Social Media

5 Reasons to Outsource Your Social Media

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools in today’s digital driven world and is a tool that requires a specific skill-set. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to incorporate the role of social media into an existing position. Making the decision to outsource your company’s social media can be the most effective way to help your brand take its social media marketing to the next stage.
A recent survey done by Social Media Examiner found that 92% of brands said that social media was important to their business. However, of this group, how many of them have the time or experience necessary to deliver a solid social media presence?

Here are 5 reasons to outsource the role of social media

1. Time
Social Media is a 24/7 job and it never takes a break. This is not a job that can be added on to a current marketing position or done by the owner of the company in between running their business. Having a dedicated community manager handling your brands accounts will ensure that posts are executed and responded to in a timely and acceptable manner. The day’s of having “hours” listed on social media accounts are over. Customers simply won’t accept waiting 24 hours for a response.

2. Experience
Think of your social media accounts as your brands chance to make a good first impression. The voice and tone of your online presence will set the stage for how you are perceived and valued online by your audience and customer base. An experienced community manager understands that a strong social media presence is critical for your brand and can build a strategy that will resonate with your customers. They will also know how to handle the unexpected such as customer complaints!

3. Content
Crafting a compelling story for your brand requires time, experience and creativity. Content needs to be developed and curated specific to each platform. Social media is not a one size fits all approach and requires that each platform have content and images that will resonate with its unique audience. An experienced community manager will work with your brand to develop your social story and will know when its time to re-develop or amend that story based on its results.

4. Reliability
To build an engaged online community your brand needs to be present on social media. This means being available to respond to comments, answer questions, and be online when news hits that is relevant to your brand. Having a dedicated community manager to handle your social media accounts will ensure posts are engaged with and responded to in a timely fashion. There is nothing worse than a dormant online presence.

5. Measurability
Understanding the ROI of your social media efforts is key in continued social media success. A skilled community manager will have the tools and knowledge to present reports and key findings that will help your team build on its social media plans. Knowing which platforms resonate with your customers, what time of day your customers are online and what types of posts inspire comments and shares are all key KPI’s that your brand needs to understand.

Making the decision to outsource your social media will allow you the time to focus on building your business and ensure that your online presence is in good hands. If you are interested in learning more about how H2O Digital can help your company, please contact us.

5 Benefits of Using Instagram for your Business

5 Benefits of Instagram for Business

People go to Instagram to become inspired and to explore the content they are interested in. Instagram is the digital marketing go-to for displaying images in an easy, creative and expressive way- especially because of the application’s digital editing capabilities. In fact, 60% of people say that they discovered a new product because it appeared on their Instagram feed.

With an increase in functionality, Instagram for Business is a key component to a successful social media marketing strategy.

Here are the top 5 benefits of using Instagram for Business in your social media marketing strategy:

 

Learning the Likes & Dislikes of your Audience

 

Whether your business is located online or has a physical geographical location, your consumers could be raving about your business on Instagram without you even knowing it.

 

Instagram is a great social media marketing tool to gain consumer feedback. In most cases consumers post images of things, food, attractions they enjoyed. By simply searching your location on Instagram you will be able to see all the postings your audience have posted while interacting with your brand.

 

Increase consumer engagement

 

Instagram only continues to improve their interactive features as time goes on. New features such as Instagram stories and Instagram live allow you to communicate with audiences in real time, in addition to simply posting a single image.

 

Explore New Audiences

 

With Instagram’s new search options and location tagging, it is now easier than ever for new audiences, and customers to find you!

 

The easiest way consumers explore new content is through hashtags. Hashtags simply group together all postings that have similar content.

 

In addition to Hashtags, Instagram also has a Discovery tab that allows a user to find similar profiles and accounts that may exhibit the same interests as theirs.

 

Generate Sales

 

Instagram has added the ability for businesses to add important information such as their phone number, store hours and website to make it easier for a user to connect with them and see a full line of their products.

 

Become Digitally Connected

 

Instagram posts can be easily shared across different social media marketing channels. By enabling social sharing on your Instagram business account one is able to share postings to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Swarm with a click of a button.

 

In addition, the interconnection between digital platforms also increases the cross-channel engagement. If your Instagram feed is displayed on your website, a consumer will be able to click through the postings and be redirected to your account with a hope to gain a new follower, if they haven’t done so already.

 

So why not jump on the Instagram for business bandwagon and reap the benefits? By switching your Instagram account to an Instagram for Business account you will be able to interact with your audience in new and creative ways while also getting insight on how each of your posting is doing.

 

 

To learn more about simplifying your Instagram marketing, check out these three simple tips!

Recipe For A Successful Twitter Party

For years we have been hosting Twitter Parties, also referred to as Tweet Chats and have often been asked what our secret is to hosting a  successful Twitter party! Twitter parties are a highly effective way to build awareness for your brand and get you into the conversation. Think of a Twitter party as an organized gathering of Twitter users who have all come together to chat about a common topic.

All the ingredients needed for a successful Twitter Party:

Choose Your Topic Wisely – The key to a successful Twitter Party is to spark a conversation and to do this your topic must be interesting, relevant and engaging. These might sound like buzz words but it is truly all about the topic.  If you are selling a line of fitness gear talking strictly about your products will not entice anyone to join in.  However if you offer fitness tips and provide fitness related articles and examples you can be sure that you will engage in a real conversation with party goers.

Hire a Co-Host – One of the benefits to a Twitter Party is increasing your brand’s twitter following and reach.  Hiring a co-host will help you increase your overall reach and expose your brand to a new set of followers.  Choosing the right co-host is key! Look for an influencer who has a large twitter following and whose audience is similar to the audience you are trying to reach.  Co-hosts can also be an expert in your brand’s related field.  For example, if you are hosting a “fitness” related Twitter Party bringing on a local personal trainer or nutritionist would offer credibility to your brand, expert advice and exposure to your target market.

Timing is Key – Choosing the right date and time for your Twitter Party is critical to it’s success. Choose a time that your audience is likely to be online. If you are a local coffee shop why not host an early morning party  when your customers will likely be active on Twitter.  Twitter has become a busy platform for parties, especially during the evening hours, so be sure to check local Twitter Party calendars to see what date and time other parties are being hosted and avoid competing against conflicting parties.

Promotion – Spreading the word about your Twitter Party is key in ensuring that people will join in! Create an invitation, share it on social media, promote it with an ad and make sure that all of your followers are aware of the party date, time and rules & regulations.

Be Prepared– Twitter parties move fast and without the right organizational plan in place, a party can quickly get out of hand. Prepare a script ahead of time, schedule all of your brand’s questions and messaging (tools such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite are great for scheduling) and have a couple of people logged into your main account who are available to engage, retweet and respond.

We love a great Twitter Party and know from experience that they are an effective way to engage your audience and grow your following and online exposure. When done right you can host a successful and top trending Twitter Party for your brand!

Looking for help on hosting your first Twitter Party? Reach out and let H2O Digital help!

 

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.