Thanks to social media, acquiring new customers and followers in geographical areas anywhere is possible today.
Social Media and its Impact on Sales
Whether it’s liking their post or tweets or replying to mentions and comments, social media platforms have taken customer experience to a whole new level. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other networks have made it possible for many businesses to interact with their target audience with greater precision and accurateness. This brings their brand closer – at a more personal level – to consumers.
The first rule of social media marketing is to have a presence on social networking sites. The second rule is to make sure your social media profiles are bustling with activity so that you improve engagement.
There are several social media monitoring tools that can help you manage the activity of your accounts. Each tool is suited to certain tasks. Here are five tools any serious social media marketer should incorporate in their strategy.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media marketing tools. (I use it!) It currently supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+. With Hootsuite, you can quickly plan social media campaigns and keep track of the latest trends.
Inside my Hootsuite scheduler
The company offers four plans; Professional, Team, Business and Enterprise, priced at $9.99, $34.99, and $99.99 monthly, respectively for the first three plans. The Enterprise plan is designed for large teams, departments, and regions and comes with a custom pricing structure. A summary of this tool’s features include:
Buffer is all about simplicity. It is a simple tool with an easy learning curve to help you schedule your posts. It will save you a lot of time! Many people are extremely busy with businesses to run, so scheduling posts is a great idea so you don’t have to worry about updating daily… or multiple times a day.In addition to the web application, Buffer is also available as an iPhone/iPad App and also an Android App. There are three plan options. The free plan allows one user you to manage one social media account at Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They also have a paid plan for individuals priced at $10 monthly and an Enterprise plan that comes with custom pricing.
LinkedIn is hands down the best social business networking platform on the planet. It is a great place to find leads and to establish yourself as an industry expert.
Inside my LinkedIn Premium profile
Unfortunately, most marketers only use the free version of LinkedIn. If you really want to improve your connections and generate more leads, you must upgrade to the premium version. It’s really is worth every cent. With the premium version, you can accomplish a number of things like,
Advanced search filters
Unlimited searches in your extended network
A lead-builder tool, lead recommendations and real-time insights on existing accounts and leads
Commun.it is one of the easiest ways to drive traffic, increase engagement, grow followers and likes, and save time on social media. It currently has over a million users and is available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Some of the features include:
Managing your Twitter relationships
Managing multiple profiles and schedule posts
Focusing on your influencers and customers
Know who to follow and what content to share
Free Twitter analytics
Commun.it has a free plan and four paid plan options. The business plan goes for $24.99 per month and allows you to manage eight Twitter profiles, has 60 days access to reports, 40 monitored items, and unlimited engagements. It also offers a 14-day money back guarantee and if you’re not 100% satisfied.
With ManageFlitter, you can track the people you follow on Twitter. This is especially useful if you follow a large number of people. Tracking people you follow manually can be quite tedious and cumbersome. It also shows you the people who you’ve followed who don’t follow you back, are inactive, have no profile image and much more.When building up your Twitter account, one of the best tactics is to follow relevant people. Relevant people are more likely to follow you back. But, finding relevant people can be a daunting task without a tool like ManageFlitter. It’s search tools allows you to dive deep into the Twitter universe, filter by followers, keywords, location, account age and many more criteria.
Why You Need Social Media Monitoring Tools
Generating a positive buzz on social media builds your credibility and brand. These are some of the best social media monitoring tools to help you get the most out of your marketing efforts.
If you are in business to business sales or marketing, you should be using LinkedIn to grow your business. Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are great to show potential customers and clients you have an online presence, but with B2B, you can start a conversation and close a deal on LinkedIn… if you use it right.
Here are seven FREE ways to use LinkedIn to Grow your Business
Creating an all-star profile
First things first… and that means your profile. Thankfully, LinkedIn tells you what’s working and what’s not working as you create your profile with the “profile strength” circle. What makes for a great profile? Well, a few things.
1. Pictures. You have two spots for pictures here. One is a professional picture of you. When I say professional, I mean don’t pose with your dog. (The only time that’s okay, is if you’re a vet.) I suggest a standard headshot that shows what you do professionally if you can show it. Then, there is the commonly forgotten cover photo. In mine, I placed my logo on either side. I did have another image in the middle, but it wasn’t compatible on mobile. Your cover photo will look different on a desktop vs. a mobile, so before deciding on one, make sure it looks centered on both devices.
2. Your professional headline. This is probably the most important part of your entire LinkedIn page. I suggest making your headline eye-catching and exciting. Many people have titles that sound complicated… or need further explanation. For example, if you’re an “account executive” or “support manager,” I’d elaborate a little more so when someone sees your headline, they can visualize you at work and how you can help them.
3. Summary. This shouldn’t be too short, but it also shouldn’t be too long either. Some people prefer bullet points while others like to write this section in sentence form. This is no right or wrong way, but I think of it as an elevator pitch. Here, you want to tell prospective clients you can solve their problems and this is how and why you are the person for the job.
4. Posts. The post section is like your blog… but it’s your blog on LinkedIn. While your LinkedIn profile exists for you to promote yourself as an expert in your industry, the post section lets you take it one step further by offering your expertise to help others who may stumble across your post.
How can someone find it? Well, after you write your post, spell check it and add a picture, you can add up to three tags. I usually use tags like “public relations,” “media relations,” and “public relations and communications.” Depending on the post, those tags may change. Just by using this method, I’ve earned public speaking opportunities and have been published in industry trade publications. 5. The rest. While it is time-consuming, you should not skimp on completing the rest of your profile. Some of it shows up at the top as an abbreviated version – like your current employment, work history, education, etc. Don’t forget to include your skills, organizations you’re involved with, volunteer work… the list goes on – and it is all important to creating an all-star profile.
Searching for leads
LinkedIn offers a great “advanced search” tool. It’s right at the top of the page, just to the right of the search bar. You don’t have to be a premium member to use this. As a premium member, you can really advance your search, but the free version works well too.
I think it’s best to start by clicking “2nd connections” under the “relationship” tab. This way, you aren’t only connecting to someone who knows a person you’re already connected to, but you are allowed to add them as a connection. When you make your way down the relationship tab, it’s more difficult to grow your connections.
On the left-hand side under “people,” you can narrow your criteria to exactly what you’re looking for by using keywords, the person’s title, company, or even someone in your zip code.
It’s not just people you can search. You can also look for leads for jobs, through companies, in groups, by industry, etc.
Discovering who’s interested in you
Just like you can view other people’s profile’s, LinkedIn shows you who’s viewed your profile as well. With the free version, you can only see so much of this information, but still, sometimes that little bit is all you need to make a connection.
You can find out who’s viewed your profile, who’s read your posts, and even how you rank for profile views among your connections.
The most useful part of this feature, in my opinion, is to see who’s viewed your profile. This is where creating an all-star profile comes into play. I look at the person’s picture and professional headline to decide if I want to click on their profile to learn more. If I do, I’ll take a look and see if he or she looks like an ideal client of mine. If so, I’ll send a message and open it with, “Hi. I noticed you stopped by my page this week. I was just looking at yours too and noticed…”
But beware! There are many lurkers on LinkedIn as well. I have clicked on a person’s profile after seeing they’ve viewed mine only to find a lot of my information copied and pasted to their page. It happens. If and when it does, you just have to take it as a compliment and continue doing business on LinkedIn, ethically.
Including a call to action
If you have created an all-star profile, your call to action should already be in place. If you want people to call you, is your phone number easy to find? What about your website? Or your email address?
There are a few ways to post this information. One is right at the top of your profile under “contact information.” You can also give connections another option in the “additional info” section in your profile. It can’t hurt to use both. After all, with websites, emails, phone numbers, and countless social media channels, we have lots of ways to drive people to a specific call to action.
Asking for recommendations
Recommendations on LinkedIn is just like your references on your resume, expect you don’t need to call them and ask questions. It’s all right there!
After you’ve created your all-star profile, you should have at least four to five different places of employment. Hopefully, you’re connected with some professionals you worked with at those businesses. If you are, you can click the button that says “ask to be recommended.” LinkedIn will prompt you to select how you know that person. Then, that person will get a notification you’re asking for a recommendation. After they write something nice (hopefully) it will be placed on your profile for all to see.
Using your news feed
Your news feed is what you see as soon as you log on. It’s the homepage and it’s news you choose to see based on who your connections are and the groups you follow. It’s no different from Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram… but it’s all business related (or should be). Just like on those social media platforms, it’s important to interact with your connections in your newsfeed. Like, comment, and share content you appreciate and is relevant to your business.
You may notice some posts from people you aren’t connected to or companies you don’t follow. These are sponsored posts that you may be interested in because the person behind the advertisement targeted you.
…and what I don’t do
When you’re using LinkedIn to grow your business, don’t try too hard. That’s when it doesn’t work for you. Some things I’ve noticed, that I don’t like…
Right after a connection is made, the person who requested the connection doesn’t wait longer than five minutes to send a message with a sales pitch. We’re not on LinkedIn to be pitched left and right. We’re on LinkedIn to build relationships with like-minded people, and if relationships develop through strategic interactions, then maybe a sale will be made… eventually.
Automated messages on any social media platform drive me nuts. Usually, it’s a person asking for a sale, but once it wasn’t. Yes, once.
Brandon Gaille with The Blog Millionaire is the only person I’ve seen automate messages perfectly. In his automated response after following him, he asks to help you, then he tells you how he can do it, and he actually does it. He is offering value by taking time out of his day to help you one on one. Guess what? That turned into a sale for him. About a month later, I shelled out $400 to him to help me with some business coaching.
I don’t have time read long messages on any social media platform, so I wouldn’t recommend opening a conversation with more than three to four sentences. Sometimes, I get messages that are so long, I don’t even start to read it.
Here is an example of all of these things wrapped up into one:
I’m not sure if this is an automated message, but to give this woman the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to assume it is. Not only did this message come right after a connection was made, but it’s too long, and this person is pitching me with a sale… to do exactly what I do! If she took three minutes to look at my profile, she would have seen that we would be great collaborators and possible referrers for one another. Maybe a message like, “Hey, I’m so happy to connect and see we do similar things so probably have the similar clientele. We should get together…” Instead, she’s trying to do too much at once, and by doing that, she isn’t really doing anything.
Just like any other job, but especially with public relations and social media, being strategic is vital. Yes, it takes more time, but you will have a lot more success when you take the time to do things personally, with meaning, and an end goal in mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I love stock photos. I could look at them all day long. One of my favorite things about blogging is choosing them, but I should focus on them less… and you should too.
It’s no secret using images in branding increases… just about everything – clicks, open-rates, sales, engagement – I could go on.
Photography is very important in branding. Images can say so much more than words. Plus, people are visual. We like to see things! Posts with images get more clicks for a reason. Whether it be for yourself or your business, you need to use images in branding… personal images, not stock photos.
I have some stock photos for branding on my website, social media, and blogs. But do you know what works better? Using your photos for branding.
I’m in the process of updating some of the images on my website, social media, and marketing materials to show my audience more of me and my brand. I recently teamed up with Sally Butanowicz of Timed Beauty in South Florida to get some more personal, branding pictures done. For these pictures, I chose a red dress (because the Media Maven color is red) and two graphic t-shirts (because I love graphic t-shirts) that basically spell out what I do – public relations and blog.
This is why I think you should start saying no to stock photos… not all of them, just some of them:
Your brand’s personality
Even though stock photos are beautiful, they are common. They tell the story of your industry, but not your brand because they don’t show you, your product, your service, your customers, your clients, etc. Pictures say a lot, but personal pictures showcasing your brand say more.
Your marketing materials
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Because of that, you need to show them that person, whether it be the people behind the brand or the person who is the brand.
There is no competition. Anyone can use a stock photo, but no one can use a picture of you or your business. That’s your brand. It’s what sets yourself apart.
It’s all about the images and this infographic explains it perfectly. (It’s an image. Shocker.)
Here are five tips on using video to market your business:
Consider your audience. You need to make sure the promotion is relevant to your audience. If it’s not, you’re wasting your time.
Tell a story. This is a big one, because so many brands want to promote instead of telling a meaningful story. A great story will get you further and will make for an even better commercial. Take a look at this video I did for Doral Buick GMC. It was so much fun and I think it comes across onscreen.
Promote it. It should hit your website first, then, social media! This is where social media is key. It’s the best platform to share your work with current and potential future customers. Depending on the outlet, you may get :15, :30, etc., so keep that in mind when posting. I’ve even created a series of videos just for those outlets because of time constraints. On Facebook, I posted this video to my fan page and pinned it to the top. That ensures a wider reach. (Click here to read more on the importance of social media.)Keep it short. I don’t think anyone has the attention span to watch something longer than two to three minutes. There is just too much for us to see online. We are at the hands of information overload, so we need to tell stories with emotion while entertaining and educating fast. (It’s why video is the best!) Here is another video I did that includes all of those things in just 30 seconds.
Sidenote: The only time a video entertained me for a long period of time recently (13 minutes) was this one. Watch it. It’s too funny.
Create a call to action. Someone just watched the recording you created, now what? Make sure your website, phone number, email address, coupon code, whatever is accessible when the video ends. If not, what was the point?
If you are a business owner, the inventor of a product, or have a brand – maybe you are your brand, you must be on social media.
I recently explained to one of my social media clients, a personal account compared to a business account is like night and day. You really can’t compare the two, so don’t compare apples to oranges if you’re on the fence about getting your business on Facebook.
Social Media Marketing for Small Business
What started as social networking has turned into social media marketing for small business. It is a necessity.
Social media is a powerful tool that allows you to promote your brand and communicate with customers while bringing in new ones in real time. It’s an amazing customer service tool… if used correctly. If not, it has the potential to break your business.
Your business needs social media for a lot of reasons, but here are my top five:
You need to be able to communicate with your current and potential customers. This is the best way because it’s so accessible. It’s also great because others can see that communication, unlike in an email or on a phone call. Show off your skills as a business that cares about communicating with customers.
When Facebook launched, it was only accessible to college students. That’s when I joined. Now, everyone is on it, so your business should be on it too. Every generation is represented. Name a demographic and you can target them and reach them through social media.
In my opinion, great customer service is the most important thing any business can offer. If I loved a product but found the customer service to be bad, I’m not going to be a repeat customer. It’s that important! With social media, you can respond quickly to customers questions, concerns, and needs. You’re not only building a relationship with customers, but others are seeing that as well.
In my opinion, this is the best part and why social media works so well. It’s also when things can get ugly… so again, choose your social media manager wisely. If you see a company responding quickly to customers concerns online, then you see a company who ignores customers concerns… which one are you likely to choose? Every time I go out to eat, I tweet or instagram a shout out to the restaurant. Some respond right away. Others never do. (Bad move.)
In 2016, it’s expected your business has two things: a website and at least one social media account (depending on your business.) It shows you are active, you are busy, you are engaging… and you are relevant because you are online and you are online where it matters.
Remember when I said your business account is not like your personal account? This is exactly why you don’t want to hire your niece to post on your behalf while she is on summer vacation. If you are going to spend the time and money (yes, time and money) to market your business on social media, you need to have a strategy that will give you a return on your investment. Do not hire someone to post once a day and call it a day.
Again, it’s not a personal account. It’s a business account for social media… something that should be making you money!
Today, social media marketing for small business is one of the most important pieces of marketing you need to pay attention to.
Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. For more, or try a bit out for free, e-mail me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.
If you care about your career or you want to grow your business, chances are you are on LinkedIn. If not, you should get an account. Here, you will create and grow relationships with people in your industry, build your credibility by creating and sharing professional content, and expand your reach when it comes to earning new and more business.
There is no better place to promote yourself and what you do! Here are five tips on getting the most out of your LinkedIn page, whether it be your personal page or your company page:
Complete your Profile.
First things first. Fill in as much of your profile as you can. You want to be found, and when you are found, you want to blow people away! So, don’t use a picture of yourself at a bar as your profile picture. This isn’t Instagram. Keep it professional. Go back as far in your work history as you can and share as much of your expertise as you can. This is your resume!
Blog on LinkedIn.
On LinkedIn, it’s called “posts” not “blogs”, but it’s basically the same thing. I believe blogging is important for any business to do on its website. (Hello! That’s why you’re reading this here!) The same goes for a person on LinkedIn. Use these posts to show your network you are an expert in your industry and to further promote your brands message. Educate and entertain. Don’t forget to include a nice picture to go along with the post and to include three tags at the bottom of your post. These tags will help your post be found by professionals searching that topic.
Ask for Recommendations.
You can talk about how great you are all day, every day, but when someone else does it, it means so much more. That’s the power of public relations! You need to be part of this “word of mouth” marketing strategy to get a referral. LinkedIn makes it easy to ask people in your network for these referrals. Once someone says something nice about you and how you operate professionally, it’ll be on your page for all to see!
Show your Work.
On Facebook, people share pictures of their kids and their dinner. On LinkedIn, people share pictures of their successes. Post a link, a short paragraph, or a video. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. That’s exactly what this is for!
Take time to look for people you want to connect with. LinkedIn makes it easy by giving you recommendations based on your work history and common connections, but it’s also easy to search for people as well. Don’t be shy! You can search for people based on the industry they work in, college they graduated from, and so much more. Find those people and “connect.”
Using LinkedIn to grow your business? Using LinkedIn to find a job? Use LinkedIn as a marketing strategy for both! It works!
What to connect with me? Personally, I’m right here and you can click here to follow Media Maven.
Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. For a free tester, email me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.
If you have a business, you need a website… and your website should have a blog!
Blogging is one of the most valuable tools businesses have to engage with customers, make their lives easier, and promote themselves as experts in their industry. If you’re not blogging, it’s time to get started or get left behind. Here are 3 reasons your business needs a blog:
Having a blog on your business website helps your search engine optimization, or SEO. If someone is searching for something related to a topic you’ve blogged about it, that person may stumble upon your website in a search. Let yourself be discovered!
It makes you credible as an expert in your industry. It shows you don’t only know your industry, but are also familiar with the ins and outs of it. So many topics can be discussed! Take my blog on this website for example. I don’t only post about public relations in general, but I go into specifics and even discuss different current events and how they relate to my business. Credibility strengthens the image of your brand.
A blog is a form of social media, and it is vital for businesses to be on social media. You don’t have to be on all forms of social media, just the ones that help your business and brand… and a blog is a must! It’s also a great way to interact with present and potential customers through likes, comments, and shares.
Is it time consuming, yes. Is it worth it, yes. When it comes to blogs for businesses, just say YES! Nothing in this world is guaranteed, so it’s hard to say whether or not you will get a ROI, but it’s something that is too useful and popular to pass up.
Do you want to promote your brand? You can! Sign up for my online course to learn how you can by doing PR yourself. Click here to master your PR. For a free, mini-version, email me at Christina@MediaMavenAndMore.com.