All businesses must be constantly innovating and moving forward, and this applies even more so when it comes to social media companies. Ten years ago MySpace was one of the biggest Internet businesses on the planet, and now barely anyone uses it.
Facebook was the main benefactor, or depending on how you want to argue it; the leading cause of MySpace’s demise. This is why they focus on experimenting with new formats and content types; to keep their brand relevant and engagement on the rise.
The Rise of Facebook Live
One of Facebook’s latest products, Facebook Live, gives anyone the power to stream live video to their followers at any time of the day and night. Note that Facebook is not the first to come up with this idea, Periscope (which is owned by Twitter) has built their entire business model on the live video concept. The reality is that live video is here to stay.
For any business, it is important to go where your audience is, and with Facebook Live, provided you follow some of the tips and ideas we will discuss below, the world truly is your oyster. The biggest single benefit is that it gives you the opportunity to consult with, and more importantly listen to your customers. Read that last sentence one more time, heck, 50 more times.
This is quite possibly the biggest marketing opportunity in social media, every time you go live on air, your audience is notified (provided they have selected the correct settings).
Tips To Grow Your Business On Facebook Live
1. Always provide quality content every time you broadcast
This is crucial. Think of how the soap operas work; they try to end every episode on a cliffhanger, because they know this will have their audience eagerly anticipating the next episode. That is exactly what you want to do with your followers; keep them hungry for more by supplying them with information/content that piques their interest. If you over deliver with value, not only will they come back for more but they will tell their friends and family members, thus growing your audience, and expanding your business.
2. Don’t always try to pitch to your followers
It can be very tempting to try and sell on every occasion you broadcast live, but you need to work much smarter. Think about it from your follower’s point of view; would you be excited to watch a constant sales pitch once a week? Rather than growing your audience, people will stop attending, and you will be broadcasting to nobody, quite the opposite of what you are aiming for.
Perhaps they can’t be at a live event, so build the sense of community online by following what this company did with Facebook Live.
3. Be prepared and professional
This might be slightly controversial and perhaps against the concept of Facebook Live, but always prepare your videos, have a script, good audio, and proper lighting. This might not be impulsive viewing material, but on the other hand, there is little benefit in broadcasting, and then stumbling over your words, or in an area where your audience cannot hear you due to ongoing road works. How you conduct yourself will having a lasting affect in the memories of your viewers.
4. Get on a broadcasting schedule – This is not a hard and fast rule, but it plays into the psyche of your followers. If you can condition them to being used to you broadcasting every Friday at 2 pm, they will start to anticipate and look forward to you appearing. Rather than you trying to broadcast and hope your audience are out there, they will be sitting waiting for you. That’s a huge psychological swing, but again it depends on you constantly over delivering week after week.
5. Give your viewers a look behind the scenes – depending on your business; people love to feel they are getting preferential treatment. It’s the business equivalent to getting backstage passes, so if your business presents opportunities to do this type of thing, use it. This company uses Facebook Live for hotel room tours.
Facebook Live is a new business concept and an excellent opportunity for you to get ahead of your competitors and in front of thousands of people that you can transform into passionate followers. By broadcasting correctly, and following some of the concepts above, the world truly is your oyster.
Instagram has gained lots of popularity in the last few years, but as with other social networks, there are different methods and tricks you can utilize to ensure that your business is getting full value from its Instagram account. The purpose of this article is to give you some guidance, help, and advice to increase your followers, which in turn should increase your organic inquiry.
Six Tips For Marketing Your Business On Instagram
1. Think Like A User Not A Marketer
The biggest mistake that business accounts make on any social media is to constantly bombard their followers with advertisements and promotions. People follow different accounts often times because they are interested or passionate about a company or one of its products.
Don’t take this dedication for granted, if you constantly bombard your followers with sales-oriented content day after day, you will see engagement fall and your community begin to shrink. Your aim should be to engage and interact with your fans, so that they are actually looking forward to your posts. If you post interesting and informative pieces of content people will be enthused and want to share your content with their friends, which will then expand your fan base. So many businesses get this wrong, that when you do it right, you stand out from the crowd even more, and truth be told it isn’t actually that difficult to do.
2. Make Good Use Of Hashtags
Examine your competitors and other leaders in your industry and analyze which hashtags they use. Hashtags are an excellent way to help people find you because they will search for the hashtags of things that interest them. By using the correct and appropriate hashtags, you will help new users discover your company and grow your following.
3. Grow Your Brand – Build A Group Of Passionate Followers
There are so many methods of advertising available to business, but social media provides a unique opportunity to engage with your users. Post interesting and exciting content, follow your followers back and communicate with people who are commenting on your posts. Think of a great book, or a movie you have read or watched. In most cases, people find out about these from their friend’s recommendations. People become passionate about a brand – just look at people who use Apple products. Once you have grown an army of fans, they will sell your brand for you. Your job is to focus on building the foundations and generating that initial passion.
4. Connect With Instagram Influencers
There are certain people on Instagram who have a huge number of followers. If your company sells products that align with these power users, then it could be worthwhile reaching out to them, and seeing if they want to test out some free products. Obviously, it is crucial that you undertake extensive research on these people. They need to have the same values as your company, before you begin to send them free product. But if you are confident that they are a good match for your company, a post from them to their followers can grow your brand almost overnight. It is no different to paying a celebrity to endorse your product but done correctly you will be surprised at how quickly these Instagram power users can grow your brand for you.
5. Remember That Instagram Is A Visual Product
Your followers want to be inspired and see interesting pictures. Don’t use low quality or badly focused images, as these will reflect poorly on your brand. Be creative in how you expose your brand and even consider the occasional use of black and white photography as this will make your pictures stand out in people’s streams.
6. Monitor Which Posts Get Engagement – And Which Don’t
Any good marketer will tell you that you need to evaluate and test your marketing constantly. Otherwise, you have no way of understanding what works and what doesn’t. Try to figure out why a particular post got a lot of attention, or for that matter why it didn’t. Once you understand this, then you can refine and improve on the success stories, and ensure you don’t make the same mistakes for the posts that flopped.
Instagram is an exciting and useful marketing tool when used correctly. By following some of the tips above and investing in some social media tools, your business can derive a lot of value without spending much money. Good luck with your marketing efforts and we hope that these tips provide you with some good ideas and encourage you to make better use of your Instagram account.
Instagram is one of the most effective strategies for growth hacking your business. Read our guide on scaling your business here.
Pinterest is one of many Web 2.0 properties on the internet, but in many ways, it has a lot of untapped potential for business users. Pinterest doesn’t come with a set of instructions to assist you to grow your business, but when used properly it can be like throwing accelerant on a bonfire. By implementing some or all of the tips below, you can take strides to increase your organic inquiry.
Make sure your profile is completed and on-brand
This might seem rather obvious, but because Pinterest is all about the boards and aesthetic, many businesses neglect their homepage. This is a golden opportunity for you to drive some traffic to your business by filling in one simple piece of information. When you have a professional fully completed home page, you are giving them a road map direct to all your other products and services.
Every picture and post must be shareable
This is the most high-impact tip, as for some businesses it flies in the face of conventional marketing. In many ways, your business will gain more exposure when it is recommended by other people rather than by you. The main benefit of using Pinterest for your business is to get your brand in front of as many potential customers as possible. By adding the “Pin It” option, you are driving visitors to share your post. Remember it only takes one thoughtful post to go viral and dramatically increase your organic inquiry.
Invest in high quality photography
Pinterest invokes passion and enthusiasm through its excellent pictures. If your photographs are out of focus or badly lit, it gives a negative impression of your brand. If you are serious about utilizing Pinterest to its full potential, then invest in a photographer, or a high quality camera.
Make use of Buyable Pins
When Pinterest first launched, they were not keen on businesses using their platform. However, in the past year they have made strides to provide business-centric tools and features. Make good use of Buyable Pins, which can be set up to let a visitor buy your product instantly and without ever leaving Pinterest. When visitors are actively browsing their Pinterest feed, you have an excellent opportunity to convert using some of their unique tracking features.
Think like your customer
Most do do not use Social Media with the direct goal of purchasing product, they use it to kill time, entertain themselves, and connect with friends. The content you provide has to be unique, visually appealing, and professional. Create content that makes people want to engage, that draws emotion or invokes a memory. Pinterest is a fantastic platform to show the lifestyle your brand portrays, and capturing that essence is paramount.
These are a few tips to help you make better use of Pinterest, but this is only the beginning of your business’s journey on the platform. Start to put these tips into motion, and continue to learn more about how you can use social media to convert potential clients, and delight paying customers. If you’re looking to learn more about how to use Facebook to drive sales, read our blog post.
Twitter is a micro-blogging site which, when used properly, can be a great asset to any company. At the end of the second quarter of 2016, Twitter was averaging 313 million monthly users every month. The popularity of Twitter continues to rise- just think of the number of news stories you first hear about on Twitter. The social network is changing how the news is reported; in most cases, someone with a cell phone and a Twitter account is usually on the scene long before the news networks can get there. The demographics of Twitter users make for interesting reading:
-50 Percent of users visit or shop at the website of a small or medium business they follow
-60 Percent of users bought something because of something they saw on Twitter
-62 Percent of users are aged between 18 and 49
-54 Percent of Twitter users have incomes of over $50,000
What Can Your Business Use Twitter For?
The beauty of Twitter is that in most cases it is reasonable to assume that people who follow you are either fans or customers of your company. Consequently, they are interested in whatever you have to say or share. As you build and grow your Twitter following, you are building your brand and have the perfect opportunity to get your information to an audience that is genuinely interested in it. This is the perfect opportunity to promote new products or services, although it is important not to bombard your followers with promotions; otherwise, they will simply unfollow you. Make sure you offer them valuable information that they are interested in, and if they really like it they will share that content which will help to grow your brand and followers.
Twitter provides the perfect solution for businesses that want to provide first class customer support. Because of the way Twitter works, you can set up your Twitter client of choice to notify you the second anyone mentions your Twitter handle. This means that if somebody is complaining about your company, or praising it, you can jump in instantly and deal with the situation. Because you only need respond when your handle is mentioned, it also means that as a small to medium company, you don’t have to pay for someone to run your Twitter account full time, people can simply react to the appropriate notifications. Done properly, this kind of public facing support can generate you positive feedback and gain you new customers. However, if it is done poorly, you might find yourself facing a backlash.
Twitter itself is a business and has been actively looking for ways to monetize their business model. One of their solutions is to allow businesses to have sponsored (Advertised) Tweets. These tweets are fed into people’s timelines and can be an excellent way to get your brand in front of new people. Come up with a catchy and thought provoking tweet that will intrigue people, and you have the basis of an excellent advertisement. For more information on advertising with Twitter, this article provides some excellent information. To get setup with Twitter advertising, follow the guidelines here.
Twitter is the social network suited to today’s fast-paced world. It does not (although it can) take up hours of your time, it contains short, punchy items of information, and, as a user, you can dip in and out as often as you wish. Used properly, Twitter can become a real asset to your business and can turn your followers into rabid evangelists of your brand. It is quite possibly the only social network that lets your publicly respond and interact with your customers, and demonstrate your excellent customer service to the world . Just make sure you commit to it properly and have the right people running your Twitter account.
Facebook is largely responsible for the elevation of social media over the last decade and is a force to be reckoned with in the world of big business. It remains a highly innovative and powerful platform today, with a captive international audience of more than one and one-half billion unique users every day. That’s at least one person out of every two people worldwide using the internet today.
Create a Hub for Your Business: Your Facebook Business Page
Facebook business pages provide their owners with a unique opportunity. They’re a ready-made brand asset, associating web addresses with other contact information in a highly visible setting. You can cross-post blogs to your Facebook business page, resulting in valuable traffic coming across your brand’s content. Right away, this is valuable to you: if you don’t have a Facebook business page, you want to get one started as soon as possible.
One of the benefits of a Facebook business page is the ability, once you have identified your audience, to target that audience specifically. Facebook allows you to be seen by anyone whose interests match up with the niches to which your business caters. A broad array of categories can be chosen from, and multiple choices may be made, in selecting keywords and tags for your Facebook page. Facebook users are regularly shown suggestions for pages to follow, based upon their existing preferences: by defining your target audience, you can generate interested traffic with no more than a few minutes’ effort.
As your Facebook audience grows, you can take look at Facebook’s built-in page analytics, and get a sense for who is visiting your page. Future efforts in advertising can be shifted toward that demographic, or expanded into areas which don’t seem to be getting a lot of attention, despite being highly relevant. You can focus your Facebook ads on individuals by age, location, gender, and a variety of other factors relevant to the target audience you’re trying to reach.
Optimize your Facebook Business Page
Facebook business pages fill the first contact role with many new customers, whose first experience with a brand will be how it is presented on a company’s Facebook page. One of the best ways to optimize a business page for this purpose is to provide valuable and insightful content for your visitors to enjoy. If your company sells shoes, post a video that explains how to accurately measure one’s shoe size at home. If your company sells high-end electronics, use an infographic to explain how to keep your equipment running smoothly.
Don’t be afraid to put a little personality into your content, either. Being affable, approachable, and humorous is all perfectly acceptable. Using your page, “Like” other pages that offer related content. By presenting visitors with access to new sources of information and entertainment, your page will function as a kind of handshake—providing a good first impression, and turning visitors into brand evangelists.
Targeting Visitors with Facebook Ads
Just like your business page itself, the various Facebook ads which are available to you can all be individually focused at your target demographic. You can match your page’s demographic, or you can chose a specific profile for each ad. This allows you to direct ads at specific target audiences, while ultimately drawing them back to your website, where they will be exposed to the full breadth of your content and can be converted into customers.
Becoming an effective brand on Facebook is no easy task. It requires effort and savvy in order to create content that is engaging, and representative of your brand. If you’re interested in learning more about how businesses can engage in social media, read our article on 3 ways to use LinkedIn for business.
LinkedIn reached 450 million users in Q2 of 2016. That’s almost half a billion business professionals on a network waiting to connect to an influencer, promote their business, or find their next job.
But even today, professionals continue to misuse or squander their opportunities through the network. LinkedIn isn’t just a social network, it can act as a platform for industry news and reports, as well as a way for businesses to connect more directly.
Below, we’ve prepared three different ways you can use LinkedIn to benefit your business:
Publish blog posts
One way to raise awareness and boost credibility is to start writing and publishing blog posts. LinkedIn’s Pulse platform is a great place to start.
What business are you in? If you work in a criminal law firm, write about a recent high-profile case spotlighted in the news. Maybe you run a restaurant, in which case you should post a recipe, or a guide to healthy eating. The point is that your followers receive a notification each time you post, and if it’s written well enough and pertains to your industry, it’s likely to be re-shared. Posts show off how smart your business is, and doubles as brand exposure.
In fact, a recent study shows that listicles (articles with a list of items, like 10 best restaurants in Chicago) and how-to guides (How to work remotely) are the most effective on LinkedIn.
Did you know you could advertise on LinkedIn? If you’ve used LinkedIn in the past, chances are you’ve already seen a couple without realizing. That’s because they’re designed to blend with other posts. You just have to know how to make it compelling enough for people to want to click on your ad.
There are a couple of different ways you can go about advertising on LinkedIn. For one, there are LinkedIn Showcase Pages. These pages show the other sub-brands or additional tools and services offered by your company. In the example below, Microsoft Office, Dynamics, and Lync all have separate pages under Microsoft.
Another route is through display ads, with a small 50×50 image, title, and description of your company, as seen below:
These ads show up on the side of your feed, or of a profile when you look someone up. Make sure the image is clear, your offer is enticing, and that your brand name is clearly listed.
The great thing about these text ads are the freedom with which you can target audiences. You can decide whether you want to target big businesses, which industries to look for, or which locations to focus on.
There’s also advertising through InMail, LinkedIn’s messaging service, through Sponsored Content, and more.
This may seem straightforward, but this means more than just following as many people as you can. It can involve truly engaging with your current network, or being a helpful contributor to other groups.
LinkedIn has thousands of groups to choose from, so choose the ones most relevant to your interest or your business. Once you join, don’t just add people, send messages to show your interest. Don’t just flick through the posts, but try posting something of use (maybe a helpful link or resource), and try commenting on some. You won’t just develop some new connections, but your business will be seen as a thought leader in that space.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool if you learn how to use it properly. Keep in mind that there are millions of businesses on the platform. The best way to stand out is to help others, and to observe what practices work best. Experiment with different strategies, like sponsored posts or LinkedIn groups, and analyze how many more followers or inquiries you get after the change. You might just find that your next employee, customer, or business partner is just a few connections away.