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The Biggest Content Marketing Trends in 2017

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

I’ve spent the last 12-plus months talking with enterprise marketers from around the globe to get a handle on where the content marketing industry is going. Through that process, in combination with our ongoing research, the CMI team puts together the schedule for Content Marketing World 2016.

Here are what I believe are some of the biggest issues enterprise marketers are dealing with, as well as some thought leaders who are covering this topic at #CMWorld (hint, hint).

Note: These are not in any particular order. They are all important, depending on where you are in your content marketing maturity.

One thing is for sure: Content creation and distribution in the enterprise, outside of the content about our products and services, have become both more important and more integrated over the past year.

Creation of a real content marketing strategy

In almost every keynote speech I give, I ask the audience members whether their organizations have a documented content marketing strategy. Sadly, most do not. Our research tells us that those organizations that do have one, and that review it consistently, are more likely to be successful. Even though you (the expert reading this) might think this is basic, it’s not. We are still too focused on campaigns and talking about our products, instead of truly driving value outside the products and services we offer.

In answer to this, Content Marketing World offers a specific workshop solely on how to create a documented content marketing strategy. To get started now, this essential e-book on creating a strategy will get you pointed in the right direction.

Native advertising

If you are a regular listener of the PNR: This Old Marketing podcast, you know that Robert Rose and I cover native advertising just about every week. I’ve often called native advertising the “gateway drug” to content marketing (in a good way). We are starting to see a number of enterprises experiment, and succeed, with paid, native promotion of their content.

Why is this so important? Five years ago, enterprises were spending 80% on content creation and 20% on content promotion. I believe this ratio has switched, with successful enterprises creating differentiated content and putting some advertising and promotion muscle behind it.

This is the first year that we are offering a dedicated track on native advertising at Content Marketing World. In addition, we have a panel on native with some of the leading experts in the world on the subject.

If you are unsure of native and how it can help your organization, check out this post.

Native advertising is the “gateway drug” to #contentmarketing (in a good way) says @joepulizzi. #cmworldCLICK TO TWEET

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has always been a “thing,” but in the last six months … wow … this topic has vaulted into the top five. It seems that every enterprise has some kind of content and influencer strategy, but few organizations execute a real strategy that makes sense.

The CMI team did an amazing job on the influencer marketing checklist (totally worth the download). For Content Marketing World, we have quite a few sessions on influencer marketing, including Bryan Kramer on how to create and manage an influencer marketing program.

Purpose-driven marketing

What’s your why? Why do you create your content? Does it have a real impact on your customers and prospects? Is there a deeper purpose behind what you do, instead of just creating content as part of your sales and marketing machine?

We have a number of sessions on finding your purpose at CMWorld this year, but we specifically recruited comedian Michael Jr. to talk about “why versus what.” If you haven’t had a chance to see this video on finding your why, here’s a sneak peek.

Video and visual

It doesn’t take “Chewbacca Mom” to show us how big and important using video and having a visual storytelling strategy are. But, most brands are still hanging their video strategy on the viral video, instead of building a process and organization around the ongoing delivery of valuable information through video.

We have a CMWorld track dedicated to visual content, including this excellent session on building a visual content marketing program that scales. In addition, we have the video architects behind the very successful visual/video programs at Marriott, Jyske Bank, and Foodable.TV.

Snapchat

I have to be honest. I don’t get Snapchat, but enough of my smart colleagues have said it is here to stay. Since Snapchat has surpassed Facebook in total video views, it’s about time we started to take notice at Content Marketing World.

Anyway, I broke down and asked Carlos Gil who heads social at BMC Software to teach us about Snapchat and the opportunities for business.

Facebook

Well, most of us built our social houses on rented Facebook land, and now what do we have to show for it? Not much actually. But there is a better way, especially when it comes to promoting your content assets on this powerhouse of a channel.

Although we have a number of sessions that discuss Facebook, I’m curious about the benefits of leveraging Facebook as a way to drive your content for lead generation. Brian Carter is putting on both a workshop and a session that will help you use Facebook as a demand-generation tool.

Teams and workflow

I’ve seen so many examples of well-meaning content marketing programs die because of improper workflow and hiring inadequate people to make real content experiences.

Among other sessions, Amanda Todorovich, Content Marketer of the Year finalist, is putting on a session dedicated to how her team built Cleveland Clinic’s content hub.

Content strategy (pipes and process)

My take on both content strategy and intelligent content is that these core areas are about the pipes that the content moves through. Great content is one thing, but if you don’t build in a strategy that makes sense for a user experience or leverages technology in the right way, we are all doomed.

When I think of content strategy, I think of people like Kristina Halvorson, Lisa Welchman, and, of course, Ann Rockley on the intelligent content side. We doubled down this year on sessions about setting up your content marketing process for success. To work properly over time, we need our processes to scale and be personalized. Most enterprises aren’t set up to do this outside of campaigns.

#Contentstrategy & #intelcontent are the pipes that the content moves through says @joepulizzi. #cmworldCLICK TO TWEET

Mobile

Pokémon Go anyone? How many times have you heard that INSERT YEAR HERE is the year of mobile? Well, with all audiences with at least one untethered device, that year may be now. To put it simply, if your content isn’t easily digested on a mobile device, you have significant problems.

My good friend Jeff Rohrs, CMO at Yext, is putting on a mobile moments panel at CMWorld to look at the opportunities we might be missing, while we also added a new session this year on content design and the mobile device. We considered having a separate mobile track this year, but so many sessions integrate mobile — it’s the natural transformation where mobile is a priority with most of the digital content we develop.

Content technology

Disclaimer: Before you choose any technology for your content marketing, be sure to have a sound strategy first. OK, had to say it.

Before you choose technology for your #contentmarketing, have a sound strategy first says @joepulizzi #cmworldCLICK TO TWEETWith that out of the way, it only takes one look at Scott Brinker’s mammoth marketing technology infographic to make any marketer hesitant of what technology to choose. So yes, we have a full track dedicated to technology and tools (and another 12 sessions just on different content technologies), but I’m intrigued with Paul Roetzer’s session on machine learning. This is not just a futuristic look at content anymore, artificial intelligence and machine learning are here right now, and we need to start paying attention.

marketing_technology_landscape_2016

Click to enlarge

Writing

Writing still counts, perhaps more than ever. More than not, marketers are abuzz about social media and video without comprehending that most of our communication is still text- and story-based. And frankly, most marketers are really bad at writing. From finding freelancers to becoming a better digital writer, we have more sessions dedicated to writing than ever (yes, even in this age of social media). And, of course, Ann Handley.

Integration with sales

I had a great conversation with Marcus Sheridan a few years back. While he loved our programming at Content Marketing World 2014, he made me aware of a very sad truth: Most organizations are dominated by sales, and if we don’t start integrating salespeople into Content Marketing World, marketers are going to get back to their offices and hit brick walls.

Marcus, as usual, was 100% correct, and Content Marketing World is evolving into a marketing AND sales conference. To prove that, we’ve added a full track dedicated to sales and sales integration this year, as well a workshop on how top-performing companies are integrating their sales and content led by Marcus and best-selling author of Same Side Selling, Ian Altman.

ROI and measurement

I don’t think this one needs explaining. The No. 1 question, every year, is “How do I show the success of my content marketing program?” At CMWorld this year we have more than 10 sessions dedicated to driving ROI, performance, and sales with content. In the meantime, if you haven’t checked out this post by Michael Brenner on the secrets of content marketing ROI, please make the time.

Email and marketing automation

I’ve learned a couple things about email recently. First, email is far from dead, and may be more important than ever for our content marketing programs. Second, most enterprises (99% of them) send spam disguised as content every day to our key stakeholders.

And then, as many B2B enterprises have done, they move from just email into marketing automation. I talked to a senior strategist recently who believes that marketers use about 10% of the functionality behind marketing automation (10% is on the high side). Simply put, most of us are using marketing automation the wrong way.

Here’s a great overview on how marketing automation can help your organization as it relates to your content creation programs.

Most of us are using marketing automation the wrong way says @joepulizzi. #cmworldCLICK TO TWEET

Content distribution and promotion

Again, the trend (rightfully so) seems to be moving from less content to more promotion. This is correct. No longer can we afford to create and execute on content projects without them ever seeing the light of day.

Executive buy-in

We developed the content marketing documentary, The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing, specifically to help marketers like you with executive buy-in. It’s definitely helped, but we need to do more. Content marketing is an approach … a way of doing business if you will … and many executives we work with are still firmly set with the traditional four Ps model.

Global integration

Content Marketing World attracted 40% of the Fortune 100 in 2015. Every one of those organizations operates globally. This means complex processes, scattered teams, communication issues, politics, and varied customer experiences. Simply put, it’s hard.

We’ve added a full global strategy track this year including sessions from the likes of Oracle and Rockwell Automation.

Construction of a media organization

I’m fascinated by the movement of enterprises to becoming media companies. Red Bull Media House was, of course, one of the first to formally create a media company inside its organizations. PepsiCo and Mondelez recently announced their efforts to structure part of their content organizations as profit centers. This is a huge movement that has some momentum behind it.

After Arrow Electronics (Fortune 500 manufacturer) purchased a number of media properties from UBM (parent company of Content Marketing Institute), we decided to reach out to them about their core strategy. Victor Gao, vice president of digital and managing director of Arrow Media Group, will be presenting the company’s strategy on building a media division through acquisition.

What major challenges did I miss? Please let me know in the comments.

Looking forward to seeing you at Content Marketing World in Cleveland in September.

Learn more about the five core elements necessary for running successful, scalable, and highly strategic content marketing operations within an organization. Read our 2016 Content Marketing Framework: 5 Building Blocks for Profitable, Scalable Operations.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe’s two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

10 Top Social Media Marketing Trends To Look Out For In 2017

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

Social networks have been with us for just over a decade but it feels like forever.

When I first signed into Facebook I was amazed by how small the world had become. Friends, acquaintances and old college connections I hadn’t seen in decades and living in faraway places popped up on my screen. Maybe a little older, greyer and with less hair than I remembered.

It was a couple of months later and I joined Twitter. But I noticed the same behaviour. Obsession. This intersection of people and technology was resonating with our tribal curiosity and creativity. Technology was becoming more human.

Then the smart phone was added to the mix.

Social and mobile were the perfect storm. Today we are captivated and captured by both of these technologies. They are impacting how we work, socialize and play.

So what are the social media marketing trends today and how are they playing out for us as entrepreneurs and as passionate and complicated humans?

1: Live streaming video

YouTube was a sensation in 2004. That technology allowed us to record, upload and view but 12 years later the mobile phone has become a broadcasting device that allows you to capture the live moment. Not recorded and sanitized with editing but raw live footage.

Meerkat was one of the first social networks to make live streaming video easy, then Twitter bought Periscope and blocked Twitter’s sharing on Meerkat.

Blab tried hard for a year in 2015 and made some waves but has been switched off.

Now Facebook “Live” is taking on Twitter’s Periscope.

This trend is changing how we share our stories (both business and private), live events and educate. It is another way to engage with your audience.

Buzzfeed recorded a Facebook live stream that attracted millions of views. The topic? How many rubber bands does it take to burst a watermelon?

social media marketing trends

It can also be a new way to build trust and credibility online with authentic unfiltered content.

2. Chatbots are changing our conversations

Chatbots are a conversational agent that is designed to simulate intelligent conversation without a human being present.

In the artificial intelligence era it’s all about embedding human smarts in machines.

Facebook chatbots are one application of this revolution, as they rapidly gain popularity and provide a new tool for marketers to leverage. These chatbots are the incorporation of automatic chatbots within Facebook Messenger.

Chatbots offer flexibility in order to automate tasks, and assist in retrieving data. They are becoming a vital way to enhance the consumer experience for the purpose of better customer service and growing interaction.

In April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg announced that third parties could use the messenger platform to create their own personal chatbot. Since then, the popularity of chatbots has rapidly grown all over the world. Their prime functionality remains the same, and that is to improve real-time engagement.

Customers are always searching for prompt and ready replies to their comments and queries. The chatbots are designed in such a manner that they are able to answer most of the queries placed by customers, without human intervention.

Chotu, one of the leading chatbot technologies, is an AI robot on Facebook messenger that assists in accelerating customer information acquisition through Facebook messages. It provides all the needed information from your messages itself, rather than relying on several different apps working together.

Chotu performs multiple tasks at a single time and offers 24×7 customer service.

social media marketing trends chatbots

These can help in bonding a strong relationship with your customers and potential crowds, without paying for high overheads on staff.

3. Expiring social content

Attracting attention online is a battle between brands with big budgets and savvy marketers with little cash but who know how to hack business growth with technology.

The result? A lot of online noise and clutter. The challenge is standing out and gaining attention. Normal marketing tactics don’t work like they used to.

But Snapchat decided on a different tactic.

Make content expire.

This brought urgency to the content table. Visitors now knew that they had limited time to read or view content before it disappeared.

This included the watching of 10 second videos that are gone after one view and then it extended to Snapchat stories. These only last for 24 hours.

So Instagram saw the future and just “copied” SnapChat Stories and brought its own “Instagram Stories” to its platform.

social media marketing trends

Image source: Instagram

Expiring content is now part of the evolving social media landscape. It’s trending and the spurning of Facebook by Snapchat when they were offered a $3 billion buyout seems to have become personal.

Their message to Snapchat? If we can’t buy you we will beat you. Social media is no longer an experiment or a game. It is big business.

Expiring content is a trend you may need to test and try in your future digital marketing campaigns.

4. Social media consolidation

Any evolving industry moves from a Wild West frontier to a more centralized and concentrated group of players over time. In his book “Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” Tim Wu (a professor at Columbia University) reveals this pattern has been with us since the rise of the telephone in the 1800’s.

Social media is no different.

Facebook bought WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus Rift. Twitter paid for Periscope. And Microsoft just acquired LinkedIn for a lazy $27 billion.

social media marketing trendsImage source: Fortune.com

As big enterprise moves into the social media landscape the rules will continue to change. Control will be exerted and buying a seat at the table will become a high stakes game.

Expect this to continue as smaller social startups struggle to break through the clutter.

The significance for the modern marketer is that it is dangerous to assume that things will remain the same. You will need to watch the changing landscape and keep reinventing your tactics.

5. Organic social traffic gets harder

Earning attention in a digital world was straightforward at first. You earned it by growing Likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter. No need to beg the gatekeepers or pay the newspaper and media moguls.1

But that is changing.

Facebook, Instagram and others are removing chronological timeline updates. They are starting to make you invisible unless you pull out the credit card. Social media is just becoming another paid media.8

This is a simplified algorithm that shows the key factors behind how Facebook determines what they show to you the user. The reason? Too little space and too much content.

facebook-news-feed-edgerank-algorithm-300x171-jpg

Image source: Business2community.com

This will make more businesses go back to digital basics. What does that mean for marketers?

  • Optimizing for search engines so you rank on the first page of Google
  • Building email lists so you can reach your own audience without a Google or Facebook algorithm blocking or filtering your content and updates.
  • Working harder at evolving skills that include growth hacking that is the new “art and science” of marketing.

So don’t put all your marketing eggs in the social media basket. It is time you pursued a multi channel strategy.

6. Automation moves to mainstream1

The splintering of media from TV, radio and analogue to digital multimedia and social has made marketing a complicated and messy endeavour.

Managing that with a pencil, piece of paper, spreadsheet or a room of human worker bees is inefficient and doesn’t scale well.

Apps like Marketo, Hubspot and other marketing automation software platforms are now essential tools for any grownup marketer.

These are becoming smarter, more intuitive and cheaper to buy. If you aren’t using one today or thinking about it then you may find your competition giving you a marketing wakeup call.

Also……it’s costing you money.

marketing-automation-slide-03

Image source: IMCS360.com

7. Personalization becoming a priority

As tools have become smarter and people’s resistance to general advertising grows higher the need for personalized and relevant content and advertising delivery becomes more important.

Facebook re-targeting and adverts driven by identifying where you have been on the web and your interests are becoming the digital advertising tactic of choice for campaigns. It delivers relevant content that converts at a much higher rate.

Digital marketing automation also can provide the data and the tools to send the right content at the right time to the right customer.

Relevance is king for catching a distracted eye and online glance in a noisy world of data clutter.

8. The rise of the social influencer

The social web gave rise to global topic tribes.

Bloggers created content on fashion, food and thousands of other niche passions. They also built loyal followers and advocates on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They constructed credibility and trust built on authentic content.

social media marketing trends

Image source: Twitter

As the noise increases online and reaching your target customer gets harder because of content clutter the influencer and thought leaders who have built reach globally are the new niche gatekeepers.

Brands are now paying to reach their admirers and devotees.

9. Social media transforming business in a trust economy

Making a mistake or receiving a complaint in the past was behind closed doors. A telephone call, a letter or even an email discussion was private and hidden conversation for most.

Stuff up in a world of social networks is like airing your dirty washing in a stadium. It’s visible and sometimes viral.

Uber rates the driver “and” the passenger. Don’t drink too much and abuse the driver. Otherwise you may be walking a bit further in the future.

This visibility has been adopted from social.

So …transparency is the new business paradigm. Some brands just don’t know it yet.

10. Artificial intelligence and the rise of the robots

The rise of the robots has been predicted since we watched HAL in “Space Odyssey 2001” in what was another world in 1968. In the decades since we have seen the emergence of the personal computer, the internet, social networks and the mobile smart phone.

The intersection of these technologies is changing entertainment, business and our lives.

The last 2 are obsessive technologies that have made 7 billion of us publishers. We are now all video creators, selfie photo producers and writers that share by the billions every hour.

The result? A content explosion.

As the data volume has increased exponentially, the scale of the noise means that making sense of it needs artificial intelligence and machines with big powerful processors.

It includes search on Google and Facebook.

social media marketing trends

Image source: Boomtrain.com

Where is this artificial intelligence being used that maybe you don’t even notice on your favorite social media networks?

  • Tagging of friends on Facebook with facial recognition
  • Deep learning technology that is woven into Facebook’s suggestions, Newsfeed algorithms and trending topics
  • LinkedIn uses “AI” to provide better job matching between business and candidate
  • Pinterest uses the intelligence of the robots to boost image recognition and search

And this is just scratching the surface. Expect to see more of these technologies and trends emerge in digital marketing automation tools and beyond.

What are the implications of these emerging trends?

John Maynard Keynes said, “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones6

As marketers and entrepreneurs you will need to let go of practices and tactics that are not effective as they once were. We live in a fast changing world.

You will need to keep reinventing.

5 Big New Social Media Marketing Trends

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

When I find myself eating the exact same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the work weeks I grow frustrated by the repetitiveness of my habits. Luckily, this isn’t the case with social media. In the world of social media marketing things are constantly changing, which is what keeps all of our jobs interesting.

Every week, social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram are releasing new features and improving old ones, and naturally, our habits as marketers need to adjust to stay ahead of our competitors.

As summer’s winding down, it is time to start gaining a competitive edge before the holiday rush, which is why you need to pay attention to these three big social media marketing and advertising trends that are all the rage these days.

#1: Live Video Streaming

As video has taken over our social feeds, live streaming has popped up on the horizon as the hip new hip sidekick to regular video. Whether it be Facebook Live, Periscope, SnapChat, or Instagram, engaging with your audience in real-time through video is becoming essential to your social strategy. Video helps humanize your brand, but live video actually connects an individual to your brand in real-time, which is even more powerful than well-produced recorded content. The other benefit of live video is that the production quality isn’t expected to be high, which eases the production process.

Most recently we’ve seen big brands use live video in a variety of ways, from Marc Jacobs using live video to give a sneak peak of their 2016 fashion line, The Tonight Show providing a behind-the-scenes look backstage before the show, and Madden video games providing behind-the-scenes coverage of players.

But these are HUGE brands. How can you use live video? Live video can be used to build excitement about a new product release, show off your company culture, give live coverage of an event, or even host a live Q&A with your super-fans. The possibilities are endless.

Check out the post below for a live video we made at Wistia of the unboxing of the brand new Canon 5D MarkIV. This is a great use-case of live video as this new video camera is a pretty big deal for a huge chunk of our customers, so the live stream was especially interesting for our audience.

 Wistia Instagram

Still not convinced? Live videos receive 10x more comments than pre-recorded videos, according to the VP of Facebook in Europe, Nicola Mendelsohn.

#2: Social SlideShow Ads

Ahh! More new and exciting forms of interactive visual content. What could be better!?

Social slideshows are popping up in more and more social networks and for good reason! Social slideshows are easy to create and can utilize images, videos, or both. Advertisers can even pay to play for these babies leading to more, even more, exposure and interaction. So whether you’re showing off your new winter ski apparel or displaying videos promoting your upcoming conference, slideshows are a great way to help your social audience interact with your brand in a memorable way.

These ads also work! Take the sock company Stance for instance;comparing their static image ads to slideshow ads, they saw a decrease in cost per acquisition by 48%, a 2.42X increase in click-through-rate, and a 1.48 increase in return on ad spend. Pretty outstanding stuff! Facebook also just made some improvements to their slideshow ads, outlined here.

Facebook Slideshow Ads

#3: Diversifying Landscape of Social Channels

With different forms of content and social interaction, we’re also seeing more channels emerge as important places for marketers and advertisers to build a strong presence. Online social communities, run through platforms like Slack, are becoming a more and more important area for marketers to engage with their customers and prospects. Medium, Inbound.org, and Reddit are critical places to spread awareness of your content. Not to mention Snapchat and Instagram are taking over with sponsored stories and in-line ads. Long gone are the days of only having to maintain a Facebook and Twitter page.

Social media landscape

“Now, forms of interaction are starting to diversify. Platforms like Snapchat are allowing more one-sided conversations, in a more fleeting, temporary context. Brands and consumers are able to talk to each other in new, more diverse ways, and that range is only broadening,” says Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers.

#4: Instagram Stories

Instagram recently stole a page from Snapchat’s book by adding a story feature at the top of the feed. Now social browsers can see what their favorite Instagrammers are doing for 24 hours.

So why copy Snapchat? Perhaps Facebook is still a bit bitter about Snapchat’s declining to sell the app for $3 billion, but regardless the reaction to this new Instagram feature was mixed. Some were outraged, others pleased to have their snap stories moved to their favorite social network.

Instagram and Snapchat

Regardless, this has been a big opportunity for businesses to showcase their brands in a prime location on the app. Large brands like Starbucks, Taco Bell, and JCrew have already been taking advantage, as well as smaller brands like Justin’s PB and HubSpot.

“Over time we look forward to introducing new advertising and other business opportunities as part of Instagram Stories,” says the Instagram Business Blog. “In the meantime, we’re excited to see all the ways our community will use it to highlight their businesses on Instagram.”

#5: Social Chat

Did you know that over 900 million people use Facebook Messenger? WhatsApp has become one of the largest chat apps in the world. Seventy-seven of the top 100 Fortune companies use Slack. Chat is no longer just used for internal communications, but it’s being used more and more to engage with prospects in a more personalized manner.

Social media trends

“People are becoming more interested in actually communicating, rather than broadcasting,” according to Harvard Business Review.

Marketers need to start utilizing chat apps to engage in real-time with their leads rather than posting and wishing for the best. In the future chat, bots will likely make this scalable in new and fascinating ways.

About the Author:

Margot is a Customer Success Coach at Wistia. She loves all things digital, and spends her free time running, traveling, and cooking. Follow her on:

Twitter: @ChappyMargot

Google+: +Margot da Cunha

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/margotdacunha

6 Ideas To Keep Small Business Marketing And Social Media Going

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

Resources and time are small business owners’ personal demons. Supporting this fact is a Bank of America survey where small business owners voted to say that running their businesses was twice as stressful as handling relationships with a spouse and three times as stressful as raising children!

If you’ve felt that limited manpower and funds have been setbacks in terms of marketing your business, here are six simple ideas that will change your mind and your business.

Small Business Social Media Ideas and Marketing

1. Employ Nifty and Affordable Tools to do the Heavy Lifting

Social is massive. Facebook has 1.65 billion monthly active users.  There are 350,000 tweets every minute. If you’re specialized in an industry, say technology, how would you sift through each of those uploads to find the ones best suited to your social media audience?

The answer is you can’t. But the right tools can do that for you, and intelligently. What you require is a tool that can crawl the Web and find high-quality shareable content for you. Tools like DrumUp let you curate and share content through the same interface and help you stay active on social with ease.

2. Share Only What You Know Resonates with Your Readers

Buyer behavior is pertinent when building marketing strategies. Invest a good amount of time in profiling your target audience. It’ll be a one-time and worthwhile investment because everything that really works on social isn’t random — it works for very specific reasons.

For instance, if you run through Starbucks’ Twitter page, you’ll discern a distinct theme — all things that are coffee, feel-good and look great. Check out a cinnamon coffee recipe share. It is relevant, something that’d help Starbucks’ loyal audiences, who are ardent coffee fans, and it looks great.

Make quick lists of specific topics — like recipes but relevant to your industry and use content curation tools to find shareable content.

3. Organize Your Efforts, this Actually Saves More Time Than it Consumes

You might spend about an hour a month planning what to share, but this beats spending an hour every day! Content calendars are very simple and effective. All you have to do is download a calendar of each month in advance and then write a theme over each date. Or you could use Google Calendars which are fairly easy.

Your themes could be drawn from the lists you’ve made in the previous step. Suppose you have 10 possible themes that you’re sure your social media audience would love. You could allot those themes to dates on the calendar on a cycle, 1 through 10 and then back to one. This way, you’re audience would get both value and variety on your social media pages.

4. Include Content from Diverse Sources and in Varying Formats

If there’s anything that all audiences look for, it is the freshness factor. Expert blogger Nir Eyal once said,  “People don’t want something truly new, they want the familiar done differently.” This idea fits perfectly well into the strategy we’re discussing.

You do the same themes on a cycle — familiar stuff, but you do it differently — with different sources and formats.

What are the formats you can use? Blogs, videos, vlogs, gifs, infographics, graphs, the more interactive and visual the better. Always make quick inclusions of nice-looking visuals, because visuals increase willingness to engage by 80 percent.

5. Make the Best of Your Existing Content

If you’ve already shared a bunch of stuff on social, that’s great! Because now you can reignite conversations on those shares and use that to drive traffic to your site. Reuse and recycle your old stuff, edit the title a little and maybe add a new image. Throw in a hashtag? Especially on days when you don’t have enough time to look at anything, you could always do this as a back-up. Some content curation tools even have content libraries where you can store golden posts for a rainy day.

Another way of using old stuff is re-purposing it. Have you noticed a particular post that has gotten you a lot of engagement? Pick it up, re-purpose it and re-post! All you have to do is pick a new angle discussed in that post and title it accordingly. A quick and easy way to get results!

6. Add Your Own Voice to the Shares, it Portrays Authenticity

Curation is a great way to connect with an audience without having to commit much time to the practice, but it certainly can’t compete with originality. If you’re hard pressed for time, what you should definitely be doing is adding a touch of your personality to everything that you curate and share. It shouldn’t take you more than a few seconds to type in a few words before sharing.

Add your personal touch using one of these 3 easy ideas

1) State an opinion
2) Add a personal greeting
3) Ask a question

While curating content remember this simple rule. Share as you and share for your audience. Consider what they’d like to read and what would excite them and always add your personality to whatever you share. After all, the biggest asset of a small business is its personality.

Do you have any small business social media and marketing ideas to share?  Leave them in comments if you do!

Typing Photo via Shutterstock

9 Social Media Marketing Trends That Could Make or Break Your Business in 2017

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing

Social media is always evolving, so what’s next?

That’s the question I was asked in an interview recently. This kind of question can be really easy since there are so many easy candidates – IoT, VR, and just about anything to do with Facebook.

But if you don’t want to rely on the cliches of future social technology, it can be a challenge to pick out what will matter and why. I suppose this post is somewhere in the middle and I hope it helps you think about where the substance breaks away from the shiny social media objects.

The most important thing about social media marketing isn’t always the tech. It’s the people.5

A lot of what draws marketers’ attention to social media is technology: new apps, networks and the latest features on major platforms. But the most important thing about social media marketing isn’t always the technology. It’s the people and how they use that technology to create, publish, share, interact and transact.

Social media is a dynamic of consumer behaviors driving new social technology development while at the same time, new technologies that affect consumer behaviors. It’s important for brands looking at what’s next in social media to understand this dynamic amongst their own customers and broader community.

With that dynamic cycle of people and technology in mind, here are a few directions for social media evolution I think are worth paying attention to:

Facebook Internet
1. The Facebook Internet

Facebook is dominating social media usage, video and advertising and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Along with WhatsApp messaging and predictions that Instagram will soon become the second biggest social network, many Facebook users don’t really need to leave, do they? Think about that customer expectation when developing your Facebook marketing strategy and how much you can accomplish with customer engagement before they ever even think of visiting your boring corporate website.

Converged Social Media
2. Converged Social

The combination of Microsoft and LinkedIn will create innovations that will benefit marketers in some interesting ways, especially if professional social profiles become accessible and integrated within Microsoft 365 apps. There’s more convergence to come and guesses are hot as to whether Facebook, Google or Apple will buy Twitter or if Twitter will go the way of Friendster and MySpace.

Imagine what it could mean to your content co-creation and influencer marketing efforts with the integration of the LinkedIn network to Office 365. Need an expert quote for a blog post, ebook or article? Right click.

Social Video
3. Hot Video

Real-time video is the hot shot on the block right now with Snapchat, Facebook Live and Periscope leading the way towards social engagement with customers in ways many brands haven’t explored before. Facebook’s own Nicola Mendelsohn says in five years, Facebook will “probably” be “all video”.

Like live TV, live video presents brands some opportunities for things to go differently than planned, like Mark Zuckerberg’s inevitably comedic Q/A with Jerry Seinfeld on Facebook live that has reached over 9 million views. On the other hand, who wouldn’t trade some awkward for the reach and exposure (159m views) of a Chewbacca Mom event?

If real-time video isn’t in your comfort zone, find someone who is comfortable with that kind of exposure and media creation. Then train them to be your social champion.

Pay to Play Social Media
4. Paying to Play Social

Social Advertising will continue to rise with even more options for advertisers. Social media advertising is projected to generate $11 billion in revenue by 2017, up from just $6.1 billion in 2013. More social networks and apps will expand their advertising offerings, just look at Snapchat now inserting ads in between users’ “Stories” and Snapchat Partners, API access that will provide access to creating custom buying and management tools.

There’s no getting around the requirement for paid amplification with content on social networks. More importantly, with Facebook’s continued efforts at putting the focus on individuals over brands, companies need to think about the collective social wisdom of their employees and community for distribution vs. simply publishing on the brand social home base.

Dark social
5. Dark Social

With 84% of global social shares dark to social media analytics, there’s a growing importance, but brands are challenged to measure its effectiveness in ways that synch with other social media measurement. There’s no shortageof recommendations on how to  measure dark social, but we all need more concrete direction on this and collaboration between apps, networks and platforms to make it meaningful.

Social Chat Bots

6. Social Chat Bots

Again, Facebook has opened doors for a new kind of engagement and with customers’ expectation of real-time engagement, bots may be able to satisfy basic customer service and information needs for brands. Will bots be a service or communications solution for your brand? Maybe.

At a minimum, brands will need to invest in more interactive social experiences for their community and what better what to that than an neural network and some AI?

Mobile Social Media

7. Mobile First

Mobile traffic now exceeds desktop traffic and 2 billion consumers worldwide are expected to own a smartphone in 2016. There’s nothing new about the importance of mobile friendliness or having apps, but the cost of ignoring mobile social media experiences for brands dragging their feet will rise dramatically. At a minimum, make sure Google thinks your site is mobile friendly and maybe, most of your customers will too.

Social Media Automation
8. Social Media Automation

“Martech Shock” extends to social media as brands look to automate and scale. The use of social media automation tools and platform features will grow to help brands with prospecting, delivering content to the right customers at the right time and engagement – all integrated with a marketing dashboard for end to end reporting of the impact social media has across the customer journey. Just don’t think this kind of solution is “plug and play”. As with CRM, analytics and marketing automation, you will need human expertise and a strategy to make the most out of your automation software investment.

Social Media Participation
9. Social Content Participation

People are empowered and motivated more than ever to co-create social contentwith brands. If a brand makes that possible, I think consumers will be incredibly interested in partnering with companies in ways that serve mutual interests.

In a way, this kind of consumer and brand collaboration is tapping into the whole user-generated content phenomenon. There are so many ways to do it, especially because of mobile devices allowing people to participate at all times with brands on topics they’re passionate about. Content can easily become an outcome of this type of participation, whether it’s a video, image or even text.

Activating passionate people within a social network environment where they can co-create and participate is an exciting opportunity to scale reach, content quantity and connect with social influencers.

Here’s the thing: Sometimes social media marketing often seems doomed to become nothing more than another advertising channel, with artificial automation schemes for brands to scale the illusion of customer engagement.

While that seems a bit cynical, I also think the collective power of individuals on social networks has never been greater – for content, engagement and influence. When brands and marketers can marry the wisdom and action of the crowd with technology that actually solves a real problem, I think the future of social media is brighter than ever.

Lee Odden
Lee Odden on Jul 5th, 2016     Social Media1

15 Social Media & Search Engine Marketing Trends in 2016

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing

2016 has been an exciting year in the world of search engine optimization and social media marketing – what are the main developments to inform your marketing?

The two fields of social media and search are constantly evolving, with plenty of changes that prompt shifts in consumer and marketer behavior.

In order to succeed, you should adapt to these changes and employ the latest and most effective strategies.

The following are 15 social media and search engine marketing trends in 2016 and what you should do to stay ahead of the curve:

1. Mobile optimization is a must.

Last year, mobile generated more traffic than desktop and laptop search. With virtually everyone using their smartphone or tablet to find information online, it goes without saying that business owners must cater to the needs of their mobile audience to generate leads and increase conversions.

If your website still isn’t optimized for mobile, then you risk losing out to your
competitors. This is reinforced by Google’s Mobilegeddon update, which favors mobile-friendly websites.

Be sure you use responsive web design to provide the best user experience to your visitors regardless of the device they’re using.

Smart insights mobile optimised

2. Voice search introduces huge changes in keyword research.

Digital assistants have become more popular among mobile users over the past couple of years, thanks to their much-improved functionality.

Siri, Now and Cortana are making the lives of users so much more convenient. But this presents a new challenge to marketers as they must now optimize for voice search.

People use different search terms when speaking and typing. Voice searches lean toward long-tail keywords, so be sure to include these terms to increase your chances of ranking.

3. Local SEO will be even more important.

With the launch of My Business, Google places even more importance to local
SEO.

There have been significant changes in how Google presents search results for local terms. Different search elements are used to provide immediate information regarding local businesses.

It is imperative to have your business listed on Google to improve search visibility. Google My Business is a great place to get started, allowing you to control multiple accounts from one central location.

4. Social posts get ranked higher.

It’s a good move to try to rank your blog posts and universal assets (videos, images, news, etc) on the results pages, but this year you shouldn’t forget to rank your social posts as well.

Many marketers are already utilizing social media to gain more visibility in search engines. When customers enter your company name, you must make sure that your social media profiles are seen on the first page. This should be further leveraged for your reputation management and monitoring. Various social media sites also now encourage long form content, most notably Facebook with their revamped Notes feature.

Various social media sites also now encourage long form content, most notably Facebook with their revamped Notes feature.

5. App store optimization is crucial.

One study shows that in 2015, 52% of time spent online was on mobile apps. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as people tend to prefer using apps over surfing mobile websites due to better functionality.

If you have a business app, optimizing for the app store is crucial to enhance visibility. Tons of apps get created every day, making it more difficult than ever to stand out.

It’s vital to use in-app analytics as well to measure conversions, click through rates and app open rates.

6. Learn the new on-page SEO.

When talking about on-page SEO, what immediately comes to mind are content optimization, internal linking and improving site structure.

But now, there are more factors to consider to ensure that your on-page SEO is in check. These include click-through rates, engagement, social signals and relevant content. By measuring these important site metrics, you can see which areas of your site need improvements.

These are also used by search engines when ranking web pages, so look beyond conventional on-page SEO strategies and be sure these factors are included in your next optimization campaign.

7. Sell on social.

Different social media sites have enabled advertisers to sell directly on their
platforms. Facebook and Pinterest, in particular, have introduced “Buy Now” features. This is a fantastic opportunity to reach your target audience and increase conversions. It’s a win-win situation since social media users can now buy products without even leaving the app, allowing for a great user experience. Without question, more social platforms will follow suit this 2016.

This is a fantastic opportunity to reach your target audience and increase conversions. It’s a win-win situation since social media users can now buy products without even leaving the app, allowing for a great user experience. Without question, more social platforms will follow suit this 2016.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise if buy buttons become very prominent in advertising campaigns by this year’s holiday season.

8. Enhancements in in-app functionality.

Mobile apps have come so far. It’s amazing how much you can do without ever leaving the app. Developers continue to make innovations and add new functionalities to their apps.

Facebook, for instance, introduced a lot of new features last year such as Instant Articles and automatic video playing when scrolling. They are now making their own digital assistant. Canvas.Facebook.com is by unique invitations only, but will come onto the market, full-force.

Twitter, Instagram and other platforms refuse to fall behind, promising to have plenty of things in store for their users. By making improvements in in-app functionality, conversion rates skyrocket, so it’s essential to make enhancements in your app to experience a boost in ROI.

9. Take advantage of new publication options.

Facebook created a game-changer when they launched Instant Articles. This is their way of presenting users with content while ensuring that they wouldn’t leave the app. Instant Articles load measurably quicker than regular web links, thus improving user experience.

Major publishers are now using this feature to reach their target audience. Twitter is about to release a similar feature called Project Lightning. Check out these new publication options and see how you can utilize them to generate new leads and improve conversions.

10. Videos will continue to dominate.

YouTube still receives a massive amount of hits per day. Facebook receives 8 billion
video views daily as of November 2015.

These two facts alone prove how much online users love watching videos. Plenty of studies also show that content within videos have higher engagement rates compared to those that only contain plain text.

It’s recommended to find ways to present information to your audience through entertaining videos. Trying to rank these videos on the results pages can also drive a significant amount of traffic to your website.

11. In-the-moment content will surge in popularity.

By nature, social media are “in-the-moment,” with users eager to share what
they’re doing as of the moment. But over the past couple of years, live streaming has become very popular. Periscope, the most popular live streaming online platform, allows users to record a short moment of their lives and share it

Periscope, the most popular live streaming online platform, allows users to record a short moment of their lives and share it with the world. Snapchat and Instagram have already jumped on the bandwagon. This could mean huge changes in how you use social media. Instead of scheduling posts in advance, you might want to consider posting in-the-moment updates and take advantage of the fact that millions of online users love this kind of content.

periscope

This could mean huge changes in how you use social media. Instead of scheduling posts in advance, you might want to consider posting in-the-moment updates and take advantage of the fact that millions of online users love this kind of content.

12. Dark traffic gradually becomes clearer.

If you’re using Google Analytics, then you know how frustrating it is to try to decipher dark traffic—the kind of traffic whose source you do not know. Analytics simply includes it under direct traffic. This can affect your marketing campaigns. As a marketer, you want to know as much as possible about your audience.

Thankfully, dark traffic has gradually come to light over the past few months. Digital marketers expect that this year will mark the end of dark traffic, with analytics tools getting more precise information regarding their source.

13. Link building continues to be effective (think SEO).

Many say that link building should be avoided altogether, especially after the Penguin update that demolished millions of websites last year. But links are arguably the most important ranking factor. As long as links are used by search engines for ranking web pages, they will remain effective.

Just keep in mind that when it comes to links, quality trumps quantity. Be sure your links are contextual and relevant.

Also, don’t forget to optimize your anchor text ratio. Avoid using the same keywords as your anchor text to avoid any spam detector.

14. Long form social content will become huge.

Short messages are often published on social media, with brands preferring to post a concise description or summary of their post and then placing a link to the target URL. But social media sites are encouraging users to publish posts directly on their platforms.

LinkedIn has recently ramped up their long form content publishing. Facebook has also revamped Notes, one feature which had not received a lot of love from the social giant for many years.Blogging on social media will become a huge trend in 2016.

Blogging on social media will become a huge trend in 2016. This is a significant change in content marketing which makes it easier for readers to find the information they need.

15. Advertising costs will rise.

It is now more difficult than ever to increase visibility both on search engines and
social media. This is largely due to increased competition. For the same reason, advertising costs are expected to rise this 2016. Social media sites are also throttling organic visibility to make brands purchase ads.

While you can still set up a successful online marketing campaign with a limited budget, it helps to be prepared and allow for some room for extra expenses particularly on the advertising front.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2016

7 Business Advantages of Responsive Web Design

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive design is a web design and development technique that creates a site or system that reacts to the size of a user’s screen. Responsive design will optimise a user’s browsing experience by creating a flexible and responsive web page, optimised for the device that is accessing it.

There has been a distinct audience shift towards mobile browsing and responsive design represents the simplest way to reach users across multiple devices and ensures a seamless user experience. 2013 has been hailed as the ‘Year of Responsive Design’, and with increasing preference of readers to read news online across multiple devices (i.e. tablets and smartphones), responsive design is becoming increasingly important

Time Magazine has a good example of how responsive design changes to fit the screen:

 

Time web site

 

Increasing your reach to tablet and mobile audiences

Increasing use of the internet and proliferation of web applications on tablet and mobile devices has been the driving force behind this development.  Traditionally users would be re-directed to a device specific site (e.g. mobile), but responsive design means one site can be implemented across devices.

Tablet sales are expected to exceed 100 million this year, meaning that responsive design has never been so important for those looking to optimise their online content. Indeed, some Byte9 sites are already experiencing up to 40% traffic from tablet and mobile devices, a strong commercial imperative to accommodate the smaller screen size in a unified design.

Increase sales and conversion rates

Another benefit of responsive design is that the user has an improved site experience as there is no need for redirection, use of standardised Style Sheets (CSS) across devices and unified design approach will also create a consistent look and feel.  Consistent user experience will have a positive impact on your conversion rates as people are familiar with navigation and site or system use across devices.  Responsive design removes some of the barriers that having multiple sites can present, i.e. in functionality, performance and consistent look and feel.

Consolidate your analytics and reporting

A single responsive site means that you no longer have to track user journeys, conversion paths, funnels and redirections between your sites. Site analytics tools like Google Analytics are now optimised to handle multiple devices and responsive reporting. All of your tracking and analytics will continue to function and be condensed into a single report, allowing for easier monitoring and analysis.

Increase your visibility in search engines

Responsive Design means you can manage one website with a single set of hypertext links; therefore reducing the time spent maintaining your site. This allows you to focus on link outreach with a consolidated Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. SEO campaigns can be time consuming and costly, but by creating a responsive site, all of your efforts can be focussed on a single site, with unified strategy and tactics across devices.

Content is vital in SEO, good quality content which is regularly released improves your search engine ranking page positioning, therefore a further advantage of responsive design is that fewer resources can be wasted in low-level duplication of content across sites, the content need only be applied to a single site, increasing your chances or a higher search engine ranking.

Additionally Google suggest (which Byte9 analytics can confirm) that mobile optimised, responsive sites are featuring prominently in localised search results. This is obviously of huge significance to high street and online retailers, amongst other burgeoning mobile use cases.

Save time and cost on mobile development

A primary benefit of adopting a responsive design is that it takes less time than creating an additional stand-alone mobile site, which has been the traditional approach. Testing across a number of websites also increases your development, support and maintenance overhead. As styles are re-used and optimised by device standardised testing methodologies can also be used.

Save time and cost on site management

Clients will also find it much easier and less time consuming to manage and maintain a single site,  with much less content to manage. Additionally a single administrative interface can easily be optimised, using layout and workflow tools to manage the correct content, or site templates that are being used for different devices. Business logic can be applied such that the overall multi-device experience can be significantly enhanced within a single administration, like Blaze CMS.

Within Blaze CMS, for example, editorial users are marshalled to produce the requisite content, appropriate for each device screen size, therefore maximising the benefit and minimising what can be a huge editorial administrative overhead with separate sites for mobile.

Enhance user’s offline browsing experience

Responsive design allows site owners to deliver quality content to audiences across devices, the offline browsing capabilities of HTML5 mean that sites can be easily accessed ‘on the go’. As HTML5 enabled tablets and smart phones proliferate this will become increasingly important.  Email newsletters, and content contained in hybrid HTML5 web applications will increasingly be consumed on the move and in the absence of an internet connection.

4 SEO Benefits of Responsive Web Design

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing

4 SEO Benefits of Responsive Web Design

With more people using their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet, it has become increasingly important to create a website that works across multiple platforms. After exploding onto the scene in a blaze of glory in early 2012, responsive web design (or RWD) is now firmly established as the best way to create a website mobile visitors love, and has become a central feature of the modern web design landscape. 2013 may have been hailed as “The Year of Responsive Design”, but RWD is far from last year’s news.

In simple terms, responsive design means a website’s pages reformat themselves depending on which device they are being displayed on, ensuring that whether the content is viewed on a phone, tablet, or desktop computer, the website will remain user-friendly. Why has this made such waves in the web industry? This is remarkably different from previous mobile solutions of creating a separate mobile site or a dynamically served mobile site.

But when it comes to SEO, can a responsive layout increase the chances of a website succeeding in the SERPs? (SPOILER ALERT!) The answer is a resounding yes, and here’s why.

Google Loves Responsive

And since Google is the divine being you’re trying to impress with your website, it is wise to pay attention to what Google loves. Google not only recommends RWD as the best way to target mobile users , but also favors mobile-optimized sites when presenting results for searches made on a mobile device. This is especially true when mobile users search for local services.

“Linkbuilding in 2016: New Strategies & Resources”
Join Loren Baker, Founder of SEJ, for tips and techniques in growing (and revolutionizing) your site’s link building strategy – A Free Webinar on November 30th.

There is still some debate surrounding the issue of whether a separate mobile website or a single, responsive site is the best route to take, but from an SEO perspective, the latter is generally the better option. Separate mobile websites have their own URL and different HTML to their desktop counterparts, whereas responsive sites use one URL and one set of pages and files, making it simpler for Google to crawl and index content.

One Website, One URL

Building a separate mobile website does have a few benefits of its own, and in some cases creating a standalone mobile version works well. If a website features a lot of content (a news site, for example), a responsive version of the website could soon become the “scrolling version”, with users having to give their index fingers a serious work out just to navigate through the content. This is where a mobile site, with content which has been carefully refined for mobile browsing, can come in handy.

From an SEO perspective, one of the main challenges posed by having a separate mobile site is that you will need to build the authority of this site from scratch, and most separate mobile sites do not rank well in search engines, as they are canonicalized to their desktop counterparts. On the other hand, redesigning your website as responsive will enable you to maintain your backlinks, and will mean that you can focus your SEO on one single site. This means all of your links will be directed to one domain (as opposed to one mobile website and one desktop site), giving your responsive website a boost in the SERPs.

Furthermore, if you have a responsive website, you can build social shares for just one URL, and when the site does get shared, wherever the link is viewed – whether on a mobile, tablet, or on desktop – all of the content will be clear and easy to navigate.

Responsive Helps Combat a High Bounce Rate

Even if a website is sitting pretty in search results, if it doesn’t work effectively for mobile and tablet users, bounce rate will be a big problem. Mobile websites can suffer from a high bounce rate if the content they offer is too stripped down, or too dissimilar from the content offered on the desktop site. Google will interpret this high bounce rate as a sign that a website isn’t offering relevant content to users, which is likely to lead to a drop in rankings.

A responsively designed site combats this problem by presenting all of the same content found on the desktop site, but in a functional way. RWD means that there is no need to compromise on the content you choose to display, this ensures visitors always receive the information they are looking for – which keeps them on page!

User Experience is Enhanced

Websites are essentially a tool for sharing content.  A user-friendly site makes it easier for visitors to find, absorb, and pass on this content. Above all else, responsive design places an emphasis on designing for the user – and with user experience being a big ranking factor, it makes sense that Google is encouraging developers to embrace RWD.

If visitors are browsing a site via their mobile or tablet, they should be able to view all of its content as easily as desktop users. Say you spot something on a website whilst browsing on your computer, and want to send it to a friend who will view it on their phone. If the website is responsive, and has been designed well, the content will work just as well on their screen as on yours.

Responsive design helps modern websites appeal to modern users; users who are increasingly likely to traverse the internet using a mobile or tablet device, but who still expect their desktop experience to be as smooth as ever. Going responsive is the most effective way to make the most of mobile and tablet traffic, and to offer visitors the best possible user experience.

Hayley Francis
Hayley Francis

Image Credit: Stéphanie Walter, via Wikimedia Commons

42 Posts on Social Media Marketing Strategies

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing

42 Posts on Social Media Marketing Strategies

SEO and Social Media has certainly grown together, in which both practices are able to benefit businesses worldwide to be more visible to their target audience by simply applying and merging these two marketing strategies into a single powerful approach.

As trusted by the world’s leading digital marketing publishers:

trusted-by

The links below are all the posts I’ve created that include techniques and strategies to boost a site/brand’s social media marketing campaign:

Guest Posts and Contributions:

Feel free to bookmark or share this page, as I will be continuously update this page for more posts that I’ll be publishing that tackles social media marketing.

You can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

7 Steps in Creating a Winning Social Media Marketing Strategy

By | Bend Oregon Social Media Marketing

 

social media marketing strategy

Social media was often seen as the wild child of the marketing department—the place where interns started their careers and brands could say random things with little to no repercussions. But times have changed, and the industry has matured.

Yes, social media is still a wonderful place for brands to have a little fun, but it also has a real and measurable impact on a business’ bottom line. Thus, social media can no longer live in a silo; it must be work in tandem with the rest of your business strategy.

To ensure that your social media marketing campaigns contribute to your brand’s greater business objectives, we’ve put together a 7-step guide to coach you through the process. We’ve also incorporated a checklist you can use to make sure you’ve done it all right. Click here to jump right to it.

Step 1: Ensure Social Goals Solve Challenges

Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies. Social media is no exception. Of course, with a range of social capabilities, it can be difficult to determine exactly what your objectives should be. For guidance, look to the challenges before you.

  • Has website traffic dipped?
  • Is customer loyalty low?
  • Do you need to do a better job of building a positive brand reputation?
  • Do you just need to make people aware that your product exists?

A smart social media marketing campaign can answer each of these questions. Prove your team’s worth by tackling them head on. To get you started, we pulled together a few common business obstacles and social objectives that can help brands overcome them.

Challenge: Low Website Traffic

The world is online. A brand’s website, therefore, is one of its most important marketing tools. Low website traffic can mean fewer customers and lower profits.

To combat this challenge, your social team should focus its goals on creating links directly to the website (whether they’re from your own social posts or influencers’). Link to useful content, subpages and company images to position your website and your brand as a resource rather than just another cog in the corporate wheel. This traffic should increase leads and, in the long run, revenues.

Challenge: Decreasing Customer Retention

According to The Chartered Institute of Marketing, it costs 4 to 10 times more to acquire a customer than to retain one. To keep your customers around, use social as a tool to support, communicate and engage. A good social relationship with your customers should translate into a better perception and offline relationship with your brand. By developing a strong social bond, customers will be more likely to stick with your brand time and time again.

Challenge: Poor Customer Service

People turn to social to engage with businesses. Therefore, it is important for your brand to be ready to help customers on any channel they can contact you through. Arm your social media team with the materials, education and authority to respond to customer questions and issues. When you do so, you’ll be equipped to respond to your customers in a timely and accurate way, regardless of how they reach out to you.

Challenge: Weak Brand Awareness

Social allows you to reach a broad audience. But honing and perfecting that message takes brain power and time. To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid a slew of promotional messages; instead, focus on creating meaningful content and a strong brand personality through your social channels. Determine relevant hashtags and industry influencers you can engage with, and tap into those resources to extend your brand’s overall awareness.

Step 2: Extend Efforts Throughout Your Organization

Social has long lived within the marketing department, but that doesn’t mean it can’t (and shouldn’t) have a hand in nearly every business function, from human resources to research and development. To create a fully integrated social media marketing campaign, you’ll need to involve and integrate multiple departments, especially if your goals have a direct impact on them. Work with all your teams to determine how you can best support their goals and what key performance indicators are important to them (we’ve outlined some ideas on both below).

Sales

Social selling is a term that has grown in popularity since the rise of social marketing. By searching for sales opportunities and then engaging in a helpful and authentic manner, social media can be a great way to prime the sales funnel and find new leads.

For example, someone started a LinkedIn chat, asking about social media tools. Sarah Nagel, Sprout’s Community Manager, jumped in to provide insight and offer a recommendation.

212

Customer Service

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important channels through which companies interact with their current customers. Social is an easy and very public way for customers to air their grievances with your brand. If you aren’t responding, it can hurt your reputation and customer relationship.

GrubHub is an example of a company that is really succeeding in social customer care.

@kayreimz We’re sorry to hear about the trouble! Can you DM us that order #? We’ll take a look.

By taking the time to engage with a dissatisfied customer, GrubHub was able to turn a negative experience into a favorited Tweet!

Human Resources

While the HR team probably spends a good amount of its time on social media looking through the profiles of applicants, it can also use social as a way to increase overall application numbers. Showcase job postings on social media and encourage your employees to share them to their networks as well. Beyond just job postings, social is a useful tool in showcasing your company culture to the world. Highlight some behind-the-scenes images of what it is like to work for your company so you can improve the perception of your brand among candidates.

Research and Development

Your brand’s social audience represents a group that is highly engaged, invested and interested in your product or service. Why not leverage that to serve as an online focus group for your company? Asking for and listening to customer feedback on social media is a nimble and easy way to get instant feedback. Additionally, social media can help expose gaps in a product or service.

Marketing

The marketing department, specifically advertising and PR, traditionally has a strong role in the social media strategy. But there are always new ways to ensure people are aware of and excited about your brand through social. Whether you’re debuting a product, ad campaign or initiative, ensure that social has a strong hand in spreading the word.

Step 3: Focus on Networks That Add Value

Just because a network has billions of users doesn’t mean it will have a direct contribution to your brand’s objectives. Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, focus your efforts on networks that hold the key to your target audience and objectives.

Each network has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each social media marketer should carefully pick and choose which networks they want to take advantage of. Here are some of the most popular networks as well as what they’re best at.

Facebook

With an audience of 1.23 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers an opportunity to reach a broad range of customers and potential customers. The chart below breaks down Facebook’s demographic representation—your target audience is most likely represented in some way.

213

But how can Facebook contribute to your overall goals? Because Facebook’s News Feed is a very visible place for social posts, it’s one of the best places for you to distribute your content in order to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic and distinguish yourself as a thought leader. This strategy is even more effective when you take advantage of Facebook’s targeting capabilities that allow you to tailor your messages to users with certain interests.

Twitter

Where Facebook has the volume of users, Twitter has the volume of messages. In fact, there are over 500 million Tweets sent every day. With all those social messages, there is a great chance that someone is either mentioning your company or starting a conversation that you would be interested in joining.

That’s why Twitter is best to use as a customer service and business development channel. Monitor the network for inbound messages from dissatisfied customers, and quickly turn them into happy interactions. At the same time, look for prospective customers.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a robust network of over 332 million users, most of whom frequent the site with a “working” mindset. The advantage with this is that LinkedIn is an amazing network for B2B social media marketers. Whereas sites like Twitter and Facebook catch users more or less on their personal time, LinkedIn gives you access to customers when they’re at their professional best. Use this to build relationships with future customers.

Google+

One of the great things about Google+ is that if you have a strong presence on the site and someone searches for your company through Google, a snippet of your profile will appear on the results page.

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Another great feature of Google+ is the ability to hyper-target your potential customers by Communities. Communities are groups of people who get together to discuss specific topics, so if you can find one that your customers are likely to be in, you can post content there that might interest them.

Step 4: Create Engaging Content

Once you’ve involved the right stakeholders, department and networks, it’s time to start building engaging content for your social channels. This content—whether a video, tip sheet or simple Tweet—should all ladder up into your business objectives. Below are just a few examples of good content for social and how to use that to support your goals.

Videos

  • How-to videos can be a proactive approach to social customer care—answer your customers’ questions before they’re asked.
  • Behind-the-scenes videos give your audience a sense of your company culture and brand personality.

Guides

  • Position your organization as a thought leader and elevate your brand by developing engaging content that speaks to your customers.
  • Guides should cater to your target audience, ensuring you’re actually adding value.

Infographics

  • Internal or external data can be turned into a beautiful, insightful infographic.
  • When done right, infographics can be some of the most socially shared pieces of content, so make them engaging and resourceful.

Get ahead of the game by planning your content in advance, using a social media editorial calendar. We’ve put together this 4-step guide for creating a social media editorial calendar that should help you get started. Sprout also has a full suite of social media publishing features that include the ability to schedule and queue posts.

Step 5: Identify Business Opportunities Through Social

With millions of messages being sent across social channels every day, there is no doubt conversation happening around your brand. Social media monitoring, therefore, should be an essential part of your social media marketing strategy. Below are some ways you can monitor social media to identify larger business opportunities for your brand.

Brand Mentions

People who are mentioning your brand on social are some of the highest quality leads you can drive. They’ve already proved they know your product/service and have an interest in reaching out to you. Engage with them, foster that relationship and potentially create a brand advocate. If the mention was less than positive, use the opportunity to showcase your stellar social customer care and prove that you are listening.

Industry Terms

Think of some of the words you use when discussing your brand, and look out for them on social. By monitoring these terms, you can identify relevant hashtags you should be using, conversations you should be having and influencers with whom you should be engaging.

Competitor Info

Keep a pulse on the competition. Social media can give you insights into your competitors’ marketing plans and help you identify gaps in your product or service.

Step 6: Engage Instead of Ignore

We can’t say it enough: Whether someone is commenting on a post you’ve made, writing on your wall or mentioning you on Twitter, it’s important to always stay engaged. Shockingly, our social study shows that 5 in 6 messages on social requiring response are not answered by brands. If customers are consistently ignored, they’ll eventually ditch your brand all together and look for an alternative.

Be sure to respond to customers who have left negative feedback about your brand as well. Too many companies have lost favor with their fans by trying to delete the message and sweep it under the rug.

Here’s an example of how Jimmy John’s social team handled one such situation.

social media marketing strategy example

This was a situation where Jimmy John’s reached out to someone a bit frustrated with the store’s hours and turned it into a positive experience. Taylor even favorited the final tweet from Jimmy John’s!

Step 7: Track, Improve and Market Your Efforts

You won’t be able to really begin analyzing and improving your efforts until you’ve successfully got steps 1-6 operational. This final step is actually a step back, letting you figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Use a Tool to Track Success

Sprout Social was created with social media marketing in mind. Sprout offers a full suite of social media analytics, which help you pinpoint exactly which of your messages perform best. You also can use tools like Google Analytics, which integrates with Sprout, to see which of your posts are driving traffic, conversions and overall revenue.

Build on Success

Once you have a good understanding of which content is driving the most engagement, site visits and conversions, you can use that knowledge to increase your success. Write content and social media posts that are similar to the ones that have worked in the past. This is an ongoing process that will help you hone your unique social voice.

Share Your Success

The last step is to let the company know about the successes you’re finding—especially those who have a stake in the strategy. This allows you to prove the worth of social media and showcase its broader implications across your entire enterprise.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to show off how hard you’ve been working. Need help? Use the checklist below to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

Social Media Marketing Checklist

We wanted to give our readers a few resources that they could use moving forward. First, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our own platform which includes robust tools for social media marketing.

Second, we thought that this 7-step social media marketing checklist would be a great way to help all of our readers creating and auditing their own strategies. We encourage you to share it with colleagues or use the embed code to put it on your own site!

social media marketing strategy checklist

by Michael Patterson on March 04, 2015