Marketing

5 Best Social Media Practices

Social Media can feel like a big undertaking for any business, especially for a small business whose primary focus is growing their business.  The days of simply throwing up posts on Twitter and Facebook and hoping for engagement are over.  To truly reap the benefits of social media (and there are many benefits), a business most put in the time, effort and strategy behind their social media efforts.

We have put together our 5 Best Practices:

Have a Plan – Take the time to build a strategy behind your social media. It is no different than any other marketing tactics you plan for.  Think about what your goals are, who your audience is and what you hope to achieve through your social media efforts.  Once you have done this take the time to create an editorial calendar so that you are less likely to scramble with each post. Think about your editorial calendar as your social story. Craft the story and then tell it through your social posts. Having a plan will  save you time and make your social media efforts more effective.

Use Data- Understanding if your social media efforts are effective is key to the success of your social media marketing strategy. Platforms such as Facebook & Twitter provide free analytics that are readily available for you to review.  It is critical that you look at these weekly/ bi-monthly and assess what is working and what is not. The great thing about social media is that your efforts can be changed instantly. If a post isn’t gaining traction, simply try something new.

Create a System– As a business owner it is impossible to balance it all and social media can seem like a 24/7 commitment.  With the right scheduling tools like Buffer, Tweetdeck & Hootsuite you can be efficient in your social media planning.  Choose 1 day a week, block off a few hours and schedule your content for the week ahead.

Be Present– The key to any successful social media plan is to be social.  Scheduling is a great efficiency tool but it is imperative that you are  present to respond, engage and interact with your followers.  42% of customers who use social media as a forum to launch a complaint expect a 60 minute response time. This doesn’t mean you have to be on social all day/ every day but it does mean that you should be checking in and putting aside some time each day to be social.

Just Be You-There are no shortage of books that will teach you how to leverage social and become a social brand but the best tip we can share is to just be you. The personality behind your brand is what will help connect you to your customers.  Being authentic may sound like a cliche but it should not be overlooked. Your greatest asset is yourself.  Let your customers see who you are and why you are passionate about your business and your customers.

 

 

3 things every entrepreneur should do on the weekend

As an entrepreneur I have quickly learned that good working habits don’t start on a Monday and end on a Friday. As entrepreneurs we work longer hours and are fueled by a drive to succeed.  That fuel is what gets us up at the crack of dawn and has us looking at our laptops at the wee hours of the night.

The weekend often becomes an extension of the previous work week or a time to prepare for the week ahead. We don’t need or want rest from our jobs because let’s face it… Entrepreneurs love their job!

Here are 3 things every entrepreneur should do on the weekend:

Plan for the week ahead – The successful entrepreneur doesn’t wait until Monday morning to plan the week. Sunday is the perfect day to sit down and create your list for the upcoming week. After spending time reflecting on the prior week, you will have a good idea of what you need and want to accomplish. Use this time to review upcoming meetings, schedule important tasks, book upcoming meetings and schedule some time to work towards your goals.

Avoid Multi-Tasking – It may be tempting to prep tonight’s dinner while creating your to-do list for the week, but successful people have learned that multi-tasking simply reduces effectiveness and efficiency.  In fact it may end up costing you more time in the end.  Slot time in your calendar for each task and turn off your notifications on your email, phone and social media accounts  while you are completing those tasks (easier said than done).

Keep Your Priorities In Check – Let’s face it, being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job and we love it, but work- life- balance are 3 words not to dismiss.  Create a check list of what family and life priorities are needed and schedule your “work” time around them. This might mean getting up before the family does to squeeze in some quality work time, or putting in some late evenings. This is where the balance part comes in.

These three weekend habits, if stuck to, are habits that can help increase your productivity and efficiency come Monday morning. As entrepreneurs aren’t we always looking to maximize our efficiency!

Why Word-of-Mouth Marketing Works

FEET

Have you ever wondered what your customers say behind your back?
If you polled your customers right now, how many of them do you think refer your brand to their friends?

With social media you can stop wondering and start searching. The answers to these questions are right in front of you. Your customers are sharing their experiences with your brand on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and so on!

WOMM

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is the technique of promoting a product, service or business by soliciting positive comments from satisfied customers. Back in the day a customer would complete a survey or fill out a form to share their good or bad experience.  Now with social media your customers are sharing their feedback, good, bad and ugly on social channels. Customers can create a buzz quicker and with more impact to their social audience.

Now your customers can make an impact on your brand more than most other forms of advertising!

Why does WOMM have more impact than traditional advertising?

* Consumers trust the opinions of others over traditional media.  The referral from a friend or family member is simply more credible than a billboard ad.

*  Consumers want to engage with your brand.  The two-way conversation is the now the norm, it is expected and valued by consumers.  Talk with your consumer online, on social don’t just talk tothem.

* Consumers want to learn about your brand through various channels.  They trust reviews by local bloggers, testimonials from past customers and blog posts where you can showcase your expertise.

*  Consumers want a say in the brands they are buying from. Use WOMM to engage with them, ask them for their opinions. share their ideas and leverage their feedback.

How can your brand leverage WOMM?

* Spend time on social reading your feeds, seeing what consumers are saying about your product.  Don’t be afraid to jump in the conversation. This shows you care.  Just remember not to use social as a forum for customer service. These conversations can be taken off line.

* Reward those consumers who are giving you kudos or engaging with you.  Reward them by following, favoring, retweeting or simply thanking them.  Nothing shows appreciation like acknowledging your consumers.

*Create a hashtag for your brand, one that you use on a regular basis. Your customers will get used to seeing this hashtag and will being using it when they engage with you.  This is an effective way to track consumer chatter about your brand.

*Acknowledge Brand Advocates! Over time you will start to notice a core group of consumers who engage regularly, share your content and promote your brand.  Recognize and reward them with special shout outs, Follow Fridays, coupons and special offers.  These advocates are invaluable to you!

Consumers are talking about your brand every single day. Now you just have to find who they are and where they are talking about you.  Join in the conversation and watch as your WOMM increases with each engagement.

 

Metrics Every Blogger Should Understand

As a blogger you put your heart and soul into each of your posts. You understand that content, creativity and daily engaging is key to building your brand and driving traffic to your blog but are you measuring this traffic?

Do you truly understand what posts are delivering results?

Do you know who your audience is and what posts they are interested in?

Here are some key metrics to help you gauge the success of your blog:

Users

The most basic blog metric to track is how many users your blog is getting (this was formerly referred to as unique visitors). This is a metric you should look at weekly.  Understanding this metric will help you know just how many people are actually seeing your blog posts.

Pages Per Visit

This represents the number of  pages a reader views each time they visit. This is a great indicator on how interested readers are with your content.

Average Session Duration

Understanding what pages your readers visit is important but it is also key to understand just how long your readers spend on your site.   If blog readers are staying on your blog for a reasonable amount of time then you can safely assume that your readers are engaged with your content.

Bounce Rate

The bounce rate refers to the number of your readers who visit your blog and immediately close the site or click the back button.  This is a very important metric as it lets you as the blogger understand how many of your readers were potentially driven to your site and then thought twice about continuing on.  Understanding this is critical as it may help you to better promote your social media shares in a way that allows the reader to truly get a picture of what they can expect when they land on your blog.

Acquisition

Understanding where your traffic is coming from will help you plan for future success.  Look for key metrics such as: organic search, search engines, social media referrals.  If you are cross promoting with other bloggers or blogging networks track those referrals to see if they are valuable to your blog.

Understanding these metrics may seem daunting at first but they are worth learning & truly delving into.

3 Ways To Simplify Your Social Media

Travel Trailer Camping

By now you know your brand needs to be on social media. You also know that its not enough to just be “on” social media.  The question most often asked is “how as a business owner can I find the time to do social right”.  The answer is, social media does not have to be stressful, it is something that can be managed and organized in a way that will not only work but show you a clear ROI.

3 simple tips to simplify your social media:

Strategize

Before you jump in the social game, take the time to build a social strategy.  Define who your brand is and research which platforms best suit your brand.  If you are a fashion designer for example, you need to be spending your time posting images and creating boards on pinterest. This strategy however would not work as well for an accountant.  Understanding where your customers spend their time is key in planning where you will reach them.  Once you have chosen your platforms work on a strategy for how and when you will post.

Things to consider:

  1. What content is relevant to your customers?
  2. What expertise can you share with your customers. Always be thinking of the takeaway.
  3. How many platforms fit your brand?
  4. How much time per week can you devote to Social Media?

Schedule

Your time is best spent running your business and managing your social media can be a full time job.   I have always been a firm believer in real time marketing, be present, be engaging and be in the moment.  The beauty of scheduling is you can now do both! Tools such as Hootsuite & Tweetdeck  make scheduling your tweets and posts quick and simple. You can even schedule the exact same posts to appear on multiple networks simultaneously. The key to scheduling is to set aside time each week to work on your social content for the upcoming week. Once the hard part is done the scheduling is quick and can be done in under an hour.

The key to scheduling is to not become complacent.  Social Media is a 2 way street and your success relies on the engagement with your followers.  Take time each day to respond, share and chat with those who took the time to engage with your scheduled posts.

Outsource

When people think of outsourcing their first feeling is often one of losing control.  Outsourcing your social media does not mean you have to lose your online voice, in fact when done properly it is the perfect solution and one that allows you to continue doing what you do best…running your business.  A good community manager does not take over your voice, they in fact become an extension of your brand.  A seamless voice that works harmoniously with you to create the online presence you envisioned without the daily worry of taking it all on your own.  The cost of outsourcing may seem daunting for a small business but think about where you time is best spent and most valuable.  Most community mangers work remotely and simply need a laptop and smart phone.  Strategy sessions and check ins can be done via skype and held once a week. Your best investment to a successful social strategy is to have the right person managing it while still allowing you to run your business.

Social Media is here to stay and is changing rapidly with each new app and platform that enters the market.   With the right strategy and systems in place you can build a successful social media presence for your brand, while still concentrating on your business.