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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
- 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