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social media marketing

Social Media Marketing: What To Do, What Not To Do

Social Media Marketing is not so new anymore. It’s no longer a consideration but an integral part of one’s overall marketing strategy. Even with that being the case, it’s still new to many people. It’s new for those who are just starting a business or career, and it’s new for those who are late to the game.

Recently I had the honor of presenting on social media marketing at ICLE’s Probate & Estate Planning Institute with Terrence Quinn, Estate Planning Attorney. Terrence was presenting, “Marketing Matters” which discussed how to market your law practice. He brought me along to discuss social media. I thought it would be fun to discuss the Do’s and Don’ts.

Whether you’re late to the game or just new to business, you need to know a few rules. What better way to illustrate some of the most important rules than with a few “do’s and don’ts?” Here are 5 that I outlined at the presentation that I feel are key for starting off right and positioning yourself for many wins.

Let’s count them down!

5. DO SHOWCASE YOUR EXPERTISE

The content you share should help make your audience a more informed consumer.Click To Tweet Your content should be valuable and relevant. Offer tips, industry news and recommendations. Social media marketing can help to brand you as an expert in your field, and a thought leader. Take for example, my client, Attorney Terrence Quinn. When  Michigan’s Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act was announced, Terrence immediately wrote an article explaining what it meant and what you need to do. This is how you join in on a conversation that is relevant to your audience and establish yourself as an expert.

4. DON’T DO ALL THE TALKING

My friend Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media always says, “Think Conversation.” Not only should you be sharing relevant content but you should be having conversations. Take the time to comment on posts, reply, retweet, ask questions and share. Be present even if it’s just a short time but be consistent. Conversations build relationships. Relationships lead to business.

3. DO NETWORK LIKE YOU WOULD OFFLINE

Or, like you SHOULD offline. When you’re at networking events you’re looking to make connections. You don’t just walk up to people and start talking about yourself and your business. That is so not social. Think about how you feel at networking events and what you do or don’t like when you’re networking.

2. DON’T THINK OF IT AS A SALES OPPORTUNITY

Some professionals, like lawyers, are restricted from soliciting business under the Rules of Professional Conduct. GREAT! That’s doing it wrong anyway. People like a soft sell on social media. They like to do business with people they like and trust. This is achieved by developing relationships. Gain their confidence by providing value. Most people are tuned into WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Focus on making your audience more informed and having conversations.

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Have you ever heard the saying you can do anything but not everything? This is true with social media marketing.Click To Tweet Do what makes sense for your business. Know your target market and where they are hanging out online. By all means, don’t try to wing it. You need a plan. Plan where, and plan how by doing your research. You could simply survey your customers or clients as one way of learning more about your target market and what their habits are.

On the flip side of research, do know that your audience is doing their research. It’s called Google. When they search, are they finding you or are they finding your competition? If they’re finding you what are they finding?

Keep these important rules in mind when beginning your social media marketing journey. Set yourself up for success.

social media

How To Tell Your Brand’s Unique Story With Social Media

Telling your brand’s story is an important to reinforcing what your brand is. Social media is a place where you can tell your brand’s story in entertaining and unique ways. But where should you tell your story exactly?

When it comes to social media, over doing it is a recipe for failure. It’s important to pinpoint those platforms where your target market is. Social Media marketing doesn’t have to mean an automatic default to Facebook and Twitter.

If your business hosts or participates in events that you want to promote, you may need to go off the beaten path. Let’s say you have an event coming up. You might post photos of your team or make a short video clip of what is happening behind the scenes. You can use Instagram videos, or a Snapchat story of the brief moments or special highlights that occur throughout the day of the event. What if you were able to capture the moments right before you went on stage to present or captured an entertainer just before they went on stage? Such images making storytelling interesting.

Let’s take a closer look at two platforms you may want to use.

INSTAGRAM

Businesses embrace Instagram because it lets them showcase their products visually. Visual marketing is powerful, so it makes Instagram an attractive platform.

To be successful on Instagram you need to find new and interesting ways to connect with your audience through visuals. By launching contests, using short video, and even running ads, you’ll build awareness, engagement and grow your community.

SNAPCHAT

If you’d like to reach a younger demographic, especially 18-34 year olds, then Snapchat is an ideal platform. Snapchat is growing fast, and the users are extremely engaged. Snapchat is on pace to grow the number of U.S. active users to a whopping 27% this year, to 58.6 million — topping Twitter and Pinterest for the first time, according to research firm eMarketer. The challenge with Snapchat marketing is figuring out how to best to engage users in a fun way that isn’t so obviously promotional. This is why live events work so well.

SHARE MOMENTS ON INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT

Get people interested in your business or organization by sharing what’s going on at your events. Start from prep and share through the wrap up. Take people behind the scenes as your prepare for the event. Share snippets of each moment as they happen. Using a combination of video and photo will keep it interesting. Make sure you brand your event with geofilters.

TELL A STORY ON SNAPCHAT

Beyond a series of pictures and video that chronicles moments at an event, literally tell a story from beginning to end.  Do you have a great story to literally tell? How an idea came about? How something was created? Map it out and then retell it in a fun interesting way that makes your audience want to follow along.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS ON INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT

You can offer discounts and special sales on both Instagram and Snapchat and make them unique to each platform. Because Snapchat stories expire in 24 hours it makes it the perfect place to have flash sales and discounts exclusively on the platform. Give them a reason to follow you on Snapchat for this reason.

Nowadays, younger audiences are pretty socially savvy. So, being authentic is important.Click To Tweet

It’s important to show the “human” side of your brand and let people see the real people behind the logo. Entertain your users and stand out by what makes you unique. That comes from sharing moments and telling stories.

 

social media marketing

How To Spring Clean Your Social Media Marketing

We have had an amazing week of warm weather here in Michigan. Considering that just a few weeks ago we had unusually cold weather with snow flurries, it’s a welcome sight. Since we’re in the full swing of Spring, it got me thinking, am I ready for the midway mark of 2016? More than likely, it’s time for some social media marketing spring cleaning.

Spruce Up Your Social Media

If you conduct a social media  spring cleaning inventory, you might find that there are some things you are missing, should change or needs improvement. Let’s take a look at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to see where you might need to do a little sprucing up.

FACEBOOK

How’s Your Headshot?

If your profile picture is more than a couple of years old, it’s time to upload a new headshot. Make sure it’s head and shoulders and professional.

Update Your Cover Photo

Spring is a good time to give your page a fresh new look with a new cover photo. Maybe you want to have something designed that fits your brand and represents your business. You may also want to make a collage of photos of your products or a collection of photos from events.

Check Your About Section

Make sure the About section accurately portrays what you do. Is it up to date? If applicable, include your hours of business and contact information. Hopefully  you have a vanity URL in place. Secure one if you don’t already. For example, is your business page URL: facebook.com/(a bunch of random numbers and letters) or does your URL include your business name like mine: facebook.com/socialwithsara.

Are you verified?

If you have a brick and mortar business, meaning you have a physical location, you can verify your page. Here’s how to do it.

Next, consider cleaning out your “friends” and “likes.” If your page has fraudulent likes (as the result of “like farms”), it can really skew any paid advertising you do on Facebook. For this reason you’ll want to clean out any fake accounts.

Set Up Authorship

Facebook allows you to set up authorship so that your blog posts are attributed to you when they’re posted on the platform. I discuss how to set up Authorship among other Facebook features in this post.

Try Something New

Ready to shake things up a bit on Facebook? Why not incorporate Facebook Live in your social media marketing? It’s very easy to use and it’s a great way to get in front of your audience in a simple engaging way. Here are some tips from Social Media Examiner on how to do it. 

INSTAGRAM

Optimize Your Bio

How you set up your bio on Instagram is crucial. Make it interesting and easy to look at with spacing, emojis and symbols. This helps break up the text. You’ll want to include keywords around what you do such as: Travel, Photography, Foodie,  LA-based (don’t forget to use a location tag 📍)

Include your contact information and website. This is the only area in Instagram where urls are hyperlinked. So, if you’re promoting something special like an ebook that you want your visitors to land on, you’ll want to put it here in the bio section.

Content Consistency

It helps to use the same filter to give it a balanced look. If you use text images with tips, set up a template with your logo and brand colors so that your images are recognizable with your brand.

Hashtags Are Mandatory

Did you know that according to a Simply Measured Instagram study, posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag? The use of hashtags is a great way to target new audiences on Instagram. It will also help other Instagram users discover, follow, and engage with you.

Use niche specific hashtags that already have an engaging community behind them and use the ones that your audience is already using.

TWITTER

Tidy Up:

  • Add your personal or company website to your bio if you haven’t already.
  • Consider updating your photo, especially if it’s outdated. Always keep it current.
  • If you’ve updated logos or colors, you should also consider changing your header photo and background color to accurately reflect your brand.

Who are you following?

Some people you may want to consider unfollowing: Those who post about things that don’t interest you or those who never post.

For followers, check to make sure they aren’t spam accounts. Spammers can add fake accounts to your list of followers. Find out who’s fake, then delete or block those accounts. A great tool for cleaning up your followers is ManageFlitter.

Create Lists

Consider creating Twitter lists to organize friends or those in your industry. Even make a list of those accounts whose content you want to see for content curation purposes.

Check Permissions

You may also want to check up on your app permissions. See which apps or sites you have given permission to access your profile and remove any that you’re no longer using.

LINKEDIN

I recently wrote a blog post on Creating A Winning LinkedIn Profile. It contains an infographic to illustrate all the keys areas. It’s a great place to start to get your LI profile where it needs to be. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • Your headline is seen more than anything else, so make sure it contains the keywords that you want to be found with.
  • Is your headshot outdated? Always keep your headshot up to date with a current professional headshot.
  • Work on your summary to highlight your best skills and experience.
  • Make sure your contact information is updated so clients and others can get in touch with you.
  • Personalize your profile’s URL with your name or business name.
  • Are there new projects that you’ve done since your last update that showcase your abilities? Add them!
  • Do you need some new recommendations? It’s ok to ask.
  • What about your connections? When you first joined LinkedIn, you probably connected with everyone. I did the same. But once you’ve been on the platform for a while, it makes sense to be strategic with your connections. Make sure they’re relevant to your industry.

Spring cleaning your social media marketing will get you on the road to being ready for the second half of 2016. Don’t forget to check your analytics and insights to see if there are adjustments you can make to your strategy for better results.

 

linkedin profile

How To Create A Winning LinkedIn Profile

First impressions count. That is both true offline and online. Think about what you do when you are checking out a business, potential client or otherwise. You do a google search, right? You want to check out people and businesses to see what you can find out. So really, when you’re considering doing business with someone, you’ve probably already come to a few conclusions before meeting them. This should tell you a little something about how you present yourself online. Your business representation starts online.

With LinkedIn, which is very much like your online resume you have an enormous opportunity to market yourself and your business.Click To Tweet People can make decisions about pursuing you for opportunities just by simply looking at your LinkedIn profile. How you set up your profile, in every aspect, what you say and choose to highlight is essential.

Often times I see that people don’t take the time to upload a good looking photo. Their headline tells you very little, they skip the summary altogether or if they do, it reads the wrong way. We can be the biggest barrier to our own opportunity when we aren’t careful to put our best foot forward online. And LinkedIn is where you want to have your buttons buttoned, your shoes shined. Am I judging you? Yes. And everyone else who goes on a search on on LinkedIn is also judging you. How does your profile look?

Do you..

  • Have a unique URL?
  • Have keywords in your headline?
  • Have a summary sharing your unique selling position
  • Have your summary written in the first person?
  • Have accomplishments listed and recommendations added?
  • Have a high quality professional profile photo?

Let’s explore step by step how to create a winning LinkedIn profile in this infographic below from  Akken Cloud and Ghergich & Co. Position yourself to stand out, grow your network and your business.

Breaking Down the Anatomy of a Successful LinkedIn Profile

Via AkkenCloud

4 Instagram Updates You Might Have Missed

Instagram has arguably dominated the social media news this Spring. The photo and video social networking platform has made quite a few changes to the platform in 2016, much of them coming in the last few weeks. So if you’ve been caught up in March Madness, presidential campaigns, running your own business, or just life! You could’ve easily missed one of the recent Instagram updates on this wildly popular network. So here’s a little synopsis on what’s new:

ALGORITHM

Some Instagram updates are hard to miss. If you noticed a surge in people asking their followers to turn on their notifications to see their posts (annoyingly so) and wondered why, you might have missed the algorithm on Instagram. I wrote a blog post about the update a few weeks ago detailing what it is, what it means and what it means for businesses.

60 SECOND VIDEO

As a predictable follow up to advertisers being able to extend their videos to 60 seconds, Instagram has given the same ability to everyday Instagram users.

Instagram videos, which have been limited to 15 seconds since 2013, can extend to a full minute.Click To Tweet

Instagram has been gradually transforming its feed from a stream of static images to a more lucrative collection of videos. In the past six months, the time Instagram users spent watching videos has increased 40 percent, according to the company.

Instagram has encouraged that trend by adding view counts to it’s videos. The company also enacted a collection of top videos around a particular subject, event or occasion and promoting them at the top of the feed, much like Snapchat’s live stories.  Another useful addition: the ability to create a video using multiple clips from the camera roll. There are many apps that will piece together your video clips , and you can now do it inside Instagram.

DESKTOP NOTIFICATIONS

I know some of you are almost 100% mobile. That’s not me. I need my QWERTY board! So for those of you who prefer using your computer over your phone, now you can see who followed you, liked your posts, commented on your posts, and mentioned you all from the convenience of your laptop computer. You know, the same place you’re creating visual content on Photoshop, sending email, files, listening to music, etc; etc;. Here’s a look at Instagram on the desktop:

instagram update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you log on via your computer, you’ll notice three icons in the top right corner of your screen. The navigation icon allows you to search and discover across Instagram. The heart icon is your notifications. Use this to view your notifications of who liked you, who followed you, etc;. The head and shoulders icon is your profile. If you’ve been exploring around, this will always get you back to your profile. Clicking on “Instagram” will take you to your feed.

instagram updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is interesting news because it is more gradual desktop integration from a platform that is so mobile based with increased functionality. I can’t help but think the company had marketers like myself in mind with this change.

 

CREATE ACCOUNTS FROM THE DESKTOP

Another one of the Instagram updates which seems to give a nod to marketers: you can now create accounts from the desktop.

instagram update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first heard this breaking news a few days ago from my friend and Instagram expert, Jenn Herman of Jenn’s Trends. If you want to keep up to date with all things Instagram, follow Jenn! Which update do you think will be the most useful to you? Share your feedback with me in the comments below!

 

snapchat

Is Snapchat Good For Businesses?

Is Snapchat good for businesses? Is it good for YOUR business? As with any other social media platform, you have to do what makes sense for your business. Without question, you need to be where your audience is. Did you know that as of June 2015, there are 100 million daily users and 86% of it’s users fall into the 13 – 37 age range?

Your target audience just might be there.

So why should businesses be on Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile app that lets you send public or private snaps of images and video to people from your smartphone. Because it’s a unique social network in comparison to others, it offers you a unique way to connect with your audience.

Being connected socially is a strategy that cannot be ignored, and Snapchat is no exception. Click To Tweet

In addition to it being unique, it is:

  • low cost
  • allows for creativity (with doodles, emojis, video enhancement)
  • Users are buyers with 76% of users buying a product online in the last month

The infographic below from SurePayroll and Ghergich & Co breaks down:

  • What Snapchat is
  • How it works
  • Statistics
  • How to use it
  • Why you should be using it
  • How to build your following

Check it out and see why a a social platform of vanishing content boasts 9,000 photos shared every second.