many companies are still struggling with making social effective. Why? After several days of research, we’ve uncovered several common mistakes companies are making in their social marketing practices. Here are some thoughts on how to deploy your social media marketing effectively.

Maintain a dialogue – Don’t simply post links to blogs or company web pages. Social media sites are for being “social” (conversing and sharing) so balance informative posts with conversation generators. Pose a thought-provoking question every now and then to get followers to truly engage with your brand.

Uncover what your social circles/followers are doing – find out what interests them, what they are talking about, or what they are sharing. As with any marketing campaign, success starts with knowing your audience well. Take the time to learn about what is important to your followers before posting, tweeting, or “liking”.

Follow others and connect on their social pages – Gaining followers is not a one-way proposition. Buyers, brand advocates, and other stakeholders want to feel they are important to you. If someone elects to connect with your social channel, connect with their channel.

Visit your competitors’ social pages – What better way to find out what your competitors are up to than by monitoring their social pages. Posts on their social pages may reveal common problems your market is having or provide opportunities to address their shortcomings on your social channels. More importantly, you may be able to uncover their strategies.

Join a conversation – Hashtags and other tags allow you to connect with leads that are interested in specific topics. By embedding a hashtag, you join a conversation about common issues, challenges, attitudes, and more. Doing so not only provides an opportunity to link to a specific audience but can signify that certain topics share importance to you and your followers and that you wish to provide more information to your leads.

Use the appropriate strategy for the appropriate social site – Not all social media sites are created equal. For example, Pinterest is for photo-sharing – use images that will generate sharing. Select your photos carefully. Shots of employees or someone using your product may be of interest to your company but won’t likely pick up many followers. Choose images that are funny, cute, awe-inspiring, or memorable in some other way and connect the image to your brand. Facebook has yet to develop hashtags effectively, so deploy hashtags on Twitter or Tumblr instead.

Share responsibly – Things have kind of gotten out of hand with the hashtag craze. Now any phrase under 140 characters can be a hashtag. Make sure to deploy hashtags that are useful to your social circles; they should be relevant to your audience, common enough to be part of a larger conversation, and connect your prospects’ minds with your brand.

Our automated posting feature can be a great way to connect with your audience – if used properly. For more information on integrating social media with marketing automation, connect with Lead Liaison!

Social Posting for Lead Management Success

Social Posting for Lead Management SuccessThese days, B2B marketers are using social posting for lead generation and lead management purposes. Social media engagement is still a fairly new tactic but there are a few rules that have been established that should be followed in order to achieve success at managing leads through this channel.

Post Frequently – But Not Too Frequently

While there is no magic formula for exactly how often to post on social sites, most marketers consider 3-6 daily posts as sufficient to generate views. Keep in mind that posting will likely not be effective if overused. It’s extremely important not to post simply for the sake of putting something out there. Viewers want substance so, unless there is something meaningful to post, avoid filling up your leads’ post feeds.

Social media managers are constantly concerned with the best time of day to post. The answer often varies depending on the channel. Professional sites like LinkedIn are most often viewed before and after work hours, while Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are more heavily visited at different times throughout the day. Most SM experts agree that posting at night is very ineffective.

Which days are most effective? That depends on the site but most SM visits occur early in the week (Monday – Thursday). Image/video sites like Pinterest or Instagram are frequently visited on the weekend while LinkedIn has more traffic at the beginning of the week.

Use Hashtags to Join or Create Conversations

Hashtags (phrases starting with “#”) are used to group comments around specific topics, such as #marketing automation or #generate quality leads. By embedding a hashtag in your post, you connect a post to a conversation about that topic. This tactic helps to gain exposure and provides a way to establish a knowledge authority or thought leadership position.

Microblogging sites like Twitter, Tumblr,  Flickr, and Google+ are channels where you can deploy hashtags. They can be placed anywhere within the post and posters can embed multiple hashtags in one post. If enough site members promote a hashtag by retweeting or sharing, that hashtag will “trend”, which means the term will appear in trending topics for that site.

Provide Answers

Use social posting as a means to help your markets overcome issues or challenges. SM is an effective way to display your expertise and willingness to provide solutions. Post links to content that shows how to troubleshoot a problem or optimize your solutions. Social posts are a great way to build links back to site pages that address customer concerns or provide FAQs.

Linking to reputable knowledge authorities in your industry can be effective at supporting your online presence. Connect your account with popular figures that can help provide credibility and confidence in your company.

Don’t use social media to broadcast features or benefits of your solutions. While buyers may include SM as part of their purchasing research, they don’t often use this channel to discover new products. Prospects will likely turn to SM to see what others are saying about available solutions (in the same vein as review sites), so avoid making claims or promoting your solutions. (However, social sites may be appropriate to post upcoming event announcements or other one-time experiences.)

When used wisely, automated social media posting can drive website traffic, engage your leads, and provide an effective public image for your B2B company.

Your Personal Brand: What Does The Internet Say About You?

Your Personal Brand: What Does The Internet Say About You?This guest blog has been provided by Jasmine Sandler.

Do you work in a position where you sell or do business development, either for your own business or for an employer? Do you need to re-invent yourself or heighten your credibility for your next promotion or career move?

Then you need to nurture your online personal brand. In today’s world, where websites and social media activity are leading news and information resources, you need a strong online presence. An online personal branding program will cultivate your personal brand image in the minds of prospects, customers and other decision makers.

Think of your favorite brands for a moment: automobile, beer, computer tablet, fast food, soap, whatever. You like them for what they represent to you, which is the result of how their companies have differentiated them from the competition. You need to do the same thing: differentiate yourself from all the other choices out there.

The process by which you establish your personal brand is very much like it is for a product. You need to understand the competition and create a value proposition that tells people why they should prefer you.

Establishing the blueprint for your personal branding initiative takes analysis and reflection. It starts with a basic personal brand assessment where you:

1.   Clarify your vision and purpose.
2.   Determine your personal and professional goals.
3.   Understand your target audience. They may describe what they need in different ways; you need to speak their language.
4.   Decide on your personal brand strengths. These are your top three skills—the things you want to be known for.
5.   Develop your personal brand keywords. Start building a list of keyword phrases that support your positioning.

These are five of the 10 steps I use to create a personal brand assessment—an exercise that can be done individually or in a group.

You can learn more about the 10-step program for personal branding on social media on JasmineSandler.com.

How to Optimize Your Social Media Campaign

How to Optimize Your Social Media CampaignB2B marketers are scrambling to deploy social media campaigns in order to establish a foothold in this burgeoning channel. In fact, according to a recent Forrester Research study, 85% of business decision-makers believe having at least one social media channel is important when making tech purchase decisions. Here are 12 ways to make your SM campaign effective:

Be consistent. B2B marketers must post regularly and connect with their audiences frequently in order to be effective through SM channels.

Use images within your content. Whenever possible embed an image in your SM posts. Use images that are relevant to your business such as product images, users, employees, etc. Visual media is typically shared more often than copy.

Join LinkedIn discussion groups. Professionals join LinkedIn Groups to learn, share, and discuss – this is a great spot to provide insight, answers, or even the occasional joke (in good taste!)

Become a Quora user. Show your interest in being helpful by providing answers to questions about your industry, etc. There will be opportunities to improve an existing answer or posting your own.

Use social bookmarking sites to share information. Reddit, Digg, Delicious, and other social bookmarking sites allow b-to-b marketers to provide resources for prospects. Become a respected knowledge authority by sharing content from a variety of sources.

Respond to any and all comments. Be diligent in providing responses or comments to those who have engaged with your posts. Readers want to feel as if you are connected to them.

Use your prospect’s language. Put some effort in learning common phrases, terms, etc. that are used by your prospects. Avoid using language that, although familiar to you, may be confusing to your audience.

Embed AddThis widgets on your site, blog, etc. Make it easy to share your web pages, blog posts, and other digital assets by inserting a SM widget on every page.

Automate your posting activity. Deploy social media automation platforms, such as HootSuite, that allow marketers to automate delivery and manage multiple SM profiles. Automating SM deployment provides lean organizations with a cost effective way to deploy social messaging using fewer resources.

Share content from multiple networks. It’s easy to connect your social posts across multiple platforms. Cross-network sharing is a good way to catch prospects that may miss your original post.

Share video. Watching product demonstration videos is an effective way to learn about a company’s solutions. If possible, create and share videos that depict how to use your solutions, how to troubleshoot issues, and other helpful information.

Use analytics. Find out which messages are generating responses, which posts are being viewed, and what messaging should be dropped. Adapt social messaging to meet your market’s demands by maintaining an agile marketing strategy through the use of SM analytics.

At the end of the day, a B2B social media campaign is only as effective as its messaging. When deploying SM, break out your processes using a 70/30 rule: 70% of the time should be devoted to message creation and 30% should be devoted to message delivery.

How to Use B2B Social Media Automation Effectively – in 5 Easy Steps

How to Use B2B Social Media Automation Effectively – in 5 Easy StepsA growing number of B2B companies want to learn how to use social media automation in their marketing campaigns. We thought it would be a good time to discuss how you can use social media automation to accomplish your marketing objectives.

  1. Create a posting schedule. For B2B marketers, it’s important to maintain a consistent profile for your leads. It can be helpful to create at least a month-long posting schedule with topic ideas and targeted audiences. Allow for flexibility if there is a need to post a message in response to an unforeseen event or issue but develop a messaging sequence that moves your B2B prospects through a series of unique posts.
  2. Select recipients. This can seem like an easy step but beware: ineffective SM use can spell doom for your business just like with other channels. Not all B2B leads are the same, and not all view social media favorably as a business tool. Focus on prospects that have engaged previously on the network rather than those that simply have an account profile.
  3. Create posts. Compose a message that is conversational (not salesy) and addresses a single issue that your prospects are interested in. Be careful not to compose messages that are complex or confusing. Keep posts short (hard not to on Twitter!) and engaging. Throw in a question, conduct a poll,  host a contest, find ways to engage your audience. And avoid repeatedly asking your prospects to share, like, or otherwise socially deliver your posts; doing so frequently can appear desperate.
  4. Select networks. Choose the networks to post on that are most visible to your prospects. In many cases, LinkedIn will be a solid choice. Investigate as many networks as possible and select the sites where your hottest prospects “hang out”. Our Lead Management Automation™ platform allows posting to multiple SM networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  5. Schedule delivery. Determine when each post should be delivered and schedule social post delivery dates and times when posts will most likely be read. Select various times throughout the day to deliver your posts. It may be helpful to use A/B testing to determine the most effective times for social media posting.

As more B2B companies discover how to use social media within their marketing strategies, competition for prospects’ attention through SM channels will likely become as fierce as PPC and search marketing has been in recent years. The winners will be early adopters who position themselves effectively within the social media channel.

Top 5 Socially Driven Sales Prospecting Sites

Top 5 Socially Driven Sales Prospecting SitesWith social media interaction in full force, businesses are afforded the opportunity to harness leads targeted specifically to their needs.  Properly prospecting to collect potential sales, however, takes more than sleight of hand and quick email responses: it requires understanding what the socialites actually ‘like’ while matching their ‘likes’ with your product offerings.  While it would appear Facebook is predominantly the go-to source for sales prospecting, you’d be surprised where more specific leads can be found.  We disseminate socially driven internet sales prospecting using communities which are more specific for businesses that need something more intuitive or in-depth which Facebook may not have the proper facilities to offer them.  Upon completion of this article, find out the leading platform to handle everything your sales team needs to close the deals – no matter where they’re found online.

Last.fm

With over 30 million audiophiles tuning in, downloading skins and enjoying occasional streaming advertisements, utilizing this social music channel would allow your business to reach millions of targeted business prospects interested in music, guitars, rock memorabilia and other products related to music.  Since this is a specific niche, the prospecting possibilities are endless.

Hi5

Those who wish to incorporate advertisement into gaming could benefit from the third largest monthly volume of visitors in social media today by putting your message in front of millions of gamers.  Inside every gamer is somebody that still runs a business or works; prospecting leads from this niche should be easily accomplished with an aggressive marketing angle.

Biznik

Another social media gem which could help create lucrative business connections and potential sales leads is Biznik, one of few that moderates individual profiles made so reputation management companies and excessive spammers cannot create automated profiles.  This beefs the potential for legitimate prospecting opportunities for all businesses while keeping things fair for all.

Manta

Business to business merchants can find loads of useful information using Manta, the authority in finding businesses to cold call or contact via email.  You can find local or national businesses using keyword searches and skim the results for suitable prospects.  Although you shouldn’t directly shill your products or services on Manta itself, you can definitely prospect potential customers quite easily.

LinkedIn

The epitome of sales prospecting is LinkedIn, perhaps the only site where finding contact cards to download has been perfected.  By joining specific groups related to your business, you can begin interaction with individual business entrepreneurs or large companies which can then be contacted to pitch your idea or sale to.  It would definitely be worth your while to pay the monthly premium cost as this allows deeper insights and contact information to be revealed.  Of all social networking platforms, LinkedIn takes the cake in terms of providing industry-specific individuals to cater to.

Before You Start

While jumping in head first seems viable, sales prospecting takes prior planning and some form of centralized lead software to handle nurturing, prospect contacting and sales campaign delivery.  Since Lead Liaison specializes in all-in-one lead solvency from finding the lead to closing the sale, let the professionals handle your social media lead prospecting quest.  The web-based software platform unveiled by Lead Liaison offers unparalleled support for your lead capture and segmentation needs.  This, of course, includes your quest to hunt down sales prospects within the social media world.