The Best Way to Use Facebook and Other Social Platforms for Promoting Your Business

Quizzes on social media are an effective and interactive way for engaging participants and generating new business leads. Find out how to use Facebook quizzes.

If you want to get more leads for your business to grow holistically, then you could consider using an interactive platform on social media to connect with a more comprehensive audience. Quizzes on social media platforms, especially on Facebook, are a novel way of engaging with your audience, gathering constructive feedback and increasing your prospective clients. In this article, you will learn how to efficiently create and use quizzes as an interactive medium on social media to promote your business.

#1: Setting a Goal

To create an effective quiz, you would require setting a specific objective. Enumerate what you want to achieve and what you would like your participants to accomplish. Some of these goals can be:

  • To increase your customer list
  • To introduce your business to people
  • To increase traffic to your blog
  • To notify your potential audience about an upcoming event which you would host

It’s essential for you to specify what exactly you would want to achieve at the end and customize and curate your quiz accordingly. You should narrow down your most essential one or two goals to create an effective quiz, rather than focusing on various goals simultaneously.

#2:  Audience Needs

Next, you need to list what are the requirements of your target audience, and to that, you should add how you can help to assuage those needs via your business. Awareness of customer’s needs helps in creating a quiz that will appeal to them. You can, thereby, pinpoint on a relevant topic on social media that affects your customers more, and thus understand the emotional needs and requirements, and feelings of your target audience. This process will also help in making more people tend to share their preferences and requirements with you, which will give you insights on how to make your business more productive. Your audience will also provide more value to your efforts because they will know that it is designed by keeping their interests in mind, thereby promoting goodwill.

#3: Creating the Quiz

While creating your quiz, you should try to frame questions effectively and efficiently.  You must try collecting new subscribers via email and social media platforms and thus grow your audience and hence your business as well. An active social media quiz should be interactive and engaging in nature, but it should also be primarily about your audience as people tend to love learning about themselves and their inner natures while too craving to have their requirements validates.

Subject-matter and Headline

You should choose topics that would be appealing to a potential quiz-taker’s interests, his emotions, and feelings, for this you should look up the points which you had noted down in Step 2. You can try making the headline of the quiz something that would resonate with your (for instance, “Which Tom Cruise character suits you?”).

Questions and Answers

After deciding on a topic and an innovative headline, you must start with framing some actively engaging, yet lively questions and answers. Here are some points which you should adhere to:

  • Short Questions and Answers. You should use multiple choice questions with answers not exceeding 6 in total per question. The quiz must not take more than 5 minutes to complete and thus. Ideally, 6 to 8 questions should be enough
  • Use Catchy Images. Images would help in drawing attention of your potential participants, while also keeping them mentally engaged
  • Exercise Simplicity. The quiz should be simple enough for your participants to complete and similarly easily, the results should be easy to understand and share. This will help in broadening the audience of your quiz and also increase its tendency to go viral.

While such quizzes will not, in general, provide any particular insights about a participant, but the general aim should remain in trying to provide some casual, interactive entertainment to the target audience and also, thereby, attracting new potential clients. You should keep the questions and answers related in some way to your business, but engagingly by making the audience feel involved in the topic of the quiz.

Results

After the quiz, you must not reveal the results immediately but instead, offer the participants some incentive, like a free eBook, to sign up for your client-email list; however, you should also provide them the option to skip to the results directly if they are not willing to share their email addresses. The quiz-takers must see a reason to share their information with you. You must ensure that the quiz-takers find it easy to share their results on social media platforms like Facebook.

Make it easy to share the quiz results.

#4: Share Your Quiz

Once you have created your Facebook quizzes, you can post it to your website, personal blog, Facebook profile or on other social media platforms. This will help in making the quiz go viral and attracting more participants and thus more potential clients.

#5: Evaluation of Results

You must pay attention and be careful of the results of your quiz, that is, the ratio of people who participated and the how many of them became potential leads. This will help in increasing the effectiveness of your quiz. After evaluating the results, you must make the required adjustments.

Conclusion

Quizzes on social media are an effective and interactive way for engaging participants and generating new business leads. By using the methods mentioned above, you can increase your potential clients and grow your business. It is one of the most accessible and most appealing ways to win over new clients. In fact, quizzes are quite popular on social media, and as many as 8 out of 10 stories that are shared on Facebook are such quizzes. Create your social media quiz as early as you can and start collecting new leads.

About the author
Dorothy Perkins is noted for her insightful blog on social media and Facebook. She has a high opinion of the Facebook quizzes, and her recommendations are beneficial to those who follow her blog.

5 Trends That Will Change The Way Social Media Is Being Used By Businesses

Social media trends are likely to be even more dynamic and expected to change the way social media is being used by businesses

By Anurag Gupta

Nearly 75% of the digital buyers turned to social media before making any fixed purchasing decision in 2016, reported a study by International Data Corporation. With the consumers inclining steeply towards social media and increasing influence of social media on their lifestyle and choices, businesses are progressively paying more attention to the strategies to use social media for lead generation, sales and branding. In fact, smart businesses have made successful social media strategies in the yesteryears and are planning the same for this year too. However, this year, social media trends are likely to be even more dynamic and expected to change the way social media is being used by businesses. Let’s have a look at 5 such trends.

Live Videos Will Become Bigger

Almost 14% of the marketers are estimated to have used live video content in their 2016 marketing strategies; what more, over 43% of them still plan to use live videos to interact with their audience in 2017. Facebook Live and Periscope, being the most popular social media sites for live videos, also inspired other sites like Twitter and Instagram that launched their live video feature in November-December 2016. Live streaming brand events, hosting Q/A sessions and taking product launches to the audience would become a big hit in 2017.

Rise Of Customer Service Chatbots

Chatbots are one of the best means of automated audience engagement. The social messages that require response grew by 18% in 2016. To offer instant replies to these messages, a number of businesses would indulge in customer service chatbots. Chatbots work on Artificial Intelligence and offer quick solutions to the problems put up by the social media audience. These chatbots help in reducing the response time by a large difference and keeping the user engaged for a longer time. Facebook Messenger, having 1 billion active users in a month and around 60 billion messages a day, has over 30,000 chatbots to increase user engagement.

More Augmented Reality And Virtual Reality

The AR-based game Pokemon Go attracted quite a lot of attention in the year 2016. The craze that could be seen in people with them going around places, tapping their screens to capture Pikachu was a wake-up call for many brands to incorporate Augmented Reality in their social media marketing strategies. Not just AR, VR aka Virtual Reality is also one of the most trending social media tools to be used in 2017. Many big brands like National Geographic, Marriott International and The New York Times, used Facebook’s 360° view option to tell impactful stories to its audience in a virtually more engaging way through VR. The audience experience improved multi folds when they used the wearable VR devices.

Higher Dependence On Social Media Analytics

Measurement of the business’s success is important in order to know what is generating favourable response among the audience and what is driving them off. Almost 92% of the C-level executives use analytics tools to get better insights into their marketing and business. With social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram launching their own business analytics tools, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that business analysis would be on the rise in 2017. Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, and Instagram Business Tools have already been liked by many businesses, other social media sites would also jump on the bandwagon this year.

Increased Use Of Social Commerce

Social commerce hit the high tides in 2016 with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest taking on the e-commerce scenario. While 56% consumers use social media to get insights about products before making a purchase, more than 31% of consumers confirmed that they went on social media sites only to look out for new items. In 2016, a sale of around $50 billion was generated using social media sites; the sales price would touch higher skies in the coming year. 2017 would be the year when social networking sites would provide video content for the buyer to have a better insight about the product before making a purchase.

Reigning high over all these trends would be the increasing inclination of people towards social media which is expected to get bigger and more engaging in 2017 and reach out to a much larger audience. So be there, not mere by registering your presence but by being happening enough to steal people’s attention and liking.

About the author
Anurag Gupta is a budding entrepreneur with stakes in WeblinkIndia.net, an acclaimed Web Designing Development & Social Media Company, headquartered in India. He also happens to be a keen writer, sharing insights, tips, and tutorials on subjects related to the ever evolving landscape of Web Designing and Development.

How has Instagram evolved to be the best and most powerful social media marketing tool in 2017?

Instagram is all about staying visible. So make sure you have class, flair and enough panache to get noticed in the clutter.

Instagram logo

You may like cats or cacti, there is one place you can meet people with similar interest and that’s Instagram. If you have been wasting your time on Facebook and Twitter for all these years looking for soulmates, it is time you tried this marketing genius. Very recently, Instagram has surpassed Twitter in the total number of monthly users. It became the coolest thing in the marketing world back around 2015 and Instagram is still holding its throne.

The app has become more user-friendly by the day. And we simply love the new icon! Instagram now even allows business accounts just like Facebook. Now you can find popular designers, pet stores, gadget companies and lifestyle stores on Instagram and follow them. As a business owner, you can post new sales, promotional offers and new products on Instagram from your business account.

What is Instagram for business?

If you have a personal account, you can now easily convert it to a business account. A business account has an added contact button that enables your followers can access your email, phone number and physical address of your business. You can even include map direction to your store.

Instagram has also started with new advertising opportunities for new businesses. The biggest advantage is the access to a fresh audience who may be interested in your product. Instagram allows hyper-focused marketing by the use of hashtagging. You can use audience and product specific hashtags to draw the attention of your followers and potential Instagram followers. You will be amazed to see, how wonderfully the adverts blend in with the regular feed. Unless someone notices the contact button, no follower can tell the difference between their regular feed and a sponsored post. This is a great way of promoting brand stories on social media.

What is Instagram’s take on Facebook live?

Only very recently, Facebook finally took over Instagram with their live video streams for a brief period of time. Facebook can give advertisers 1500 reach per day, however, Instagram can right now give you a whopping reach of 11,000. Having a business account on Instagram automatically means gaining about 20 new followers each day on social media.

The ubiquitous “follower” structure of Instagram makes it extremely easy to connect with like-minded people and grow your business. You can make one post with the right image and at least 10 right hashtags, you can get more like from people who don’t even follow you than your regular followers.

Instagram has very recently added Boomerang and Live Video options. These make this social media app even more dynamic. Instagram now harnesses the power of Instagram to host minute-long videos. You can now add a filter to your videos, choose thumbnails and disable sound. If you are all about Facebook live right now, you can definitely move the live videos from Facebook to Instagram. You can keep reposting your old videos from Facebook with new hashtags as well to gain more followers and likes.

What does Instagram say to new WhatsApp status updates?

Taking a leaf from Snapchat’s book, Instagram has evolved to create pictures and videos to highlight your special products or memories from campaigns. Just like the new WhatsApp status, you can choose who sees them and they are not added to your Instagram profile. They disappear after 24 hours just like on Snapchat and WhatsApp. The only downside to this – your followers will not be able to reply or comment on your Instagram story.

You can have fun and work at the same time 

Possibly the best feature Instagram has introduced this far is the “edit and draw”. This one allows you to draw on your own uploaded content. You can unleash your creative spirit and this is especially great if your company deals with art.

The bottom-line of the story 

Finding your niche on Instagram can be quite tough. However, quite like Facebook, you can actually tag people on your posts and videos. So if you can get a couple of social influencers to follow you, you can tag them on your shared posts and stories. Once they comment or like a post, all their followers will be able to directly access your profile as well.

Instagram is all about staying visible. So make sure you have class, flair and enough panache to get noticed in the clutter. Social media marketing is cutthroat and it is no exception when you are aiming at building your brand name using a stellar platform like Instagram.

About the Author
Isabella Rossellini is a social media marketing expert and blogger. She knows all the tips and tricks of getting more followers. She is a prolific speaker and she usually travels the country educating young minds about the possibility of harnessing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers as powerful marketing tools.

Twitter Business Account – A Powerful Customer Support Tool

Once you decide to create or enhance your Twitter presence, there are several easy steps to personalise your Twitter feed and bring more business to your door.

By Ian Pearson

Twitter logoWhen mentioning Twitter, your first thought very well might be that it is a collection of witty comments, funny and interesting images being shared or you might use it to be in touch with the things going on around the world on an hourly basis. Those actually are the most common reasons that keep people browsing around and refreshing their feed, but Twitter is also being used for some time now as a powerful business tool.  

Whether you are launching a new service or you have some upcoming promotions or discounts in the works, Twitter, arguably the most popular social media network behind Facebook, is a perfect tool for your needs. Easy and fast reach towards your current and potential customers, the ability to respond to your customer queries in a matter of minutes (providing that you do not take managing your Twitter account and in overall your customer support for granted) could just very well be the thing that will separate your business from the rest of the competition. Getting exposure online through Twitter requires you to be creative, responsive and adaptive to current trends and features, but if you manage to learn and master the use of this almost mandatory tool in the modern day business it can benefit greatly to the support and identifying your commercial brand.

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

The old saying goes, “there is no such thing as bad publicity,” and with Twitter, you can put your company’s name and reputation out for everyone to see and discuss. Building a solid base of customers and contacts that follow you on Twitter can be difficult, but the rewards are immense:

  • Track customer reactions to corporate announcements in real-time.
  • Monitor customer conversations and retweets of your posts.
  • Direct messaging can replace time-consuming emails in many cases.
  • Instant response to complaints or accolades.
  • Heightened customer service.
  • Strengthened brand name recognition.

These are just a few of the advantages that companies can develop by using Twitter. There are disadvantages, though:

  • New learning curve on the best ways to use Twitter.
  • New corporate users start behind of established Twitter users.
  • Creating an online Twitter following can be both time-consuming and mentally taxing.

The rewards, however, outweigh the disadvantages even for the most traditional and hidebound companies. One reward, that you can see immediately, is the reduction in outside advertising costs. Without the need to hire expensive ad agencies to create and market traditional advertising, that money is saved and can be put back into the company. The creation of Twitter campaigns is much less expensive than the formulaic advertising for TV, radio and print media.

Taking the Plunge

Once you decide to create or enhance your Twitter presence, there are several easy steps to personalise your Twitter feed and bring more business to your door. We will break those up into two sections.

The first is what you need to do to your Twitter feed and presence to generate more interest and trust in your feed:

Update your profile picture
Especially your profile picture. Your picture will be attached to every Tweet you make. Every piece of information, every advertisement and every response to a question or problem will have your picture on it. You want your customers to associate that picture with your brand Avoid silly pictures and statements, but make sure the picture represents who you – as a company – are. Of course, you must do that in a square 400 pixels wide and deep. That is your first challenge.

Update your profile page
Your second challenge is modernising and updating your Twitter home page to provide information for your followers and random people who just wander off the internet and find you. The trick here is not to overwhelm your potential customers with walls of text and non-important information. Twitter users can create custom graphics to use as the background of their Twitter profile page and the temptation to use a picture can be overwhelming, there is a lot to be said about simple block graphics that help your customers focus on your information.

Update everyone’s Twitter bio
Not just your company’s bio, but also anyone who will be using Twitter for your company or responding to customer questions. By creating professional bios for all your employees, you give their answers added weight. Once you have updated everyone’s bio, schedule a review and update in six months. Keeping things fresh takes some work.

The second part is to identify your customers and create lists of potentials, actuals, returning customers and Spammers/bots. The information gained from actual people will have much more of an impact on your business than any information garnered from following bots and spammers. Spammers can also hijack threads and feeds to create informational problems between you and your customers. Bots are bad but spammers are worse.

Identifying bots and spammers is not that difficult and can usually be done in-house without having to hire ‘professional Twitter gurus.’ They are unnecessary and generally have little or no effect on the success of your Twitter feed. Checking your follower’s pages is quick and simple and there are ways to know if a user is a real person.

Once you and your company have reached this point in the process, you are ready to make some tweets and start building your social media presence. Don’t be shy. If the president of the United States can do it, so can you.

About the author
Aside from primary area of interest and expertise in business consulting with SBHI Commercial Cleaning Sydney, Ian could be tagged also as a passionate sports fan, nature and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development.

Top 10 Social Media Tools

A guide to the best social media tools for business

Using social media to promote your business can suck a lot of time from your day. But, if you use the available tools, you’ll find that you are getting where you want to be a lot faster. These top-10 social media tools will help you succeed.

Tool #1: HootSuite

https://www.hootsuite.com

Hootsuite offers the ability to have all your social media in one place so that you can manage them with ease. So much personalization is lost when everything is automated but with Hootsuite you don’t have to worry about that. It allows you to engage with your social followers easier since you don’t have to jump from one account to the next.

Tool #2: Brand24

https://brand24.com

What other people are saying about you matters a great deal. If you want your mentions in one place, Brand24 will enable that. Get information about your industry, your competitors, and your niche in a way that makes everything actionable. You can get an instant look at sentiment so you can discover if discussions are positive or not. This is handy if you want to establish a good perception of your brand.

Tool #3: Buffer

https://www.buffer.com

You can schedule posts, add links, images, videos, team members and so much more. It works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Pinterest, and Instagram (you still must push from your mobile device). You can choose from individual plans and business plans depending on how many social accounts you want to manage and whether you’re doing it only for yourself or as a business.

Tool #4: TweetDeck

https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/

Sign into your Twitter account, then click the link above. You’ll be taken directly to the software so that you can manage your Twitter account easier. Never miss a mention again. You can add more than one Twitter account to the deck so that you can truly watch what happens with your entire team. If you see a message in the stream, just click the person icon and you can respond how you want to including adding links. You can also mute, block, and report right from the deck.

Tool #5: SocialFlow

http://www.socialflow.com/

Need to know when it’s best to post your information and content to your audience? Social Flow will help you take the guesswork out of this and help you create a strategy that really works to increase engagement and conversions. It works with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. What makes them unique is that they have an advertising platform, which enables you to monetize your posts based on your goals. You’ll also get recommendations on keywords and how much you should spend on advertising to succeed.

Tool #6: IFTTT

https://ifttt.com/

So many people don’t even know about IFTTT, this means “if this, then that” which is how the various coding works and integrates with software you already have, to make it work best. For example, let’s say you want someone to receive a special gift when they sign up for a product or service. You can automate that using an IFTTT applet. You can also schedule, monitor, and publish content based on your IFTTT codes. You can save and share Instagram photos across all your social media networks automatically. You can keep your Facebook and Twitter feeds in sync. Automatically create an archive of a topic and save your Gmail attachments to Dropbox without lifting a finger, and more. It’s very powerful, and something that you want to learn as your business grows.

Tool #7: BuzzSumo

http://buzzsumo.com/

Enter a topic or a domain to get information on that topic including what’s trending, what gets more views and so forth. You can search for the last year, or even 24 hours to get the type of up-to-date results that you need. In addition, you can filter by country, domain, content type, and so forth. With the pro version, you can even set up content alerts, which will enable you to act on trends immediately. You can take one look at the content and see how many shares it has for each social media network. When you get your results, you can export them to a file so that you can use the information whatever you’re doing to help you meet your goals.

Tool #8: Start A Fire

https://www.startafire.com

Integrating with other social media tools like Buffer makes “Start a Fire” even more effective at getting the most from the links that you share with your audience. What it does is add a badge to your shares that add credibility to your posts. It only works with iPhones and Macs currently. Since your shares aren’t stored on the Start a Fire network, you don’t lose out on the SEO, Analytics and so forth from sharing in this way. The Start a Fire badge is really just an additional layer of proof.

Tool #9: Hashtagify

http://hashtagify.me/

Want to figure out the best hashtag to use for your topic? With this tool, you’ll be able to find, analyze, and amplify your message in ways you may not have considered. You can find all the hashtags related to your topic so that you can use them to capitalize on the hashtag. Enter any search term into the system to find out the top hashtags for that topic. In addition, you can find out who the top influencers are for that particular topic. This opens the possibility of asking them to promote you or sending them free product to review. Now you can track Instagram hashtags too.

Tool #10: WYNG

https://www.wyng.com/

You know that user-generated content is also important to SEO. This tool helps you design, publish, manage, and integrate content that gets social media engagement and measures that engagement. Using their templates, you can design incentive-based campaigns that users love to share, which is the whole point of social media right? With this tool, you can reject inappropriate content and leverage feeds to make the most of your content and consumer engagement.

These top-10 social media tools will make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your engagement efforts on social media.

[su_box title=”Infographic option” style=”soft” box_color=”#27699E”]See an infographic on the Top 10 Social Media Tools[/su_box]

Finding the perfect social media management tool for your business

By Lilach Bullock

Are you using social media marketing to promote your business online? Sometimes, it’s not just about what you’re posting, but what tool you’re using. A good social media management tool can help you get better results from your marketing, at a much faster rate. In this post, I’m going to share some of the best social media management tools on the market and help you find the perfect one for your business.

The most important features to look for in a social media management tool

Whatever type of business you have and whatever your needs are from social media marketing, some features are essential:

  • Monitoring: monitoring can help you discover new opportunities for engagement, potential leads and help you improve your brand awareness
  • Publishing and Scheduling: depending on what social networks you’re using for your marketing, make sure to get a tool that allows you to publish to most, if not all of them, and one that allows you to schedule updates for when you can’t be online
  • Customer relationship management tools: keeping better track of your audience can help you improve your conversion rate
  • Analytics: checking your analytics regularly can help you improve your social media strategy. Most social media dashboards have analytics, although they are usually not as high performing as a tool that’s dedicated to social media analytics exclusively. Still, it helps having essential information handy so that you can check it regularly and make changes to your strategy accordingly.
  • Team management capabilities: if you have multiple members in your team that are managing your social accounts, look for a tool that has strong team management capabilities: the ability to assign tasks, leave notes, check team performance analytics and so on.

Another very important consideration for businesses is, of course, the price. You can use a cost comparison tool to see how the major social media management tools stack up against each other based on their features and price. Make sure to look into what features you get for the plan you want – in some cases, you might have to pay extra for analytics reports, or for adding extra team members to your list, for example.

Let’s go through some of the best social media management tools on the market right now, as rated by customer reviews in this infographic from Ian Anderson Gray and G2Crowd:

Agorapulse

Agora Pulse

Agorapulse is an all-in-one dashboard that works with most major social networks. It has a very easy to use, intuitive interface and has some very good features:

  • Social Inbox: the social inbox is very similar to any e-mail inbox, where you get all of your social media notifications in one place. Out of all types of listing mentions, I think this is the best I’ve tried: you can see all of your notifications in one place and take action as you go through them, which makes it much easier to make sure you don’t miss anything important
  • Publishing and scheduling: you can publish to several different social networks, as well as schedule content. What makes it stand out, is that you can also queue up your evergreen content, so that you make the most out of your best content. Another cool feature is the editorial calendar, where you can organize your scheduled updates for all your social profiles
  • Monitoring: you can set up monitoring searches, as well as add a list of keywords that you want excluded. There’s also the option of getting results from specific locations only, or in a specific language and you can set up so-called moderation rules, where Agorapulse can take action on your behalf on mentions matching your query. You can also track Facebook shares and mentions and hashtags and places on Instagram
  • CRM: you can use Agorapulse to organize and tag your audience, see who your most active users are (including any brand ambassadors and influencers) and check out rich user profiles and all past conversations
  • Analytics: in terms of analytics, they offer some pretty good metrics and you can also create fully customizable PowerPoint reports

Sprout Social

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is another all-in-one social media dashboard, with many features quite similar to Agorapulse.

  • Social Inbox: just like Agorapulse, Sprout Social offer a social inbox where you get all of your notifications from your social channels
  • Publishing and scheduling: You can use Sprout Social to schedule and queue updates, and even set up multiple post times at once for an update. There is also an editorial calendar where you can visualize your scheduled content
  • Monitoring: you can monitor hashtags (Twitter, Instagram) and campaigns and get any results directly in your Social Inbox
  • CRM: with Sprout Social, you can organize your contacts, see past conversations on Twitter and view rich user profiles. You can also make notes and add contact details
  • Analytics: you can create unlimited reports, which can be branded and then exported either to CSV or PDF

Hootsuite

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is arguably the most well-known and popular social media management tools, since it is one of the first to come out on the market. But is it keeping up with the needs of businesses and marketers?

  • Mentions: I have to say, I find social inboxes much more practical to use than Hootsuite’s classic mentions stream. The issue with it is, that it makes it more difficult to tell when you’re finished going through all of your mentions. You can however take action and reply, assign, retweet, like, etc. any update.
  • Publishing and scheduling: publishing and scheduling is very easy and the best part about Hootsuite is that it works with over 35 social networks (though this only helps if you’re using some of the lesser known channels). They also have their own URL shortener that you can use and you can view your drafts, scheduled updates, past scheduled updates and much more.
  • Monitoring: for monitoring, you can easily set up streams for mentions of your desired keywords.
  • CRM: in terms of CRM, Hootsuite haven’t really added many features. You can view lists of your followers and those who you follow and take some actions, such as add them to lists, follow and unfollow them, or block, mute and report them. Overall, it’s not at the same level as the other two tools in this list
  • Analytics: Hootsuite offer reporting for social media, as well as for your links; the only issue is, you need to pay or upgrade your account to get many of these reports

Conclusion

As you can see, many social media management tools have quite similar features – at the end of the day, it’s important to find the one that you’re most comfortable with in terms of the software, or if you need specific features, find a tool that has them. What do you think makes for the ideal social media management tool? Which tools are you using to manage your social media?

About the author
Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street with her presence! In a nutshell, she’s a hugely connected and highly influential serial entrepreneur – the embodiment of Digital Intelligence. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and likewise as one of the top social media power influencers, she is one of the most dynamic personalities in the social media market and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. Recently listed as the number one Digital Marketing Influencer in the UK by Career Experts.  She is also a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award (by the Global Connections for Women Foundation, GC4W) for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.

 

How to successfully integrate social media into your marketing campaign

By creating and sharing great content, finding what works best for you and engaging with users, you will find that more of your target audience becomes aware of you

By Ben Martin

It’s important for businesses and brands to have a social media presence. Reports by We Are Social estimate that there are over 2.3 billion social media users, which is a massive audience to ignore.

Social media can be used to help generate leads and may be the difference between whether a business is successful or not. A study by LinkedIn found that 93 percent of brands are now using social media to grow their business, but just how many of them are getting it right?

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate social media into the success of your business, here are some useful tips to get you started.

Make it meaningful

Stay on top of current trends that matter to your customers. When something relevant happens in the news or your industry, it’s crucial that you’re quick to react and that your content is shared before the story becomes old news. Not only will you get maximum exposure by getting there first, but people will start to see you as the thought leader in your field.

It’s essential that you understand what your audience is looking for and how you can provide it. By offering meaningful content, you will find that relevant people will come back again and again for your insights.

Share your content

There is no point in creating content if you’re not going to make the effort to share it. Be proud of your hard work and how valuable your content is by promoting it on social media. Don’t wait for people to come across your content naturally; shout about it and you’ll generate traffic.

HubSpot found that link clicks account for 92 percent of user interaction in tweets, so include valuable resources, such as whitepapers and downloads, to gain views and shares.

Some businesses fear that sharing content multiple times may overwhelm audiences. Avoid this by creating multiple posts that address the same message – by posting content worded differently each time, you’ll avoid the repetition.

Pictures can speak a thousand words

A study by University of Toronto found that we are able to remember visual information easier than text, as pictures help draw out personal memories.

By including images and videos within your social media content, it will be more visually appealing to users and will enjoy greater levels of engagement.

Do your research

Being social media-savvy means more than just posting content regularly – it’s about working out how well your social posts are performing. Look into who is sharing your content and which platforms work best.

Analytics tools will allow you to investigate what time of day your content receives the most engagement. By doing this, you can schedule future content around a similar time in order to optimise exposure.

Encourage interaction

When someone mentions you on Twitter, consider retweeting them as a way of saying thanks. Alternatively, if someone mentions you in a comment, reply to them and continue the conversation.

A recent study by Trustpilot found that 31 percent of people will trust a brand more when they have conversations with people on social media. Small things like replying or retweeting will show audiences that you appreciate the time they’ve taken to acknowledge you and will allow you to build a strong relationship with them.

Don’t ignore negative feedback

It’s important for you to take the good with the bad. As social media is such an open platform, it’s easy for people to express their opinion; therefore, it’s inevitable that you will come across some negative comments.

Keep on top of any negative feedback by responding straight away and remain friendly and helpful at all times. If things get heated or drag on for a while, it may be best to take things away from public view – look into giving them a call, email or direct message.

Ambassador reports that 71 percent of consumers who have a good experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend them to others, so turn that negative comment into a positive encounter.

The importance of social media

It’s crucial for you to integrate social media into your marketing efforts – not only in order to stay relevant and up-to-date with your industry, but also to stay in touch with those that matter: your target audience.

By creating and sharing great content, finding what works best for you and engaging with users, you will find that more of your target audience becomes aware of you, thus increasing the likelihood of generating more leads for your business.

About the author
Ben Martin is the Creative Director at Manchester PR and creative agency Peppermint Soda. Find out more about how to successfully amplify your brand with their
social media marketing guide.

 

Snapshot Your Business in Your Twitter Bio

Your Twitter bio should not share, be funny or promote. Its one job is to capture interest.

Twitter is a great marketing tool for your business, but you need to use it correctly to get the most out of it. While a tailored and well-constructed social media calendar is essential, a catchy bio is what draws initial interest. While Twitter bios may be overlooked at times, it’s a vital part of your social media marketing strategy. Here are the golden nuggets and the hard coal lumps of Twitter bios.

What It’s For

Unlike the rest of the Twitter experience, a Twitter bio is typically static. It doesn’t change much, unless you rethink your company’s product or services. It’s easier to identify what a Twitter bio isn’t used for than what it is. Your Twitter bio should not share, be funny or promote. Its one job is to capture interest.

For instance, Lifelock, an identity theft prevention service, uses a simple catch phrase as a Twitter bio. The phrase catches the imagination of users, lets them know what the company does and shows users the integrity and seriousness of the service.

The Basic Text

You have 160 characters for your Twitter bio — that’s 20 more than a usual tweet. As a business, you either sell a product customers need or provide a service they want. State what your business is and what it does. If you have extra characters to spare, add a third element: why what your business does is important.

For instance, consider Amnesty International’s Twitter bio, which jokes but also informs and calls for action: “We’ve been fighting the bad guys since 1961 — you can join us! Official Amnesty International USA profile. . .”

Appearance

The text isn’t the only aspect of your Twitter bio. In fact, between 6 to 10 percent of Twitter users follow people based on their profile picture. Of course, as a business you need a symbol. While abstract symbols such as Nike’s swoosh have taken decades to become globally recognized, a start-up or smaller business should choose a symbol that is representative of the product or service they offer.

Southwest Airlines, for example, uses the tail of an airplane as a symbol, masked in their signature colors of blue, orange and yellow. Skittles has a simple picture of their product.

Don’t’s

If you’re still not convinced of the importance of your Twitter bio, know that your Twitter handle and bio appear when your business is Googled. If you scour the Twitter-verse you’ll find phrases in bios that are overused. Phrases such as “social media guru/maven/ninja” are all signs you probably don’t know much about social media. Clichés such as “junkie” or “self-proclaimed” in accordance with your business or specialty should be avoided.

Mayhem Studios Twitter bio does just this, and while the curator of the feed has changed his phrasing, the tone of the bio still comes off as self-promotion rather than helpful and interested in the community Twitter provides.

@MadFruiteStand, which promotes Apple products, fails to tell users the purpose of the account. It simply states, “Tweets are entirely my own, and not my boss.” This bio gives users no information about what the site’s purpose is why anyone should follow it.

Use a Social Media Editorial Calendar to Engage Customers

For teams that have more than one person working on social media, an author column on the calendar helps prevent duplicate posts.

Tablet pc showing calendar on screen with a cup of coffee on a dThink about the amount of time your business spends coordinating a trade show presentation or designing and distributing direct mail. Now envision the monetary and human resources it takes to staff a telemarketing team. Your social media efforts may currently be limited to posting on Facebook once in awhile, but Business 2 Community reported in 2015 that social media produces nearly double the marketing leads of direct mail, telemarketing, trade shows and pay per click advertising.

Writing down and measuring goals, including those related to social media for your business, significantly increase your chances of success, according to a study conducted at Dominican University of California. It’s vital to put some serious strategy into social media efforts to maximize your return on investment. An editorial calendar helps you measure progress, stay organized, save time and better engage with your followers.

Set up a Social Media Editorial Calendar

A social media editorial calendar can be something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet that lists all the social network communities your business is a part of and what messages you plan to send out for each of them. Social media management site Hootsuite offers an example of what a social media calendar looks like, and it has a free tool to schedule posts. For teams that have more than one person working on social media, an author column on the calendar helps prevent duplicate posts.

Decide What Type of Media to Post for Your Audience

To maximize the content your brand produces, make a list of all types of media that might be enjoyed by your social media followers, such as:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Blog posts
  • Text-only posts
  • Polls
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Promotions

Then, analyze the audiences of each of your social media channels. Fluffy posts are inappropriate on professional networking site LinkedIn, while your Pinterest demographic may skew female and your Google+ network is male-dominated. Each social network should have a specific voice and target persona when crafting your messaging.

Choose Your Content

Be mindful of how big events in your community may flavor messaging. For example, vodka brand Ketel One used the Super Bowl to post a game-themed recipe on its Instagram page. While using a social media editorial calendar to plan at least a week in advance is optimal, the calendar should also allow for flexibility and the quick editing of posts based on breaking news or trending hashtags.

Entice followers to become a fan of your brand on multiple networks by posting unique messages on each network. If they see the same post on seven networks, they have no incentive to follow more than one.

If you’re running a promotion or have a fantastic blog post to distribute, avoid over-saturation by spacing out posts. This allows each post to spread organically on its own and not make followers feel like they’re being spammed.

Use a Social Media Editorial Calendar for Analytics

One of the most significant advantages to using a social media editorial calendar comes from its analytics qualities. After you set benchmarks by measuring the effectiveness of posts based on engagement, you can set new goals for the following week or month. Experiment with messaging (calls to action versus questions, etc.), times of posting (early morning for Facebook posts and nighttime for YouTube) and channels for messaging (Vine or Instagram for videos).

Each week use your social media editorial calendar to point out successes and misses. Use the best-performing posts to optimize your strategy. The social media editorial calendar also helps you show return on investment to business stakeholders, as they can see which posts were instrumental in directly impacting sales. To convey this, use your website analytics (such as Google Analytics) to create social media campaigns based on links. Insert those links into your calendar and add in results.

Your Guide to Using Periscope to Grow and Connect with Your Audience

A quick, step by step guide to using Periscope.

Periscope on mobile
Picture courtesy Jim Makos http://jimmakos.com/photography

Even though Periscope live video streaming is easy to use there are still several steps to keep in mind when working with it to avoid becoming overwhelmed. This checklist covers everything you need to start connecting with your audience on Periscope.

Getting on Periscope

  • Download the app from iTunes or Google Play app store.
  • Create your account by signing in with your Twitter username or phone number.
  • Create a Periscope username. It can be the same as your Twitter handle or different.
  • Periscope gives you suggested options for a username. You can use one of them or create your own. It must be at least two characters long.
  • Your username is visible to other users. Your username cannot be changed once created but your profile information can.
  • You can change your profile picture by updating your Twitter profile picture or by editing it in your Periscope profile.
  • Update your Periscope profile with a link to your website or sign up page.

 Using the Tabs

  • The first tab shows the people you are following who are live on Periscope and the broadcasts you’ve attended in the last 24 hours. To join a live broadcast, tap the listing. To replay a broadcast, touch the one you want to attend.
  • The second tab shows a map or a list of live broadcasts happening now that you can attend.
  • The third tab is the broadcast button. This is where you are broadcasting live. This is displayed by the red button at the bottom right on an Android or the camera icon in iOS app.
  • The fourth tab is the place to find people to follow. The number of followers that is displayed refers to how many Periscope followers a person has.
  • The fourth tab is also where you can access your profile and other settings.

Broadcasting

  • To do a broadcast, open your Periscope account. Tap the broadcast tab.
  • Put in the title that describes what you are going to broadcast.
  • Choose your options via the three icons above the “Start Broadcast” button.
  • Manage your location settings, Make the broadcast private or Limit your chat and/or Tweet live stream.
  • Tap “Start Broadcast” to begin.
  • To end a broadcast, swipe the screen down and tap ‘Stop Broadcast’.
  • To save a copy, click the link at the bottom of the ended broadcast that says “Save to my camera roll”.

Likes and Comments

  • Hearts are a way for you to share what you like on Periscope. If you like what you’re seeing, tap the screen to give the broadcaster a heart.
  • Label your broadcasts. Briefly describe your broadcast with something appealing. Use emotions in the title. Keep the title short but compelling.
  • Do a trial run without actually broadcasting to get comfortable.
  • It’s okay to make a few mistakes but try to avoid fillers like “um” and “ah”.
  • Interact with the viewers when they comment. Take the time to try to comment back or say “hi”. Thank people for liking you.
  • Send Tweets out before you begin broadcasting to let people know you’ll be broadcasting. Post an announcement on Facebook and other social media platforms
  • Emails early in the launch should get people excited. Later emails should sell people on clicking to the sales pages. Don’t try to sell the product in your emails. Just get people to the salesletter and let the salesletter do the selling.
  • Test all your links before you send any email.

Finding and Following People

  • Tap the People Tab to find a list of suggested users to follow.
  • Or to search for specific people, Tap the People Tab and then tap the magnifying glass icon on the top left.
  • Enter their name in the search bar. Once you find the one you want, tap the “+” icon.
  • To unfollow, go to that user’s profile and tap “unfollow” or uncheck them from your follower list.

Tips for Growing your Audience

  • Do a Q&A Scope on a niche topic. Use a #hashtag that attracts those who are interested in the topic
  • Collaborate with other Periscopers. This is a powerful and effective way to grow followers. Give before you ask for help.
  • Turn on the Twitter sign when posting a Scope. Follow your Scopes on Twitter to attract a wider audience.
  • Encourage people to connect during your Scope. Ask them where they are from and what they are scoping about. Encourage those on your broadcast to follow others whose topics interest them.
  • Do a “Behind the Scenes” Scope. Showing how you do things behind the scenes lets you be more personal.
  • Build a community and encourage them to join you on regular Scopes.
  • Give regular scopes every week at the same time so they can plan on sharing the time with you.
  • Share valuable content that your followers can use and need. Make sure it’s something that solves their problems.

Using Periscope for Business

  • Show Insider Videos. Use Periscope to display your knowledge by demonstrating how a product is made, walking your followers through the non-secure areas of your work or sharing how a product is works.
  • Hold Focus Groups. Periscope lets you take advantage of its live feedback so you can save time and money if you are developing a new product or service. Ask your followers to vote on its development such as color choices or give feedback on the prototype.
  • Professional How Tos and Tutorials. Offer in the moment how-to broadcasts, showcasing you doing something. Or teach your followers how-to do something free.
  • Showcase your digital or service offerings. For example real estate professionals can use Periscope to broadcast open houses and reach more potential buyers.
  • Live events. If your company is hosting a live event, use Periscope to bring in audiences from all over the world.
  • Unveiling a new product on Periscope lets followers get an inside scoop on things.
  • Can you give exclusive offers to your audience? People love discounts and giveaways. Make your customers feel special by giving them Periscope-only offers. You can track what is and isn’t working.
  • Reach out to blog owners in your space. Make sure to personalize your outreach to show that you’ve read their content and know their audience
  • Reach out to Amazon Kindle authors. These authors often have their own audience, and are often interested in making extra money.
  • Consider using a 2-tiered affiliate program. This allows you to use your existing affiliates are recruiters.
  • Consider hiring someone to do your cold outreach for you. You can hire someone on eLance or oDesk for anywhere from $3 to $10 an hour to find relevant websites and email them about your upcoming launch

Grow your List

  • Add a link to your signup form in your Periscope profile.
  • Make sure you avoid the hard sell. Don’t spend all your time on your broadcast selling yourself or your products. It’s fine to tell people to check out your link in your profile to sign up for your list.
  • Encourage viewers to interact on Periscope. Encourage them to ask questions during the broadcast.
  • Share your videos on your website and social media. Periscope lets you save your video to your phone once it’s recorded. Even though they leave it on the app for 24 hours you can put it on a page on your website devoted to your best videos. This builds authority and encourages people to visit your site and join your mailing list.

Use this checklist to keep track of everything you need to do to make Periscope an asset to growing your business.

 

Social Media Marketing Things You Need to Do

Social media is a strong business and marketing tool, if only its used the way it should be. Here is a quick guide to help you understand the do’s and don’ts for you.

By Nathan Gomez

Sometimes it feels like social media marketing is a long grocery list of things you need to finish before the end of the

day. The problem is that every time you cross off an item, three more items appear.
It can be overwhelming and frustrating running on the social media treadmill trying to get ahead. Especially if you are a social media agency, it can be tough to get everything done.

That is why, you need to refocus your energies on specific social media marketing tasks that get the most out of your day.

Social Media Marketing Tasks

1. Social Media Marathoners– Sometimes in the sprint to finish your task list, you might remember that social media is not a sprint. It is a marathon that will take months, if not years to completely recognize and surpass your initial goals. Therefore, do not overwhelm yourself with small tasks. Have a set amount of time you want to spend on social media every day. Then do it! The key here is that you need to be consistent in your actions. If you find something amazing for your clients, the question you need to ask is whether you can deliver this quality of information every day. It is okay to have a few really great pieces, but the consistency will beat that in the end.

2. Pick your channels– In the time it took you to blink, three more social networks might have been created. Okay maybe it is not that bad, but according to Wikipedia’s list of 200 different social networks it feels that way. Can you imagine checking into each social network every day to post your content? That would be an interesting conversation at the water cooler. “What did you do today at your social media company?” “We logged in and posted on 200 different social networks for my client.” “Wow!”

As you probably already know, more is not necessarily better in business. The problem with joining every social network is that at a certain point people get burned out by social media. This is why it is vital that you become an expert in one or two social networks. You can always expand later, but for now focus on what works best.

3. Manage your time– Keep track of your actions on social media. Otherwise, that 15 minutes or marketing could easily turn into 2 hours of Facebook newsfeeds. Social media marketing is the art of going on a social network and not getting sucked up into stories and weird cat memes.

4. Check your competitors– Instead of starting from scratch with social media services it is best to study your competitors to see what they do. Once you know what your competitors do, you can improve upon their strategies. Use tools like Twellow, What Runs Where, and Topsy to learn more about their tweets, ads, and activity on social media. Discover what your competitors do, so you can improve on their style and generate your own business from those clients.

5. Vary your posts– Next, do not get stuck on doing the same type of post, over and over again. Instead, create a variety of posts like text, images, videos, infographics, podcasts, and other content types to provide interesting information for all types of visitors who to your social media profile.

6. Analyze past content– Once you varied your content, analyze what works best. If you use a scheduling tool like HootSuite or MeetEdgar, you can check the analytics on the posts. Otherwise, use tools like Buzzsumo to determine what your customers like most. Do not make assumptions. Just review the data, and test it to ensure taht your conclusion was correct.

7. Social is the start of the conversation, not the end– You are on social media to help your clients start the conversation with their target market. Social media is not a sales tool where you can have buyers purchase directly off the social network. Very few industries work well with social commerce sales. Specifically, service businesses and retailers with large ticket items will find that using social media for direct sales is extremely tough. Therefore, encourage users to communicate with you. This way you build up a potential, life-long customers.

8. Don’t control, just communicate– a number of companies have deleted comments they did not like off their Facebook fan page. It is understandable to be irritated if someone criticizes your life work. However, social media is not a controlled environment where you can delete comments, just because you do not agree with them. Unless a user violates the social networks spamming or safety rules, it is best to keep the posts up. It might require restraint, but the honest communication back and forth with customers could be worth its weight in gold.

9. Keep learning– We mentioned earlier how there are over 200 different social networks. Even the number of social networks keeps growing, the number of changes that occur on the big social networks changes as well. Therefore, do not stop learning. You will constantly be amazed at the changes each social network makes. Are you ready to get things done with your social media marketing? If so, then let us know how you plan to implement the changes we explained above. Put your comments about what things you can finished faster with Social Media Marketing.

About the author
Nathan is a freelance blogger and tech enthusiast. He maintains keen interest in progress and development in the Technological space. He also provides consultancy on social media services to small and medium sized companies.

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How to create value from social visitors

Many websites uses social media to attract visitors. But is it worth it? Social visitors tend to be less valuable to a business.

The puzzle of the social web

Many businesses put a great deal of effort into using social networks to attract visitors. They post items on Facebook, they share linked images on Instagram, they Tweet links to interesting content. On top of that, they upload things to Pinterest, they add status updates to LinkedIn, and they share things on Google+. Without a doubt, social media activity is significant amongst most online businesses.

But is it worth it?

Research suggests that businesses might be doing the wrong thing. It turns out that visitors to a website that arrive from social networks are the least engaged people you can have on your site.

The study found that people who go to a website direct, by typing in the address or using a bookmark or favourite, are the ones who spend longest on a site and who view more pages. However, the visitor from a social network tends to stay only a short amount of time, looks at very little of your website and has gone before you know it.

This issue was discussed in “Are Social Network Visitors Actually Valuable to Your Publication?” which suggested that you are far better off when you create your own social community at your own website. Make visitors feel as though they belong to something, was the conclusion.

That is good advice, of course; the more people feel as though they belong to your business and the more they want to take part in your community, the more they will want to use your services. So how can you make people feel as though they “belong”?

Step 1: Create something worth belonging to

If all you do is ask people to sign up for your newsletter, that’s not creating a sense of belonging. People will feel they want to belong when you provide something of value. That means you need to have high-quality materials they can delve into, as well as the ability to contribute. In other words, you need to create an aspect of your business – such as a membership site – that is so good people will desire to be part of it.

Step 2: Focus on them

Your M&SYou create a greater sense of belonging to your business when people start to see it as “theirs”. In the UK, for instance, the High Street retailer Marks & Spencer has had the tagline “Your M&S”. It is an attempt to get into the mind of shoppers that is “their” shop, not the shareholders’. This helps create a sense of loyalty and people seeing themselves as “an M&S person”. The more your online offering focuses on the needs and desires of your customers, the more it will make them feel it is “their” business.

Step 3: Give them a badge

People who belong to something that they consider worthwhile want to show they belong. Whether you give them an actual pin badge or an electronic one is not really that important. It doesn’t even need to be a badge..! It can be a bag with your logo on it, or a bookmark or anything that people use to demonstrate they are part of “your gang”.

These three steps will help you maximise the value you get from social visitors. If you don’t embrace them into your community by giving them a sense of belonging, all they will really do is contribute to your bounce rate.

How to Increase Your Organic Engagement on Facebook

It’s becoming harder for businesses to get their content before consumers’ eyes on Facebook. Here are some tips to change that.

If you have noticed that your level of engagement with your audience is declining, then you are not alone. Facebook launched its ‘Brand page’ feature in 2007, allowing for interaction between users and their favorite brands, and giving businesses another avenue through which they can market their goods and services.

However, things today are not as easy as they were back in 07. It’s becoming harder for businesses to get their content before consumers’ eyes. In fact, according to a study done by Ogilvy, the level of organic reach is a mere 6%, a drop of nearly 50% just two years ago. This decline can be attributed to the following reasons:

  1. Higher competition for limited space

There is now more competition for limited space on users’ newsfeeds. Facebook has more than 18 million registered business pages, all competing for the same user space. It is impossible to show all users all the content from pages they follow, especially considering that there are pages which update their content multiple times daily.

Facebook has an algorithm used to decide which content will be displayed on which user feed. Core factors in the algorithm include user interest in a page through previous interaction with the page in the past, performance/engagement level of the post, and nature of the post – text, image, video, link etc., and the time of posting. Staler content is less likely to be fed to users.

  1. Facebook is discouraging free promotion

Even if you fulfill the requirements above, Facebook may not promote your brand because they want you to pay for display time to consumers through their paid advertising and sponsored posts. In June 2014, Facebook announced their intention to reduce brand appearances on organic newsfeeds, and updated their spam algorithm to penalize brands using devious means e.g. link-baiting. This has strongly curtailed brands’ engagement levels with their audiences.

How Facebook determines what content to serve users

As mentioned before, the Facebook algorithm uses different characteristics to determine which content shows up on organic newsfeeds. No one knows all the factors that play into the algorithm. However, they also follow three important pillars as provided by EdgeRank which are:

  1. Affinity – level of user interaction with a brand page
  2. Weight – posts with images and video content are considered weightier than plain text
  3. Decay – posts from earlier are less likely to be displayed than those posted later

Effect of user behavior on content visibility

  • Users are likely to see content from friends and brands that they interact with more often
  • If users regularly interact with a certain post type, more of the same will be displayed to them
  • If a post elicited high engagement from other users who saw the post, it is likely to be displayed on another user’s feed
  • If a post has been given negative feedback/reported, it is less likely to be displayed to other users

How to make it work for your brand

To begin with, shift your focus from the level of reach, since it may not translate to ultimate success for you brand. This is the same argument given by SEO consultants – Google rankings are sure not the ultimate goal, but rather the number of leads and conversions should be the real metrics to be measured.

The same applies to Facebook; focus on the amount of traffic and number of sales made through Facebook as these are actionable metrics directly contributing to your goal. The following are some strategies you can employ to get your brand further on Facebook.

  1. The Fortune 500 strategy

Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations use the following three principles in Facebook marketing:

  • Transparency and disclosure – show your users the inner workings of your company
  • Access – demonstrate your availability so that fans know they can easily reach and engage meaningfully with the brand
  • Positivity – ensure that your fans’ and customers’ experience and interactions with the brand are pleasant and enjoyable
  1. Create high quality content

Think of it from the perspective of your users, then share high-quality and value-adding content. Just like Google, Facebook is very interested in the quality and relevance of content offered to its users. They consider different engagement metrics such as number of shares,clicks and likes in assessing the quality of content. Higher quality content will generate more shares, clicks and likes.

Consistency in posting quality content will improve the level of engagement of a user with the brand, which maximizes chances of future posts being displayed to that user. If you lose user interest, you are gone from their newsfeeds as well.

If your organic reach is already limited, you can use paid promotion to ‘boost’ your posts initially, which gives you a chance to establish credibility with users and opens the door for you to engage with them. Higher value content will need less promotion than lower value content.

  1. Follow your Facebook metrics

Facebook provides an analytics platform called Facebook Insights which offers data to help brands measure their Facebook content performance. Today, there are five important aspects to look for, which are:

  • Likes – number of users that have liked your brand page over a certain duration of time, including the source i.e. on-page, mobile, page suggestion, desktop etc.
  • Reach – number of users that have seen your posts. Under it, you can get specific stats on engagement metrics like comments, shares and likes.
  • Visits – provides an itemized list indicating pages/tabs that were visited as well as external sites that have referred users to your brand page on Facebook.
  • Posts – a summary of your posting history including type, reach, time of day, engagement and targeting.
  • People – a breakdown of the demography that makes up your fan base including location, language, gender and comparison between people reached and those engaged.

Do not base your analysis only on vain metrics in isolation. For instance, you cannot expect high engagement metrics where your visibility is poor to begin with. The advantage of Facebook Insights is that it provides a rounded view of the brand’s performance, enabling you to make better choices. It’s easy to find, easy to digest and it’s absolutely free.

About the author
Michael Bentos is an experienced digital marketer and part of the team atParadoxSEO.com – the powerful platform that makes SEO simple. In conjunction with his highly qualified SEO consultants, he provides tailored solutions for businesses of all nature and sizes. You can follow him on twitter @spspyrouseo. You can connect him via linked-in.

Apps and Children: How kids are behaving on social media

Our children love the internet – but new reports have found that they’re increasingly focused on regaining the privacy that the big networks have taken away from them.

Teen using social mediaOur children love the internet – but new reports have found that they’re increasingly focused on regaining the privacy that the big networks have taken away from them. Now, before you start cheering, it’s important to remember that teens have different views on what privacy means – and migrating to private networks may not make them safer.
What Networks Are Teens Using?

WhatsApp is a major player across all of Europe – and this follows a pattern we’ve been seeing, where users in particular geographic regions tend to be more heavily invested in one particular network. However, one key to note here is that WhatsApp is still focused on being a communications tool – and plans to stay that way – even as many other social networks try to do everything for the user.

Image sharing networks like Instagram and Snapchat are also remaining popular as teens continue to use images to enhance their communication with others.
What Are The Risks Of Social Media?

Social media is not an inherently bad tool, but it does have a number of drawbacks that parents should be aware of.

  • Cyberbullying: A major survey published in 2013 found that more than seven in ten children were victims of cyberbullying – one of the highest rates ever recorded. A single bullying incident is unlikely to be permanently traumatizing, but the report also found that over a third of children experienced cyberbullying on a “highly frequent” basis. The conclusion was that over one million children in the U.K. were subjected to extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis. The severity and prevalence of this problem means that responsible parents cannot afford to ignore it.
  • Catfishing: This term is used to refer to relationships where one of the members is using a false persona solely for the sake of forming a relationship. Some people do this to feel better about themselves, but others are specifically trying to trick and hurt someone else.
  • Employability: Most employers take a social media presence very seriously indeed – and what teens post now will be taken as evidence of their personal character. Unfortunately, many teens don’t think long-term when it comes to the content they’re sharing, and that can have a major impact on the rest of their life.
  • Education: Technology can certainly be used to enhance education – but it should not be allowed in classrooms (or while children are doing homework) without explicit permission from the teacher. Teens who are thinking about their latest notifications aren’t paying attention to their studies, and this can have a snowball effect that significantly reduces their grades.
  • Addiction: Social media is so easy to use – and often so pervasive – that it’s easy to get addicted to it and worry about being separated from what’s going on. The only real way to stop this is to deny access to social media outside of times you specify – when it’s a smaller part of their life, it’s easier to avoid (or break free from) addiction.

How To Keep Your Children Safe

Social media is unquestionably dangerous when its capabilities are abused – which makes it just like everything else in the world. Teens don’t need to completely stop using it – indeed, lacking a presence on social media can be just as harmful as having outrageous content – but they shouldn’t be posting content with no thought to the future.

As always, the key to safe usage of social media is education. The more teens know about what they’re doing and how it could impact them in the future, the more likely they are to make smart decisions.

However, do not try and relate problems to your view of how the world should be. As we talked about in the introduction to this article, teens don’t see issues like privacy in the same way we do, and you have to focus on what matters to them if you want them to change their behaviour.

About the Author
Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety. 

Can vulnerable people ever get the most out of the internet while avoiding its dangers?

By understanding the risks and taking a few basic precautions and teaching vulnerable people about the dangers, you can help them enjoy the positive benefits of the internet safely

Online risk signThe internet has a unique capacity to inspire and inform vulnerable young people, engaging their interests, providing them endless learning opportunities and drawing them into mainstream culture and the popular debate.

During a general election this power for positive engagement is increased further still and shines more brightly than ever. Schools across the UK are already teaching children about the importance of getting politically active online and running mock elections with Twitter polls and debates on key issues. Meanwhile support services for learning-disabled people are working to encourage them to get active, helping them better understand their personal rights and to get ready for the polls.

Social media at its best

Social media played an important role in the previous general election in 2010 and will this year be absolutely critical, as it will be every year from now on. An estimated 47% of 18 to 34 year olds regularly change their views on key issues, influenced by Twitter, and politicians are devoting more of their resources to engaging the younger electorate online.

More young people with learning disabilities than ever before will also be joining the national debate in May, learning about the importance of voting or maybe doing it for the very first time. Currently only around 30% of the 1.4m learning-disabled people in the UK vote, something Mencap’s Hear my Voice campaign is working hard to change. It wants more young people with learning disabilities to learn the importance of being politically active online and to have a stronger voice.

Their voting potential has not gone unnoticed by Labour and Ed Miliband has set out a series of policies to capture the attention of more disabled people. He has also pledged to lower the voting age to 16 if elected, pulling the gap in voters and social media ever closer. Of course this is all hugely exciting. Political apathy has been at dangerous levels in the UK for years with only around 60% of the electorate voting in the last few elections (65.1% in 2010).

Understanding the dangers

Cyberbullying, inappropriate content, grooming, exploitation, fraud and identity theft can all present specific dangers for vulnerable young people. Some 27% of parents say their child has been exposed to some kind of online threat and the Government has so far singularly failed to work effectively with internet service providers to tackle the issue, unable to get to grips with a quickly changing online environment.

Douglas Alexander, the head of the Labour party’s election strategy, confirmed this when was quoted in the Guardian as saying it was getting harder for politicians to campaign online. He said: “We are used to a politics where we share facts, but diverge on opinion,” he said. “We are confronting increasingly, because of the rise of social media, a politics where people’s social media feeds can be an echo chamber for, at best, their own opinions and, at worst, their own prejudices. And that’s a tough challenge for all democratic politicians in every party of the UK, and more broadly.”

How Twitter is responding

The industry is responding and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo recently said he was “frankly ashamed” of the company’s weak response to tackling online abuse. The company has since announced a fresh crackdown on abusive content and will be rolling out tougher content filters with an amended policy to suspend the accounts of anyone who breaks its content rules. Only time will tell how effective the stricter filters will be but it’s clear that Twitter has declared war on the trolls.

By understanding the risks and taking a few basic precautions, such as keeping PCs in family rooms, updating antivirus software and teaching vulnerable people about the dangers, you can help them enjoy the positive benefits of the internet safely.

If you need to find out more on online abuse, check out the National Crime Agency’s safety centre, which has some useful resources. The Anti-bullying Alliance, a project dedicated to ending harassment for people with a disability, also has some great resources including advice pages.

Social Media Tools for Start-ups to Boost Engagement

Here’s a list of tools that can help you manage the various aspects of your start-up social media campaign

By Jessica Davis

For start-ups, social media platforms provide an avenue to reach out to potential customers and engage with them directly. Engagement is essential on social media sites and helps build trust and forge strong relationships with your followers. Managing your various social media accounts, however, can be tedious. Here’s a list of tools that can help you manage the various aspects of your social media campaign:

  • Tweriod: After analyzing tweets posted by you and your followers, the tool gives you a detailed report that also includes the best times for you to tweet in order to achieve maximum exposure. The analysis will include the last 200 tweets of 1000 of your Twitter followers, who have low privacy settings.
  • DrumUp: Your social media strategy will undoubtedly involve content marketing. But, developing original content constantly demands a lot of time and effort. DrumUp is a free tool that can help you discover and schedule new content from across the web based on the keywords you enter. To find the most relevant results, the tool also has a negative keywords feature that you can use. You can edit the content suggested and add custom posts as well. It also allows you to connect your blog feed to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Canva: This is a great tool that helps you to design a wide variety of visual content. The tool provides a number of templates that you can use to create graphics for various purposes. You can design event notifications and create marketing materials (ranging from menus to real estate flyers), header images for emails and social media accounts, and design ads for Facebook. The tool is easy to use and provides a tutorial to help you get started. In addition to the in-built templates, it allows you to upload some of your own templates as well.
  • Infogr.am: The tool allows you to create various kinds of infographics, including pie charts, scatter diagrams, tables, and bar graphs among others. You can make use of maps of countries, or the entire world, in your infographic. The tool also allows you to upload and add images and search online for videos too. The infographic you create using the tool can be shared on various social media platforms.
  • PowToon: The content that you share on social media can take many forms: articles, images, graphics, infographics, and videos. PowToon helps you to create visual content in the form of animated videos. Such videos are great to showcase your products, or educate your customers on their use.
  • Everypost: If you want to manage your social media accounts on the go, this mobile app will prove useful. You will be able to link your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts to this app. You can also use Everypost to search for multimedia content on YouTube, Flick, Pinterest, and Instagram which you can then incorporate in your posts. You can create and schedule your posts and connect up to 3 RSS feeds to this app.

Each of the tools discussed above can help you deal with different aspects of your social media campaigns. The tools are all either available for free or have free versions to help you get started. Depending on your requirement, a combination of the above tools can help you successfully implement your social media marketing strategy.

About the Author
Jessica has a keen interest in social media and content marketing, and writes extensively about it. She represents Godot Media, a leading content marketing firm.