Tag Archives: social media strategy

Tips for Meeting the Increasing Demands of Digital Marketing

Staying on toStrategies for Staying on top of Social Media

Business owners often struggle with a never-ending “To Do” list for running their companies, and it seems to be getting longer all the time. Digital marketing, in all its varied forms, is becoming increasingly important as your target audience is searching for and finding products and services like yours on the internet. Marketing experts, like us, can help you sort through all of the possibilities and develop an effective strategy,  employing a mix of social media, blogging, email marketing, Facebook advertising, Pay per Click, local SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and review site management, to grow your client/referral base. With all of these resources available and requiring attention,  how can you stay on top of Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin multiple times a week, not to mention a weekly blog, email campaigns, videos creation, and reputation management?  If you recognize the value these activities will bring to your business, but don’t have the funds to hire a professional or outsource it, consider these tips to make it work efficiently for you.

6 Tips for Digital Marketing Management:

  1. Search for Resources – The number of resources available to help businesses manage their digital marketing is amazing, and more coming on the scene all the time. For example, a platform called Falcon Social allows you to combine your online platforms into one for efficient management. Another service call Wishpond allows you to create landing pages.  Periscope allows you to stream live video to anyone all over the world.  is a cool tool that helps you construct posts for your social media and BombBomb is a video platform for dynamic email campaigns. These are just a couple of ideas; there really are more tools available than you can reasonably master.
  2. Schedule it – Schedule tasks which add value to your business and honor that commitment. You may want to choose a time of day each day, or get into an every other day routine for engaging in social media.  If you use an automation tool like Hootsuite , you can schedule your posts for the entire month if you want. Just make sure you go on your social media sites regularly to engage with others (it’s not just about churning out content). Facebook also has a scheduling function now, so you can create your post and set the day/time you want it to appear on your wall.
  3. Limit your time – The internet can be a rabbit hole, in part because there is so much good and interesting content being presented (you want to be someone who also provides quality content). It’s easy to get sucked in and lose track of time. Before you know it an hour, or hours have past and the rest of your “To Do” list is falling behind. If this is a problem for you, try limiting yourself to 15 minutes at a time and interact on all your platforms. If you decide to write a blog, spend no more than 2 hours per week writing, editing, optimizing, and posting it. Find some times of the day that are easier for you to focus on this, for example, first thing in the morning before you start your work, or at night while relaxing in front of the television.
  4. Strategic connections – Think about who you want to connect with before you go online and go right to find them. Look for people, organizations, and industry leaders who you want to associate with and interact on their platforms. Like their Facebook pages, follow them on Twitter, request a connection on Linkedin. Once you are connected, it is easy to maintain the relationship by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts as appropriate. You can do this on your Facebook business page by clicking on your “Home” button, scrolling down your newsfeed to see the posts from your connections and interaction from there.
  5. Don’t overdo it – It is possible to do too much and too often on social media platforms. Some social media novices get carried away and load their platforms with posts, reposts, shares, and retweets. This can have the reverse effect where you end up annoying your target audience and they may disconnect from you.
  6.  Other sites – Resources like Yelp, online directories, and your website require regular attention too, though not as often as social media interaction. Check on, manage, and update all your online platforms regularly.

If you are having difficulty staying on top of your digital presence, even after practicing these tips, you may want to consider hiring a professional marketing company to handle all of this for you.

If you have any questions or would like help with this, please Contact Us for a complementary consultation.

Connecting Business to Business

@Leveraging Facebook for Deeper Networking

Here’s a lesser known trick to build and strengthen business connections on Facebook. I talk a lot about social media being a dynamic and interactive place. It is difficult sometimes to know how to create that kind of presence with other businesses, especially when they are your target market (B to B). Those of us using Facebook to present our business online, and connect with our audience, are challenged to create a community around our brand that includes our business contacts.

Facebook does not allow business pages to interact directly with personal pages. When an individual likes your business page, you cannot reach them directly through messaging, email, or interacting on their pages. You can, however interact freely with other business pages through the “Like”, “Comment”, or “Share” feature on their posts. This is an excellent strategy to grow your audience by paying attention to and supporting others; when giving is primary to taking.

In addition to this approach, we highly encourage businesses to include another tool to increase your connectivity. Mention, through a clickable link, the businesses who’s relationships you want to strengthen, in your Facebook posts. This is how it works – when you publish a post on your business page, in the introduction type @ Facebook Page Name of the other business.  As long as your page has already liked their page, their Facebook page name will populate as you type it in.  It works the same was as tagging  your “friends” on your personal page. When Facebook recognizes the page name it comes up as an option to click on, making it a clickable link to that business page directly in your post. Using this approach appropriately will forge stronger relationships with other businesses through their Facebook pages.

Using @mention in your posts has 2 outcomes that can be more powerful than liking, commenting, and sharing posts: 

  1. The other business gets a notification on Facebook, and email if that setting is enabled, that their page was mentioned by your page. This is a link that takes them to the post where their business was highlighted. They can interact with the post on your page, increasing the communication. This can happen with the “share” feature as well, but the other business’s page is not highlighted so distinctly, so it doesn’t create as clear a call to action to click on their page as when the page name is linked in the post. Also, a shared post is simply that, which is nice, but says nothing about the business who’s post you are sharing. Mentioning their page gives you the opportunity to enhance your link something positive about that business.
  2. Your audience will see the other business tagged with a link to the other business’s page, and  if you do it correctly, includes a reason to want to go to the other business page and connect with that business.

This is good for your business because it is good for the other business; it demonstrates good will to others and your audience who may benefit from the link you shared. If the other business is similarly inclined (hopefully they are), they should do the same for you on their page, drawing their audience directly to you and reinforcing the bond between your businesses.

Make sure the post and business tag you are publishing on your page make sense and are relevant to your industry, business, or community. Here is an example for how a business page can use this to a very positive effect:

A mortgage lender posts a home listing from one of the realtors who could refer homebuyers. In the introduction to the listing the mortgage lender adds @Super Realtor.  The lender’s network can click on the link to the realtor and check out their page and the listing, and connect directly with the realtor to get more information on the house. The realtor is notified that @Savvy Mortgage Lender mentioned their page and promoted their listing on their Facebook page. @Super Realtor is grateful for the recognition and expanded audience and is likely to return the favor, either on Facebook or through direct referral. @Savvy Mortgage Lender’s Facebook audience has a direct link if they are interested in that house.

If the business you tag doesn’t respond, even with a Thank You, that may mean they aren’t paying attention to what is happening with their page or may not know what to do about it. It probably isn’t personal. If that happens you may want to follow up with an email or message to let them know you’d like to share content and invite them to share any of your information on their page.

If anyone ever interacts with or tags your page, always acknowledge, appreciate, and where possible, reciprocate. It is considered bad form to ignore your audience online, so be sure to be one of the good ones…or hire a professional to do it for you. When I do this for my clients and the target business responds, I am far more likely to continue promoting their page for my client, as opposed to the ones who ignore the recognition and I stop engaging directly with those pages.

This kind of networking can be effective for any business, even those that serve individuals. Businesses typically don’t operate in isolation and benefit from other business connections as referral partners, vendors, or support companies.  Give this a try and let me know how it works for you.

 

Setting Social Media Goals

Goal SettingGetting Clear on What You Want

There are several ways that social media can be good for your business, but let’s start with the assumption that small business’ primary goal for engaging in social media is to get customers and make more money. This is a goal for all business, or we wouldn’t survive. Though participation is digital marketing is not a necessity for most business survival, it may be key to the company’s strength and growth potential.

There are a lot of resources to help people make goals and different goal setting models. The most popular one is the SMART system,  where your goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic (or Relevant), and Timely. This is certainly a good method if it suits you. There are also other systems, such as OKS – Objectives and Key Results, BSQ – think Big, act Small, be Quick, or BHAG – Big, Harry, Audacious Goal. A good description of how to use these paradigms related to social media can be found in this article from Buffer. Any of these, or other structure for organizing your goals, can be used. The main thing is to organize, write down, assess, and revise your goals as a tool to set and measure progress.

Before embarking on any goal setting journey, you would do well to have a good sense of your WHY. Referencing our blog from August entitled “Know Your Why“, grounding in your purpose will shape your best actions toward achieving your goal. Knowing your why is more than setting goals, it is keeping the focus on the big picture as a framework for achieving what you want.

Assuming that your overarching social media goal is to increase revenue, let’s look at some of ways social media objectives can support that goal, albeit sometimes indirectly, but still related. Though revenue is the main goal for business to engage in social media, it is not the only or even necessarily the best. Because inbound marketing is not advertising, establishing a plan of action as if it were may lead to disappointment. Goals related to, for example, maintaining a dynamic online presence so when people check you out online, you look professional and impressive is a legitimate, but not direct income generating goal.

Objectives/Actions – here you get more specific about how you are going to accomplish your goal. Your objective establishes the answers to What, Who, When, and Where.  This is the foundation for your action plan.

Example:

Why; We want our business to have an impressive presence online, to be a clear and public reflection of the best we have to offer, add value to our audience, and create a community around us.

Goal: Engage on industry-appropriate social platforms to increase business opportunities, referral sources, client base, and revenue by 20%.

Objectives:

  1. Set up social media platforms and manage with regular posts of interest to target audience (as defined from the last week’s blog on “Developing a Kick-Butt Marketing Strategy for 2016“)
  2. Identify key referral sources, connect with them on platforms = like, share, retweet, and comment on their posts
  3. Reach out specifically to those new connections to meet, exchange business, and/or create opportunities based on synergy
  4. Establish a social media advertising campaign and budget to increase page reach to identified audience
  5. Measure success of ad campaigns and adjust message, targets, or budget accordingly
  6. Develop a social media mindset which includes healthy bragging about the company, engaging with customers through images and reviews, asking for people to engage on social platforms, and take every real-life connection online to and work it there.

There is little doubt that if the objectives were carried out consistently and effectively, the goal defined above would be achieved. The details of the plan should include elements like who is going to be responsible, how are they going to get content, what type of specials to promote, what to offer when you ask for connections, etc.

If you aren’t getting the results you were hoping for, it is important to do an analysis before determining that social media doesn’t work. For example:

  1. Look at the goal to make sure it is reasonable. In the example above, the goal was set to raise revenue by 20%. Is that realistic for an initial social media campaign, in that industry and business?
  2. Are there enough funds dedicated to advertising to get that return?
  3. Is the offer being promoted compelling enough to capture interest and bring customers in?
  4. How is the revenue tracked on the back end to make sure all leads coming from Facebook are tracked?
  5. Has there been adequate outreach both in and online?
  6. Are there any other areas on social networks that could be improved to get a better result?

Goal setting for social media can be as simple or complex as you want. You can get very detailed with editorial calendars and checking insights daily, or not, based on your business approach. The important thing is to have a plan based in reality, get a sense if it is working, be flexible to adjust as needed, and be dedicated and consistent with your efforts. I always caution people not to get too focused on a goal of “get more revenue”, without also giving value to the other benefits of having a rocking internet presence. Those things cannot be quantified with a dollar amount of return, but their value can be immeasurable.

Please let me know if you would like some help with setting actionable goals on social media.

Social Media Strategy for 2016

Social Media StrategyHow to Develop a Kick-butt Digital Marketing Plan to Take Your Business to the Next Level

The start of a new year naturally fosters a view toward analyzing the past and planning the future. Like a reset button, transitions from one year to the next call for a fresh look at our process, habits, actions, and goals. We take a look at what we have been doing to see what works, what needs adjustment, and what needs to go. Are you looking at your business to improve your digital marketing in 2016? If so, here are some ideas to set the foundation for a great plan.

Analysis – Look at your business objectively: are you satisfied with your online presence, how you are using social media and other digital platforms to present, connect, and market your business? Are you putting the right resources to this effort? Do you know if what you are doing is producing positive results? Do you know what to do differently to achieve better results? Answering these questions will give you a better baseline from which to grow.

Goals – In the above analysis, you were asked if your efforts were producing positive results. If the answer to that question is either “I don’t know” or some version of “no”, the next step is to be clear about the results you want. Most of us want more clients = revenue, however, setting up a goal that broad may be too abstract and lead to scattered actions. Next week’s blog will focus on establishing specific goals that are realistic and measurable. For now, think about your purpose for engaging in digital marketing and what you need it to deliver in order to justify the expense of time, money, and attention.

Expand Your Audience –  Who cares about your business, products, services, or industry? If you are only concerned with consumers, you may be missing segments that could be a help to your business. Identifying the connections that bring value to your offering,  either by bringing you more customers or through supporting your business process, may be just as successful as going after direct consumers. Make a list of every person, business, organization, or association that is or could be impacted by what you offer. This becomes your expanded target audience and helps define your message.

Your Message –  Many entrepreneurs struggle with defining their clear message. Some are concerned that blogging or writing social media posts would be difficult because they don’t believe they have much to say. However, once they get into talking about their industry and experience, their knowledge flows out as valuable content they could be delivering to their expanded market. Don’t minimize the value or withhold your expertise, this is how you can shine online and set yourself distinct from others in your industry.

Where are the Eyeballs? – Some research is involved to find out where people and businesses you most want to connect with are engaged online. You may discover different platforms for different segments. For example, your target customers may be looking on Angie’s List, but your referral partners are active on Facebook. Having a sense of this will help you determine what kinds of posts go where. In this example, your emphasis on Angie’s List is to encourage happy customers to post positive reviews and respond consistently to those. On Facebook your message will be centered on an expanded view to interest and engage people who are not in your industry, but connected to it in some way. I suggest doing internet searches and talking to people in person and in forums, blogs, and Facebook groups to get this information.

Pull it Together – Once you are clear with these elements, put it together in a plan. Answer these questions:

Who – who is doing the interacting online and who are they connecting with?

What – what platforms are you using, what resources of time and money will you dedicate, what is message, special, enticement?

When – when will you do your online interactions, follow-ups, requests to connect on and off line?

How – how many posts, blogs, emails, per week? How will you stay on top of it? How will you know if you are getting anywhere?

This is the skeleton of your digital marketing strategy; using this to support details, specific campaigns and brilliant ideas. Please let me know if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help. Watch for next week’s blog on drilling down to establish more specific goals.

6 Steps for a Small Business Social Media Strategy

Social Media strategy How to Develop a Rockin’ Social Media Strategy

I’ve have been participating in the Social Media Success Summit, put on by Social Media Examiner – the leading producer of content all things social media and digital marketing. This is a month long digital event with many hours of valuable content delivered by true industry experts. I am learning a great deal and intend to pass on the best of what I gain from this series. Social Media Maxima clients will also benefit as we continue to develop and refine our services with cutting edge knowledge and technology. I continue to be amazed and inspired by all of the services, ideas, platforms, and resources available to business owners who want to leverage the power of the internet to grow their business. This week I am using as the base for this blog, one of the sessions on developing a social media strategy, though I have modified it quite a bit to suit my audience and experience. Continue reading

Do You Understand Your Digital Marketing?

Digital Research and StrategyWho’s Doing Social Media Research and Strategy?

Most of us small (and many not so small) business owners who engage in social media and digital marketing do it as if we were partially blindfolded. We may follow some industry recommendations, like having a nice website, developing a presence on the major digital platforms, posting and sharing content regularly, but do we have a clear understanding of what our efforts are intended to produce? Are we oriented to the terrain of digital media so we can focus a campaign on results, or our we just jumping in the pool because we don’t want to be the only one not at the party (pardon the mixed metaphors)?

Its All About the Resources

I may get flack from my peers on this, but my professional opinion is that the answers to the questions above don’t really matter as long as you are ok with the results your position brings. For instance, it is a perfectly fine business decision to ignore social media strategy. You may  have a successful business without ever understanding how your target audience is using social media. Digital and social marketing is a big and powerful force; results of which mirror the resources you dedicate to it.

Research and Strategy

Substantial companies with adequate marketing budgets are wise to dedicate a portion appropriate for their industry to digital outlets.  When considering resource allocation, here are just a few questions you will want to answered –  Do you know how to create effective social media campaigns? Does your marketing department know where to focus precious resources? Do you understand your target audience on social media and know how to engage them for your mutual benefit? How will you integrate all your marketing channels?  You may know a dynamic online presence would be beneficial for your company, but lack the knowledge, skills, and focus to accomplish that with the myriad of outlets available.  Research and strategy are two high level marketing activities which are instrumental to the outcome of your plans.

Crimson Fly

I met a fellow social media service provider at a 1 Million Cups event recently. He was presenting a business challenge and getting suggestions from the crowd of entrepreneurs. Dan Hine, with Crimson Fly, is a true social and digital media strategist. As I listened to the audience give advice to narrow in and get more defined, and broaden out to be more expansive, it occurred to me that the only “right answers” come with a whole lot of perspective. We only know what direction to go, how we will get where we want to be, and what is possible for our destination to look like, if we’ve done some research and made a plan.  When Dan talks about his company helping businesses understand how and where their audience is active on digital platforms, it is clear to see why this is insight is critical.  A similar version of this is why market researchers are paid big bucks to tell retail executives where consumers’ eyes focus on products in their store. Have you ever seen Cheerios on the bottom corner shelf of the breakfast aisle? No – because market research directs the placement of products to get the most attention for those products to increase sales. This is why having clear guidance on your target market is such a valuable component of a marketing strategy.

Understanding where your audience is looking and what they are interested in, as well as how to attract and engage them, is a goldmine of information that many of us ignore.  Using that research to create a powerful plan of action is why smart companies hire experts like Dan Hine to develop a social and digital media strategy to grow their business and brand. Your goals will determine the type and extent of research and subsequent marketing strategy that is recommended.

Are You Ready for Professional Help

If you are a small business or just starting out, you may want to do your own research and develop a digital marketing plan that you can manage yourself. Remember, if its good enough for you then its good enough. But if you are interesting in developing a more serious, targeted, and successful digital presence for your business, hire professionals with specific expertise in the area where you want to grow your business. At Social Media Maxima, we are experts in digital marketing execution and implementation. We develop the social media plan for our clients based on the information they provide. We look to companies like Crimson Fly when our clients need high level market research and a comprehensive strategy to turbo-charge their business growth.

Please feel free to Contact Us if you would like an introduction to Dan or to learn more about our services.