Marketing in all its different forms is all about telling a story. Whether you are telling your potential clients and customers about yourself and what you have to offer or you are creating the story right then in the present, all your marketing elements should work together to inform your audience about who you are and what you can do. So what makes social storytelling different?
How Social Storytelling Engages The Audience
The real defining line all comes down to engagement. Remember as you develop the “stories” that drive your social media or your blogging efforts that your audience should be a part of the story that you are trying to tell. Examples of great social storytelling tactics include informing your potential base of success stories that have occurred with existing and former clients and customers. Alterntatively, ask questions and let your audience tell you stories. Not only is this a great way to engage them, but it gives you valuable insight into what your audience is looking for, and what you can do for them.
Learn To Tell Stories On Various Platforms
You already know that the way you market yourself on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter will all be very different. Likewise, the types of stories that you tell, and the way that you tell them, will vary greatly depending on the platform where you’re telling them. Think about ways to tell visual stories as you choose the images you upload to Pinterest. Think of ways to condense stories into bite-sized fragments to tell them on Twitter, and look for ways to enhance audience engagement when you do so on Facebook.
Choose The Right Stories
Part of becoming a great social media storyteller is finding the right tone and choosing the right stories to tell. Think of ways that lessons you’ve learned can benefit your customer base, and spin them into great content. Anecdotes are a great way to increase transparency and to build trust with your audience. Whether a story is humorous, cautionary, or simply informative, it can go a long way toward building the audience relationship you need to boost your online presence.
One of the key things to keep in mind when you’re seeking to utilize social storytelling to develop content for your social media pages or for your website is that you should be a key player in the story that you are telling. Utilize this storytelling to help the audience understand you and your company better.
Additionally, think about social storytelling as a two-way device to encourage your audience to share their thoughts, feelings, and their own stories with you. And above all, remember to have fun with the stories that you tell – if you’re enjoying this aspet of your marketing efforts, then it’s much more likely that your audience will too.
With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time for small businesses to think of special ways to liven up their social media marketing strategy. Of course, there will be a lot of businesses that roll out big deals and special offers to celebrate the season. However, even if a company only has smaller surprises in mind for their customers and clients – or no surprises at all – there are still a number of ways to enjoy the festivities and fun of the season and to boost your own social media profile on sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn.
Promote a Festive Atmosphere
One thing to remember when it comes to marketing tips for the holiday season is to keep things festive and fun. Even if your social media site tends toward the informative for the rest of the year, the holiday season can be a great time to liven up your message and approach while still maintaining your image.
Choosing fun seasonal image, updating your profile image often, and hiring a designer to give your business logo a fun holiday twist are all great ways to add some holiday flair to your social media marketing approach during the holiday season.
Don’t Roll Out Holiday Deals All at Once
It can be tempting to unleash all your holiday promotions and deals all at once, especially when you are excited about what you have to offer. However, it can be wise to hold back. Just as part of the fun leading up to Christmas is the anticipation of the event, with presents waiting wrapped under the tree and advent calendars waiting to be opened day by day, unrolling great deals and offers in the days leading up to Christmas can be a fun treat for your followers. Additionally, having a regular schedule of promotions rolling out will encourage your followers to visit again and again.
Consider Holiday Themed Content and Media
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s likely that you can somehow tie it back to the holiday season. Use your specialised knowledge to offer people tips on having a happier, more festive, and safer holiday season. Whether you offer healthy eating tips for holiday treats, advice on getting proper exercise during all the holiday hustle and bustle, or style tips for holiday parties, your followers will be sure to enjoy the content that you have to offer during the holiday season.
Plan Ahead and Give Yourself Time Off
Everybody deserves a break, especially during the holidays. However, that doesn’t mean you want your social media pages running on empty. Remember to plan and prepare content, posts, images, and quizzes well in advance to update periodically to your social media accounts. This can ensure your social media continues to work for you, even when you’re enjoying the holiday festivities with your family and friends.
When it comes to social media, many marketers tend to focus their attention on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. While it’s no secret that these sites have some of the biggest traffic on the Internet, an increasing number of marketers are realizing the power and potential that is being made available to them through Pinterest.
There are two big reasons that Pinterest is becoming increasingly important to marketers. The first is that Pinterest is relatively simple to use. Pins are simple, easy for users to digest, and can get a marketer’s point across quickly and effectively. Secondly, Pinterest has already proven time and time again to be incredibly effective. Pinterest referral traffic has seen incredible gains, and it has surpassed many other social media sites including Twitter and LinkedIn.
With Pinterest proving its importance – and its effectiveness – now is the time for marketers to start utilizing this site and driving up traffic to their pins. But how can this be accomplished?
Make Your Boards and Pins Easy to Find
Don’t assume that people are going to be searching for your boards and pins by your company name. One simple but effective way to ensure that Pinterest users are able to find your boards and pins is to include descriptive terms in your profile name. Likewise, when choosing the names for your boards, think of keywords that users might be searching for. Remember that the closer a keyword is to the beginning of a board name, the faster it will show up in user searches for boards. This is a simple but effective way to ensure that traffic is being directed your way.
Additionally, be sure that you are doing the same with your pins. Remember that you can perform searches yourself to see which keywords pop up most frequently during searches. This can help you choose keywords that will optmize traffic toward your pins and give you the traffic you need to make marketing on Pinterest as successful as possible.
Stay Active On Your Pinterest Account
It’s true of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so not surprisingly it’s true of Pinterest as well. Remaining active on your account by pinning frequently, creating new boards, and by re-pinning older pins when relevant will ensure continued success while using Pinterest. Active participation is key in optimizing your success in Pinterest, whether it’s simply ensuring that you have a constant stream of new information hitting your boards or participating in the Pinterest Group Boards.
Pinterest is still relatively new in the social media marketing game. However, it has proven itself to be a strong contender already. As the site begins to implement new features, its ability to help in one’s marketing efforts will likely continue to grow. Those who build their boards now are already one step ahead as Pinterest races to become one of the top social media sites on the Internet.
Using social networks to connect is crucial to the modern day business. Virtually everybody on the marketing scene knows how important having an account on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be when it comes to attracting to and connecting with new fans and followers.
However, it can also be a boon to businesses to think outside of the box and consider connecting through specialised social networking sites. Almost every hobby or industry has its own social networking site, from those involved with the fine arts to those involved in engineering. Social networking sites oriented toward these professions are much smaller, more intimate and, more importantly for marketers, come with the guarantee that most – if not all – of those connecting through the site are interested in the product or service a business or individual is providing.
Finding & Choosing A Specialised Social Networking Site
Finding a social networking site dedicated to a particular area of interest is as simple as performing quality research on Google. Once the site itself has been found, it’s time to do a little research to determine whether or not that site is a good fit for your marketing needs. If possible, determine how many people have accounts on the site. Then, do a little digging to determine how many of those individuals are active users. Finally, be sure that the site is up-to-date and that is hasn’t diminished in popularity. It is best to choose an up-and-coming social networking site rather than one that has already seen its glory days.
Become An Active User
One thing to remember when connecting to potential fans and followers through a specialised social networking site is that your regular marketing tactics might not work. Usually you are speaking to other individuals within an industry who might have more experience than the average computer user. Because of this, it is important to think about what you can offer than even those within the same industry cannot.
Share content that can help others within the industry. Interact with others by offering helpful advice, tips, and tricks when needed. Collaborate, and use the insight of others on the site to generate new ideas and to get a better idea of where the industry is headed.
Also remember that the networking you do on a specialised social media site can be good for generating ideas and content for your other social media sites. It is likely that being on a specialised, niche social networking site will help you gain access to valuable feedback on your content and your marketing approach, which can be applicable to your entire Internet marketing strategy.
You’ve likely put a lot of thought into the company social media accounts, blogs, and other content sharing mediums. However, have you ever thought about what your employees are doing – and what they could be doing? An increasing number of businesses are doing just that, and for many there have been some big benefits.
There are many reasons to encourage employees to get connected and to engage in the marketing process. One of the biggest is the fact that there is power in numbers, and you are more likely to reach a wider audience with several social media accounts connected to your brand as opposed to just one. Additionally, knowing that the employees support their brand and are proud to stand behind it can go a long way toward building an audience’s trust. However, there are some things to consider if you do plan to get your employees connected with your marketing strategy.
Consider Your Employees’ Talents – And Use Them
You hired your employees for a reason. They possess a unique set of skills and specialised knowledge. So why not allow them to share their skills and knowledge with your fans? It’s likely that they have a better insight on certain aspects of your company than even you do, and that’s something that can attract a lot of followers. When encouraging your employees to engage in social media, also encourage them to share their insights, skills, knowledge, and talent with their followers.
Build an Employee Network
When your employees go online, help them to build an online network of social media sites and accounts. Additionally, inform them of the importance of sharing information and updates from their fellow employees, as well as content from your company’s main social media account. That can go a long way toward “getting the word out” when it comes to your company and can help encourage audience engagement.
Be Aware of Potential Pitfalls and Know How to Prevent Them
Anytime you put social media in the hands of your employees, you are potentially setting yourself up for marketing pitfalls. This is especially true if your employees are not themselves social media or marketing experts. Combat this by teaching your employees the basics of using social media for marketing purposes and by giving them some basic guidelines for the use of their company account.
Do remember that because they are not official company accounts, your employees should feel free to be more casual with their social media usage. One of the best ways to encourage them to keep up with their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn is to ensure that they are having fun with it.
It can be tempting to engage with every social media platform when you’re looking to connect with customers. After all, social media gives you a way to instantly connect with customers, to provide them with information on your brand, and potentially to develop lasting relationships that lead to dedicated customers. However, before signing up for every social media site on the Internet, you should put on the brakes. It has been proven time and again that it is much better to have only three or four social media sites as a part of your marketing arsenal.
There are a number of reasons for this, primary among them being that by engaging with every site on offer you may be spreading your marketing message too thin. It is better to take the time on the few sites that you are signed up for to utilise quality, thoughtful content. By using only a handful of social media sites, you are also allowing yourself and your marketing staff a better opportunity to become acquainted with the finer details of marketing on those platforms, whether you choose Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or any other social media site at your disposal.
Determine Where Your Audience Is to Choose the Right Social Media Sites
Choosing to limit the amount of marketing you do on social media sites does come with a small price. Fortunately, that price is easily paid with just a little bit of extra attention to where you decide to direct your energies. The temptation is obviously to hit every social media site in order to ensure you reach the broadest number of consumers possible. However, it is better to take a targeted approach – therefore, it is a good idea to determine where your target audience spends most of their time online.
Each social media site has its own target demographic. While Google+ and LinkedIn have largely attracted a professional audience, social media sites such as Pinterest tend to attract those with a love for fashion, culture, fine dining, and other hobbies. Understanding who your audience is can help guide you toward choosing the social media site, or sites, that will work best for your needs.
Connect Your Social Media Sites to Build a Social Network
One of the great benefits of choosing just a few social media sites for your marketing needs is it makes it easier to connect them. Connecting your various social media accounts can offer you a lot of benefits, the biggest among them being that you are able to attract your audience from one site to another, which can help to build up your online network.
Many social media sites have built-in functions that allow you to connect them, such as Facebook and Twitter or Google+ and YouTube. Others may take a little bit of experimentation in order to connect. However, doing so may be one of the best things that you can do to ensure that your audience is waiting and ready for your message.
Social media is a powerful tool in any business’s social media strategy. It offers many benefits, foremost among them being the ability to connect directly to potential consumers and to build a relationship with them. Social media also offers businesses and social media gurus the ability to see feedback on their goods and services in real-time – something that is changing the way businesses think about marketing and driving home the need for adaptability in an ever-changing marketplace. However, with those many advantages come the potential for some big errors. Navigating the social media landscape can be risky if the person managing a Facebook or Twitter treats it too much like their personal account – or if they don’t take into account that a little bit of personality and relationship-building is not only acceptable, but encouraged with this type of marketing.
Responding Properly To Social Media Messages
One of the big benefits of a social media account is that it allows the customers of a business to contact the business directly with questions or concerns. Social media extends customer service beyond the experience of selling items and accepting returns.In a face-to-face encounter, customer service can help build a lasting customer relationship or it can drive a customer away from a business for good.
Before the advent of social media, customers would tell their friends and family about their customer service experience, potentially driving business away. That experience is amplified in the social media age. A negative comment to a customer, an argumentative reply, or a negative response to criticism can result in a problematic public image for that business, especially if the story gets shared on other social media sites. Therefore, it can be tempting to ignore those social media messages – however, that too can have a negative effect.
When these kinds of messages roll in, it is important to respond positively and helpfully. Offer to mediate or investigate a situation, and ensure that the customer feels that their concerns have been addressed. Not only can this respond save that particular customer’s business, but it can have a positive effect on those that see the message as well.
Find The Right Tone
The small snippets and sound bites that the average person leaves on their Twitter or Facebook is a pretty good indicator of their personality. Those outside a person’s circle may have nothing to go on besides these short snippets and updates when determining a person’s personality. Likewise, a business should think about the type of personality they are expressing when they use social media accounts. Being austere and overly professional may not have the right effect, just as being too friendly or casual can cause you to lose some credibility.
Think about the persona you want to come across, and consider how that persona benefits your business. When you’re building a relationship with the customer, the right tone can play a big part.
People talk a lot these days about how social media marketing is, rather than being directly about promotion, more about building long-term relationships with your customers and generating new leads. That’s absolutely true, but your ultimate goal is, in fact, to sell. So how can you make sure that your social media strategy is working, and that you are converting your followers and fans into paying customers? There are ways to make sure that you are posting updates that do what you really want them to do – bring in sales – without jeopardizing your long-term social media marketing goals.
Have A Call To Action
When your customers visit your social network pages, they generally want to learn something or do something. They may be seeking information about your company, trying to find out about your products or services, or looking for special deals or promotions. They may be hoping to find tips and how-to information. Use your status updates to make sure they get what they want. When they get what they want, you get what you want: sales. “Click here for exclusive coupon,” or “Enter here to win a free…” are examples of ways to get them engaged and taking action.
Remember, though, that most of your content should be relevant, valuable information, not promotion. Keep directly promotional content to a minimum – many experts recommend no more than ten percent of your social media content.
You have a limited amount of time to get your message across on a social media platform because of the ticker-tape style of the pages. You want to compel readers to act, and quickly. “Own it first,” “Special price this week,” and “For a limited time,” can have the desired effect. You can also give your readers incentives for acting immediately. For example, shipping fees could be waived for people who order today, or by Friday. Or, offer a 10 percent off deal for the first ten people to share your post.
Offer Exclusive Deals For Followers
Another way to offer special deals to your social media followers is by making sure they know the deal is only for them. “Facebook Exclusive Deals” or “Special Promotions Only For Pinterest Followers” get their attention and encourage loyalty and continued interest.
Keep Your Profiles Current. Always.
At a minimum, go through all of your company’s social media profiles several times a year to make sure that all of the information contained there is current and accurate. Customers will be looking for information about your company and it goes without saying the kind of impression you will give them if they find invalid information on one of your pages. Also stay on top of rule and format changes on the social media platform itself. For example, this year, Facebook began allowing calls to action on cover photos – are you taking advantage of this yet?
Remember, you can use social media to give your customers what they want, which is the best way to get what you want. Use these simple strategies to connect with them, connect with potential new leads, and convert them into happy – and paying – customers.
If you are using LinkedIn, you probably realise that it comes with multiple opportunities for marketing and networking, but you may be unclear on how best to take advantage of what it has to offer. Whether you are a small business owner or yours is a large corporate business, there are certain strategies you can use to develop a LinkedIn marketing plan and maximise your long-term success.
Understand that using LinkedIn effectively, like other social networks, requires a long-term commitment to your marketing plan. An effective strategy will require consistent managing, monitoring, analyzing, and adjusting. Assess your needs and your resources ahead of time and determine what you can commit to, and then try the following tips for integrating LinkedIn into your comprehensive marketing program.
Build A Strong Company Page
You will need to build a LinkedIn company page to establish a business presence and use the extra features that increase your visibility. Basically, think of this as an extension of your website, using it to display graphics, content, products and services, and even job openings. Invite people such as employees, clients, customers, and vendors to follow your page. An effective way to grow your following is to keep your LinkedIn page filled with relevant and interesting status updates. Remember that you can target your members with specific updates relevant to them.
Launch a LinkedIn Group
LinkedIn groups are another part of a complete strategy for positioning yourself or your business as an industry thought leader. Focus on gaining members with common goals, and manage your group consistently. This task could be assigned to someone who will ask great questions, preapprove discussion posts, and decide which members are accepted into the group. When you launch your group, you will want to get the word out. Let employees, clients, customers, and other influencers in your field know about the group. Use the group messaging feature, which allows you to message you members each week with promotions, campaigns, or other relevant messages that go directly to their email inboxes.
Specific employees will need to implement and maintain your LinkedIn strategy, but everyone should be on the same page. When everyone is involved in your LinkedIn initiative, an extended network is created that strengthens your company’s presence. Provide training on how to represent your company and how to use LinkedIn. For motivation, teach team members the advantages of LinkedIn in expanding their own professional networks.
Monitoring And Tracking
You will need to know what your business goals are when you start using LinkedIn. Your success using LinkedIn will be measured by whether you accomplish these goals. Appropriate goals for using LinkedIn include enhancing your company’s position as an authority in your field, increasing brand awareness, and lead generation. You should also define specific metrics by which to measure your success that align with your company’s goals. LinkedIn can grow your company’s reach and generate new business when used properly.
As you know by now, social media is an important part of your marketing strategy. Unfortunately, too many business owners make mistakes that cost them potential customers and, in some cases, their reputations. For a successful marketing campaign, avoid making the following blunders.
1. Ignoring Social Media Altogether
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that social media is silly or unimportant. The payoff of social media marketing can be huge. Its benefits include brand recognition, word of mouth marketing, reputation management, and improved relationships with your customers (which means more information about your customers).
2. Talking About Yourself Constantly
In business relationships, just as in personal ones, talking about yourself all the time never works. Think of social media as a conversation, not a selling tool. Social media affords you the opportunity to engage your customers, listen to them, and help them out by posting relevant content. A little promotion is one thing – especially when you have a notable event going on, like a contest – but this isn’t the place for nonstop advertisements, and they won’t be well-received.
3. Talking About Stuff You Shouldn’t Talk About At All
Keeping your posts personable is a good idea – how your day went, what you’re up to, what’s new with your business – but don’t confuse personable with personal. For example, you should never say anything negative about customers, no matter how difficult the woman you dealt with the day before was. Never complain about them or about interactions you had with them, and never mention anything that’s overly personal.
4. Trying To Maintain A Presence On Every Platform
The more websites you are active on, the more time and money they require. A poll on your website is one tool that can help you discern which social networks are most used by your customers; then you can start there. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all good starting points. Pinterest is gaining on them, too, and provides unique marketing opportunities. Choose one or two that align with your goals as a business and focus on them.
5. Expecting It To Be Free
Simply having a Facebook page is not social media marketing. A successful marketing strategy involves engagement and dialogue and humanising your brand; it also involves planning and dedicated resources. “If you’re gonna go, go all out” is particularly applicable to social media marketing. Understand what your goals are, how you will accomplish them, and who will be in charge of the project. By the way, this is where some younger talent on staff can really benefit your business. Older employees can certainly have great computer skills, but the younger ones were practically born understanding social media. Take advantage of their knowledge.