Articles written in June, 2012

June 28 2012

Take Your Social Media Relationships to the Next Level

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There comes a time in every relationship when you have to ask yourself the defining question: “Where is this going?” The same is true when you’re trying to turn Facebook “Likes,” LinkedIn “Connections” and Twitter “Follows” into concrete sales. While you already know the user “Likes” you, what you really want to know is if they’re going to buy what you’re selling. Here are four ways to turn Social Media connections into real-life customers … without getting stuck in the dreaded “Friend” zone.

Brand Your Platforms
Whether you’re on one Social Media platform or eight, it’s important to utilize the opportunity to brand every company profile page with your own signature look/feel. On Facebook, you can upload your company logo as the profile picture or design a custom banner advertising your company’s services for the cover photo. If you’re on Twitter, you can take things a step further and design a “skin” that will then become the background of your Twitter page. While customization options are limited to the functionality capabilities of each Social Media platform, there are still many great ways you can set your page apart from the competition, and point potential customers to your brand.

Balance Self-Promotion with Audience Relevancy

If you’re using Social Media as a marketing tool, you already know the advantages it carries for self-promotion. But if you’re hitting current or potential customers with promotion after promotion, it’s going to come across loud and clear that you have an agenda—and it’s not the same as theirs. Be selective with what you share and make sure it’s relevant to the end-user. “Pin” a great recipe on Pinterest for a party dip, and include your company’s salsa as the main ingredient. Host a “Hangout” on Google+ where you show viewers “How to Make 10 Different Outfits From the Same Five Core Pieces,” all sold at your clothing boutique. The key is to use Social Media as a way to engage with the end-user, not to send them content that’s the equivalent of a print mail piece addressed to “Current Resident.” Get to know them and, in turn, they’ll want to know more about you—and the services your company can provide.

Don’t Stand Them Up
Once you have a captivated audience, pat yourself on the back, but don’t leave them hanging. If you do, they’ll just leave—period. If you suddenly stop posting Tweets on your stock broking company’s Twitter page and potential customers were following you for investment insights, they’ll bring their business elsewhere when they decide to buy. Social Media engagement isn’t a destination, it’s an ongoing activity. So once you achieve your Social Media goal of hitting a certain amount of viewers on your YouTube channel or “Likes” for your Facebook page, don’t rush out to buy a bottle of bubbly (unless you’re going to share). You’ve still got work to do.

Include a Call to Action
Although you don’t want to include “Call Us Today” verbiage in all your posts, you do want to display contact information prominently on your Social Media pages. If I’m watching a video on your yoga studio’s YouTube channel about how to properly execute that tricky “Crow” move and I decide I want to try it out at your studio next Saturday, I’m going to look around that page for contact information. If I can’t find any, I’m probably going to lose interest and move on. And while I may go on to become the best Crow I can be, you just lost a sale that you had in the bag. For maximum ROI, use your Social Media pages to get their attention, keep it and then direct them to the right place to seal the deal.

June 22 2012

4 Steps for Promoting Posts in Facebook

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Facebook Promoted Posts are now available with all company’s Facebook Pages.  Promoted Posts are a marketing tool that can target more of your fan audience.  Users that have liked your Facebook Page will not always see your status updates in their newsfeed.  Facebook uses a scoring system, called Edge Rank, which evaluates the activity, time, and weight of each post.   This score determines the percentage of your friends who are potentially exposed to your content.  The Promoted posts offer an opportunity to bypass this scoring system, by paying a nominal fee to increase the percentage of fans seeing each individual post.   Below are the steps to successfully create a Promoted Post.

Step 1: Use a Post with engaging content. You may want to promote posts for contest announcements, really engaging updates, posts that include photos or videos,  and any post content that already attracts activity on your Faceboook Page like consumer polls, quizzes, or questions.

Step 2: Post the status update. You will be able to promote a status update post for up to three days after posting it.  Facebook deems a post older than three days no longer relevant so, it will only offer to promote any one post for up to three days.  This three day window can give you time to evaluate post relevancy.  You can use the quick stats, available at the bottom of each post, to track activity.  You may elect to pay to promote and expand it’s reach due to the posts popularity.

Step 3: Select the amount to spend. You can promote a post by clicking the arrow next on the lower right of the post container.   There are two options, setting a budget of $5.00 to $10.00 per post, depending on the estimated reach you want to target over the duration of three days.

Step 4: Monitor promotions, pause in-active campaigns. Once you select “save”, you will be able to pause your campaign from the same drop down box.  You will also see a status board with your promotional end date and the amount of fans reached with your selected budget.  This feature will allow you to stop a promotion before the entire budget is used, if you determine the activity has expired on that post.

Using these steps, you can successfully promote important updates to your company’s Facebook Page.  This is an important tool to leverage, since the target audience has already indicated their interest in your business.  Overall success with this tool will be a combination of creating engaging posts and monitoring activity once promoted.  You may consider an advertising strategy using Facebook’s sponsored stories to build a larger fan base first.   The same recommendations for creating content and monitoring will apply to those as well.

June 11 2012

Bye, Bye Birdie –Twitter Announces New Logo

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This week, Twitter announced a new, sleeker version of their iconic blue bird logo.  Why the sudden re-branding? According to Twitter’s official blog, the new bird is a representation of the social network itself. Twitter’s Creative Director, Doug Bowman, explains, “This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles — similar to how your networks, interests and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.”

The video below shows just how those circles come together for the new, geometrically superior, Twitter logo.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/Fh20pdCrCAU

Putting aside the excitement and whimsy, Twitter’s logo update is also serious business. Along with the new look and feel comes a bevy of usage guidelines and restrictions. Moving forward, anyone wishing to align themselves, or their business, with the social network is to use the new logo and only the new logo.  Bowman’s somewhat bizarre statement that “Twitter is the bird and the bird is Twitter” is further reflected in the usage guidelines.  In addition to replacing the small “t” and any previous versions of the Twitter bird, Twitter outlines a few other potential “No –No’s” on their Trademark and Policy page. The most humorous of which is not adding a speech bubble to the logo.  Usage limitations also include alteration of color, animation or direction in which the bird faces.

So what does this mean for your business? It is time to update your Twitter logo on all marketing materials. Fortunately, Twitter makes this very easy by providing downloadable images, html coding for social buttons and much more. Simply visit
https://twitter.com/about/logos, retrieve your favorite logo variation and make the switch.

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