Studies show that up to 90 percent of small businesses are on social media. That’s not surprising given the popularity and easy access of social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Are part of that remaining 10 percent, ready to make the leap into social media but not sure where to start? The first step is figuring out where your customers are, then how to get yourself heard. Which social sites give you the most bang for your buck? Let’s break it down.
Your best bet is to first secure a Twitter account and use it to build followers and engage your customers. It’s a snap to add your Twitter handle to marketing materials and pepper it across your website so people know where to find you. Once you get a good groove going, addinghashtags to some of your tweets helps you interact with subsets of customers or call attention to special marketing campaigns.
Visual content and eye-catching images are very popular right now so social channels like Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine are seeing a huge surge in popularity. Next to Twitter, these are the most important sites to be on.
Don’t feel compelled to use all three visual content-based sites, just select one that most closely matches your brand’s marketing needs. Pinterest is great for engaging your customers around the larger concepts of your brand, like sharing recipes for a kitchen supply store or pet care tips for pet-centric business. Instagram is ideal for featuring your brand’s inventory while Vine is perfect for clever marketing to millennials.
Facebook has historically been an important social channel for businesses but concerns about ethics, privacy, and frustrating algorithm changes are steering many businesses away from the site in favor of other social channels. Location-specific businesses like restaurants and retail shops tend to fare much better on Facebook than online-only brands.
That’s not to say you should completely ignore Facebook. By all means, secure a company page and populate it liberally with pictures, company info, and pointers to your website and other social channels. Be sure to update the page with new content every week or so, more if you start to see traction.
Once you’ve established brand on a handful of social media channels, feel free to experiment and see what kinds of content your followers respond to best. There’s no one true way that works for every brand, every customer, every time so don’t be afraid of some trial and error. Once you have a good feel for what kind of content your customers want, it’s time to branch out to the next tier of social media websites.
Lots of companies use Slideshare to post slide decks they’ve put together for conferences, or turn to Vimeo for housing training or how-to videos. For B2B engagement, LinkedIn is the perfect choice and, of course, YouTube is the gold standard for featuring consumer-oriented videos you hope will go viral.
Admittedly, social media can be time-consuming. Forty-three percent of small business owners spend six or more hours per week on social media but a full one-third want to invest less time managing their social channels. If you’re pressed for time and want to hand off the social media baton for an agency to manage, give RealTime Outsource a call. We’ll take care of all your social media needs so you can get back to doing what you love — managing your business!
Image: Rosaura Ochoa
There’s no doubt social media has completely changed the marketing landscape in the last few years. Advertising on social networks like Facebook and Twitter is as much a part of most marketing strategies as print ads were a mere decade ago.
These days companies can reach customers right on their phones and portable devices wherever they happen to be. Now that there’s no need to wait for your target market settle on the couch and open a newspaper, what’s next for the social marketing scene? out-of-home advertising and digital media, of course!
From QR codes on sales signage to digital billboards, consumers are ready and willing to engage with interactive digital campaigns, particularly if there are incentives like coupons or discounts waiting to be collected. Businesses like In-Connect are are seeing a lot of traction in this evolving marketing concept.
There are over 100 different out-of-home advertising formats so let’s take at look at ways to make some of them work for you.
A large part of this type of marketing relies heavily on visuals that grab the consumer’s attention and encourage interaction or a call to action. Digital billboards are the most obvious use of this medium. On an LCD screen, you can tell a story, share a hashtag, and reinforce your branding all in one eye-catching package your customers won’t soon forget.
Digital kiosks are popping in public venues like airports and retail shops because they help customers help themselves. Shoppers can order deli trays at the market or check inventory on paint supplies at the DIY store without standing in line or waiting for a sales clerk. Airports and sports venue kiosks offer instant information like maps and ticket information to help get passengers and fans get to where they want to go. The combination of helpful information paired with subtle branding make digital kiosks a popular choice for many industries.
For non-interactive choices, some customers prefer car wraps or public transportation signage. Large venue placement and huge billboards are high-level options but the medium can be just as easily adapted to bus shelters, newsracks, and taxicabs.
Many out-of-home advertising formats will only be seen for a minute or two during as consumers commute through town, run through the airport to catch a flight, or hail a cab. Maximize those moments by including a memorable Twitter hashtag or Facebook logo alongside your branding information so customers know where to find you. Static displays that will be viewed or used for a few minutes are a great candidate for QR codes so consumers can collect your information instantly on their phone.
The beautiful thing about out-of-home media is that it can be adapted to a wide variety of situations and environments. If you’re looking for the next big thing in social marketing, don’t overlook out-of-home advertising as the next wave to catch!
Image: Grand Visual
Always keep your priorities at the top of your list! Too often it easier to help others for me then to work on my dreams. I’ve found that in the last 5 years I’ve been focusing on my goals, dreams and ambitions and it’s been amazing to watch the things I’ve dreamed about come true! I truly believe that you’re dreams are number ONE!!
For businesses these days, maintaining a Twitter and Facebook account is as important as having a telephone number. In many cases, more so. Customer engagement on social media is at an all time high and shows no signs of slowing down. Consumers have come to expect their customer experience to extend to their favorite social channels and if you’re not there to meet them, your competitors will be happy to step up to the plate.
Excellent content is vital to a strong social presence so don’t overlook Twitter and Facebook landing pages in the rush to post your next viral update. If your social media accounts are your customers’ hospitable gathering spot, those landing pages are your welcome mat. Here are some great ways to polish them up:
- Know your image sizes. Both Facebook and Twitter have specific guidelines for each image area on your account’s homepage so be sure to review them and adjust your pictures accordingly. Don’t try to squeeze something down to fit a tiny box or enlarge a picture beyond recognition so it’s just “good enough.” Use a free image editor to get just the right look and size. We like Skitch for Mac and Picasa for Windows, or you can check out PicMonkey for an online option.
- Clear the clutter. It’s tempting to include as much information as you can about everything your company has to offer, but this is definitely a case where less is more. Include only the images and static content that supports your company’s mission statement and goals. Save lower priority messages for other parts of your marketing campaigns.
- Be cool. Or warm. You want your content to shine, not get lost in a busy background or a jumble of color. Pick a color scheme that doesn’t overwhelm customers but that’s also in keeping with your overall message. Warmer colors are perfect for the down-home look that’s ideal for a dog groomer, while a security firm may want to go with cooler colors that play up the seriousness of its services.
- Include a call to action. More than likely your visitors came to your landing page looking for product or contact information. Of course you’ll include those important things on your page, but don’t forget to tell customers what to do with the info once they have it. A clear call to action belongs on every landing page, every time. In fact, it’s often a good idea to use that as a starting point when creating your page and then build everything else around it.
Social media bio and homepages can be tricky to get right, but it’s very important that your welcome mat gets people through your front door so they stick around to become lifelong customers. Don’t feel you need to tackle the project yourself and don’t be afraid to call in a professional to help you put your best foot forward.
Image courtesy: zoutedrop
Lets all take time to remember the men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving our nation. We will never forget, we will honor you, we will love one another, and we will work hard to preserve our freedoms. God bless our amazing United States of America!!!
My business Real-Time OutSource is coming up on our 5 year anniversary in June. It’s truly been an incredible journey, and I’ve never worked so hard at one dream. Every day my on going motto to my team is to “Work Hard… and Stay Humbled”, and I will never stop. It’s been truly rewarding to see our team grow and develop into awesome social marketers, with clients from Fresno to all over the US & Canada. Thanks to everyone that has believed in me and my dream, I can’t wait for the next 5 years
Happy Friday - (5/23/2014)
We’re down here in San Diego, finalizing our presentation. We’re going to give this theme park the social media campaign of a LIFETIME
Wish me luck … me & my team are working with one of our partners on a social pitch to one of the coolest entertainment theme parks in California. I’m very excited to give them a social campaign of a lifetime. I’m thankful for this opportunity to work with great partners, and with the amazing clients. Everyday I’m working on the dream that Real-Time OutSource is changing lives everyday! God bless AMERICA!!
Have a blessed Tuesday (4/8/2014)
I’m waking up so thankful for the lessons learned yesterday! I had the opportunity to learn the lesson of listening to your surroundings. On the phone yesterday with one of my advertising agency clients in Northern California. My client says to me, we’re so grateful for all that you’re doing for us, you truly know how to take care of your clients. I couldn’t help but ask, what more can I do? He says back, just be you, keep doing an awesome job, and never stop believing that you & you’re teams our amazing social marketers. Then his last comment really got me… he mentions “You make me smile”, and I never smile. This is something that made me realize I’m hear for a greater purpose…. to bring smiles, happiness, and joy from my HARD WORK :)
What is a mastermind group?
Napoleon Hill defined a mastermind group as, “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
The purpose of a mastermind is to help all members of the group achieve success. Four benefits of a mastermind group are brainstorming, education, peer accountability, and support.
Becoming an entrepreneur or pursuing a passion can be a lonely endeavor. Ideas are “a dime and dozen” and useless, unless action is taken. A mastermind group can be used to explore ideas and the group can help determine which ideas are worth pursuing.
For example, will Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, or Linkedin be the most beneficial for your business? People are on each of these social media platforms for different reasons and knowing how to reach your customers is vital to the success of your business.
Books, newspapers, the internet, and other forms of media can provide a wealth of knowledge, but experience is one of the most powerful teachers. By participating in the mastermind group, there is education through the collective knowledge and experience of members of the mastermind group. In addition, each member can pursue educating themselves in assigned areas and educate the rest of the group to accelerate learning.
While in our youth, we experienced peer pressure and adults warned us of the negative consequences of getting in with the wrong crowd. But peer pressure can also be used for making positive strides in our lives.
Stickk.com and Gym-Pact.com use peer pressure to encourage users to lose weight, get their finances in order, learn a new skill, or achieve whatever goal they want to achieve.
If you only make a commitment to yourself, you are the only one that can remind you of the goal; if you tell a group of people, they will be there to remind you of your goal.
A mastermind group can intensify the fear of failure of failure and help each member stay committed to their goals.
Above all else, the mastermind group is intended to support each individual in their pursuits. If you ever wanted to learn to play an instrument, speak a foreign language, lose weight, or learn something new, challenges occurred. The mastermind group will be there to encourage you in your pursuits and help you reach your goals.
Who should I form a mastermind group with?
Its been said that you become who you spent time with. Find people who are preferably experienced and passionate in area that you want to build the group around, even if they are your closest competitors.
“There is a lie that acts like a virus within the mind of humanity. And that lie is, ‘There’s not enough good to go around. There’s lack and there’s limitation and there’s just not enough… There is enough for everyone.”
Now go out and start your mastermind group today!