Social Media Marketing
2012 has seen social media move into its most visual phase and Pinterest facilitates this amazingly well. I describe it to people as Twitter for images.
If you are just starting out on Pinterest, or want to make more of your account, here are some top tips:
1) You still have to ask for an invitation to join Pinterest, but this is relatively easy, you just need a valid email address and will be sent an email to sign up pretty quickly.
2) Avoid linking your Pinterest account to your Twitter or Facebook. As you will just annoy your followers on those platforms with constant Pinterest updates.
3) Your mission should be to create the best board you can on a topic and become an expert in that field.
4) Remember to engage! As well as creating your own boards ‘like’, ‘repin’ and comment on other users images that catch your eye.
5) Don’t feel overwhelmed. You won’t see everything that is going on, but it doesn’t matter, just follow people or boards that excite you.
6) When you have established a few interesting boards on Pinterest share links to them via other social media platforms.
7) As well as static images you can now also upload video to Pinterest, this has shown to increase engagement.
8) ALWAYS add a link to the images you upload – preferably directly to where the image/product is on a website/blog.
9) Use hash tags in your descriptions – Pinterest is searchable!
10) Have fun and express yourself – Pinterest is a very welcoming community.
The world of Social Media Marketing continues to grow, change and develop at an alarming rate. This amazing infographic from Buddy Media shows just how complicated things are, so much so that they even missed off Pinterest!
Even those of us who work in and with social media find it a continuous challenge to keep up-to-date with changes and developments to ensure that we are making the most of platforms, tools and applications for ourselves and our clients.
If you want to start using social media for marketing your organisation this little guide might help to keep things simple:
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube are still in the lead when it comes to social media marketing.
Don’t spread yourself thinly, choose a couple of platforms to set-up and engage your organisation from. Twitter is most effective for business-to-business marketing, as is LinkedIn. Facebook is more effective for business-to-consumer marketing. YouTube is only worth investing time in if you have the ability and drive to make and share good quality video content regularly.
To Blog or not to Blog?
Simple answer is YES! Be it a blog that is integrated into your website (helps to push traffic), a WordPress blog or something simpler like tumblr. Part of any social media marketing plan should be a content strategy and doing a weekly blog, or regularly sharing pictures or videos on a blog is the best way to do this.
As with any effective marketing strategy, you need a structured plan for your social media content. This will also help to stop you feeling that you have nothing to talk about (especially in the early days) and increase engagement. See previuos post: The Importance of having a Social Media Strategy and Planned Content
Have fun and enjoy it!
This is SOCIAL media marketing! It is not about pushing the same old, dry message week in week out. TALK to your fans/followers, share their content and make new friends. Social media marketing is all about engagement and sharing and in doing so you will have promoted yourself and what you do without even knowing it!
2012 is going to see social media develop and grow even more. No longer the preserve of geeks and teenagers, social media is now recognised as form of marketing that is being used readily by big corporations and small businesses to spread their messages.
Organisations can no longer just dip their toes in and ‘have a go’ at social media. To have an impact and credible presence on platforms like Facebook and Twitter they need a cohesive social media strategy and plan for content.
These are some tools you can use and things to consider when creating such a plan:
1. Review your general marketing/PR activity for the year. Is there anything that lends itself to being talked about solely, or heavily just through your social media channels e.g. participation in a recognised event, launch of a new product, partnering with other organisations?
2. Decide where you are looking to push traffic to from any activity. Your blog, your website, a bespoke website/landing page or another social media channel.
3. Use all activity as an opportunity to gain more fans/followers and tag and engage with other organisations.
4. Look up what national days/weeks are planned for the year: http://projectbritain.com/specialdays.htm
Do any ‘fit’ with your organisations activities/products? If so plan some activity to coincide with them and then you can tag any tweets/updates and become part of the trending topic that will inevitably happen to mark the national day/week.
5. Continually monitor your feeds and trending topics to see if there is anything relevant to your organisation that you can hook into.
6. Use photos and video regularly as part of updates and encourage fans to upload photos and videos and tag you in them. In general an update with a link will encourage 37% engagement whilst and update with a video will encourage 45% engagement (source: Eloqua).
7. Consider running a competition (being careful to abide by the rules for the platform you are running it on). Even a simple competition such as giving something away when you reach, say 500 followers on Twitter can increase engagement and reach.
All activity should have the objective of raising your organisations profile, spreading key messages and engaging.
If this all seems a bit daunting you can always employ the expertise of a social media agency to help you with this stage and set you on the path to being active and engaging in the world of social media.
Facebook pages are designed for companies, brands and organisations to use to have a presence on Facebook and communicate with their followers.
You ‘like’ a Facebook page rather than becoming friends with it and in doing so become a ‘Fan’. This means that anything that the page posts will be seen in fans feeds but they can’t be messaged directly and the page cannot see the individuals profile.
The additional functionality that Facebook pages do have is Insights – which allow page owners to see a breakdown of the demographics of their fans, tabs clicked on and much more – great for marketing purposes.
These are some tips for setting up and maintaining a successful Facebook page:
1. Make sure you categorise your page correctly.
2. Upload a good quality picture that represents your organisation (normally a logo) as your profile picture.
It needs to be a maximum of 180 pixels wide and up to 540 pixels in height.
3. When you reach 25 fans customise your URL.
4. Update your status three to four times a week.
5. Upload photos and video to increase engagement.
6. ‘Like’ other pages and share their content/engage with them.
7. Incentivise people to like your page by running an offer with a customised landing page for fans that
gives them a discount code.
8. Use Facebook adverts to publicise your fan only offer and to drive people to like your page.
9. Have postcards/posters made or a simple line on the bottom of letters that says something like: Become a
Fan at www.facebook.com/social.monkeey to receive….
10. Link to your page from your website/email footers.
Facebook operates in Open Source so the possibilities for customisation and using your page as a marketing tool go a lot further than this, although at this point you might look to get some advice and support from a social media agency, but these are some basics to get things started.
In the run up to Christmas pubs, bars, clubs and alcohol brands will be ramping up their social media campaigns. However, some caution does need to be given as to how sites such as Facebook and Twitter are used to promote the consumption of alcohol.
From 30th September 2011 a set of common principles has been set by the European Forum for Responsible Drinking (EFRD) and Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). These are not law, but following these best practice guidelines will ensure that your campaign can not be called into dispute.
1) Pages relating to or promoting alcohol must be set to only allow those who are 18+ to become a fan.
2) Any inappropriate content posted by users must be removed within 48 hours.
3) Facebook adverts must only be targeted at those who are 18+
4) Avoid using ‘sponsored stories’ adverts on Facebook as you have no control over what images are used.
5) Don’t upload images of anyone who appears to be under 18 (think 25).
6) Have a link to a responsible drinking message somewhere on the site.
If you are in any doubt seek the advice of a social media agency, who can best advise on what you can and can’t do and how to adhere to the best practice guidelines.
Whilst recently talking to a friend and business acquaintance about plans for a joint training seminar she made a very good point, her words pretty much were:
“You can’t afford not to ‘do’ social media – that is where everyone is and if you don’t have a presence you are potentially missing out on getting in front of that audience.”
Helen Bedeau, Ask MK Ltd
Okay, it is not where everyone is but the user stats are pretty impressive:
Facebook has over 800 million active users worldwide.
Twitter has over 100 million active users worldwide.
Google+ already has over 100 million people signed up.
The thing is that, compared to other forms of advertising, social media is fairly inexpensive. If you have the knowledge and expertise to get set-up, build fans or followers and engage with them yourself all it will cost is your time (although that can be quite a lot of time..). Even if you employ a social media agency to help you, you are talking costs in the hundreds of pounds rather than the thousands.
Having a presence in social media will build brand awareness, push traffic to your website and bring in new contacts and customers. People no longer want marketing messages shouted at them from all directions from companies they have no interest in. They want to use social media to choose who they follow and therefore who they want to receive information from.
If you’re still asking yourself whether you should ‘do’ social media the answer is a definite yes – I can almost guarantee your competitors are…
1. You will probably find a lot of the businesses you are working with are on there.
2. You can build an online network of local, national and international businesses from your office chair.
3. If you follow a business you have synergy with they will almost always follow you back.
4. It is easy to tag a business you have met-up with/are working with in a Tweet to give them recognition.
5. It is easy to update businesses you work with any news (once you have built up a following).
6. Unless you are blocked you can follow anyone so can easily keep an eye on what competitors are saying.
7. You can follow business publications and bloggers to be kept up-to-date with current trends/industry news.
8. You can position yourself as an industry specialist by Tweeting links back to blogs/articles on-line.
9. Your Tweets can be searched and read by more than your followers if you hash tag key and industry words.
10. You can build a rapport with a business that you don’t yet know by re-tweeting and replying to their Tweets.
Related Blog Post: Top tips to getting the most from Twitter
After a quiet launch in June by invite only, Google+ is now open to all and has also launched the ability for companies and organisations to set-up brand pages.
Google+ has reached 40 million users in the short time it has been live. Yes it is still a long way off of Facebook’s 800 million, but it is owned by Google, who also own YouTube. 66% of searches in US are done on Google – this major web presence and ability to drive traffic has huge potential in making Google+ brand pages very appealing to businesses.
Google will have to be careful not to flout fairness laws but it would be difficult for the search engine not to push pages in one of its own sites up the search rankings wouldn’t it?
These cross-web affiliations are the key to making Google+ a success. From a marketing point of view the appeal of having a brand presence on a social media platform that can pull upon tools such as Google Analytics for data analysis and have a direct influence on search and sharing capabilities is very alluring.
Alongside this, for the consumer, Google+ is pretty user friendly and not majorly dissimilar from Facebook (What is Google+ and should my organisation be using it). So mass migration of users over to it is not an unlikely prospect.
The only downsides at the moment are that there is no ability to run adverts on the platform to push traffic to pages and there doesn’t seem to be the ability for pages to like pages. I am sure thought that with time these, and many other facilities, will be developed and added.
Yes Facebook and Twitter are still increasing users but in this age we are always looking for the next big thing and Google+’s ease of use and links to the biggest search engine in the world will make it a big player on the social media scene.
Tagging is one the most simple and effective tools of social media marketing. It works differently in different platforms but all to the same end of increasing engagement and visibility of what you are saying.
In Facebook you can tag photos, and now friends and places, in status updates. For business use though the most effective form of tagging is the @ tag in updates. If your page is a fan of other pages they can be tagged in a post by inserting the @ symbol and typing the name of the page. If you then hit return this creates a link to that page and will also notify that page that it has been tagged. This in turn should stimulate some sharing and engagement with those tagged.
Tagging on Twitter has more options and the ability to make your 140 character update have even more reach. @ tagging on Twitter serves a similar purpose to how it works on Facebook. If you use insert the @ symbol into a Tweet and start typing one of the usernames of someone you follow it should bring them up in a list that you can then select from and tag that person in your Tweet. This then means that they are guaranteed to see that Tweet as it will come up in their ‘Mentions’ feed rather than get lost in the very fast moving ‘Home’ feed. If they are an active Tweeter this should stimulate them to reply and provide the start of some engagement.
# tagging on Twitter serves two purposes. By # tagging a word e.g. #socialmedia you are helping to make it part of, what eventually could become, a ‘Trending Topic’. If multiple Tweets # tag the same word/topic they become part of a big conversation on Twitter and move up the trending list.
# tagging also gives those words the ability to be ‘seen’ more easily by those who are following those subjects. There are various tools /apps that have been created for Twitter that give users the ability to search for or be notified about Tweets that contain certain words. So again # tagging key words in your Tweet will enable it to be seen rather than get lost in the fast moving home feed.
- Melanie on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Keith Osborn on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work - Social Monkey on Social Media Workshops
- Social Networking - Why Face-to-Face is still important on Norfolk Tweetup
- Melanie on Norfolk Tweetup