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.

2019 Marketing Assessment Tool

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

The Social Media Marketing Fundamentals Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Many entrepreneurs and businesses are simply doing social media wrong. While virtually every marketing expert is standing on their soapbox screaming that you need a significant social media footprint, how to actually achieve that is often not presented in a straightforward manner. Nevertheless, when executed correctly, social media marketing is both effective and cost-efficient. It is a marketing method that works for businesses of all sizes and creates an even playing field when competing with even large corporations.

Topics: Marketing Strategy social media marketing Digital Marketing Strategy

5 Social Media Community Management Tips for a Strong Online Community

There are two sides of the social media marketing coin. On one side, there is no entry qualification. Anyone with internet access can make a social media account and begin posting which means that any company, big or small, can start social media marketing. On the other side, the social media sphere is enormous. Not only are there a dozen different active platforms ranging from Facebook to Imgur, there are also quite literally millions of people out there waiting to potentially become part of your online following.

Topics: Marketing Strategy social media marketing Digital Marketing Strategy

The Latest Video Trends To Enhance Your Marketing Campaign

Social video took the inbound marketing world by storm as it was found that content with video was far more likely to be seen and widely shared. Just as content with images sees an increase in interest from your audience, adding music and cinematography to the mix engages your online audience on several levels. You can also convey a lot more information through a short social video than you can with text alone.

As long-form videos and video-interactions rise in popularity, metrics are finding that online audiences will spend more time with a video than with other content. And now, technology is allowing videos to actively engage your audience. While the how-to videos and social media interviews of 2017 are still going strong, brands on the cutting-edge of social media marketing need to keep up with today's video trends. Here are six of hottest ways to use video in your social media campaign right now.

1) Shoppable Video Content

Inbound marketing in all its forms focuses on turning passive content into an interactive experience. Links can liven up a blog, social media posts can spark discussions, and marketers have been exploring what video can unlock. One recent development has been shoppable video content, a way to allow viewers to immediately shop for products that appear in your videos. This can be done with clickable links embedded in your video, something possible with YouTube marketing, or links outside the video through other platforms.

Some marketers are experimenting with 'swipe to buy' on the Instagram and SnapChat platforms after viewers look at specific ads, something that can make their ads more interactive and neatly encapsulates their own call to action. Give your viewers ways to follow up on the content of your videos and to interact with the video itself if possible. Of course, shopping for products isn't the only possible interaction. No matter what you want your audience to do, invite them to engage through interactive videos.

2) Integrate Your Platforms

There are so many social media marketing platforms available today, and your potential audience is spread across all of them in various distributions. Twitter and Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, not to mention the wide variety of chat and social applications used primarily through mobile apps. Your social video needs to be able to reach out to as many platforms as possible, preferably in a clean, automated fashion.

Make sure you're working with a cutting-edge and flexible social media scheduler that can add new platforms as they roll out, because trends are hot and the best platform for your content may not always be the same. Don't forget to adapt your videos for each style of platform. Some communities like their videos short and suite, some like them long and involves, some absolutely require on-screen subtitles. Know your audience and work every social video for everything it's worth.

Strategically re-using content has become the name of the game, especially if you want wide-spread impact with a reasonable flow of content. The best marketers figure out how to re-use good content year over year in order to keep their page-rankings and online resources fresh. Consider looking back through previously successful content and turning it into multi-platform video this year.

3) 360 Video Tours and Adventures

360 video is quickly becoming one of the most effective forms of marketing video in the business world. The interesting thing is that it's not at all like your traditional form of video. 360 filming is traditionally used to create a virtual reality space, a defined area that viewers can explore by moving from point to point and click-dragging their view.

360 video is filmed by placing a special camera in the space you want recorded and allowing it to take a picture in almost every direction around itself. This gives video viewers the ability to 'look around' and see how the location or event would look if they were really standing where the camera was placed.

For real-estate and static displays like a virtual showroom, you can keep the room exactly the same and move the camera from point to point, allowing the viewer to essentially 'walk around' the tour area. This works much in the same way Google Maps does, with points you can stand and look from. The real estate and auto industries have found a great deal of benefit from 360 videos in offering virtual close-up tours of products for distant or busy customers.

However, you can also film events with a 360 camera, allowing viewers to stand in one place, like a stadium chair, and watch a show play out in front or even all around them. This can offer viewers an incredible experience of live or staged events and can even be used for placing the camera in unusual places a person might never stand.

4) Go Live for Longer Views

Live video has been growing in popularity for several years. It seems like every social media marketing guide you read these days suggests going live, as if we all haven't heard it before. But new metrics are in. Live video continues to grow in popularity and viewers will spend more time watching your video if they realize it is a live feed. There is something inherently exciting about watching something play out in real time, and you can take advantage of that simply by shooting a few live videos a week along with your normal stages and carefully arranged social video content.

Your best bet is to put together a more casual video series with personable hosts who do interesting off-the-cuff activities. This significantly reduces the risk of live feeds by making 'bloopers' an expected and enjoyable part of the show. Anything from flubbed lines to messy spills are part of the 'behind the scenes' fun of a live broadcast. This is also a great way to deliver longer-form content because viewers will be engaged and motivated to watch the entire video.

5) Online Hangouts

One major thing that is changing about social video is its passive nature. Audiences want to engage more one-on-one or even in shared group chat than they simply want to absorb push-media. Millennials and the Gen Z teens behind them are happier talking to representatives, each other, and chatbots than watching filmed commercials and marketers are responding.

Rather than filling your feed with images and social video (or in addition to doing so), you can open up a video hangouts room and invite audience members to join you for a bit of Q&A or even just shooting the breeze with community managers. With good moderators, you can even invite key audience members to cam-up with you and become part of the show.

6) Don't Forget to Archive

The primary focus of social video has always been to capture interest in the moment. You want to catch the attention of bored people browsing social media or make people laugh so that they share your promotional joke with friends. However, it's also important to realize that you're building a cumulative experience. The best social video series will start to build inside jokes and references to previous work, but this can also leave new viewers out in the cold.

To counteract this, make sure there is always a handy link nearby to an organized video archive. This is not only a great source of reference-clicks for you, but it can also allow your viewers to go back and watch their favorite social videos of the past on your website (instead of a third-party host) and for new viewers to catch up on anything they missed. Archiving is good for SEO, good for user experience, and allows you to easily call on content you've used in the past.

Social video is a constantly evolving medium for marketing and your team needs to be on their toes to keep up. With the right attitude and tactics, you can easily keep pace with the latest interactive video trends. In fact, you might even think up the next big thing. For more tips on how to build your local business marketing campaign, contact us today!

2019 Marketing Strategy Assessment

Topics: Inbound Marketing inbound marketing strategy social media marketing digital marketing

3 Ways You Lose Money If You Don't Know Who's Reading Your Content

There are two main types of money loss your company can face. The first is by not reaching new audiences fast enough to get the revenue they represent. The second is by incurring expenses you don't need. 

Topics: Content marketing marketing campaign social media marketing

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

Social Media Marketing: Tips to Get More Followers On Twitter

Twitter is definitely a numbers game. In fact, the goal is to have as many followers as possible. The thought is that the more followers that you have, the more likely your content will be seen. Most people follow everyone that follows them.

Topics: Twitter social media marketing Twitter marketing digital marketing

Fourteen Powerful, Superhero Content Tips for Your Website

Customers want content that not only entertains but solves problems. They want to posts that help them make educated decisions to improve their lives.

Topics: social media marketing SEO Tips Improve SEO