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Social Media Marketing

Branding & Design, Local & Small Business, Social Media Marketing

Be Unique: 4 Examples of Outstanding Social Media Ideas in Action

March 2, 2014
millenials-confident-ftr

We’re not all lost at sea when it comes to social media marketing. Sometimes it’s less of a “navigating the waters” scenario and more of a “the well has run dry” challenge. Either situation you may find yourself in, one thing is sure: you are only going to succeed by escaping the trap of doing nothing at all rather than doing it all so perfect.

 

2014: The Year Your Social Media Is Serious…..ly Effective!

To get your inspiration back on par or to jump start your efforts on new platforms here are four simple out-of-the-box or cutting-edge approaches for using social media to get your businesses’ message across. Maybe they’ve been around for some time, but I’ve noticed them not being used to their full potential. If you aren’t taking advantage of something somewhere in the social-sphere, here’s some ideas simple and savvy that will make you meet the challenge; be unique!

 

Increase Reach With Events By Promoting with #Hashtags

This one applies to more than just one single social media site. Any site that utilizes – comfortably and acceptably – the use of hashtags (for example, not Facebook) should one you are utilizing if you are trying to promote a specific event, promotion, coupon, conference, or anything in between. Try to keep your chosen hashtag short – say 8 characters or less. Use it anywhere you talk about the event, and mention to everyone involved to also use it. If you are using a social media site with a powerful search engine behind it – say Twitter – utilize that too to see develops on how far your hashtag reaches.

 

Expand Your General Audience By Utilizing Groups

Specifically, I want to mention a way you can expand social media presence with a specific site: Pinterest. There’s a neat, new feature that Pinterest has rolled out and if your business or message applies to Pinners, this is something you don’t want to miss out on. You can easily expand your reach and increase your following on your Pinterest profile by leveraging communities and niches and creating a group board. Creating a collaboration of any kind is something that takes time and consideration, so make sure you have found a trusted partner to distribute content with to boost both of your brands. Who doesn’t love win-win?

 

Quick Tip For Gaining Ground on Twitter

Here’s another one pretty specific to a certain site. Twitter is a great place to quickly and instanteously connect with the exact audience of your desire. Having one of the best adventure grounds for search and “pin-pointing” what kind of content you want to see at any given time, it’s important to note how you are making yourself available and how else you are organizing your followers. Participate in lists on Twitter to make the most out of building relationships. Not only does grouping people together make browsing feeds from groups really nice in management of content display on your end, but every time you add someone to a list of yours they are notified. Only add people to lists, or create lists, that you believe will be actively used or the people you add will take interest. While a bit time consuming, this is also something that can be causally done or vigorously – totally depending on your audience and current marketing goals.

 

Stretch Out & Strengthen Where Your Social Media & SEO Clasp Together

It may not be as popular as it once was at time buzzing about the social world and the net in general, Stumbleupon is still a powerhouse hitter in driving home some traffic to your site via social media platforms. By 2014, I’d hope you know that social media and SEO do in fact go hand in hand! One of the easiest ways to push both a stronger social media presence on a certain platform and to also strengthen SEO at the same time, Stumbleupon is your hero. Adding icons for social sharing everywhere, keeping your social media sharing icons to a minimum. Be sure to bookmark all of your blogs and articles in Stumbleupon and then also share those links on other social media sites. Every time you do this, your site is getting some love from Google and other search engines. The more the merrier! Remember: you only count as one person and don’t try to mess around with Google in this manner. Now, just be sure you’re pushing Grade A content for visitors to land on when they stumble your way!

Local & Small Business, Social Media Marketing

Social Media Content & Creativity for the Clueless [Part 1]

August 23, 2012
online-searcher

With so much content on the internet, those who aren’t familiar with its inner (and outer) workings, are so often easily puzzled as to how everything fits together; whether you’re using the web for business or as an individual. With so much content, information, and constant hype surrounding the quickly evolving speed and innovation in our communication and the mediums that go along with it—I can’t blame them for thinking that social media for marketing is seemingly cryptic or enigmatic.

Ask the pros, and they will tell you of how difficult it can be to simply explain their career to family members and friends.

Clueless on Social Media? 

This post is geared towards helping the nowhere near social-savvy, who want to begin using social media for marketing their brand or business. This is advice to help prime your complete understanding of how social media can help your biz. Since there’s so much ground to cover I’ve broken this post into two parts, where tomorrow I will show you the nitty-gritty breakdown of content and inspiration for it.

Where to start with social media marketing

Where You Should Start

Like I’ve said, when you’re new to the game, there’s always going to be a huge learning curve. You’re not going to be able to understand (or perfect) using every single platform and service under the sun. Instead, start small with only a few profiles so you can fully give them or it, your full attention. Because, without you paying attention to your accounts, how is anybody going to pay attention to you?

Big Guns = Big Audience

The easiest places to start are the Big Four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. There’s other “Big Guns” that might suit your business better than others: YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

These are where the largest general audiences are, and these sites are also where your family, friends, and current clientele, are all already participating a whole lot. That’s not even to mention reaching out to–possibly yes–millions of new people. Here’s a taste of what we’re looking at (note: stats from 2011):

Social Media for the Clueless

Infographic made by One Lily

Niche Specific Sites

There are also niche-based social sites where, while the overall audience may be smaller as a whole, this may be directly where your target audience–only–is gathering. Depending on your resources, it’s best to not jump into too many hoops at first unless you have a hired professional on your side. This list will show you a good idea of some social platforms that may relate to your niche that you never even knew existed.

Play the Game According to The Rules

Every social platform has its differing qualities and functions for communications and interacting. These differences create loose guidelines for behavior that are (and need to be) followed if you want to succeed on the given social site as a business, brand, blog, or solo-preneur. In my next post, I’m going to get into the basics of the “Big Guns” mentioned above in more detail and how you should be using each particular site with poise and creativity.

But first, here are some general nuances that you should keep in mind that cover just about any social network. As you may have guessed by now, creativity is key. You’ve got to stand out. But How?

Humanize yourself or your brand, adding personality that is honest. Winning people over these days relies on being transparent and down-to-earth. There are plenty of ideas of how to use creativity, but you’ve got to make sure you’re BEING creative. Be friendly, enthusiastic, easy going, personable, charming, relatable, helpful, empathetic, and what’s that last one I’m thinking of? …Social!

Let’s get this out of the way right now: it’s not all about you – and if you make it that way, you’re going to be ignored and labeled as pesky and tacky. It’s all about your audience, showing them content they’d enjoy or display interaction with (themselves, others, or you).

Being friendly and social

It’s like hosting a party and making a speech or toast, but you and your guests as well, are all going to obviously be mingling and chatting over cocktails.

Adios for now, my friends, and check back tomorrow for Part 2 where I will break down the specifics of being a Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, or Pinterest Superstar! :)

Infographic from creative agency One Lily.

Local & Small Business, Social Media Marketing

What is Online Marketing, Exactly? Part 1: Social Media Marketing

July 14, 2012
what is online marketing

Online marketing is a bit of an elusive subject for some people. As for business owners, most know they need to utilize it; know people are making a killing off of it; and also know that every day it’s becoming more of something that’s necessary to their arsenal of exposure–the way the Yellow Pages once was for many businesses.

Online marketing is a pretty broad term, but there are a couple of areas that you should know about that will make understanding the whole of it a lot easier. For instance, we all know (if you didn’t, now you know!) that Facebook is a good place to promote your business, but where does that fall in within the broader scope of online marketing, and where should you start if you don’t know too much about the practice? Read on to find out.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a avenue of internet marketing that has just recently rose to prominence, but is clearly here to stay for quite some time. It constitutes advertising on networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and a host of other social platforms. Here are a couple very simple ideas for ramping up your social media marketing practices:

1. Utilize Twitter!

Personally, this is our favorite method of social media marketing, as Twitter is probably the most casual social network around. It can be largely valuable, despite what the skeptical may think of 140 characters at a time.

Completely flesh out your Twitter profile and make it enticing to prospective visitors and followers, and then engage them in a variety of ways. People love to be included in things. For example, say you’re a company that makes designer boots, and you decide to see who is tweeting about “designer boots” or “buying new boots” or something similar. Put yourself in your customers shoes (or rather, boots!), and simply type that phrase into the search box and click “all” on the toggle button. You now have a list of people who are very recently interested in designer boots, or buying new boots, boot collecting, etc. If you tweet @ (a.k.a mention) these people from your company account with just a funny little anecdote, what are the chances they will buy your boots? A lot more than before you made yourself known.

Be willing to engage your user base once they are found, share quality content, and be of true value as connection not just a “follower”, and you’re sure to increase your sales.

2. Get involved on Facebook.

Facebook is a bit harder to become engaged with your user base, but if you have the know-how and a small budget, it’s the perfect opportunity for you. Facebook Ads is sometimes seen as a bit underwhelming, but if you properly utilize all of the capabilities of it, you’ll be sailing on the road to inexpensive, targeted traffic in no time. The strength with Facebook is its ability to laser-target ads at people of very specific age, gender, location, and even interests. Also, the more you target your ad, the cheaper Facebook Ads is. First, identify your base. If you don’t know who that is, you have a bit of research to do. A good way to do this without paying a market researcher 100$/hr is to utilize services like Quantcast.

Let’s say you’re a company that does scuba diving lessons in the Caribbean. How would you utilize this service to find out what age group is most interested in scuba diving tours in the Caribbean? Just type in “scuba diving” into their search feature. We’re going to use the site scubadiving.com as an example. As you can see, a large majority of people coming to this site are between the ages of 18 and 24, male, and have no kids. So you can now use this data to target your FB ad for your Scuba Diving website/fanpage (we recommend utilizing a fanpage, as it’s easy for people to like your page from the side, and once they like your page, you can permanently reach out to them through status updates). So now, not only are your costs for advertising cheaper per click, but you aren’t displaying your ad to people who don’t want to see it, therefore increasing the value of your ad by a ton. Good deal right?

3. Leverage Tumblr.

Tumblr is a bit of a niche market, although it’s the 35th most visited site on the net. Tumblr is very much for art inclined people, but it’s also for the people interested in niche markets, and the art that comes out of them. You can find groups on here dedicated to most anything, so why not your target market? Create stellar content for your niche, and drive traffic to it through following people who are interested in your niche. Hint: get a nice digital camera, and take some cool pictures, put a new one on your Tumblr daily. You’re sure to garner some interest.

We hope you enjoy these tips, which we think are pretty original compared to the usual generic “sign up for Facebook!” Social media tips, be sure to contact us if you need some further advice in stepping up your social media campaigns, and/or someone to manage your social media. Check back in a few days to see our What is online marketing? Part 2 and 3, we’ll be covering search engine marketing, PPC, and some other mediums we can’t give away just yet. See ya then!

Social Media Marketing

4 Social Media Tips for a Fresh Web Perspective

July 10, 2012
fresh social media marketing

Whether you’re new to the game called social media or you’re a long-running veteran, in the year 2012, there’s plenty of new discoveries to be made which can uncover new success for your business. The truth is that in this digital age, things evolve at an ever-increasing rate and to stay afloat: you’ve got to rock the boat, baby!

If you’re not willing to rock the boat, you’re not going to create any significant waves. Some of what were once golden methods to success in social media are simply now a dying a breed–and those are just the facts of life on the web. While some traditional methods stick, platforms, methods, secret sauces to success; they can all change in the blink of an eye. If you’re going to be participating at all, I suggest you keep your eyes peeled, lest you appear outdated and foolish to the eyes who take notice to you.

Whether you’re manning your marketing yourself, you’ve got an in-house member with the know-how at your disposal, or you’ve decided to outsource your social media marketing plans all around, it’s safe to say that taking notice to these social media ideas will inject new life into your social media goals and refresh your perspectives.

1. Change Perception Not Just Perspective

Always consider the perception your customers have of your brand, not just your perspective as to what the best way to reach them is. Brand positioning matters even more nowadays and you should be aware of not just your competitors, but how consumers view you in relation to everyone else.

2. Get Real

About what? Why, everything! How you’re spending your time; who you’re engaging with; how you’re approaching new visitors and “followers”; how often you’re making conversions; why you’re here. What is your purpose? Can your customers easily identify what it is? Can your audience identify with it?

3. Find Appeal

Let’s face it already. We’re full-fledged bombarded with all kinds of content. How can you best stay on top of your game in being hip and viral? Be original where it counts and borrow pizzazz only when needed. Re-inventing the wheel has never been easier, so take advantage of the ability to survey what’s hot and what’s not. At a rudimentary level, do not be afraid to bring personality to the table!

4. Stay Consistent to Seal the Deal!

One of the most important things to remember is to remain stable and consistent. Your image depends on it. As it takes about 4-6 brand touches to actually be remembered, don’t forget to keep in mind that making brand image changes too soon or often will have you losing out instead of gaining.

Social Media Marketing

A Practical Guide: Learning How to Use Twitter For Business

June 17, 2012
how-to-use-twitter-for-business

It’s no secret that the internet is a place where many have sowed and reaped success—and it’s also safe to say that in recent years, Twitter has come a long way in the social sphere, building a platform that connects 140 million users and sees 340 million tweets per day–all in a unique way with freshly enterprising dynamics.

It’s not so much a secret, as is a challenge, for many business owners to fully grasp (or find the time to grasp) that dynamic and:

1. How social media marketing can actually help to grow their business and give them a ROI.

2. Where and how to effectively use different platforms to leverage your target audience

3. Why learning how to use Twitter for business (or other top social sites) IS attainable, easy, and will pay off if you take the time to learn the ropes (I hope this article helps).

How to Use Twitter For Business: Participating with 140 Characters?

Social media ROI naysayers aside, with so many avenues and options, it truly can be difficult to decipher and harness the power of social media marketing if you don’t know where and how you should be participating.

The biggest key to marketing success online, present-day: Participation makes perfect.

Sure, it does take some practice, but participation is what really counts. Participation is never a one-way street. You’re going down the right street if you’re connecting personally with your ideal audience.

how to use twitter for business

Why is Twitter a top social site in my eyes? Numbers speak for themselves, but social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, are all sites that have a user-base that cover just about every market and industry imaginable, and therefore, are ideal candidates for conducting business, casually connecting, and oftentimes both–the secret sauce for Twitter success.

While there’s plenty of other social media sites that zero in on niches, Twitter-caliber sites make leveraging your target audience within that one site more convenient, flexible, and creative—certainly with more tools and resources at your disposal. That’s not even divulging into the power that authority social sites like Twitter have to boost SEO–essential to search engine prowess post-Penguin.

Now, How to Use Twitter For Business and See Results?

So if you haven’t caught on by now, you’re not going to get anywhere with knowing how to use Twitter for business if you’re only purpose is to promote, promote, and…promote, your business. Yawn! Heard of bounce rate? Applies to social pages too.

As a brand, you must be aware of your audience’s desire to see you in the light you deserve and the best way to do that is connecting with them personally.

Participating on Twitter is as simple as described above, and should be more of a pleasure than a task. Understanding the basics is easy, but from there, stand out from the crowd in creative ways – and don’t be naïve – listen to the pros advice on do’s and don’ts.

If you’re not even sure about the basics on using Twitter at all–check out Twitter’s very own glossary to understand lingo like (#) hashtags, retweets, and mentions.

Here are 12 practical tips that will get your Twitter engine twevvin’:

  1. Find a clear tone and image for your brand and stick with it. Fill out your profile, make your tweets consistent, and display acutely (and accurately) what you’re here to share and talk about.
  2. Do it!—Share content that is most relevant to what your audience wants and should expect from you.
  3. What NOT to doOnly share your own content. Even if it’s non-promotional and just a nice, informative blog post, be sure to follow the 80/20 rule and share lots of relevant and interesting content from outside sources while you leave 20% of your feed to promote your own content. Visitors and followers will notice, and they will appreciate the value YOU add when they enjoy your reading/viewing suggestions!
  4. Follow users who are interested in your message or niche. Using search on Twitter makes finding targeted users easy as pie.
  5. Treat your followers with personal care—but keep things on lighter notes. Take things one step at a time in connecting (a.k.a. don’t ever shove your services down someones throat) but go the extra distance to answer a question, give a compliment, say hello.
  6. Create and organize lists with appropriate followers. When they are notified, you will stand out in their eyes, will make them feel special, and will increase your chance of being remembered.
  7. Make your profile attractive–an impressionable profile picture and tweeting style so that you will be retweeted more often; get creative with your background.
  8. Encourage sharing. Off-profile, you should use social bookmarking plugins on your blog, for both more exposure and to obtain more links.
  9. Use keywords and (#) hashtags appropriately. They can be pivotal in helping others find you when searching  on Twitter. Which you should utilize as well. Don’t be shy with using keywords and hashtags, but don’t overdo it either. Which leads to:
  10. Find balance in the range of content you share, how much you mention @ others, and how many retweets appear in your feed (You don’t want your whole feed filled up with other tweeters’ profile pictures). Find the balance that works for you and maintain it.
  11. Remain on the right track by leveraging resources, tools, and time. Plan out editorial calendars of tweets and buffer all or parts of your agenda on a weekly or monthly basis. This will help you remain on-topic, widen the your range with thoughtful brainstorming, and help you incredibly in maximizing your time.
  12. Monitor and manage. Don’t neglect your ‘Interactions’ section and respond to followers. Use services to monitor your exposure and reach.
Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing

Social Media Strategies and SEO Strategies: One In The Same Practice

June 6, 2012
social-media-ball

The main principle behind marketing is simply getting your message across to more customers. With all the jargon and “mysticism” assorted with Search Engine Optimization today, sometimes we forget about the inner-most core of our objective, which is just simply the fact that exposing more people to your message, preferably people who would be interested in what you have to offer, is something we should try to quantify and maximize.

Why Social Media vs. SEO is a Null Argument

SEO is immensely powerful for targeting exact audiences. If I type in “buy clothes” online, I probably want to buy clothes, right? Being #1 for a term like “buy clothes” is a wide-net example and entirely optimal for clothing stores with an online presence. However, if a fishing rod repair shop ranked #1 for “buy clothes”, it probably wouldn’t receive the same level of prosperity.

Although our main strategy for obtaining new clients is Search Marketing, Social Media is an amazingly effective way of not only improving your SEO authority with Google, but also, as most would assume, engaging people interested in your products you may not have met otherwise. Many social platforms are available to you, varying based on your needs: what is your niche? who is your audience?

One example: Twitter is really fantastic, and is something we personally spend a lot of time on, as it’s a brilliant forum of communication, arguably the most “sweeping” in the world, and for those reasons, can be incredibly successful for your business if you catch on to Twitter best practices and it’s unique communication methods. Twitter is pretty much the chatter of the whole internet in one streaming “world” and although tweets are brief, some of the most powerful messages and statements can be created and heard.

In fact, Twitter is the #8 most visited site on the web, so naturally, if you’re active on Twitter, have a lot of followers, retweets, or favorited Tweets, Google will see that you are likely more authoritative than a company that has none of these things.

This concept is KEY for present day SEO survival. Period.

It only makes sense, and is the natural way that SEO is going right now, and will absolutely keep going in the future.

Pinterest is also fantastic for highlighting your products, especially if you deal in tangible goods, figure out creative ways to photograph your new idea, make it interesting and people WILL repin it, which is good for SEO as well as organic traffic. There are many, many social networks and bookmarking sites and every single one harnesses the duality in online marketing that is the future of SEO success.

There is no competitiveness between Search and Social and anybody who has told you otherwise likely had their wagon knocked over and fell off the trail when Penguin came to town. Personally, I find it an adventure when the internet becomes closer to the wild, wild west. If you’re here on the web to stand your ground in SEO rankings, the most honest reality is that your success is more akin to drinking at the saloon, than dueling with shotguns.

Google made a strong statement this week by abolishing it’s long standing framework for displaying local businesses, Google Places, and subsequently integrating the functionality into it’s Google+ social network. Google+ is of course amazing for SEO, and a really great place to go besides that, as it’s audience is a lot more niche oriented and conversational than Twitter.

As Google integrates more parts of the web into Google+, you’ll likely receive a lot of reward within your niche for being active within the G+ world. Make yourself an authority in your niche and you will be! Google+ is easy to become familiarized with and create connections–it’s really simple. Fill out your profile thoroughly, and actually care about conversing, sharing opinions, providing good information about what you like (or about your industry), and injecting value into others conversations.

Social media marketing is a long-term investment in more ways than one. Simply put, there’s no better way to learn from or connect with all types of people in the world right now.

Branding & Design, Social Media Marketing

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Pinterest Buzz

April 4, 2012
Pinterest

How Can You Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business?

What is Pinterest in the first place? Chances are you’ve heard some kind of buzz about Pinterest or you’re like us and joined the fun. Pinterest is a new social network that allows users and brands to create pinboards and pin and share favorite images from around the web to their creatively categorized “boards”. If you haven’t seen for yourself what’s so great about Pinterest already, here are 10 eye-opening reasons why Pinterest should be a part of your social media strategy.

Make Your Brand Pinteresting!

1. Pinterest has grown crazy big, crazy fast. If you aren’t aware already, Pinterest has only been around a short time, launched in March of 2010. However, even sooner than that, it has been in the last six months that Pinterest has grown over 40000 percent with over 17 million users a month.

2. Pinterest is very viral. You are much more likely to have your content go viral on Pinterest than on Twitter, according to research. It is said that 80% of pins are repined while only 1.4% of tweets are retweeted. That is one pretty significant statistic if you ask me. One of the best accomplishments of a social platform is to get users comfortable, excited, and willing to share content.

3. Pinterest allows for creativity. Even the least likely candidates can be using Pinterest for business branding. Pinterest opens up the doors to a visual representation of a brand and the more creative an unlikely company can get on this platform, the better off they will be.

4. Pinterest is good for SEO. Just like using any top social media or networking site is essential to SEO, Pinterest is good for your link profile. Infact, Pinterest is an amazing way to drive traffic to your website or blog. Although they do not give you much link juice, getting people to your site from Pinterest is easy with the link attached to picture pinned from your website.

5. Pinterest allows for targeted traffic. Pinterest isn’t just an initiator of traffic, it’s an initiator of targeted, interested to a pin-point traffic. Pinterest gives each pin a 500 word description. Use it to your advantage and include keywords not just here, but in your board names.

6. Pinterest will widen your audience. The visual platform will allow for brand’s that aren’t capturing people attracted to visual social sharing. Not everybody wants to read a blog post to learn something new. Infographics, which are going incredibly viral on Pinterest, allow brands to interestingly share data and facts with people they may otherwise be missing out on attracting.

If you’re not sure how to use Pinterest still, here is an infographic that I pinned on our Awesome Infographics board today that includes more facts and figures.

Using

Blogging, Local & Small Business, Social Media Marketing

Online Social Marketing Plan For New Businesses | Tips & Tricks

February 22, 2012
Social Marketing Plan

Online Social Marketing Plan: Tips & Tricks for Successful Media Campaigns

What does the web mean for a new business and their social marketing plan options? A lot, actually.

Single-handedly though, the greatest advantage that came with the arrival of the internet is that it makes for an incredible means for communication—and for small businesses that develop a social marketing plan fully integrated with the web, there are endless opportunities for promotion, connection, and instant communication with your target audience.

In 2012, the band-wagon for social marketing for business is already pretty full—and that’s why we see new reaches and leaps forward in technology and online communication everyday—but not every business is on board with us just yet! For new businesses, online start-ups, and small businesses developing a social marketing plan for the first time alike, can oftentimes find their way around the social web much smoother with a guide.

Social Marketing Plan For The Web | Where, Who, What, Why, and When?

There are several things to talk about when strategizing for an online social marketing plan. While many new businesses think that Facebook and Twitter alone will do the trick, that’s not the case for everyone. In fact, there are thousands of places to be on the web as a business, but if you factor in what you’re doing and why, who you’re affecting and connecting with, and how well you can do it all, then you are greeted with limitless opportunity.

Online Social Marketing Plan

So, where, who, what, why, and when?

The fun part about an online social marketing plan in action is building off of your existing brand image every day in what can be both indirect and direct, and impersonal and quite personal, ways. A precursor to your enacted social marketing is having a firm foundation for your branding and your purpose as a company—new or old. If you’re looking for a clearer path for constructing your online social marketing plan here are some helpful tips on integrating important aspects of social marketing into your businesses’ promotional and social marketing strategies.

Blogging

Blogging is crucial in your social marketing plan if you’re looking to search engine optimize (SEO) your content to reach your audience. Beautifully branded company websites can make for a nice, supplement to your business card, but having a company blog goes miles. Offering expertise, helpful information, interest, entertainment, and appropriate media and content for your blog equals not just one thing—VALUE!—but utilizing blogging and SEO and social networking in unison equals success and reaching your audience if done right. They really all go hand-in-hand.

Here are two invaluable tips for providing incredible value through your blog:

  • Stand out from the crowd and find your voice. Internet Marketer Jack Humphrey pins the tail on the donkey, “Your competition is colorful, like Facebook and Angry Birds.”
  • Create an editorial schedule for your blog. Perform thorough market research and build a calendar of content that will mix things up, while still offering your readers solutions to problems and resourceful information. Using keyword research as a basis for your blogs’ social marketing plan can also be quite useful.

Social Networking

Where else should you be promoting? A social marketing plan encompasses many things: social platforms, social media, social networking, social bookmarking. They intertwine in all kinds of ways, but for the confused:

Social platforms are the ‘where’; they can be social networking or social media sites, but social media the content—the ‘what’—that is passed along through social networking or social bookmarking. For an effective online social marketing plan, you’re going to determine the ‘who’, ‘why’, and ‘when’ based on your target audience and where they are networking, bookmarking, sharing, and communicating.

Social Marketing Plan for Business

There are tons of narrowly niche social websites, and finding the right platforms for your business will take some effort in completion because it’s not going to happen over-night. For some extra help, here is a great list of niche social media sites.

And to get your feet planted in the right spots, here are some more bits of advice the pros have shared:

  • “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”

- Erin Bury

  • “If content is king, then conversion is queen.”

- John Munsell

  • “Today people don’t trust companies. One of the things marketers want to do is to humanize their brand. What better way to do it than put a live person in front of them.”

Jackie Huba

  • “Social media can be an enabler and an accelerator of existing core capabilities, values, attributes and plans. It can even be a catalyst for change. But it can’t magically create what doesn’t exist.”

Denise Zimmerman

Photo credit to JD Hancock.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Explained: The Social Media Dictionary [For Dummies]

January 31, 2012
Social Media Explained

Are you new here? This will help!

Social Media Explained: The Social Media Dictionary

Social Media explained by Wikipedia:

Social media includes web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue.  … Social media is media for social interaction as a superset beyond social communication. Enabled by ubiquitously accessible and scalable communication techniques, social media has substantially changed the way organizations, communities, and individuals communicate.”

However—having social media explained in one mere definition isn’t going to do you too much good if you’re a business owner trying to have social media explained explicitly to promote and progress your company.

The web of today’s world is one that is ever-changing and evolving—and at a swift rate! Social media is one big buzz word that nearly everybody has at least heard of, whether in business while reading a white paper, or in your personal life, when your kids are constantly checking their Facebook or sending tweets while at the dinner table. Maybe you don’t even know what a tweet is! But this is why we have brought your blessing—Social Media Explained: The Social Media Marketing Dictionary.

We’re going to equip you with all the knowledge, tools, skills, terms, and explanations that will get you started in using Social Media Marketing for your business on the right foot if you are a novice to this crazy world of sharing, blogging, liking, tweeting, linking, and +1-ing!

Social media explained through these lenses will give you as a small business owner a quick, clear, and concise look at what is most important in social media. We want to start you on the right pace for this speedily evolving world of social soirée.

Social Media Explained: The Social Media Marketing Dictionary

A

Authenticity (n): The quality of being authentic; appearing genuinely engaged with and interested in the wants and needs of and the interactions between your audiences.

 

B

Bookmarking (v): See Social Bookmarking.

 

C

Circles (n): Categorized groups of friends on Google+.

 

D

Delicious (n): A major online social bookmarking website.

 

E

E-book (n): An electronic version of a book in PDF format.

 

F

Friends (n): Not necessarily your best pals, but people who you connect and share with over social platforms.

 

G

Google+ (n): Google’s social networking site.

 

H

Hangout (n): A Google+ feature that allows users to “hangout,” or video chat together with numerous people at the same time.

Hashtag, or # (n): A tag that accompanies a tweet on Twitter to annotate or summarize.

 

I

Inbound Marketing (n): Consensual marketing strategies like SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Blogging that don’t intrude on the audience, rather, are found by the audience or help inform the audience.

 

J

Joomla (n): A popular Content Management System (CMS), which is a platform that allows users to build websites and other web applications.

 

K

Klout (n): A website that allows you to connect to all of your social platforms and measure your influence.

 

L

Like (n): An action made by Facebook users to approve of or agree with a statement, rather than leaving a comment on the picture, status, comment, invite, page, etc.

 

M

Mashup (n): A new piece of media created from several other combined sources.

 

 

N

News Feed (n): A feed on a social platform that shows updates or a timeline of things happening on the site.

 

O

Observe (v): To participate wholly in social media marketing by scoping your competition and also listening to customers wants and needs.

 

P

Page Rank (adj): Authority given to a website from Google.

 

Q

Quality (adj): To provide content worth sharing.

 

R

Retweet, or RT (v): When a user literally re-tweets another users’ tweet.

 

S

Social Bookmarking (v): A way to organize, share, and bookmark favorite web pages so you can retrieve them later from another computer. Social Bookmarking takes place on Social Bookmarking Sites like Delicious or Reddit.

Social Media (n): The content or media that is shared on social platforms.

Social Networking (v): Participating on social platforms.

 

T

Tweet (n): Updates made on Twitter, which are short 140-character posts.

 

U

URL (n): The address of a website.

 

V

Viral (adj): To become popular very quickly.

 

W

Web 2.0 (n): The second generation of the web, which has a focus on sharing and social media.

 

Y

Yelp (n): A social networking and local searching website that allows users to interact with and review local businesses.

 

Z

Zing (n): What you need to spice up your Social Media and just have fun!

Local & Small Business, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing

4 Secrets to Highly Effective Restaurant Marketing Strategies

January 27, 2012
Restaurant Marketing Strategies

As a restaurant owner, your main objective in creating restaurant marketing strategies and spending advertising dollars is to simply bring in new customers, and create loyal patrons who will make their way to your dining room time after time, however frequent–but as the saying goes–the more the merrier!

What Restaurant Marketing Strategies Should You Focus On?

Restaurants must largely focus on branding by personally appealing to their guests with clear branding that creates a comfortable and enjoyable environment for the customer. In the restaurant industry, your customers must leave satisfied with a positive experience, and traditionally, there have been quite a few ways a restaurant can appeal to their crowd—from pleasant staffing to the ambiance to, of course, the menu. It’s all about the experience.

As a restaurant owner though, you’ve probably already considered the impact Social Media can have on your business, and you’ve probably made some steps to getting started on using Social Media as a major tactic for marketing your restaurant, like setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account. Social platforms are the stepping stones for creating incredible brand images as well as directly interacting with customers and receiving valuable insight or feedback. Every industry is different, but restaurants have a unique opportunity to reel in Social Media success from how they decide to interact on social media platforms. Hands down, using social media can be one of the most effective restaurant marketing strategies–but only when done correctly.

The greatest restaurant marketing strategies and methods you should be leveraging to your advantage over social media networks and channels are the use of contests and other similar promotions. Contests are a sure-fire way to bring traffic in through your doors in an immediate manner. With the amount of advertisement that has been thrown at consumers and customers, the lengths needed to capture your audience must go beyond the typical. Offering contests and promotions will increase awareness and publicity for your business and put your brand image in a spectacular and modern light. People want to get involved with your business, and you should want to get involved with them in new and innovative ways that don’t just benefit you, but reward them for their patronage.

4 Kick-Starters for Restaurant Marketing Strategies Success

If your restaurant isn’t seeing any substantial results from your social media marketing efforts, consider implementing any (or all!) of these ideas for restaurants marketing strategies that successfully reach out to customers with contest and will align your social media and social branding in ways that will satisfy and perhaps exceed your customers’ expectations.

  1. Promote within your restaurant. There are numerous ways, from promotions, contents, sweepstakes, and giveaways—to entice your guests to participate on your Social Media while they’re visiting your restaurant. Promoting within your restaurant makes customers aware of your promotions immediately and makes them much more likely to engage in the promotion, and also, visit your Social Media profiles later. This immediate awareness is a great thing to use to your advantage as a restaurant, and promoting the existence of your social media will bring a great deal of awareness to it while placing you in a modern, with-the-times brand position. Just be sure you are complying with Facebook’s rules and terms and conditions for promoting. You can no longer promote or enter a contest by posting on the Facebook wall or through the liking of a post or page. You can still however have people formally enter the contest, say, by signing and filling out a form while they are at the table or paying their bill.
  2. Offer Groupon deals to your customers. This particular tactic is only successful with an added touch of creativity. Some restaurants have had a great deal of success and foot traffic from organizing and creating deals that appeal, while others have simply been less successful because of their lack of thinking outside of the box. Offer a Groupon deal that is unique and that will not cause you to lose out on money by offering too sharp of a discount. Good ideas that would draw a crowd and attract new attention would be to hold a VIP part night, host a special brunch, or even host a class for baking a certain dish or ongoing classes for all types of dishes. Creativity is key in creating deals that actually entice people to join in on the fun.
  3. Personalize. A great idea for creating incredible foot traffic is to offer a special discount or promotions that apply to specific people, like offering 50% off discounts or complimentary items for customers who apply to the promotion. One criterion you could offer is picking a daily name and posting it to Social Media platforms. Customers with the name of that day are applicable to the promotions, but chances are customers will come in with other non-qualifying customers.
  4. Value customer check-ins. The advent of Foursquare and other similar social mobile platforms have changed the way people can share with their friends and family how and where they are having dining experiences. Another neat social platform is Scvngr, which is much like Foursquare, and allows restaurant owners to set up challenges or games for customers who check-in. If you don’t have a location based network set up for your restaurant already, you’re falling behind because many of your competitors are already employing them. But because they work! There are a number of great incentives you can offer your customers, and by setting up a network, you’re able to track the number of customers who check-in to your restaurant. One super idea is to even set up a contest that rewards the most frequently visiting customer.

Just like simply setting up Social Media profiles is not enough for Social Media Marketing success, simply setting up amazing, unique contests will do you no justice. You must promote your restaurant marketing strategies and contests everywhere possible on the net, and most definitely promote them from within your restaurant for viral success.

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