6 Tips on Making Facebook Marketing Easier and More Effective for You

Facebook Marketing

You’ve made a Facebook page and you post regularly, but you don’t have a large following and you have little engagement. You’re starting to think that this whole Facebook thing doesn’t work.

Well, stop that! I told you marketing through social media channels works, and I meant it! You just have to find the right tactics to make it effective and successful.

I came up with 6 tips to make “this whole Facebook thing” easier and more effective for you. Don’t give up yet!

  1. Increase your following. Add a Facebook Like button to every site you have. Provide the link in your email signature. Share your posts on other social media platforms. Like and comment on other related pages in your industry. There are so many ways to make your page visible that you probably didn’t know about. Once you increase your visibility and following, your content should pull people in.
  2. Improve your posts. It sounds very vague, I know. But once you start improving the content people are seeing and using the right posting methods, you will improve your Facebook Marketing and give your posts better reach.
    • Have a plan and cover various topics. You can use the schedule feature here through Facebook, or you can create your own content calendar. The types of posts should vary so you don’t get boring.
    • Keep it short and sweet and to the point. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Try to grab attention within the first 4-5 words of a post.
    • Use common hashtags that people will search and find, and consider using brand hashtags, like Coca-Cola did with #SmileWithACoke.
    • Utilize visuals. HubSpot further explains the Reasons to Integrate Visual Content Into Your Marketing Campaigns.
  3. Play with the timing and figure out what time is best to publish posts. Your audience will be most active between certain time spans. Using Likealyzer or Facebook analytics can help you determine when to publish most of your posts.
  4. Create a custom audience. This increases the chance of reaching your target audience because it increases your visibility and reach. Social Media Examiner expands on How to Use Facebook Custom Audiences for Increased Reach.
  5. Keep engaged with your audience in a timely manner. Maximize page notifications so you know when someone comments on a post, tags you in a post or messages you. Try to respond within an hour if possible.
  6. Use the save feature. When scrolling through your newsfeed, you might see interesting articles and posts that you want to post on your page. Don’t post them all at once, but save the link on Facebook so you can go back to it later. This gives you an archive to go to when you’re searching for content.

Facebook Marketing is just like any other type of marketing. It’s not going to give you an automatic return over night. It’s a process that takes time. But if you work on it and improve your posting methods, Facebook should ultimately, improve your business and brand.

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How To Create Compelling Inbound Digital Content

content creation

Content creation can be difficult, especially creating great content on a regular basis. Content is necessary for any digital media; blog posts, social media, websites, newsletters, etc. It’s important because it’s the message your inbound strategy delivers. Your content drives your inbound marketing system; it attracts, converts, closes and satisfies your customers.

So, how do you make content that people will want to read, share and come back for more? You now have to fight for attention on the Internet. It’s not about how big your billboard is or having a full-page article. It’s all about people finding you through the clutter.

  1. Start with a plan. Find your content’s purpose, format and topic. What are you trying to accomplish with this content and what’s the best way to display it? Finding a topic can be done with keyword research, popular industry news, customers’ goals, questions and challenges. What is your audience searching for and what questions are they asking? Outbrain has a helpful list of digital content creation tools here.
    • Plan on being eduactional. Creating educational content will help prospects educate themselves about their main problem or opportunity. After the awareness stage, educational content will allow customers to consider their options and learn more about the solution to their problem. Eventually, you should plan on providing a solution to the problem with content and resources.
  2. Create your content. Transform your plan into real content. Remember:
    • Less is more. Focus on one topic. If the content is too broad and overs too much information, it can be overwhelming and get confusing.
    • Direct content to your prospective audience and be personal. Don’t write like you’re talking to a ton of people at once. Speak to one person.
    • People want to be educated, entertained and informed. Keep your content educational, not promotional. The only time you should mention your product or service is near the end of a post when you’re giving a solution to a problem or on the sidebar, completely separate from the post.
    • Focus on the information before the look and design. Without the content, there would be nothing else.
  3. Distribute your content. Content is only as good as its delivery. Promote it on your other digital platforms; for instance, website pages, business blog, landing pages, social media, call-to-action, marketing emails. Spend some time on promoting it and it it’s still relevant in the future, share it again!
  4. Analyze your content. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again. In order to be effective and successful, you have to measure and analyze your content! Look at the number of visits, leads generated, social share-ability, inbound links, content performance by topic and format. What worked best? What do you need to work on and what should you continue?

Once you’ve gone through the process of planning, creating, distributing and analyzing, repeat the cycle. Like I said, you want to publish content on a regular basis. Truly effective content must be relevant, engaging and actionable. This step-by-step process should help you create such compelling content.

Unbounce’s Guide to Online Marketing is a great info graphic on content format, topic, timeline and distribution.

Why Do #Hashtags Matter?

Recently, I have had a lot of clients ask me about hashtags. What are they? Why do I need to use them? What do hashtags do for my business?

Explaining the use of hashtags can really be a whole other meeting in itself. But lets be honest, no one wants to schedule a separate meeting just for hashtags. I wrote this blog post so I can go more into depth in explaining why businesses should use hashtags on their social media networks, instead of just telling you, “Well, everyone else is doing it.”

First of all, the hashtag is now so recognized, it’s been added to the Oxford dictionary in 2010 and added to the Scrabble dictionary in 2014. What was once a pound sign on telephones has now become an Internet/Social Media Sensation!

So why should you use them for your business?

  • It’s a way of categorizing content on social media. Adding hashtags on your social media posts is basically adding labels. For instance, this post could possible have the hashtag #Hashtags (see the irony?)
  • It makes your own content discoverable and allows you to find relevant content from other people and business. Since hashtags categorize content, it also makes the content easier to find. Instead of scrolling through blogs, web searches, websites, and more, I can just search a hashtag. Searches on the Internet happen all the time. Using hashtags is an efficient method to finding content related to specific topics, as well as the people talking about those topics.
  • Hashtags allow you to connect with and engage other social media users based on a common interest. Right now, some of the top hashtags on Instagram are #fashion, #throwback and #like4like. A fashionista will most likely search the hashtag #fashion to see other posts within his/her interest. People who want to be part of a larger discussion and comment on or see other pictures from the past can search #throwback. If someone wants to gain followers, they can search the hashtag #like4like. There is literally a hashtag for everything.
  • Google updates have amplified visibility of hashtags in organized search results on Google.com and Google+. A lot of people still search on Google, especially if they don’t really know where to find what they’re looking for. Now, Google search engines will show hashtags, allowing your content to reach a larger audience.
  • Hashtags can easily be used to promote an event or news. Using a hashtag consistently for a specific event or #breakingnews allows your business and name to be recognizable. It puts whatever you’re trying to promote out in the forefront.

Now that you know the benefits of using hashtags on social networks, you should know a little bit about how to use them! Using hashtags is only effective when done right.

  • Before using a hashtag, do a quick search. Has it been used before? In what context was it used? This is important because you don’t want people to associate you or your business with a hashtag that was used in different context.
  • Be specific and not too long. #NobodyWantsToTypeThatManyCharacters See what I did there? You want your hashtag to be easily found. A really long hashtag is probably too unique and complicated for people to even search it. Something like #ImTooLazyForThis should probably be shortened and simplified to #Lazy (In other words, be lazy with your hashtags)
  • Use different hashtags for different social networks. Hashtags are not only for Twitter. They are now used across all social media platforms. The only different is that the use of hashtags can vary. On Instagram, hashtags are descriptions of the image (#smile, #friends, #beach) and on Twitter hashtags are more discussion-based (#TheNewOffice, #ExtremeWaysToCuteSpending, #IOverAchieveBy). Cater to your specific social network.
  • Be creative, but don’t be too exclusive. If you’re using hashtags to be more discoverable, I suggest not using your business name or slogan in every hashtag. The hashtags #SmallBiz, #Startups and #SmallBusiness are popular hashtags that allow your business to be found by a huge audience! It is important to be creative and relevant, but you also want a lot of people to find your content.
  • Don’t have more hashtags than words and don’t hashtag everything. I will be blunt and say that it’s just annoying. Limit yourself to 3 hashtags per post. You do want a large audience to see your content, but if your hashtags aren’t relevant to the content, people will find it and not read it. It’s like if I attached 20 hashtags to this post and some of them were #labeling, #Twitter, #Funny. They don’t describe or categorize the content I’m sharing.
  • Facilitate discussion. Discussion and engagement are always important for businesses. This gives you an opportunity to ask potential and current customers/clients questions, give them feedback, and have dialogue. This will give your business a good reputation.

You don’t have to be a hashtag expert, but you should have at least a tiny idea about how to use them now. Now, you can start putting them to use on your social networks and gain visibility, a better reputation, and possibly new leads!

10 Tips on Running a Social Media Campaign

Social media is important for business for so many reasons. Just to name a few, you can see your target market and what they’re doing, you can respond to problems immediately, it can generate leads and sales, and it keeps you up with competition.

Running a social media campaign can be key to reaching your next business goals or to growing and expanding your business. But it’s not always the easiest task to pull off. There are a lot of campaigns that have failed because there was no social media strategy or campaign plan. A lot of elements go into a social media campaign.

Here are the necessities of running a social media campaign:

  1. Recruit a team. Before even thinking about planning and creating a social media campaign, you need a team. This is not a one-person job. You will need to recruit people who attain specific and required skills, such as writing, editing, communicating, graphic design and photo editing, tech knowledge, and timeliness.
  2. Create clear goals and objectives. Make sure you have short-term and long-term goals that are measurable and attainable. Find goals that will benefit your brand. Do you want to change your image? Increase brand awareness? Bring traffic to your website? Grow brand loyalty? Whatever your goals are, make sure they are clear to you and your entire team.
  3. Figure out the components you need. What are the best ways to make your goals happen? Look at your past and recent measurements of your social media efforts. What worked? What didn’t? Here are some examples of campaign components you might need:
    • Blogs
    • Hashtags
    • Paid ads
    • Newsletter
    • Promo swag – shirts, hats, cards, etc.
    • Giveaways
    • Social media networks – Where is your audience? Which social media platform should you use to reach your target? It might be more than one.
    • Type of content – photos, videos, polls, fun facts, etc.
  4. Make a calendar that is reliable. Create a schedule that you can consistently refer back to. When are you going to publish posts on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc.? Timing is important. What do you want people to get from it and what do you want them to do with what you’re putting in front of them?
    • Launch date and time
    • Posting schedule
    • Promos/Events?
    • Be timely. Keep the buzz around your business going.
  5. Have key metrics. How are you going to measure the success of your campaign? Find a numeric way to measure the results throughout the campaign. How many visitors are you getting on your site? How many leads are being generated? How many social media shares, comments, mentions, etc. is your business getting?
  6. Have a company tone/voice that you use across all platforms. Keep your brand consistent across all platforms of promotion. Get together with your team and discuss and agree on your business:
    • Character
    • Tone
    • Language
    • Purpose
  7. Assign team members to tasks. Who’s going to do what?
  8. Partner up. If you find another company that people know to team up with you and to help push your social media campaign, you can gain a larger audience. They are influencers. They can help you spread the news of the campaign and make it viral.
  9. After launch: Monitor and engage with your audience! Remain timely and consistent.
  10. After campaign: Push leads, gather all metrics, reflect on your campaign and communicate it with the team. What can you do to improve next time and what should you do the same?

A social media campaign is more than just a hashtag, Facebook post, or tweet. It can be complicated and requires strategically planning and communicating. If done right, you can come out with a successful campaign like Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign and reach your business goals and objectives!

Example:

Social Media Analytics – Evaluating Your Content

Social media analytics

Every month you schedule posts with new content, hoping people are seeing it. And everyday your social media accounts publish posts that you hope potential clients and customers are engaging with. Instead of hoping your content is successful, how about analyzing your content and measuring its results? You won’t know if your social media content has an impact or its effectiveness if you don’t analyze it!

With social media analytics, you can find out:

  • Which social media network drives the most leads to your website
  • When your social media followers are most active
  • Demographics of your engaged audience
  • How many new followers you gain in a specific time period
  • Most popular type of post published
  • Amount of engagement your posts are generating (likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorites, clicks, etc.)
  • All of the above and more!

 As you can imagine, there are tons of social media statistics you can measure. But you should ask yourself which ones you need to measure. Not all metrics are important for all businesses. It depends on who you are and what you are trying to accomplish with your social media.

There are multiple social media analytic programs you can use to help you measure these metrics for your business (Google Social Analytics, Hootsuite, Buffer ,Sprout Social, HubSpot, just to name a few). At first, you might get overwhelmed with how much information and how many numbers you are given. Luckily, most analytic programs allow you to customize the results you want to see on your dashboard.

In my personal opinion, there are a couple social metrics that are important to almost all businesses using social media. These 3 factors are metrics that everyone should measure:

  1. Time of posts published. The number of people who are going to see your content sometimes depends on the time you create an update, post or tweet. When is the majority of your audience most active on social media? That is when you will want to post your content. Most analytics tools will tell you what time your posts have been most successful, meaning when you’ve received the most views, clicks, shares, etc.
  2. Click-throughs. Most businesses with social media will post some content from their website, blog or other type of platform. By measuring how many click-throughs your posts are getting, you can see how many people are also viewing your other sites. There are other ways of seeing this as well (website analytics), but it’s a good way to measure conversions through social media.
  3. Network referrals. What content is being shared and how are people engaging with your page? When your content is being shared, it’s sort of like your business is getting a referral from an individual. More people will see your content, and more importantly, your name. This can also tell you which posts are being shared the most or have the most engagement so you can publish more posts with similar content.

 Although social media can be a hassle, there are tools, businesses, and people out there that can help to make it simple. If you use an analytics tool, I would suggest using it at least once a month. You can even use it in real-time if you are measuring one specific piece of content. Stop hoping your content is effective and take control. Analyze and measure!

The Importance of a Content Calendar

Content Calendar

Every marketer who uses social media as a marketing tool should also make use of a content calendar. I’m the type of person who makes a to-do list every morning just so I can manage stress and get through my day. Whether or not your that type of person, a content calendar can and will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Coming up with a content strategy for your social media marketing plan is important, but it can get overwhelming after that. This is when you use that “organizational skills” bullet from your resume. Creating a content schedule can make social media marketing a lot less stressful.

For those of you that are new to social media marketing or for those who have never used a social media content calendar, I can quickly explain it to you. This calendar should almost be like an organized posting template. You can organize it by author (if you have more than one copywriter), social media channels, type of post, and/or time of post. I usually do this month by month. If you have a schedule a month ahead, you save a lot of time and stress. (Don’t forget: you can always manage your social media in real time when necessary).

Hubspot offers a free social media content calendar template here.

With a content calendar, you and your team can effectively and strategically output your social media marketing plan. Let me tell you how:

  1. Publish posts that are effective. By analyzing your social media regularly (this will be another blog post in the near future J), you can go back to your content calendar and make changes, preventing another poorly performing post to be published. It’s a system of record.
  2. It leaves room for real-time updates. Although your content calendar is full of posts that are strategically planned and may take time to write up, it’s also great to incorporate real-time posts that create dialogue and wit.
  3. Creating consistency. With your content calendar, your social media accounts will be consistently publishing content that is similar to your brand and continuous. Your audience will know that you have content coming out regularly.
  4. Using the right social media platforms. You can make sure you aren’t completely putting all your eggs into one basket. Post on both Twitter and Facebook. Post on Facebook and Instagram. Or post on all three! There are so many social media channels out there, that your options are almost endless.
  5. Publishing content that you actually have knowledge in. A content calendar gives you time to research your content. Planning ahead of time can really give you a leg up over the competition. Let people know you know your stuff!

 Once you create your social media content calendar, it would be helpful to find a platform that integrates all of your social media. This will allow you to actually schedule your posts in advance. Some examples are: Hubspot, Hootsuite, SoCast, and SproutSocial.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and social media is the last thing you want to deal with on a busy day, try a content calendar out for a month. I bet you won’t go back to living without it!

5 Tips on Effectively Using Social Media

Some of you might be thinking, come on, it’s 2015! Of course we know how to use social media. Well, you might be surprised! Sure, you know how to post, tweet, retweet, like, and follow, but if you’re a business owner, salesperson, or marketer, you need to know how to brand yourself and your product/service. What do you want people to know and what do you want people to do because of it?

Here are 5 tips of how to effectively use social media for branding/marketing:

  1. Find your audience. There’s no point in using Instagram if your audience isn’t using Instagram. Find out what social medium the majority of your audience is on. It might be more than one! Ask your friends, colleagues, current clients/customers what they most often use. Once you find the right platform, make your presence known. Post, post, post!
  2. Language is key. You might be a doctor or an attorney, but you most likely are not targeting other doctors and attorneys. So don’t speak in your professional industry’s lingo. I could be a potential patient or client, and if I see a post on my News Feed with language that I don’t understand, I move right along and ignore it. Put yourself in a customer’s point of view. Speak simple.
  3. It’s not always about the product/service. If you try to push a product or service in every single post that you publish, you will come across as a salesperson. No one likes ‘being sold.’ Show that you care about your audience and that you are an expert in the industry by posting articles, blog posts, or helpful tips within your industry. You will become the expert that people look to for health advice, legal advice, etc.
  4. Find your differentiating factor. Why you? Why your product/service? I love pizza. But why should I call you for delivery instead of Papa John’s or Pizza Hut? Do you have a different style pizza, different prices, or different toppings? What is it that sets you apart? Find it and tell people through your social media and marketing.
  5. Measure. The most important thing for business people and marketing is being able to measure your marketing efforts. How do you know if your social media is being effective? First, ask yourself what you want your audience to do after seeing your posts. Do you simply want a bigger following on social media? Do you want your posts to lead to business calls? Do you want social media engagement? Make a numeric and reasonable goal, and try to measure it monthly.

There’s a lot more to social media than many think. Social media has become a platform for not only individuals to speak their mind, but also for businesses to brand themselves and speak to their audience. What do you have to say? Why is it so important and what do you want us to do now?

These tips are simply tips. There is a lot more you can do with your posts and tweets to be successful in marketing, but with these 5 simple tips, you should be able to get a good start.

Welcome to My Social Media Blog!

Hello there! I am super excited to start this blog and get it up and running. Writing a blog has always been something I wanted to do and now I have a great reason to!

My name is Emily, and I just started working as a Social Media Director at Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group in Columbia, Mo.  I work with all internal departments on management and reporting of company and station social media outlets, and I am responsible for executing specific social media strategies, as well as cultivating and managing branded online communities.

Although my colleagues call me a “social media expert,” I am still learning all there is to know about social media and how to perfect and effectively utilize it as a marketer. As I continue my journey as a social media director and learn more and more about my career each day, I want to share what I learn so I can, hopefully, educate others as well. The first official post will run this coming Monday!

Thank you for teaching me and allowing me to teach you!