5 Tools to Improve Your Social Media Productivity

social media tipsWith internet technologies changing rapidly, social media marketers have to stay on top of the latest trends while balancing many tasks at hand.

Improving your social media productivity can help you focus on your priorities and get the job done in a timely fashion.

Social Media Examiner offers “5 Tools to Boost Your Social Media Productivity” that can help marketing and public relations professionals get more work done in less time.

1) Resizing social media images. Social platforms change from time to time and having one site to bookmark when it is time to create a new social media profile image is imperative. Social Media Image Maker is a great tool to have in your social media arsenal. It is easy to use and works for a variety of social networks.

2) Monitor analytics in one dashboard. Having one place to see activity and measure analytics is valuable for all businesses. A tool like Cyfe can give you a one-stop shop dashboard to track what’s working and what’s not with your social campaigns.

3) Identify influencers. The media landscape has changed and now there are all types of influencers with blogs on the internet. Extend your reach to this new media with tools to identify them such as BrandWatch and BuzzSumo.

4) Upload video to multiple sites at once. Video is becoming an important part of digital marketing to help tell your story. TubeMogul helps you upload your videos to multiple sites as well as offers analytics for each site.

5) Automate scheduling. Scheduling messaging can help you manage your content marketing messaging. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite also offer analytics so you can see what times and days are better than others for different platforms.

Digital marketing technologies are steadily increasing and being efficient is important for social media teams. What tools work for your team?

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Ways to Increase the Reach of Your Content Offers

content marketing strategyNot all content needs to be created from scratch. Your business has lots of existing expert content that can be shared online to your prospective customers.

Here is an idea to take a large collateral piece like a white paper and spread it out into bite-sized chunks of content across different networks to increase the reach of your offer.

The article “5 Ways to Squeeze the Most Use out of Your Content Offer” from HubSpot’s Marketing Blog illustrates how to do this.

1) Break it out into multiple blog posts. Take pieces of each section and develop a series of blog posts. Link to relevant topical pages within your website from the posts for improved SEO. Offer the white paper as a download and lead generator. According to a 2013 Marketing Benchmarks HubSpot survey, companies that blog once or twice per month generate 70 percent more leads than those who don’t blog at all.

2) Share facts via social channels. Create compelling images that contain facts from the white paper and share on social networks. Write social posts describing the facts and include a link to a landing page to download the rest of the white paper. Using visual content can generate up to 94% more views.

3) Distribute content in an email. Put together an email campaign and send it to a targeted list. Make sure the email is short and sweet and that the recipients are interested in the topic. If you are making an offer, know that relevant emails generate 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.

4) Integrate the content into your website. Embellish your product pages with bits of information and images from the white paper. Have a clear call to action to download the white paper from the relevant pages of your website.

5) Communicate via a video. Have your company product expert talk about one or two key points from the white paper. Illustrate a complex idea with a video and show the problem/solution for the viewer. Share it on your website, blog and social channels.

Building a content marketing campaign with existing collateral communicates a cohesive messaging strategy that uses all of your online real estate.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Public Relations Tips for Your Business

ID-100152553Whether your organization is a start-up or you have been in business for years, creating a marketing and PR plan for your business is essential for success.

Executing marketing & PR strategies can be costly, but there are some tips and tricks that can help support your strategy and build your business in a cost-effective way.

Inc. recently wrote “Public Relations Tips and Tricks for Your Business.” The article highlights five ways you can make connections and establish relationships with some basic legwork.

  • Follow up with your customers via email. Email marketing is an efficient way to connect with and communicate with your customers. Collect email addresses on your website and create an email newsletter each month. Segment your lists based on subscriber interests and keep topics interesting. The newsletter doesn’t have to be lengthy. People like to scan so short paragraphs and bullet points are helpful. Include a call to action in your newsletter so your readers know what to do next.
  • Harness the power of social media. Managing social media accounts helps your business engage with your target audiences.  Social media provides not only a channel for two-way communications but also serves as a customer service support. Talk directly with customers and prospects to get feedback and offer helpful information. Not sure where they go online? Ask them.
  • Build brands through blogging. Create a blog and tap your employees’ expertise to write about topics relevant to your industry. Think being helpful to potential buyers and answer their top questions in a series of blog posts. Add video and imagery to help tell the brand’s story and utilize social media accounts to share it out.
  • Be a part of the conversation online. Monitor and listen online with social media tools and jump in the conversation and engage with the public with helpful advice. Be transparent and talk conversationally. Avoid selling.
  • Maintain relationships with journalists. Create and maintain relationships with news, trade, industry and local journalists, bloggers and influencers. Get to know them by reading their blogs and articles and following their social media accounts. Reach out and converse with them on topics they are discussing.
  • Make your website your central online hub. This one is not listed in the article but making your website your central online hub is crucial. Don’t become dependent on third-party social media sites that you have no control over. A well-constructed website with a blog and links to social media sites is the best way to control your messaging. Make sure it’s responsive to mobile devices (meaning it can be viewed well on each device) and easy to navigate. Answer your customer’s top questions and write the copy with them in mind. Think “what’s in it for me?” is what a reader will think when scanning your website. You have about 3 -5 seconds when someone first visits your site, so make it relevant.

Creating and following effective strategic marketing and PR plans is a process. These tips should help as you chart your course.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Promoting Your Business With Instagram

ID-10093712What began as a hip photo-sharing app has evolved into one of the top social media networks. In December, there were 300 million active monthly Instagram users.

For brands and businesses alike, Instagram can help visually tell your story. With the right imaging, brands can communicate messaging to their audiences within a rich, layered context.

From personal stories of employees to community outreach and business events, Instagram offers a unique platform to visually present a brand.

What are some of the best ways to promote your business with Instagram? Social Media Explorer outlines the best ways to create a presence on the platform.

  1. Use hashtags. Using the right hashtags can bring lots of fans to your Instagram account.  Remember not to overuse hashtags and research the most common ones based on your topics.
  2. Gain trust. Businesses and people that are transparent and share their knowledge in a helpful way are most successful not only on Instagram, but on all social networks.
  3. Connect and collaborate. Engage with others and build camaraderie with fans as well as influencers and other brands. Build partnerships and work with influencers to promote your relevant products and services.
  4. Post regularly. Try posting a few times a day at different times and see what works. Instagram’s feed is a real-time feed like Twitter so posting regularly will help build visibility.

What tips do you have for Instagram? What has worked for your business?

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s To Come In #SocialMedia In 2015

image flickr @roonerstoyphotography

 

A very popular thing to do at the beginning of each year is to make broad predictions of what is to come whether it be fashion, beauty, wine, investments or in my case digital marketing.  I normally don’t like to guess what the future holds however I did want to share some online insights with you as to what I believe is hot now and what may become the next big thing in the near future.  Here is my list of digital marketing trends to pursue in 2015:

Facebook

It’s back to Facebook for me!   Anyone in the social game knows the site is always changing a brand’s ability to effectively build and grow their Page.  As I shared here, Facebook conducted a large study among their users and found that people don’t like so much promotional content in their newsfeed.  As a result of the feedback, Facebook has made it harder for a brand’s content to be viewed by all of their followers unless the content is less promotional and the brand pays for the exposure via Facebook ads or Boosts.  Interestingly enough, I believe that with this change, there is more control in the hands of the Page administrators than ever before and with a network of 1.35 billion users this is a beautiful thing.  My team and I have been experimenting with various pay for play options and it appears that boosting posts and Facebook ads are more effective than ever before which means that for client Pages, we have been able to substantially increase Page likes, comments, shares and more compared to the recent past where results were not overwhelming to say the least.  While a lot of this depends on the client’s product or service and their messaging, the exposure is worth the added cost.  And the various options are available for small and larger budgets which gives all sized companies the potential to find success on Facebook.

Another great option building steam on Facebook is the call for more video uploads as Facebook wants to take the lead over YouTube as the top video resource online (I am guessing that this would be a call to get some of the teens back to Facebook as a recent study claimed that 50% of teens polled said that YouTube was their favorite site).  Between Facebook having a video tab where you can choose a highlighted video similar to the format on YouTube, to getting more views for your Page if you upload your videos to the site, this is the way to go for any brand marketer who wants to expand exposure on Facebook.

Native Advertising

If you have read my past posts and tweets, you know I am a huge fan of Native Advertising.  While this concept isn’t new either, I find it almost shocking that more brands don’t take this route more often.  To me, once you have your social media going into a positive direction, choosing Native Ads/Sponsorships is the logical next step for a brand.  I know I am not alone in thinking this as Conde Nast has seen the light too as they have just created a Content Studio that brings together Editors and Advertisers.  The Atlantic and its digital business publication Quartz have been masters at navigating the approach of marrying editorial with advertisers. Why not bring the most talented writers on the media team to the table with the advertisers and create interesting and useful content so it’s a win for all?  Wouldn’t you rather see this than a random banner ad online and offline?  I am betting on it.

Snapchat Discover

I think that up until most recently, it was tough for most brands to wrap their heads around Snapchat.  I have heard brand marketers say, “If the content disappears, what’s the value?” or “Do we want our brand placed in a social network that still seems a bit controversial?” and more similar hesitations.  But now with Snapchat’s latest option ‘Discover’ where 11 media companies are creating content every 24 hours like CNN, Food Network, ESPN and more, I believe the hottest social media app has found a potential way for companies to appeal to the 100 million active monthly users where 71% are under 25 and 70% are female. If the content is indeed created just for the Snapchat user, then this is a homerun for all brands whether you piggy back on an already existing channel or down the road are able to create your own (which I am sure will be an option in the not so distant future).

Social media always feels like unchartered territory as both the social networks and their followers change so rapidly but between your ongoing efforts on your own channels coupled with the three “extras” I have shared here, I am banking that all of us (clients and agencies) will find Social Media success in 2015!

Valorie Luther, Founder Creative Concepts, @CreativeConsult

 

(Image from Flickr via @RoonersToyPhotography)

Tips and Tricks For #SocialMedia Success!

social media icons from mkhmarketing

 

I recently had to do what I call a digital audit for a new contact.  Without being able to get into the backend of their website and already existing social profiles, I made an assessment of their digital assets and provided recommendations to better their presence based on what I know of their mission as well as their short and long term marketing goals.  While I am not sharing all details with you because of confidentiality, I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks I provided the management team which could be applicable to any organization who is trying to grow their customer base.  Below I start with the overall digital presence which includes the website and move from there to review the social profiles.  Take a look:

Overall Digital Presence

  • Your website needs to be built on an easy-to-update CMS backend that will be maximized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). WordPress would be an excellent choice.
  • Your website should incorporate social media seamlessly. There are many ways to do this but this news page for client Taylor Felt Music is one example of incorporating social media into your website.  We have also added the social feeds on her contact page.  For client Bigelow Tea there are social feeds on the bottom of their homepage as seen here.
  • A website needs social icons on every page of the website. It’s a way to automatically invite your customers in to engage with you and learn more about your brand.  For style you can put the icons on the footer like we at Creative Concepts have done or you can have them at the top right hand corner like client Bigelow Tea, or anywhere in between…there are no rules for placement.
  • Rethink your social media and look at each social network individually vs. looking at all social sites as the same. Each social network really does appeal to a different demographic even though I am sure you have some people who follow your brand on all social. Take content (a video for example) and share it in a way that works effectively per each social network.  Using one piece of content and tweaking for each profile maximizes your exposure without adding too much extra work.
  • Most every organization has the possibility of attracting a wide range of customers but not everyone is on the same social network….you have to find the customer, you have to go to them and then you have to appeal to them in way that works for both the demographic and the social network overall. Strategically choose how to share your content.
  • Take the time to create digital reports that highlight who your followers are, how they are getting to you, what content they like and more. These reports are essential in understanding more about your customer so you can smartly appeal to them online and off line.
  • When a visitor clicks on the social icons on your website, have the sites open in a new browser so people don’t leave your website. It’s a small thing but can increase time spent on your website by the user.
  • SEO should be top priority as it is a great way to draw new eyes to your organization. Many of my notes are based on creating greater SEO so present and new customers can easily find your website.  The goal is to bring people to your site that know nothing about you (which is done with SEO and social media which I write about here).
  • And keeping SEO in mind, come up with a list of keywords that one would use to find your brand online and use those keywords in all social content which includes titles.
  • Don’t wait for a new website to add some of these elements mentioned. Every day presents an opportunity to find a new customer online so start taking some of these small steps sooner rather than later.

 

Facebook Profile

Overall: 71% of online adults are on Facebook, women dominate (via Pew Research Internet Project)

  • For all videos a brand publishes to YouTube, upload the same to Facebook as Facebook is very much focusing on video now. This will help a brand expand the reach of their page.  Note: uploading video to Facebook is not the same as adding a YouTube link as an update.
  • The average person on Facebook is now older compared to what once was when the site was first created for college students. While all ages are on Facebook, find your demographic that is most active and create content that appeals to them.
  • If your content is thrown up on Facebook randomly, it may not inspire the viewer to come back and check the page often (which would be a goal vs hoping your followers find your content in their newsfeed). I suggest content themes for various days of the week.  While this may seem dull and unadventurous, it helps to build a following who continue to come back to the page knowing they can count on seeing certain kinds of content on the same days.
  • I believe a great Facebook goal is still to increase Likes for brand exposure and the next step is to increase engagement on your page which leads to greater customer loyalty.
  • I would suggest monthly campaigns that both engage the community and increase your brand’s reach on Facebook which should then ultimately drive people to take an action which is to buy your product or service.
  • Use Facebook to help expand the reach for all media mentions. This is yet another resource for the Facebook follower to learn more about the brand from another resource and it’s also a way to thank the media for the coverage. Anyone in business wants added exposure online including The New York Times (for example) so when you link to their page and thank them openly for the coverage, everyone is happy.
  • Like and link out to other pages more often…it’s a way to generate a conversation and more exposure.
  • Create content that invites comments (the more comments you have the more your overall content gets seen). If you are only posting statements, it’s a one way conversation which is not the ideal approach for most social media profiles.

 

Twitter Profile

Overall: 23% of online adults are on Twitter, most are under 50 and college educated (via Pew Research Internet Project)

  • Create a content marketing strategy that appeals to your Twitter followers…this might be very different from what you have been posting on Facebook.
  • Enter bigger conversations on Twitter that might help build awareness by using hashtags. Research them and use strategically.
  • Check out your followers and analyze them and your own content that has been retweeted or favorited the most…and do more similar content in the future!

 

YouTube Profile

Overall: 1 billion people use YouTube which has 1 trillion views at this point; the site appeals to all generations; 50% of teens consider YouTube their favorite site (via Digital Marketing Ramblings)

  • Think of YouTube as another search engine (it’s actually the 2nd largest after Google) and rework titles and descriptions in order to come up in searches. Optimize with keywords in order to drive awareness and build a following.

 

Instagram Profile

Overall: 53% of young adults ages 18-29 use Instagram, women lead along with Hispanics and African Americans and those who live in urban and suburban environments (via Pew Research Internet Project)

  • Instagram is hashtag driven even more so than Twitter so research top hashtags that will garner interest from present and potential followers but will still add value to your brand.

 

Pinterest Profile

Overall: 42% of online women are Pinterest users, women 50 yrs and older are a growing demographic on this site (via Pew Research Internet Project)

  • The majority of your branded content should be pinned from your website or blog so you can drive traffic back to your site.
  • Boards should be created strategically so they represent your brand fully.
  • Research top hashtags used and incorporate in a way that builds your brand.
  • Thank people directly who are pinning your content…nothing better than finding brand ambassadors who are sharing their love of your brand.

 

Blog

  • Blogs that post daily receive 5x more traffic than those that post weekly or less (via Social Marketing Writing)
  • If your blog is on the same server as your website, this means greater traffic for your website overall which also drives up your search rankings.
  • On your blog, link to your own web pages, videos and social networks often but also link out to other reputable sites as often as possible too. This helps with your search ranking in Google, Yahoo and more.
  • Make it easy for your blog posts to be shared….a simple plugin could add this functionality.
  • Multiple authors add credibility to a blog, ask customers, peers or your team to contribute.
  • Use your blog to position yourselves as experts in your field by adding high quality content: copy and images.
  • Blog entries should start at 300 words per blog entry in order to make an impact…some say 1500 words is the best which I know can be hard to maintain so find a happy medium.

 

Most likely you have worked hard at getting your social media off the ground but now is the time to advance to the next level which begins with a clear digital strategy (that stems from your overall marketing and sales goals) and then that strategy should be broken down for each social network.  As your organization grows, so should your social presence and happily for most brands, there is a lot of untapped magic waiting online, you just need to take the first steps.

(Image via MKHMarketing)

 

Valorie Luther, Founder Creative Concepts, @CreativeConsult

 

 

Repurpose For Better #ContentMarketing

repurpose

When I do any public speaking, attend a cocktail party where people ask about social media, or meet a potential new client, one of the first things people ask is how do they or their company produce enough content to fill a week’s worth of postings on their social media profiles.  Simple, I say,

repurpose content that already exists within the company and share, share, share.

I often find that while people may be passionate about their product or service and might very well be experts, they undervalue their knowledge which then translates into not making the connection between taking the content they are already creating and sharing it via social media so here are some tips that might ignite an ahhhh moment when it comes to your brand’s social media content planning:

  1. Already creating an email blast on a regular basis? The content you create here can be formatted into a blog entry and you can link to it multiple times when posting on the social channels.  No blog?  Host your email newsletter online, better yet share the email blast on a landing page on your website and link to it often.  Helpful hint: tell your readers in the email that the same content is hosted online and they can view and share it as many times as they wish.  This allows you to create 360° of traffic between your website, the email and the social networks where the content is shared.
  1. Do you have someone internally doing press releases? Work with an agency to manage your PR?  All content produced for the media can be reconstructed many ways and then shared often via social media.  Helpful hint: take the press release and post it to your blog or website and link back to it often when posting to twitter, Facebook and more.
  1. Does your company produce or sell white papers? Take a few powerful thoughts from each section and share as separate updates with your online community and always include a link back to the original white paper so they can read or purchase the paper in its entirety.  Helpful hint: you have enough content via these papers to fill your social media channels for months so use it to urge your reader to take an action that benefits your business.
  1. Has your company produced a manual or video for new employees? If so, I bet there are some cool facts included about the history of your business.  Grab the info and share online.  Helpful hint: a top goal for a brand’s social media should be to drive readers back to the website where the new visitors can either learn more about your company or buy a product or service.  Interesting facts will spark curiosity and will hopefully drive the most inquisitive back to your website.
  1. And what about your website? You have spent hours, days, weeks and most likely months putting it together so grab various snippets of content (images, words, and/or videos) and link back to it from your social channels.  Helpful hint: does your product come in two colors or two slightly different variations?  Sounds like a tweet to me!
  1. Does your company attend various events or trade shows? If so I bet you are producing content to give to interested potential customers as they pass by your booth.  What can you do with that messaging?  I think you get the point now, fill your social channels with your newly repurposed content.

And one more final helpful hint: if you are already producing newsletters, whitepapers, press releases and brochures and distributing to an already interested audience, make sharing the content easy so your biggest supporters can easily turn into brand ambassadors who help you get the word out about just how great you are!  Remember you have what it takes to reach your next customer online with content that is already sitting in front of you, just use it again and again.

(Art by Poldas)

Valorie Luther, Founder Creative Concepts, @CreativeConsult

Tips To Use Social Media For #SEO

twitter cover 5

One of the things I like the most about social media is that it doesn’t have just one role for a brand, it has many…it’s what I call textured.  When most consumers think about social media in reference to a brand, I believe they think about the content they consume and the deals they can take advantage of.  Keeping this in mind, many companies focus on their brand voice and messaging along with providing enticing coupons and prizes which is why management often wants their PR people (agency or in house) to oversee their social media.  But did you know that posting content strategically on your blog and in the social networks is an excellent search engine optimization (SEO) tool?  Did you know if done correctly, social media has the power to raise your company’s website rankings in Google, Bing, Yahoo and more?  This is the texture I was referencing; social media has many capabilities to consider and SEO is just one of them.

As a case in point, I have a client who came to Creative Concepts wanting to do social media, and in our first meeting he shared that SEO was his highest priority with social media being an add on he thought he would try.  Back when his website first went live some years ago, he was the online leader among local competitors, but once others caught on, his search ranking dropped to the bottom of the first page and in some cases for certain keywords, his website dropped to the second page which was detrimental to his business.  Keeping this in mind as I developed the social strategy where he also wanted to increase brand exposure locally, I created a plan that centered on his blog and Google + page for SEO strength and Facebook and LinkedIn for some SEO but mostly for brand exposure.  Within one month of implementation of the SEO and social strategy, his search standings bumped up to midway of the first page…a huge jump after watching his website drop monthly for a year (and yes brand exposure increased dramatically too between increased Likes on Facebook and millions of impressions on LinkedIn).

Here are some tips to think about when using a blog in particular as an SEO tool:

  1. Get into a habit of updating your blog regularly and often. For clients, I have found that one time per week doesn’t really do the trick, three times tells Google you are alive but five or more times per weeks bumps you up in the search rankings as you long as you follow best practices.
  2. Titles of each blog entry are huge for search so try to use keywords important to your brand and if possible your company name without making the title seem too robotic and ad like (because remember you are still trying to appeal to your customer as well as the search engines).
  3. Always embed an image or a video in your blog entry.
  4. Use keywords in your blog entries that others would use to find your business online.
  5. Link often to other areas of your website. For instance on the Creative Concepts website, if we mention social media in the blog, we embed a link to the social media section of the website.  This is both informative to the reader and great for search for the overall website.
  6. Embed links from outside quality sources. You will want to do this in order to back up what you are saying similar to how you would use a footnote for a written paper but beyond that, some say that a website or blog is dead (ie has no visitors) if there are no outbound links.  The concept is similar to gift giving during the holidays…it’s a two way street.
  7. Remember to add tags to your blog entries.
  8. Research and use popular hashtags to gain further exposure for your blog content. I have even gotten into the habit of using key hashtags in the titles of the blog entries which helps boost the title that much more.
  9. Last but not least, spend time writing high quality, original content keeping your customers in mind always. At the end of the day, no amount of links and keywords will help your SEO if your content isn’t informational and/or entertaining for your readers.

I hope this helps you look at social media with new eyes and helps you attain new visitors and higher search rankings in the near and far future!

Valorie Luther, Founder Creative Concepts, @CreativeConsult

 

9 Common #SEO Mistakes to Avoid

seo tipsSearch engine optimization (SEO) is a key factor in the success of digital marketing initiatives. Having a content marketing strategy is pointless unless your content can be found.

Here are a few tips from Content Marketing Institute’s article “Don’t Make These 9 Common SEO Mistakes.”

  • You focus on likes, not links. Likes are good to have, but links provide more viral reach and can link back to your website which should be the central hub of your online activity.
  • Content doesn’t go to a source. Again, posting messages on social media is good, but linking back to your website is better. Having all of your information on your website ensures the search engines will find and index your content for search.
  • You are targeting the wrong audience. Your content needs to add value to your customers and also to the search community.
  • You don’t get help from a power user. Influencers can help promote your content to their networks and communities. Share useful content to these people and establish relationships with them.
  • You use the wrong (or no) words. Make sure your keywords are not industry or technical terms. Ask your customers what words they would use when searching for your company or products/services. Use Google Trends and Soovle.com to research common phrases.
  • You break your website. When updating your website, be sure the high performing older pages have proper redirects so their SEO rankings will not be lost. Also make sure images and links are properly reconnected.
  • You don’t have a plan for outreach. Create processes to build an outreach of influencers.
  • You don’t gather data. Competitive intelligence gathering is important to stay ahead of the competition. Know what keywords are working for them online as well as your own.

For more great SEO advice, check out Content Marketing Institute’s website.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Tips To Manage Upcoming #Facebook Changes

image flickr @smernon

Everyone is buzzing about Facebook again after they announced that starting in January 2015, promotional ad like content will barely (if at all) be seen organically by the Page’s followers.  Facebook took a poll of hundreds of individuals and the one item at the top of their wish list was to stop seeing “ads” in their News Feed.  Facebook listened to the poll and changed their policy so now marketers are scrambling in order to figure out next steps to successfully promote their Page and therefore their business.

I think this is a great move and it means, in my book, that Facebook has come full circle.  Back when social media was in its infancy, those of us who ‘got it’ pushed our clients to do something new when promoting their business: be human, be genuine, be approachable and be honest during the good and the bad that might happen.  This was a new approach when it came to promoting a brand because public relations and ads always used gloss and spin to bring more exposure.  We, the social media agency pioneers, guided our clients down this new road and found success.  Present and potential customers of our clients appreciated this new turn and showed their support through additional online visits and increased sales.

As social media started to be accepted by the mainstream (marketers and the public), brands wanted more.  They wanted thousands if not millions of followers on every channel and that became the focus.  Facebook in particular morphed into an ad machine where the goal for most businesses was to increase ‘Likes’ and they did so via paid promotional content fed to News Feeds.  Increased Likes became the goal and the number to measure vs. finding a smaller more interactive group who truly believed in and interacted with your business.

So now Facebook has come full circle and no longer wants ad like content spamming News Feeds so marketers are back to the where they began, but it is a good beginning because we are all smarter and hopefully understand our customers better thanks to social media. And while this new change makes many nervous, we should all embrace it and learn from it and carry these lessons forward to all of our online profiles.

Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest and whether you are new to the social game or just don’t know which way to turn after being at it for a while, here are some tips that can help you gain momentum on Facebook and beyond:

  1. Check out your analytics for all channels including your website.  Who is visiting, how often, what content do your visitors like?
  2. Who is the demographic that is buying your product or service? Study them and research what makes them tick.
  3. Make a list of the top 10 most interesting features of your business, your products and your leadership keeping in mind that most customers don’t know the inside details of how you do what you do so sharing these facts is indeed interesting to them.
  4. Take your favorite top 5 features from the above list, note what you learned from your analytics and your research on your customer and create a monthly content calendar for your website, your blog (if you have one) and all social media profiles and expand on these top 5 features.  Tell your story, share details about the product that no one would know about, interview people in your company, provide captivating imagery and keep in mind that no matter what you do, you should follow the themes you chose for your top 5 features.
  5. Once you have done all of this good work, check your analytics again after a month so you can see a trend.  Is there a bump up (or down) in visitors? Has the demographic changed in any way?  Are people actually talking to you?  What content is the most popular? Make note of what you find and continue to edit out all that doesn’t work and add more of what does from your present top 5 list while adding a few more themes in from the remaining 5 of your 10 most interesting features list.
  6. Follow tips 1-5 and never stop.

When supporting brands as an in house social media marketer or agency, the goal is to make sure your business is educating and/or entertaining the customers and sincerely caring for their needs.  If we can continue to focus on this approach vs. generating straight out ‘look at me’ paid promotions, then a slight change in Facebook’s Page policy won’t affect us at all.

(Image from Flickr via @smernon)

Valorie Luther, Founder Creative Concepts, @CreativeConsult