7 Simple Steps to Build a Successful Social Media Presence

Social media is almost too simple. It's easy to imagine that to market your business, all you have to do is transfer your knowledge from personal usage or learn as you go. In reality, of course, that is far from the case.

Like any other marketing strategy, social media requires careful thought and consideration. Put simply, you have to make sure that you don't just post the right content, but also stand out compared to other businesses in your and other industries.

Social media, after all, is where most of your potential customers spend their spare time. We now spend more than 2 hours on our favorite networks every single day. More than two-thirds of all Americans are active on Facebook alone, ranging in age from 18 all the way to 65 and above. If you want to get your message through and establish yourself as a reputable brand, an effective social media presence should be among your first steps.

Getting to that point can be complex. Fortunately, regardless of your business and audience, you can break the process down in easily digestible and achievable chunks. More specifically, you can take these 7 steps to market your brand on social media, and grow your revenue and reputation.

1) Understand Your Audience

First, a basic marketing truth: no promotional effort should start without consideration of your audience. You need to know exactly who you're trying to reach and convince with your messaging before you go about doing so.

Your audience can differ significantly based on the type of brand you manage and industry you're in. You probably already have a good idea of who they are. It makes sense to get specific in terms of demographics, life cycle stage, and professional standing. A quick analysis of current and past customers can give you a good start.

2) Choose Your Platform

Based on the audience you found in your analysis above, it's time to choose the channel through which you will communicate with them. Facebook tends to be the most common answer, because it's the only social network that cuts through all demographics and age groups. But it's not your only option.

Match your demographics with this research by the Pew Research Center. You might find that Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn are actually great overlaps. Don't follow your temptation to go with the platform you're most familiar with; instead, choose the one your audience knows and uses the most.

3) Build a Brand Page

Once you know your platform, you have to build your presence. That means building a 'brand page' or profile representing not you personally, but your business.

On some platforms, that's relatively simple. Instagram, for instance, only requires a name, profile picture, and short description. Other options, like Facebook, are more complex. This tutorial can guide you through the process of building a page that accurately reflects your brand and services offered.

4) Focus on Visual Content

In social media, and marketing in general, visuals matter. So much, in fact, that they significantly improve almost any type of post you can make. Studies show time and time again that regardless of the specific platform you focus on, posts with images, graphics, or video generate more clicks and engagement than those without.

You can use that fact to your advantage. Share content directly related to your brand and products, from images to video and infographics related to your brand and industry. Make it a goal: everything you post should come with at least one relevant visual attached.

5) Go for Value, Not Promotion

You might look to use social media to market your brand, but your audience doesn't. Rather than pushing out direct marketing messages, it makes much more sense to focus on content that your audience actually wants to engage with.

What does that value look like? For your brand, it might range from tips connected to your product to more general advice and updates on industry trends. As long as it's broadly connected to the renting experience, it's relevant to your business.

Of course, you don't want to forego promotion altogether. After all, you need to use the medium to actually grow your business and revenue. Try to follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the posts you share should add value for your audience, and only 20% should be promotional about your brand.

6) Post Consistently

On social media, consistency is key. If you only post updates occasionally when the mood strikes, you will have little chances of gaining followers or seeing your content appear in your audience's newsfeed. Instead, it pays to approach your posting schedule strategically.

Facebook, for instance, is most successful for brands that post at least once per day. For Twitter, that number may go up to 15. Spread your messages out by using a free scheduling tool like HootSuite, which allows for consistency without constantly requiring your time.

7) Engage Your Audience

Finally, never underestimate the social aspect of the medium. Rather than approaching the channel as a one-way street, you need to consider it a holistic conversation. Your posts should seek engagement, and when current and potential customers comment, it makes sense to respond promptly and in a friendly, personal manner.

To achieve this goal, you should also look to connect your personal and professional efforts on social media. You might already be using your personal Facebook account to let your friends and connections know about available properties. So why not occasionally direct them to your page, or share content from your page? The stronger the connection, the more you can connect your natural personal brand to your business efforts.

That's it. Taking these steps is all you need to make sure your brand is well represented on social media. Take them, and you can not just attract more customers but also increase the satisfaction of your existing audience. As long as you consistently deliver value and engage your audience, you don't need to be a professional marketer to use social media to your advantage. Contact us to get help in that process.

Topics: social media social media marketing digital marketing

6 Ways Social Media Helps with More Than Just Marketing

Social media marketing helps strengthen your business. You can tap into new markets and remind consumers about what you have to offer. You can also use social media to set the tone of your business, and that matters with every demographic. 

But it can be hard to see those benefits, especially if you aren't getting a lot of conversions from your social media campaigns. You might also feel like your target market is heavily on or influenced by social media. Chances are that social media is more impactful than it first appears, but that can be a hard sell if you're setting your marketing budget.

Instead of focusing on how social media interactions can grow your business directly, here are six ways they're a vital way of strengthening your company:

1. More activity means your social media channels show up in search results.

Search engines care about social media. If any part of your business relies on organic search results, that means you have to care about social media, too. If you consistently have a lot of engagement and interactions on your social media channels, that makes them more likely to show up on the first page when someone is searching for your company. 

A search result that you control the content of is much better than a forum or a third-party review site. While all positive exposure is a good thing, your social media profiles are more customizable. You control the information. On a third-party site, viewers can be pulled away by reviews, competing advertisements, and alternative suggestions.

2. Active followers will let you know if something goes wrong.

If your followers feel like they can reach out to you, they will. This means they'll let you know when a page is down, when your shopping cart isn't working right, or if something else is going wrong. The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and the faster your response time is the better.

While you might not want to remove even negative Facebook and Twitter comments, they're less set in stone than other review avenues. You can respond positively and thank your followers for feedback on social media. Eventually, comments will fade in the feed. But on Yelp or other local business directories, negative reviews can stay above the fold for a very long time. You also might not see them quickly enough to provide good solvency.

3. Don't let fake channels steal your spot.

The Internet likes nothing more than a good joke. But it likes a bad joke almost as much. Prominent political figures, major corporations, and celebrities almost always have spoof social media accounts following them. The last thing your company needs is a joke spokesperson controlling your online presence. If nothing else you need those likes and shares to keep your authentic channels on top.

If you claim the closest available derivatives of your company name, you also stop competitors from taking them. This prevents confusion if a similar company to yours that's halfway across the country starts posting coupon codes or harmful gaffes.

4. Measure which posts spread the farthest.

Likes and shares aren't cold, hard cash, but they tell you when your campaigns are working. Social media interactions are the some of the first steps in converting consumers to customers, and they give you a lot of data along the way. 

Social media campaigns should ultimately drive traffic to your site, especially traffic that will subscribe and make purchases. But individual posts within your campaigns may have a different goal, such as spreading awareness of your brand.

Likes and shares are what push your content forward outside of the small circle of your followers. Analyze the data to see which posts get shared to secondary and tertiary connections. For example, if a direct follower of your channel shares you post, it reaches a secondary audience (that follower's primary audience). If someone in that group shares your post, it reaches a tertiary audience. Measuring this lets you know if your campaigns work for a wider audience rather than your committed followers.

5. Compare your likes and shares to conversions.

You need to have a process for converting viewers to customers, and one of the best ways to support it is with ratios. For example, it may take 10,000 views to gain one new customer. Part of this may be that your post doesn't have traction, but it may also be that a split-second glance while someone scrolls down their feed counts as a view. Ultimately, you can't tell which views are deliberate.

Instead, make a ratio of likes or shares to customers. This helps you set better goals because the sharing and liking are deliberate actions. If you know a certain type of post needs 50 likes or shares to generate one new customer, you have a more defined goal.

6. Give customers easy ways to contact you.

A website is a 24/7 marketing and customer service engine. But not all of your customers will start searching for you on an Internet browser. The majority of browsing and online activity happens on mobile devices, and that means some customers will start their search in the social media app they have open. According to Forbes, social media is a great platform for offering customer service. 

Make sure you're easy to find on the first search, no matter what tool a customer is using. If they need to contact you to solve a problem, they're already going to be frustrated. Introducing even mild inconvenience is likely to make them leave negative reviews and comments. It will also make their call or email harder to resolve.

So turn on the alerts on all of your social media profiles and make sure each page has your company email, URL, and phone number.

Social media is primarily a marketing tool when you're using it for business. But it's also an integral customer service and IT tool, especially if you invest some time in setting up basic profile information. Go to BOLD Worldwide for more ways to multi-task your marketing and business goals.

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Topics: social media Marketing Strategy social media marketing

10 Facebook Marketing Mistakes Your Campaign Doesn't Have to Make

The world of digital marketing is an impossibly big one. The sheer number of platforms you can advertise on and through is mind-boggling but, of course, the big names always ring out. There's no denying that Facebook is still one of the leading places to market and that, when done right, Facebook marketing can be unbelievably effective. Between the groups, pages, messages, and automation there are hundreds of opportunities on this platform alone to reach out to your target audience and find them exactly when they need your services.  

Topics: social media social media marketing Digital Marketing Strategy

2 Key Factors That Make Your Social Media Posts Sink or Swim

Social media has been in the news recently, and not in a good way. If you haven't developed a robust social media strategy, all of the recent controversies about data and fake accounts might make you leery about getting started. But social media is still one of the most under-utilized marketing avenues. The earlier you start reaching out to customers and your target market across multiple channels, the stronger your brand grows. 

Topics: social media social media marketing marketing strategies

Facebook 360 is Live Video on Steroids

An exciting vista of still yet another social media strategy aims at the heart of content engagement.

Savvy marketers are drooling to get into the action. It was a few months ago, it seems, that Facebook released Live Video to the public. Even Twitter and Instagram got on board because they saw the marketing viability of live video. But live video... is so yesterday. Enter Facebook Live 360 and we have live video on steroids. However, live 360 is nothing new either.  

Disney's Circle-Vision 360

Circle-Vision 360 is a filming technique that uses nine cameras for nine screens set in a circle. Walt Disney refined this idea for one of Disneyland's most fun and most interesting attractions. The first film produced was America the Beautiful presented in the Circarama theater in 1955, which later became the Circle-Vision theater in 1967. Patrons were treated to magnificent and spell-binding panoramic views, highlighting the beautiful American landscape from coast to coast. For highway scenes, the nine camera unit was mounted on top of a vehicle. Is this how Google Earth became a virtual reality? Was Facebook Live 360 inspired by Google earth? Once again, we find that Walt Disney was way ahead of his time.

But we digress, a bit. What marketers want to know is how can this innovative technology present content interesting enough to generate leads and conversions. The only limitation to this new integrative and immersive technology is your imagination. Aim for the ends of the universe.

How to Create Live 360 Video

The first thing you need to do is purchase a 360 Camera. Don't worry, we're not going to leave you in the cold, endlessly searching Google or Amazon for the best camera your money can buy. We're going to offer a few links that should help you narrow your decision. The 360 Fly is a stand-alone camera that features a complete 360 degree horizontal and a 240-degree vertical view with an intense resolution of 2,880 by 2,880 pixels. Users connect through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and can convert a smartphone into a viewfinder. Another great stand alone is the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4k. The SP360 records ultra high-definition (UHD) content at a robust 30 frames per second. The Giroptic iO plugs into your iOS smartphone, turning it into a 360 degree live streaming camera. Click here for a visual smorgasbord of live video shot with the Giroptic. The 360 camera of choice for Android users is the economically priced Insta360 Air. So far, this is the smallest 360 camera yet. 

Viewing Experience

Facebook 360 is a "stunning and captivating way for publishers and content creators to share immersive stories, places, and experiences with their fans." With nearly 2 billion people using Facebook every day, isn't it about time for you to get on board before the train slides out of view? Did you know that in 2014, Facebook video saw a 94% increase in use? 

When a 360 video is playing on Facebook, users maneuver their viewing experience to the angle of their choosing. With a desktop or laptop, perform this function with the cursor or your finger if you have a touchscreen. Drag your finger on mobile devices or change the viewing angle by changing the angle of your phone. Did you know users spend 3-times as long watching live videos as they do non-live videos? Imagine how much longer they might stay if they had more to look at? 

People desire and need stories. Before television came along, people read books. Along came the silent movie syndrome and people were finding alternative ways to get their stories. Some clever and resourceful inventors found a way to send sound and moving pictures through the air we breathe and with that came the radio and television. A perfect medium that fed news and stories and advertisements right through the airwaves into homes where couch-ridden sleepy people continued to receive input. On some level, books were becoming obsolete. Zoom ahead to the technological age of enlightenment we currently find ourselves living in, and now people are getting the stories they crave through social media, in particular, Facebook, the National Enquirer of the internet. People without stories have no context from which to live their lives. Without stories, people would die. People who love people are the most interesting people in the world!

Sharing Yosemite with the Obama's

Have you seen this gem? During the summer of 2016, President Obama and his family visited Yosemite National Park to honor the centennial celebration of America's National Park System. Remember to move your cursor to view the scene as if you were a fly on a sequoia turning your head to and fro and wondering what all the to do was all about.

Practical Application

Restaurant - Film kitchen scenes of staff performing tasks that demonstrate how meals are prepared. From the time food is taken out of the walk-in to the time a server places the finished product in front of the customer. Reveal the food vendors whom you do business with. Show scenes where a vendor is delivering freshly picked organic produce. Or follow your chef to the local farmers market and see how picky he/she is in reference to the quality of chosen fruits and vegetables. Connect with local competing restaurants and create an event that benefits the community and increases brand exposure. Be sure to create a 5-minute immersive 360 video (or of any length of your choice) of the event and post it to your social media channels.

With a bit of creative brainstorming, you can come up with many ways to use Facebook 360 to fascinate, captivate, attract, and convert readers to your brand. We understand that not everyone has the time nor the energy needed to add still yet another way to create content. When you're ready for greater brand exposure, consult BOLD Worldwide. The sooner you get online with Facebook 360, the sooner you'll be able to experience what it can do for your business.

Topics: social media social media marketing content engagement

Kayla Itsines: A Social Media Success Story

Social media is a powerful tool. It levels the playing ground. If you create quality content on a consistent basis and develop an effective strategy for sharing it and attracting viewers, you have the ability to see unparalleled success. One woman who achieved this is Kayla Itsines.

Over the past few years, Itsines, an Australian personal trainer, has garnered significant attention. In 2016, Time named her one of the 30 most influential individuals on the internet. She has over 9 million Instagram followers. More than 20 million women rely on her infamous Bikini Body Guide workouts. 

We are going to break down what she did and how she did it to provide you with a guide to create your own social media success story. 

 

Step 1: Be Inclusive

One of the social media rules that Itsines has stuck by since her beginnings is that it is not all about her. She wants to share the spotlight. One of her most regular post themes is the before and after shot. She accepts contributions from her followers who have utilized her workout to reach their goals. In fact, these posts are more common that pictures of Kayla herself. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhlTErwFFgZ/?hl=en

This is strategic for two reasons. The first is that these pictures show that her program works and it works for a lot of people. These women are living proof that with a little hard work and dedication, everyone can succeed. The second reason this is such a good idea is that it spreads her network just a little bit further. When these followers are tagged, they can share this with their networks and spread Itsine's brand, inch-by-inch, person-by-person, just a little bit further. 

Step 2: Become An Expert On The Tricks Of The Trade

While you do need to share quality content on social media in order to grow a following and become a social media success story, you also need to know a few other ins and outs. The first is figuring out the ideal time to post. This is difficult in a world where you might be marketing to a target audience in countries around the globe, but if you can identify the highest time of traffic in each of these markets, then you should likely attempt to post a unique piece of content for each zone. According to Itsines, who has to post for her market in America and in Australia, the optimal times are when people are waking up and going to bed. 

However, sometimes these optimal times are not optimal for your schedule. One of your markets could be waking up when it is still the middle of the night for you. Another market could be going to bed when you have a meeting at work. The good news is that that is okay. Because of the automation tools that are available, you can schedule the posts ahead of time—by a day, weeks, or even months. Itsines partner, in business and in life, has given automation credit for their being able to scale up platforms in such a short period of time. 

And then there is advertising on social media. The advertising tools on Facebook and Instagram can be extremely useful. They allow you to effectively use small amounts of money and still reach a targeted group of users. Itsines has never shied away from using ads on social media. In fact, Instagram recently spotlighted her success with advertising on the platform. She was able to reach over 6 million people, create 6 times more brand awareness than the average global ecommerce market campaign, and get a 21 point bump in brand awareness. 

Step 3: Plan Ahead

Kayla Itsines took a note from some of the most successful businesses out there. When Apple is about to release a new product, the world hears about it for weeks. When the Super Bowl is about to happen, everyone in America sees the date in commercial after commercial. Itsines does the same. 

When she launches a new campaign, whether it is for opening subscriptions for her app or a new line of products on her website, she slowly disseminates information weeks in advance. Before her subscription model was made available, she offered followers 3 months of free workout videos. In other instances, she mentions launches in various posts. The majority of her effort in launching a product takes place before the product is even available. 

Pro tip: Kayla did not just post the same launch statement over and over. She made each and every statement unique and it applied to the Instagram post she was posting. This does take more time, but it is also much more effective at engaging followers. Otherwise, if your followers know what you are going to say before they even look at your Instagram post's comment, they will not even bother reading. 

Step 4: Don't Be Shy About Posting

Many individuals who are working on growing a social media presence are hesitant about how much they post. They do not want to annoy people. Kayla Itsines was never worried about that. She usually posts five times a day. And this posting strategy works really well—for a few reasons. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhtq4LnFoJy/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhthDzAlpSA/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhswyGQFkY9/?hl=en

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bhsd0Cnlg1M/?hl=en

The main reason it works is that if you post very regularly, it keeps you on people's minds. With how busy and hectic life is, a single post with a reminder to sign up for a webinar or purchase a product will likely get lost. 

The other reason Itsine's strategy works is that she posts high quality content. Every single post has a unique comment and adds value to her account. If you offer valuable content, your followers will never get annoyed by how much you post. In fact, they will want you to post more. In short, if you are offering something funny, beautiful, or interesting then you should be posting as much as you can. 

The social media success story of Kayla Itsines is not an isolated incident. Instagram and Facebook create stars on a continual basis. All it takes is a strong strategy, the right tools, and a bit of effort. For help creating this strategy, please contact us.

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Topics: social media social media marketing

10 Short Social Video Formats to Spice Up Your Campaign

Building a strong social media campaign is a lot more work than it appears to be on the outside. In fact, it's a lot like being a stand-up comedian back in the 90s. What your audience sees is a constant stream of clever, interesting, and engaging content. They see jokes delivered at just the right time, hot-button questions asked right when they feel like having a discussion, and fun pictures when they need an afternoon pick-me-up but on the backend, you and your team might be sweating bullets. Putting together all that content, doing the research to know the 'perfect moment' to release it, and seeming relaxed and friendly in online communications is a work of art and only the best artists make it look like a breeze.

Topics: social marketing social media social media marketing marketing strategies

7 Ways to Use Social Media to Get More Reviews

Reviews of your business may have started nearly 20 years ago as a fad but today it is one of the most powerful influencers on your business's online and real-world success in the industry. What your customers say about you online and how many stars they feel you have earned is a powerful influence on how future potential customers perceive your business and how well you might be able to serve them. In other words, what people say about you online really does matter, especially if they go through the trouble to say it with a star rating and a quick blurb on one of the several major business-reviewing sites.

Topics: social marketing social media Marketing Strategy social media marketing

Does Google Give a Damn About Social Media?

It's not that Google or other search engines don't give a damn about your social media; it's simply that an algorithm has yet to be developed and probably never will.

Users submit over 40,000 search queries every second of every day, which is over 3.5 billion searches per day and over a trillion searches per year.

Topics: social media social media marketing marketing tool marketing strategies

Social Media Marketing Strategy: Tips to Use Pinterest

Though when you think about Pinterest you may think about moms making crafts, fancy dinners, and even over-the-top parties, there are many reasons to use it for marketing your business. This is especially true if you are in the fashion, home décor, or art businesses. Women flock to this social media site to help them in their daily lives.

Topics: social marketing social media pinterest social media marketing