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Social Media Marketing for Business

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Maulik Patel

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April 19, 2017

5 Ways to Build Customer Trust & Reputation with Social Media

April 19, 2017 | By | No Comments">No Comments

In the world of digital marketing, social media is considered to be one of the most powerful channels you can use to promote your business and build a sound relationship with your customers. Because it can either make or break your relationship with them, it becomes critical to take special care while planning a social media marketing strategy.

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Creating a powerful social media marketing strategy with an aim to build a robust relationship with customers and maintain a good brand reputation is an important task. Right away, you need to determine which platforms will be targeted.

While determining the platforms, it is essential to know the current business trends and the outcomes you are looking to achieve. Additionally, selection of the social media platforms should be determined by considering your target audience. As a result, you can reach a potential audience and attract loyal customers to your business.

Here are 6 strategies that can be helpful in knowing how to engage a large number of customers and retain a strong relationship with them.

#1 – ALWAYS KEEP WHAT THE CUSTOMER NEEDS IN MINDUntitled1

One of the most basic principles of social media marketing is to identify your customers’ needs. But, the issue is that entrepreneurs run after revenue and commit the mistake of only focusing on a sales proposition. If you do the same, now is the time to make a change.

People make use of social media for their entertainment or to grasp some useful information. Now, when you’re continuously shooting posts with selling purpose on social media, then there are high chances to miss your potential customers.

It would be better to focus on the needs of the customers and offer them accordingly. Adopting this method would not only help you in attracting an audience at large but also it would build trust with the customers that your company offers something of their interest.

 

#2 – VALUE (AND RESPECT) THEIR TIME BY RESPONDING

Just as important as your posted content itself is the need to respond to your customers and make them feel heard. This will result in customer satisfaction and eventually it can help in building a strong relationship with them.

 

#3 – ALWAYS TRY TO EXCEED YOUR CUSTOMERS’ EXPECTATIONS

One of the most efficient techniques that social media marketers need to concentrate on is to offer more than what your customers typically expect.

When a customer feels that they are served with something that is more worthy than what they were expecting, there are high chances that they will trust you as a brand more readily.

By exceeding expectations, you portray how important your customer is to you and this will lead to a positive brand experience for them. Also, this gesture would encourage them to visit you again and again.twitter-75931

 

#4 – INTRODUCE CREATIVE WAYS TO ENGAGE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS

None of us like to go through long and boring texts, so how can we expect users to engage with lengthy, texted content? Consider using creative images, puzzles or quizzes to engage them instead. This tactic also encourages people to come back to your page if they grow to expect that you consistently provide interesting and engaging content.

Make an attempt to publish creative and interactive posts on your social media accounts. When customers engage with the posts, showing gratitude towards them would be the smartest way to build a trustworthy relationship with them. You can either respond to them with a ‘Thank You’ note or reward them for participating. This way users will become more inclined to engage with your brand and also be more likely to talk about you with their own network of contacts.

 

#5 – MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY

Maintaining consistency means literally maintaining all the traits of your brand across all the different ways that you communicate. This can refer to the tone you use in your content, the logo of your brand, the layout and style of materials on your company’s website and of course your social media accounts. Everything should be consistent so that your customers get a reliable brand experience.

 

A FINAL WORD

While the world of social media marketing is certainly complex, it can also mean wonderful things for your brand if you use it the right way. I hope that these strategies help you as you work to define your own approach!

About the Author: Maulik Patel is the managing director at Blurbpoint Media. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. In addition, Maulik also runs the best SEO companies of India, ClickMatix and HireSEOAgency, to help businesses with local SEO, link-building, content marketing and paid advertising.

Lewis Robinson

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April 14, 2017

Why Your Small-Business Social Media Strategy Could Be Inadequate

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Social media is an excellent way to boost organic traffic for your small business. With the right social media marketing strategy, you can see a drastic increase in viewer numbers and sales. The problem is that many small businesses don’t have the right social media marketing strategy. This means that at best, the business is wasting its time on a strategy that isn’t working. At worst, it could be harming its own brand. Here are some of the most glaring social media mistakes made by small businesses, and how you can avoid them:

  1. Not Having Social Media Accounts for Your Business

If you’re not currently using social media at all for your small business, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to reach a large number of potential customers. You wouldn’t be alone either, as only 53 percent of small businesses were active on social media as of 2015.

It’s understandable that you may not want to commit more of your business’s limited time and resources towards social media, but it’s becoming more and more of a necessity. Think about how necessary it is to have a website for your business in the modern era. It’s becoming the same with social media. To make sure that no one else snatches up your business’s name, you should register it with all the major social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

  1. Trying to Do Too Much Too Soon

Many businesses jump headfirst into social media and immediately try to build their brands on every platform. The problem with this is that you can quickly spread yourself too thin. It’s not easy to interact with people and post consistently when you’re doing it across four or five different networks. Avoid this by building your brand on one or two networks at a time, achieving measurable results on each platform before deciding to expand out to another.

  1. Not Using All Available Tools

A successful social media presence requires more than just one person sitting on their computer, thinking of interesting things to post. Constructing meaningful social media campaigns is hard and involves a lot of moving parts. Rather than trying to create and manage everything yourself, consider paying a nominal fee to use a social media campaign management service that will allow you to easily create and automate campaigns.

Creating the campaign is only half the battle; You must also be able to track the campaign’s impact on your bottom-line in order to justify allocating resources to social media. A business intelligence dashboard can give you a clear view of how much you’re spending and earning from each social media campaign, as well as from your other marketing channels. Armed with this data, you’ll be able to understand which marketing channels are right for you, and what level of social media presence is the most profitable.

  1. Lack of Interaction

Remember that it’s called social media for a reason. You can’t just hop on, make the occasional post to promote your products, and call it a day. Your small business’s social media account and posts won’t get many viewers that way, and the viewers it does get aren’t going to come back.

Your business needs to interact with people. You should be starting conversations, handling any customer issues that are brought up on your page, and making sure to respond to all your comments. One of the biggest pet peeves customers have is when a business doesn’t respond to them on social media or fails to respond in a timely manner. Show your customers that you care by responding promptly to them.

  1. Not Being True to Your Brand

Businesses of all sizes have made the mistake of trying to pander to specific demographics on social media. One of the most common ways businesses do this is by inserting slang into their social media posts. It’s transparent and doesn’t leave a good impression in the target audience. Maintain a consistent brand voice. Slang is fine, as long as it fits your brand’s image. A skateboard shop can get away with using slang in its social media posts. An accounting firm will look ridiculous doing that. Different brands need to communicate in different ways.


Effective social media marketing isn’t easy, considering the large number of businesses that now use social media for that very purpose. But if you avoid these common mistakes and stay active, you’ll stay a step ahead of your competition.

Gavin Hammar

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April 12, 2017

6 Ways To Acquire More Clients For Your Startup Social Media Agency

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So, you’ve decided to quit your day job to get your very own social media agency off the ground. Congratulations! The road ahead is going to be a challenging one, but at the same time extremely rewarding. With so many powerful social media management tools available to help you make a success of it, there has actually never been a better time to launch a social media marketing agency.

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The biggest obstacle you’ll face is coming up with strategies to grow your agency while at the same time, providing a consistent level of service to your existing clients.

If your startup has been going for a while, I’m assuming that you’ve already answered the following questions (if not, stop reading this right now, grab a notepad, and jot down the answers before reading on):

  • Why did I start a social media business?
  • Who is my ideal client?
  • What services do I provide?
  • What makes my agency different?
  • How do my prices and service compare to my competition?

At Sendible, we have helped thousands of agencies worldwide implement winning social media strategies for their clients and in turn, expand their agency businesses using our software. In fact, 43% of them started out just like you, with the simple idea of offering affordable social media marketing services within a specific vertical. I’ve personally had the pleasure of seeing some of these agencies grow from literally having just one client to supporting hundreds!

Having had the pleasure of speaking with so many agencies over the years and having launched a successful startup myself, here are the 6 most effective tactics I’ve personally adopted at Sendible to gain clients early on.

1. Talk to friends and family – Tell your story

In the early days, it’s critical that you spread the word within your personal network. Let everyone know that you’ve taken the leap and have decided to start your social media agency. You’ll be surprised by how much support you’ll receive and how many introductions your immediate network will be able to make for you!

In order to gain buy-in, it’s essential that you have a credible story. Your future clients need to trust that you will deliver an incredible service for them. They need to know why you are better than the thousands of other agencies out there. Think about what you can offer that’s different. What is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? What experience do you have that can showcase your past successes? What can you offer them that other agencies can’t? Remember, the best referrals come from people who know and trust you. Declan Dunn from The Growth Generator, has the following suggestion, “Start an agency with a few free clients, and learn what you’re worth, then charge for it. The experience will teach you so much, if you’re willing to learn.”

Once you have a few clients, even the free ones, you’ll be able to use case studies and testimonials to attract even more clients.

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Here is how I recommend launching your agency to friends and family:

  • Create a basic landing page on your website. If you don’t yet have a website, you can use a service like Unbounce to validate your startup idea. The landing page should list 1 challenge your prospective clients are facing and how you can solve it for them. There should be a simple form that captures their email address and phone number.
  • Open Excel and add the names of your 20 closest friends and family members along with their email address, where they work, job title, phone number and links to their social media accounts. Later, you’ll extend this to include prospects from LinkedIn and other sources.
  • Draft an email that looks something like this:

Hi [friend’s name],

I hope you’re well. I’m going to be launching a new social media management service for [insert niche/vertical here]. The #1 challenge they face is [insert challenge here] and I want to provide a new type of service that [insert your solution here].

 Do you know of anyone in this vertical that I could speak to?

 Best,

[Your Name]

 P.S. I’ve created a landing page that explains what I’ll be offering. If you can share this link with your friends on Facebook, I’d really appreciate it: [insert link to landing page]

Example:

Hi Bob,

I hope you’re well. I’m going to be launching a new social media management service for small independent coffee shops. The #1 challenge they face is competing with the large coffee chains like Starbucks and I want to provide a specialist service that helps them drive more business by spreading the word on social media and attracting more coffee lovers to their establishments.

 Do you know of any coffee shop owners that may be interested in this?

 Best,

 Jane

 P.S. I’ve created a landing page that explains what I’ll be offering. If you can share this link with your friends on Facebook and LinkedIn, I’d really appreciate it: [insert link to landing page]

2. Partner with a non-competing service provider in your niche

Other agencies and service providers who work with similarly sized clients but offer non-competing services can be a great source of new-business referrals. For example, if you offer social media management solutions for coffee shops, you could find a partner that offers SEO services and loyalty programs for small, independent restaurants.

Reach out to these service providers by explaining what you offer. Again, always start with a challenge they may be facing and how you could help them. It’s also worth adding that as you grow, it becomes essential to bring on a partner that can provide the content piece and deliver bespoke blog content for your clients.

Here is an example of an outreach email you may wish to send to a potential partner:

Hi Bob,

 I’ve heard about the great work you’re doing in SEO for small restaurants. I was wondering if you have ever had any requests to provide social media management as well.

 I would love to see if we can partner up to offer a package that includes both of our services.

 Are you free to speak for 15 minutes on Tuesday?

 Jane

Once you’ve developed a relationship with a partner, you may want to host a meetup or webinar to help spread the word about your offering. Cross promotion is a great way to attract new clients and showcase your expertise in the space.

3. Use LinkedIn to carve out your ideal prospects

Hunter Wills from Wovv.com, compares online relationships to dating. “Did your mom or dad ever tell you the dating rule, ‘Don’t kiss on the first date’? I think that applies to online relationships”, he says.

Here are his LinkedIn tactics for building a list of your ideal prospects:

  1. Using the advanced search features on LinkedIn, locate your ideal clients.
  2. Add their details to the spreadsheet you created earlier, along with their Twitter and Instagram handles.
  3. Every couple of weeks, make some sort of contact with each person in the spreadsheet. Start with a soft touch such as a like or comment on their updates.
  4. After a few subtle interactions, look for an article they may enjoy based on their interests and share with them directly. You may also decide to tag them in an interesting photo you find using a hashtag search on Instagram by mentioning them in the comments.
  5. Repeat this for 2-3 months and then send an email asking for a quick call. You can gently nudge towards this by mentioning that you’ve been connected for a while and that you’ve enjoyed their content and wanted to get to know their business a bit better.

Will explains, “A person’s favorite subject to talk about is themselves! After that, 90%+ of the people will then ask about you and your business. Talk about the parts of your business that answer the pain points they brought up. See if you can (gently) advance them down the sales funnel.”

4. Invite prospects to a free training session on social media

Everyone needs help doing a better job with their social media marketing. As a startup agency, your challenge is to be seen as an expert in your field.

Come up with a series of talks that you can present to your ideal prospects online. The idea here is that the first talk will be a free taster session. Use a service like GoToWebinar or Google Hangouts to host your first session. The key is to make it simple for people to register.

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‘How do I find attendees?’, you ask. Well, you can easily find new prospects by conducting a search on Quora or Twitter with the question “Where can I learn social media marketing?”, “Is social media training really necessary for a business?” or “What are the best resources for online social media training for small business?” Leave a response with details of a free online training course that you’ll be providing which will answer this question. Explain that the first session is free so there is no up-front commitment. Each registrant then becomes a potential client for your business.

Make sure you record your webinars and upload them to Youtube so that you can repurpose them on your blog, social media and direct people to them on Quora.

5. Let your clients build the business for you

Do remarkable work for your clients and let them build the business for you. By doing great work for your early clients, you can feel confident that they will inevitably bring more business to you through referrals.

To avoid disappointment and unhappy clients, start by setting realistic expectations from the get-go. A lot of clients, especially those who are new to social media marketing, will expect to see ROI fairly quickly. You need to make it clear that if they are looking for immediate ROI, there are other, more effective ways to do this and social isn’t always the best channel. However, by agreeing on common goals with your clients and defining steps that move you towards achieving them, your clients will have full transparency on where you are focusing your efforts.

Once you’ve signed your first client, start by defining the outcomes. What are they hoping to achieve? Once you know your client’s goals, you can then work backwards and define exactly how you will achieve those objectives. Each step needs to be measurable, time-bound and specific.

For example, let’s assume you and your client agree on the following goal:

“Increase visits to my coffee shop”

SMART

 

You would then define the measurable steps and strategies needed to get your client closer to reaching their desired outcome. These are SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

For example:

  1. Publish 1 blog post per week educating readers on the source of the coffee shop’s beans and flavors with each blog post achieving at least 20 shares on social media.
  2. Post 2 photos of food and coffee from the coffee shop to Instagram every day with at least 20 likes per photo.
  3. Increase Instagram followers by 100% by the end of the first month.
  4. Drive at least 10 conversations on Twitter each week that show a positive intent from someone new to visit the coffee shop.
  5. Add 5 more positive reviews on Yelp by the end of February.

By agreeing the objectives and key results needed to help your client be successful over a given period, you can prevent having to patch up relationships with disappointed clients later on. Since everything is agreed and signed off on up-front, as long as you can deliver progress towards the agreed-upon goals, you can be almost certain that you will have happy clients who are willing to recommend your service to others. You can also use this as a tactic later on to show your clients what you could potentially achieve with increased budgets.

6. Don’t let quality slip as you grow. Plan for scale early.

It’s important that you maintain a consistently high quality of work as you bring on more clients. The worst thing that can happen is that you start to grow and your first few clients who benefitted from most of your attention early on suddenly start to notice your level of service slipping and decide to leave you. Don’t be greedy. If taking on a new business means that the quality drops for your existing clients, say no for the moment and work on scaling up your operations to support your new demands.

Ideally, you should plan for scale as soon as you’ve brought on your first client. The way you should think about scale is “how can I provide the exact same level of service to each of my clients, whether I have 1 or 100?”

You need to have an advanced social media management tool in place to ensure you can offer the same high level of service your clients have come to expect from you as you grow.

You may want to select a lesser-known tool to give your agency the edge over competitors. Offer them something they can’t find elsewhere. The tool you select should be designed specifically with startup agencies in mind, as you need a solution that gives you the productivity benefits to be able to go out and pitch to new prospects whilst at the same time, delighting your existing clients with excellent work.

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As a minimum, the tool you select needs to have the following:

  1. A unified social inbox. The biggest mistake that startup agencies make is using a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to manage each of their clients’ streams individually. You don’t want to be jumping between your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram streams for each of your clients. You need a single-view, priority inbox for each client that allows you to respond to conversations from anywhere, no matter the source.
  2. A focus on social media productivity to help startup agencies service multiple clients easily and efficiently. You have limited resources, so the tool needs to act as an extra pair of hands! You should be using the additional time it gives you to pitch to new clients and grow your agency.
  3. Content approval workflows that allow your clients to approve content before it goes out. This is also critical as you start to grow your team so that you can maintain the quality by double-checking content before it’s published. The worst that can happen is that you are responsible for ruining the reputation of one of the brands you’re managing!
  4. The ability to bulk import content from a CSV file for each of your clients. The last thing you want to be doing is manually scheduling content for clients individually. Make sure the tool you select allows you to import your client’s campaigns with one click.
  5. Easily source engaging content on specific topics for your clients that is more likely to drive positive interactions with the brand. Finding content can be extremely time consuming. The tool you select should recommend high quality content that will resonate with your client’s audience.
  6. Automation of time-consuming lead generation activities such as social listening, conversation starters and growth hacks. We all know that one of the strategies employed by experts to grow a following rapidly is to engage with influencers by listening and adding value to conversations. Make sure the tool you choose allows you to automate some of these activities.
  7. The option to create logins for your clients so that they can collaborate with you more easily on social media. The more transparent you can be with clients, the more trust you can build. By providing a login to your social media management software for clients, you can assign them conversations, share your progress and they can easily see where your efforts are going. This will come in handy when their contracts are up for renewal!
  8. Produce great-looking reports for clients to showcase your progress. It’s essential that the social media solution you choose makes it simple to automate the delivery via email of insightful PDF reports for your clients. You need to show progress against the client’s goals, so a social media management tool that offers advanced reporting capabilities is essential.

Partner with a trusted platform that not only helps you deliver a superior social media management service to your clients but also enhances your productivity. Remember, to grow, you need to be able to provide the same high level of service to clients at scale.

 

 

Trey Donaldson

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April 6, 2017

3 Ways to Enhance Engagement With Your Brand

Building up your brand awareness online requires you to have a presence on your blog, your social media channels, and anywhere else your customers can be found. Once you’ve put your brand out there, the next step is to create engagement opportunities with your customers.

This is far easier said than done, but with the right strategies in place, you can give people great reasons to engage with your content, wherever it may be.

3 Ways To Increase Engagement With Your Brand

Standard practices for engagement usually include asking for comments, giving your audience something to talk about, and so on. We’re going to discuss a few strategies that go beyond the basics and really position your brand as one to watch and engage with.

1. Tell Great Stories

Stories are an incredible part of our society, and they’re also a powerful way to get someone’s attention. In a time where our attention span is shorter than a goldfish’s, you need a good hook to grab people and keep them with engaged with your content.

The answer lies in stories. The kind of stories that show (and tell) your audience what your brand can mean to them. I’m talking about great tales with a main character that customers can root for and understand. These stories should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. More than that, they should have a great hook that makes a customer stop on your site, or on social, and engage with your content.

Focus on the human side of things. Say, for example, you’re telling a story about james from top10-websitehosting. You can talk about how he started working for the company, what unique things he brings to the company, and what he does for the customers.

2. Run a Sweepstakes or Contest

Our second strategy is one that involves getting people excited about your brand through things like sweepstakes, contests, or marketing campaigns. Check out user-friendly tools like Heyo that help you create a variety of different promotions without the need for complex coding.

A great example is running contests on Facebook. You can create all kinds of different campaigns and offer prizes for the winner/winners in order to incentivize customer participation.

Let’s say you’re a t-shirt company and you want more engagement in the form of likes. You can hold a sweepstakes where you send out t-shirts to lucky winners who entered to win and also ask that people like your page in order to access the promotion. Another option would be to hold a contest where people can submit their designs. The person who wins will get a cash prize and a free t-shirt with their design on it. Just like that, you also have a new design to sell!

3. Host a Live Stream or Webinar

Live streaming has become huge in today’s online world. With giant brands like Facebook introducing live services, brands can more easily access the tools they need to host live events or even webinars. For B2B companies, webinars can be great for engagement as they promise valuable information that other businesses will want to obtain.

For B2C companies, a live stream can offer incredible amounts of engagement. Other brands have already found the success they wanted from live streaming. BuzzFeed, for example, streamed themselves putting rubber bands on a watermelon until it exploded. Silly, yes, but it earned them 807,000 views during its peak, and 315,000 comments!

Live streams are popular and exciting, so look for a way to create live event that your customers would enjoy. Even something as simple as a behind-the-scenes look at your business could work.

Final Thoughts

Brand engagement is the goal of all online businesses. These strategies will help you better understand how you can pique the interest of your customers and convince them to join up with your brand and your content. How do you increase brand engagement? Let us know in the comments!

Amy Winer

By

March 29, 2017

5 Main Types of Blog Traffic (And How to Improve Them)

March 29, 2017 | By | 2 Comments">2 Comments

Unlike when you’re driving, traffic is something you want when you’re starting a blog. Traffic measures the number of people who are visiting your site and where they are coming from. Today’s connected world allows people to access your site from a wide variety of avenues. They won’t always type it directly into the search bar. Sometimes they’ll come from social media or from Google, or from another site entirely.

5 Main Types of Blog Traffic (And How to Improve Them)

If your blog is a beating heart, then traffic is the blood that flows through its veins. This is how you bring people into your brand, convert them into paying customers, and engage with them as well. Traffic is everything, but not all traffic is created equal.

Let’s take a look at the five main types of traffic you can expect to get to your site, and how you can improve upon and harness them.

1. Direct Traffic

This first type of traffic is about as simple as it gets. This is the type of traffic that occurs when someone types your URL into their web browser and comes directly to your site. You won’t have a lot of this at the beginning, but if you promote your blog everywhere, you’ll soon find that people come directly to you.

This type of traffic can be improved upon with the right promotions and brand building. It comes with time as people get to know your brand and it appears at the top of their mind when they are searching for similar products or services. Most likely, these will be visitors who have been to your site before and who had a great experience.

2. Organic Search

Organic search is the currency of search engine optimization (SEO). This is the traffic you watch to see how your optimization efforts are going and measure progress against. Improving your organic search is something you can easily do with the proper strategies in place.

Here are some of my top strategies for improving your SEO (and your organic search traffic) quickly:

  • Install Yoast SEO if you’re using WordPress (it’s free!)
  • Use tools like io to find and target long-tail keywords (more than 2 words in the phrase).
  • Approach your content with the goal of providing in-depth information and value. Write for people, not search engines.
  • Look to your competition for topic ideas and focus on things your audience is talking about.
  • Build backlinks from other sites by guest posting and partnering with influencers

These are just some of the ways you can increase your organic traffic. Google has literally hundreds of factors they take into account when ranking websites, so every little bit counts.

3. Social Media

Our next type of traffic comes from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. People may have clicked an ad, or they could have followed one of your posts to your site. Either way, if you’re seeing this then you’re doing something right with your social media marketing.

Improving this type of traffic comes from exercising control. Don’t try to be everywhere all the time on social media platforms. Choose the ones that your audience is most active on and focus your efforts there.

Another way to improve this traffic is to boost or promote posts that tend to perform well. Facebook, for example, offers this at a starting price of just $5.

4. Referral Traffic

Referral traffic is what happens when someone clicks a link on another website that leads to your own. Known as backlinks, these are a huge SEO strategy and a clear sign to Google that people see you as an authority.

Referral traffic is improved upon by earning new backlinks for your site. The best way to do this, beyond creating great content, is to write guest posts on other sites. Many other blogs in your niche most likely accept guest posts and will offer you a link back to your site within it.

This will help you build avenues back to your site, which will in turn generate referral traffic.

5. Paid Traffic

Finally, there’s always the option to make an investment. Whether this is in the form of ads on social media or a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign, there are ways to leverage capital in the interest of bring people to your site.

A great example would be to run a sweepstakes or contest on your site. This would generate huge amounts of buzz around your brand and give you the opportunity to welcome countless new people to your online community.

Improving this type of traffic is done through research and targeted campaigns that utilize data about your audience to make the best decisions and reach the right people.

Final Thoughts

Traffic is incredibly important, but it’s arguably more important that you understand and leverage the various types of traffic that come into your site. This will help you target the right kinds of people and ultimately get more from each visitor.

How do you prioritize and improve your traffic? Let us know in the comments!

This article was originally written by Amy Winer for the Votigo blog

Jennifer Livingston

By

March 8, 2017

How to Engage Your Customers Using Social Media

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Ever since its emergence into the marketplace over ten years ago, social media continues to be a force to be reckoned with on a global scale. It has completely changed the way people communicate, share their lives and stay in touch with current events. It’s also created an avenue for many people to work and build businesses within. Another way social media has changed the world is through marketing. It’s another medium that businesses can use to effectively engage with their customers. If you’re a business owner who wants to learn more about how to keep a pulse on your customers through social media, consider implementing the following strategies.


RESPOND TO COMMENTS

Customer engagement isn’t a one-sided dialogue. In many ways, you’ll need to treat social media the same way as face-to-face interactions. If you told someone you like their blouse and they heard you, but remained silent, you wouldn’t want much to do with them anymore. As your company posts pictures, videos and tweets, there will be at least one person who responds. Don’t ignore that person’s comment even if it’s a comment as simple as “I love this!” If you have more comments than you can realistically respond to, just click the like button and pick a few to respond to. However, when you’re just starting out, chances are you’ll only have a few comments. Respond to them all. It’ll make a big difference.


RE-POST GOOD-LOOKING CONTENT THAT’S TAGGED

When someone takes a picture using your product and raves about it, consider this a free form of marketing and repost it to your page. When you repost it to your page, take a screenshot and upload it. Don’t use the repost apps that leave the watermark at the bottom. You’ll want your page to be visually consistent and clean. It’s also great to look up hashtags that are associated with your brand. If you see good-looking pictures highlighting your product, click ‘like’ and let your customers know you see that they purchased your product and you appreciate it. When customers get the notification, this excites them to share and become more engaged eventually.


ENCOURAGE THE USE OF HASHTAGS

Hashtags are the best way for your audience to find you. If you’d like to build a brand, you’ll need to remain intentional about creating language that will keep you connected to your fans. If your company sells lipstick, consider placing the hashtag on the tube or the packaging. Make sure your customers know where to find you.


ASK QUESTIONS

Once you have a good amount of people following your brand online, it’s a good idea to ask questions. It’s helps to get a good understanding of what your users are in need of. When your company remains the solution to your customers’ problems, you’ll stay in business. So, don’t be afraid to ask. For example, if your company built a YouTube channel surrounding your content, ask your viewers to comment below with their answers to a particular question you have. Use captioning services on your videos to leave an email address and other information so they can contact your company. Make sure to reiterate that you’d love to hear from them.


POST CONSISTENTLY

It’s hard to engage with your customers if you’re not there. According to HootSuite.com, the number of users on social media was up to 2.8 Billion by the end of 2016. Because this number is so high, it makes no sense for companies to be missing in action. Always remain engaged and aware of what’s going on. It’s also extremely important to post content on a consistent basis. Create a schedule so that your fans knows when to find you. When it comes to social media, consistency has a tendency to breed credibility.


Overall, the process of using social media is constantly changing. Now, more platforms are including live options to compete with Periscope. As platforms add different features to stay relevant and innovative, your learning curve will continue to change. As long as you remain visible and use these tactics, your users will chime in and stay plugged into what your company is producing.

Lucy Adams

By

March 6, 2017

How to Increase Brand Awareness on Instagram

March 6, 2017 | By | One Comment">One Comment

According to statistics, the number of monthly active users on Instagram increased from 500 million in June 2016 up to 600 million in December 2016. Billions of likes appear every hour! Undoubtedly, Instagram has become one of the greatest promotion tools.

But how to use it for the maximum benefit of your business? How to present your brand in the best light? Follow the tips below, and you’ll be able to integrate your advertising campaign into this social platform smoothly and successfully.

 

#1 Set the Right Account Settings

  • First of all, create a business account named the same as your company. Choose something that’s most associated with the brand to convey its core purpose and values.
  • Fill the profile: add some information about your company, upload a beautiful branded image (ideally, the logo) and put a link to the official website.
  • Integrate your account with Facebook, set up the automatic integration of Instagram photos to Facebook to increase the number of reposts. Companies such as Mercedes-Benz gain much more likes using cross-posting.

#2 Advertise

  • Come up with a unique brand strategy. Share the idea of your organization with people and focus the content around it.
  • Use hashtags. The top-10 most popular hashtags in 2017 are:
    • #followme
    • #fashion
    • #happy
    • #me
    • #cute
    • #beautiful
    • #tbt
    • #photooftheday
    • #instagood
    • #love

Although there’s no restriction on the number of characters (unlike Twitter), hashtags that are too long, as well as an overuse of hashtags looks unnatural and can scare visitors. Apply up to 7 hashtags to each photo, not more, including the name of the brand.

Use unique hashtags for different advertising campaigns. For example, if you have decided to hold a photo contest, a special hashtag for that event may look like #[your_brand_name]photocontest.

Include common hashtags. For example, if you own a coffee shop, add tags like #coffee, #latte, etc. However, popular hashtags are a bit tricky: a lot of people use them so that you can’t move to the top until your photos get at least a few thousand likes a day.

Keep track of new and relevant hashtags. Look for users who use your brand name as a hashtag, and try to set the feedback. Keep track of all mentions on Facebook and Twitter. Respond quickly to ensure a good and long-term relationship with customers.

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#3 Take Care of Your Clients and Interact with Them

  • Show your followers how much you appreciate them. Share the best photos of your subscribers. For example, Starbucks, one of the most successful brands on Instagram, every few weeks publishes one of the followers’ works that depicts the company’s products.
  • Use @ for references. People love when you treat them personally. Use @ if the image is related to a famous person. If the pic is really interesting, you may get a repost and, as a consequence, additional followers.
  • Add some excitement using Photoshop, Diptic or Photoshake. Short videos will diversify your content strategy. For example, you may show users how to use one of your products.
  • Create a fascinating brand story. Beautiful photos and videos that convey the basic principles and values of your company will work for you.
  • Give some insights. Share the photos of your employees who stand behind the success of your brand. Something from behind the scenes is always highly appreciated. Stay closer to people! For instance, you can publish funny, entertaining videos from corporate events or share photos which can’t be found in other social networks.
  • Prepare the audience for a great event. If you’re going to release something to the market, announce it exclusively on Instagram. For example, on the day of the premiere, upload a video on how the staff prepares for the official part, not disclosing what’s at the core of it.
  • Do not keep silence. Questions give rise to debates – ask for the readers’ opinion about recent posts or images. For example, if you are the owner of a clothing store, you may ask what kind of shoes would suit the jeans from the new collection of your brand. Create a hashtag by which followers would be able to post pictures on the topic.
  • Ask users to come up with a caption for an image. Publish an unusual photo of one of your products and announce a competition for the best caption (and do not forget to reward the winner!).
  • Use crowdsourcing. Ask users to publish photos that show the role of the brand in their lives. This will help you to understand the target audience and will be useful for further research aimed at the development of your business.
  • Use geotagging to target local users. Place QR codes on Instagram so that users will be able to get discounts.
  • Regularly update your profile, regardless of the number of subscribers. Decide on the frequency and time of publications, taking into account analytics. The most “engaged” time on Instagram shifts from day to day: On Monday, for example, it’s from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.; on Friday – 1 a.m. and 8 p.m. are the sweetest hours.

Instagram is one of the most developing business instruments, so each and every aspiring entrepreneur should take it into account as a brand strategy platform.

Whether you like it or not, Instagram is too large for a business to ignore! I wish you all the best in your aspirations!

This article was written by contributing author Lucy Adams, a Buzz Essay writer.