The 4 C’s of Social Media Marketing

social media marketing, social community

Social media marketing cannot exist without these 4 essential pieces:

Content

63% of companies today outsource their content marketing. Interesting content is in the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media (Inbound Writer).

The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing is about half the average for outbound marketing.

Content marketing is the most important trend of 2015. With the right content, you can engage with customers and show off your expertise. While social media is an essential part of content marketing, content is needed to drive social media. You can’t have one without the other. Content allows you to listen to your audience to understand what they want and/or need.

Keep your content and your social media presence up to date. If you don’t keep a consistent presence, you might as well not have a social media presence at all. You will also need a content plan. This plan will outline your goals, actions, types of content, and tone of your content.

Conversation

Outbound marketing is usually a one-sided conversation. You send out your content through a commercial, newspaper ad or billboard and that’s that. Social media is a place for you to not only promote your content and products, but also for you to communicate with your customers on a day-to-day basis. Make sure this communication is more than one-sided. Even though you send out Tweets, post on Facebook and publish content on LinkedIn, you should also be responding to customers’ comments and questions.

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Conversations allow you to have a stronger relationship with your customers and potential leads. This article from Business 2 Community gives 10 great ways to continue a conversation with someone on social media.

Community

A social community is your target audience as well as something you are a part of. Conversation and community go hand in hand. Since our conversation is now two-sided, our target audience has become a target community. Members who share a common interest interact with one another and share a foundation of trust.

Building an active social community will keep you connected and engaged with your fans. Social Media Examiner gives 4 tips on how to build a social community: find your advocates, host social conversations, give back to fans, and give fans a voice.

Connection

Make sure you are connecting with the right people. Not all social channels are the same. Which social media channel should you use? That’s the million-dollar question. Try to determine which social media channel will work best for your business and pick 1-3 channels that are MOST relevant to your business. Each channel has its purpose.

donutsocialmedia.png(Source: ‪www.agencynation.com)

Once you have social channels picked and you have created a social media strategy, you must create the message. This circles back to the content. Language and tone on each social channel varies. Keep the message similar while adjusting the language according to your audience on each social channel.

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The 4 C’s of social media are all 4 corners of the same puzzle. You can’t have social community without conversation, conversation without content, or distribute your content without a connection. Your social media strategy, just like a puzzle, will not be complete without the 4 C’s!

November 2015 Social Media Update

So many new updates, so little time!

Twitter:

  • Hearts – Out with the stars and in with the hearts! Twitter replaced Favorites with Likes saying, “You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.”
  • Emoji reactions – You can now select multiple emoji from the heart. There’s 3 full tabs of reactions. Apparently, this was discovered in a jailbroken version of the app, and the feature is far from complete.

Facebook:

  • Photo Magic – This makes it easier to send photos through Facebook Messenger. It automatically addresses a message it can be sent to Facebook friends identified in a picture.
  • Notify – This new app delivers timely notifications about the things that you’re interested in. Notify makes it easy to find notifications with a broad selection of “stations” across various categories.
  • Self-destructing messages – You can now have the option of making your messages self-destruct, similar to Snapchat messages.
  • Donate button – Charities can now launch a standalone fundraiser page, in addition to their Facebook profile page. It will serve as a dedicated place to collect and track donations so people can donate without even leaving Facebook. The donate buttons allow users to enter their credit card information and contribute to charity directly through Facebook and share the cause.
  • Tool for exes – This tool called “Take A Break” helps you manage how you interact with your ex on Facebook.
  • Work chat – Users of Facebook at Work now have their own Messenger app.
  • Political targeting – Candidates can now target political fanatics. This feature allows advertisers to target political influencers. These are people who like a lot of political Pages, click on political ads, and share content from political parties and organizations.
  • Music Stories – You can better discover new music and share tracks with friends. This feature integrates Spotify and Apple Music to give a 30-second preview of the shared song.

Instagram

  • Partner program -This new feature makes it easier for advertisers to find technology partners they need to get results. It helps you to grow your business on Instagram.
  • Multiple accounts feature – Users can toggle between multiple accounts without logging in and out of the app. If you have a personal account along with your business account, this makes it a lot more convenient to switch back and forth!

Pinterest

  • Visual search – When a user spots something in a Pin that they’re interested in, this feature allows them to see Pins just like it. Users can even filter the visual search results by topic.

Why You Should Rely On a Social Media Expert

Social Media Expert

Social Media is an investment of time and resources. Over 2 billion people, 25% of the world’s population, use social media regularly! Some business owners make the common mistake of thinking that social media skills and expertise are simply common sense and there’s no need to hire social media experts to assist in understanding the tools and opportunities.

You’re wrong. It’s my opinion, but allow me to elaborate.

Social media was once a social tool that has now grown into a marketing essential. You can build a career and make a living in social media if you have the right education and experience. Businesses that need help with content marketing, real-time PR, and social media presence and strategy usually need someone to turn to. There’s already a marketing department, but the marketing and customer service departments can benefit from more knowledge of social media.

Underestimating the knowledge and expertise of someone who has built their career around social media can be a huge disadvantage to your business. Taking advice and tips from social media experts will teach you how to better market your content and grow your network. A social media expert has different spheres of expertise. It’s not only knowing how to post and respond to comments. It’s a lot more. Rand Fishkin lays out the different spheres in this chart from his article “Everyone Should Hire ‘Social Media Experts’.”

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Another common mistake made by business owners is the belief that if their products and customer service are great, their social media will take care of itself. Wrong again. A business is like a bridge. If you’re bridge is not complete, your business will fail. If your digital presence is great, will sales take care of itself?

Businesses need help from actual experts who get the rules of engagement in social media and who understand how to translate engagement into business success. Using social media amplifies your marketing strategy. Hiring a student intern to take over social media might not be the best answer. Just because they are young and know how to use social media, doesn’t mean they know the right strategies and tools to market through social media.

Social media marketing is a full-time job. If you invest in social media, invest wisely. Social media experts cannot be underestimated. Here are the main tasks of a social media director:

Day-to-day:

  • Setting realistic goals (engagement, leads, sales, etc.). You need objectives to know Social Media ROI.
  • Create visual content. Whether it’s creating graphics or producing a short video clip, visual content has a lasting effect.
  • Curate, create, and manage all published content. While they’re curating and creating, they’re also keeping in mind the strategies and goals, implementing visuals and hashtags.
  • Develop and manage a solid content strategy, promotion strategy, engagement strategy, and conversion strategy.
  • Monitor, listen, and respond.
  • Measure and analyze.

Other tasks:

  • Develop a strategy for capturing online reviews and monitor online ratings and respond.
  • Keep up to date with trends in social media tools, applications, platforms, and strategies.
  • Analyze campaigns and come up with recommendations for revising the social media strategy and campaigns.

Social media marketing needs full-time attention and care. It’s just another branch of marketing that every business should have. Your business is your baby, so every part of your business should be equally important. Hire someone with social media knowledge and expertise. You and your business will be exposed to opportunities that wouldn’t be otherwise available.

How Your Employees Can Become Social Media Advocates and Get Involved

Social Media; Employee engagement

Marketing your business is important. We all know that by now. But some business owners forget that their best advocates are right under their noses!

Getting your employees involved in your social media strategy can help share your message and increase your brand’s reach. They will become your business’ best brand ambassadors and become the experts in your industry.

If your sales team is unaware of what you’re doing digitally, it is not only hurting them and their sales but it’s also hurting your business and its reputation. When your employees are active and engaged in your social efforts, they become brand advocates that potential leads and current customers/clients look to for expertise and advice.

There are two strategies you can use to get your employees involved in social media. You can acknowledge them in your business’ posts or they can post relevant content on their social media accounts. There are benefits to involving your employees in your business’ social media plan, such as enhancing your company branding and boosting sales and credibility. However, including bios and testimonials in your posts is only the beginning.

Make your company, your employees and your brand the first thing people think of when they have questions pertaining to your industry. If you want your employees to post on their own accounts, you need a plan. Make a plan of action. What exactly do you want to accomplish with their social activity and what do you want them to post about? They don’t necessarily have to post everything about your business, just topics that are related and relevant to what your business does. You’ll also want to establish guidelines. Social media doesn’t come easy to everyone, so make sure you make clear guidelines for what you do and don’t want your employees to do on social media. Train them. People getting more involved in business-social should know the best practices and strategies. Most importantly, if you’re going to make your employees get involved, make it fun.

The company I work for is actually trying to do this right now. I came up with a fun way to get employees involved and active on 3 main social media channels. My hope is that it gets them in the habit of posting regularly about our industry. It’s called the “30-Day Social Media Content Challenge.” This is an example you can use to get your employees to become advocates and get them more involved in social media:

30-Day Social Media Content Challenge

Each day for 30 days, we will give you a topic and a social media network. The three social media networks we will be focusing on during this challenge are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

We will distribute a Content Calendar with a topic and social media network for each day. You must publish an engaging post about the specific topic on your personal account. Engaging means attractive and appealing content that gives the reader something relevant and interesting. Your goal is to get likes, comments, shares and clicks.

The person with the most engagement each week gets a prize and is named the Social Butterfly of the week!

Publish these posts through HubSpot so [Emily] can keep track and monitor engagement.

Here is an example of part of the calendar I sent out to employees:

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I also gave them examples of posts:

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This is a great way to get more people inside your organization to build their credibility as a salesperson or brand advocate as well as build your brand’s credibility and reputation. Having a strategic plan with objectives and making it fun can help you, your business and your employees build a long-term social media presence.

 

How to Measure Your Social Media ROI

If you put in the time on social media in efforts to grow your business, you’re probably interested in what every business owner and marketer is interested in, ROI. Is the time and money you’re putting in worth it?

The number one reason why people reject forms of advertising is because they cannot measure what they’re getting back from it. They don’t know if it’s effective or not. Unlike many other forms of marketing and advertising, social media is actually very easy to measure! You can physically see proof that your social media marketing efforts are working. Usually, ROI has its roots in finance, but sometimes it’s not just about the dollars and cents. Money is always a factor, but you want to know if you’re time is being well invested as well.

Social Media ROI is what you get back from the time, effort and resources you designate towards social marketing. This can, in fact, be measured with dollars. Businesses struggle grasping the financial impact of social media marketing, but I can help simplify it!

Here’s a quick how-to on measuring your social ROI:

  • Set goals. Don’t get stuck on vanity metrics. These are metrics like the number of new followers each month or how many Likes/Favorites a post/Tweet gets. If you’re worried about ROI, vanity metrics are meaningless if those posts aren’t helping you reach your strategic goals. Try going a little more in depth and set goals like:
    • Increasing reach
    • More website conversions
    • Link clicks
    • Online purchases
    • Filled out entry form
    • Signups or subscriptions
    • E-book downloads

You’re probably wondering what some of these have to do with social media. Well, if your company website is connected to Google Analytics, you will be able to find out where these conversions, clicks and downloads are coming from.

  • Assign a monetary value. Although it’s hard to give a Facebook post an exact monetary value, you can calculate the value and ROI of online purchases, subscriptions and entry forms.

Take the lifetime value of an average customer and multiply it by the conversion rate. Compare this to your average sale and how much you would end up paying if you were to use ads to achieve the same goal. The following table is an example from Think Digital of how this will look like in a report.

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  • Monitor and analyze. The easiest way to monitor your social media goals is through Google Analytics. If you want to measure reach or clicks, you can monitor directly through Facebook. The great thing about Google Analytics is you can create goals and quickly and easily view the progress of conversions.
  • Calculate your investment. For you time, multiply labor-cost by the number of hours you put each week or each month. Also, some social media tools are not free. Add up the costs of the tools and services you use, such as scheduling tools, analytic tools and content generators. Find the weekly or monthly costs. Lastly, if you’ve spent any money on social media advertising, include it in your investment.

For a quick and easy solution, use this social media ROI calculator. Just remember, social media is just like any other form of advertising (but better). You need to set goals, track those goals, and be able to measure your ROI!

5 Tips on How to Use Social Media for Customer Service

Posting engaging and relevant content is important for business owners and marketers. However, monitoring the activity can sometimes be overlooked. It’s important to respond to mentions and tags, even when they are negative. I’m sorry; I meant especially when they are negative.

Many business owners and marketers ignore the notifications of comments, mentions and tags. You shouldn’t! When someone is sharing negative thoughts about your business or brand, they are giving you negative press. It simply cannot be ignored.

Now, every business owner should know that the holiday season is a very busy time for everyone. Advertising efforts and budgets increase, which means buying usually increases. But before people buy, they usually research the product online. We’re living in a digital age now, where consumers are trusting reviews, blog posts and social media comments. During the holidays, the importance of social media is amplified. The amount of potential issues is higher than usual.

By now, we all should know that simply having a social media presence is not longer enough. Here are 5 tips on how to provide great customer service through social media:

  1. Be there. First of all, you can’t provide great customer service if you’re not where the customers are. If you’re not sure, send out an email blast (Google Forms) with a survey. Emails can be found through current clients/customers and/or a subscription. Without knowing where your customers are, you could be missing out on some social damage control, not to mention marketing reach. Once you find them, answer their questions or issues directly on that social network. It not only is convenient for both parties, it also makes your business and brand more humanized.
  2. Listen. This is where the monitoring comes in. Make sure your notification settings are set up so you get an alert every time your business is mentioned. This can easily be done on each social media network, or you can use a free tool that combines all social media networks on one platform, like Social Mention. When you have the time, I also recommend you searching for common misspellings of your business. Not everyone will know your twitter handle or Instagram username. Catch as many people as you can to deliver great customer service.
  3. Be timely. Time is of the essence! Respond as quickly as you can. People think of great customer service as quick. Even if it’s a short apology, it’s something and you acknowledged the issue. Damage control can be a process, but the apologetic response that happened in less than 24-hours can make all the difference.
  4. Be smart. “The customer is always right.” The truth is, if you’re responding to or having a conversation with a customer on social media, the customer is always right. Remember, how you respond to the issue is public! Everyone can see it. Make sure to use to right tone of voice. If the customer uses emoticons and slang, you should reciprocate. Be positive. Most importantly, know when to take the conversation off-line. If it’s an easy fix, social media is a great tool for customer service. It it’s more than that, you have to be smart and transfer the conversation to email or phone.
  5. You are the expert. Use your expertise and knowledge base to deliver customer service faster. This creates happy customers, which in return, makes you happy! Even if it’s not a negative comment on social media, you can answer questions! It saves time for yourself and makes the customer happier.

Social media gives business owners the advantage of building relationships with customers. Those relationships create loyal customers! The holiday season can get crazy, but if you monitor and keep up with your social media accounts, you’ll have one less stress to worry about. Remember: happy customers means a happier you!