GUEST BLOGGER: 5 Ways to Increase Social Media Engagement

Brands of all shapes and sizes are hung up on making waves in social media.

In such an overcrowded landscape, piercing through the noise and reaching your audience is a daunting task. Well, be that as it may, there are surefire strategies to make it happen. Instead of bombarding people with intrusive marketing and sale pitches, you need to foster meaningful relationships.

Furthermore, it is necessary to invest a great deal of time and effort in getting to know your audience, working out a marketing strategy, and implementing campaigns. But, do not fret. All your blood, sweat, and tears will be a drop in the bucket compared to amazing benefits that wait down the road.

Uncover your unique persona

To drive traffic and conversions, you need to flesh out a unique social media persona. It should be the genuine reflection of who you are (your brand) and what you stand for (your values and mission). Brands like Dollar Shave Club have proven that throwing fun and humor in the mix pays off big time.

The trick is to avoid sounding too promotional. People want to feel something and connect to your story. The best way to influence them is to evoke emotions and provide entertaining, educational and useful pieces of content. Just try to be unique rather than emulating more successful brands. Standing out is the most reliable tactic you can employ.

Embrace a consumer-centric interaction

Social media is the place of constant interaction between brands and customers. It is a far cry from traditional platforms for self-promotion. Alas, one common mistake businesses make is not listening to their audiences. You should know better. Conduct a thorough research to figure out people’s wants, needs, and online habits. Show that you care about what they think.

Take part in conversations on a regular basis and ask users what they would like to see in the future. Comments and reviews can provide you with invaluable insights for fine-tuning your social media strategy. You can also direct followers to your review pages and engage them in instant messaging. In any event, soak in as much feedback as you humanly can.

Host contests

People adore getting free stuff. You can take advantage of this fact and sponsor various giveaways. For instance, you can ask your followers to share and like your social media posts, comment and tag their friends or you can encourage them to submit their own pictures and videos in order to qualify for rewards. These tactics tend to increase the volume of social signals and engagement rates (and you can also end up with a lot of awesome user-generated content).

Moreover, an online contest does not only have to be a strategy for increasing social media engagement but it can also serve as an incentive for your customers to spend money. A great way to achieve this is to launch a loyalty program. For example, research done by ICLP shows that 41% of Hong Kong shoppers would spend more on brands with a loyalty program. So, something like a branded prepaid card in Hong Kong could be a perfect gift for your contest – it generates buzz on social media and also helps you boost sales.

Harness the power of the visual  

Visual content is a social media super-weapon you have to incorporate in your strategy. Studies have shown that posts with quality, non-generic images and videos attract way more likes and shares than plain text. Many brands have managed to increase engagement with assets like behind-the-scenes photos and lighthearted videos.

Of course, there are also image-heavy networks like Pinterest and Instagram, where visuals are basically the name of the game. They provide filters and tools for visual enhancement as well. So, step up content production.  It is time to craft killer posts, master the art of visual storytelling, and enthrall the audience.

Add relevant hashtags

Hashtags are essential tools for improving reach and amplifying the impact of your efforts. They enable you to make the most of keywords and keeping close tabs on the flow of discussion. What is more, hashtags can be used to center conversations on certain trending topics, effectively connecting with everyone who uses the same hashtags.

Try not to go overboard, though. Over-stuffing posts with hashtags can achieve the opposite effect and actually put people off. To tap into new audiences and delight existing customers, take lessons from the best of the best. Coca-Cola, for example, has worked wonders with the #ShareACoke on Instagram and other major networks. That is how you nail the campaign and flatten the competition.

Shape up or ship out

Social media can be a real game-changer. It generates buzz around your business and propels the whole organization towards set objectives. But, rest assured that arresting and retaining attention does not come easy. You first have to come up with a rock-solid game plan and do your homework. Capture consumer data and feedback to refine your approach.

The goal is to make sure your messages and content strike a chord with an audience of a particular social network. Following these steps, you should be able to witness the avalanche of shares and likes coming your way. Just bear in mind that social media engagement is an ongoing process that never really comes to a halt.

So, whatever you do, just do not rest on the laurels or take loyalty for granted.

Elaine Bennett
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Facebook, is it over for businesses?

Since Facebook announced the algorithm change for Business Pages, back in January, many business owners have either left the platform or have given up.

The reality is that as a small business owner we can still continue to grow on Facebook.  There are many elements available through Facebook that allow us to keep building our businesses.  You have your personal timeline, groups and YES, your Business Page.

What I have seen and heard, is that it was the larger companies, those who had larger followings, that got more affected by the change than us ‘little’ guys.  Reason being is that they had huge amounts of engagement (like/comment/shares) than we had, so the decrease in numbers were much more noticeable.

I will tell you that I personally, did not see a difference in my “number of people reached” on each of my posts, I am still averaging 600 daily reach on my posts.  Why?

I have been using Facebook for 10 years for business, with the last 6 focused on my Facebook business.  During those 10 years, I spent more time building relationships through the different groups, than anything else.  I realized the impact of this for my business, so I knew that I had to dedicate DAILY time to doing this.  I knew that my Business Page was not the ONLY thing I needed to focus on.  I also learned that my personal timeline could make a HUGE impact.

By working these 3 main elements of Facebook, it ultimately, will affect your following and your engagement on your Business Page.  People will want to follow you because you have built a relationship and in turn, they will tell their friends and your following starts to grow.  HOWEVER, this is not the only way, this is just a small fraction of what you can do.

Really think about what you are posting on your Business Page.  Does it provide value?  Is it something that will create engagement?  Does it show you as an expert in your field?  Does it show who you are/your personality?  Is it ANOTHER business promotion?

What we post on our Business Page is the KEY to creating engagement, even against the algorithm.  When people make sure that they are seeing your posts, then they are engaging, that will draw in more attention.  Facebook loves engagement, so we need to do what we can to create it.  P.S. Did you know that when you ‘share’ your Business Page posts onto your personal timeline and into groups, this is considered engagement?  

As you are growing and learning which type of posts work best, DON’T get discouraged by your numbers if they are not all great, every day.  Just keep moving forward and focus on improving what you are doing.

Here is a great article from Buffer talking more in-depth about the Facebook algorithms and some suggestions on what you can do.  READ HERE

Working Facebook for your Business

If you have decided that you are only going to use Facebook to build your business, then it is important to invest the time into it.

When I first started using Facebook, over 10 years ago, I would be on there 6 hours a day, YES, 6 hours per day. It wasn’t just about popping in and doing a post, then logging off, it was about having a plan and working it. I also recommend that you use your desktop/laptop to do the work as the Facebook App isn’t as user friendly plus it will save you time than working off of a phone.

The Daily Plan

  1. Work your personal timeline/profile to get your messages out there.
    • Post a status telling people what you are up to, what your tasks are, what you want to accomplish, what your successes are, BUT don’t sell to them.
    • Share some personal elements that you are comfortable about sharing.
    • What you don’t want to do is push your family and friends away by having them hide you in their news feeds.
  2. Go through your news feed and interact on other people’s posts, either by liking or commenting. You will want to do this numerous times throughout the day.
  3. Go to the “pages feed” tab (found on your ‘home’ tab, then down the left under the ‘explore’ tab) and scroll through and interact on other Business Pages’ posts. I like to do this once in the morning and once in the evening.
  4. Find 3-5 groups that have more of a networking element to them, and interact DAILY within these groups.
    • Ask questions, post inspiration, share ideas, share tips, post humour, promote your products/services.
    • Take the time to scroll through the Group wall and interact on other people’s post with a like and/or comment.
    • Participate in any online events the group offers, like Dance Cards, Coffee Dates, Split Lives, as this is an opportunity for you to meet more people.
    • Check the same groups at the end of the day and do more interactions.
  5. Post on your Business Page
    • There are many different opinions on how often you should post on your Business Page in one day.  For me, personally, I only post once per day, at 8 am.  I have found that this works very, very well for me, as it allows my post to be seen throughout the day.
    • If you want to post more than once per day, then I recommend you space out the posts, don’t do a whole bunch at once as you will drive your audience away.  Think about posting between 8-9 am, between 4-5 pm and after 9 pm.
    • Mix up your posts so you are not always trying to sell to people.  Post questions, inspiration, some personal elements that reflect your business, tips, humour, ideas on how to use your products/services, and of course promote.
    • Use pictures of yourself where you can, people love pictures of us.
    • Do videos to get more visibility as Facebook is a huge supporter of the video platform.
    • Keep on top of your Business Page notifications and make sure to either like/comment when people interact with your stuff.
    • You want to make sure you are also checking your messages regularly and quickly, as Facebook tracks how quick we are to answer messages and actually posts this on our pages to let the public know what our response rate is.
    • Share your posts into a variety of groups and randomly (but strategically) on your personal timeline. Facebook considers ‘shares’ as interaction, so you can help push up your reach.  Don’t do more than 7-8 shares per post as Facebook will consider it as spam and you could end up in Facebook jail for 7-10 days.

I hope this helps in giving you a daily plan to work Facebook and build your business.  Again, it is important that if you are only going to use online to build, that you work it.

I do have a free ‘daily checklist’ that you can print off that will help keep you organized, download it HERE.

 

Blogging…..Should you do it?

So many of my clients and business friends ask “is it worth me to start blogging?”  YES!!

Here’s the deal…..I am not a blogger, I don’t know enough about SEO but what I can tell you, is that since I have starting blogging, it has brought me more visibility, especially from people through Google whom don’t even know me.

When I blog, I just write.  I write how I would talk to people if they were sitting across from me.  I write exactly how I would talk.  I don’t use fancy words, I don’t focus on what I should or shouldn’t be doing, I just write.  I share my thoughts, ideas, tips, just write.

Yes, there are many rules to blogging (like how many words to use) but to be completely honest, I don’t follow the rules, because I just write.  For me, I believe it is a great way to bring more traction to our website, but also to share/teach others more, that hopefully can help them, whether it be personal or business.

BUT how do you come up with all the content?  How often should I be blogging?

I am no specialist here, so I am not the one who ask those questions to but I will tell you that you need to just start doing it!!  One main tip I can give you is to ask others to be guest bloggers for you.  There is no cost for them to do this, it brings you visibility to their followings because you are sharing your blogs onto Social Media and tagging their business to thank them, and it helps with adding more content.  Look for those who can compliment your business and provide value to your audience.  Just ask, since most will say yes (actually I would be surprised if someone said no).

Once I do a blog, I share a portion of it on my Facebook Business Page, with a link to the actual blog (which of course is on my website, driving traffic to everything else that is available) and I also post it on my Google+ (this is where I have received great visibility)…..I will also share my post from my Business Page into a variety of groups for more exposure.

So, just do it!!

Are you committed to Social Media?

Having structure, being organized, is key to keeping on top of your Social Media work.  In order to build a presence, to being consistent, you need to put together an actual plan of how you are going to work your Social Media on a daily basis.

I wish I could tell you that you can just “pop” in and out but it is not going to bring you the return you are looking for.  With competition being so high in Social Media, people need to see you, hear from you, learn from you, talk to you, on a daily basis.  I am not saying you have to bombard them, but you need to be present daily.

For me, personally, we know that I am very active, and I am sure that people unfollow me, but I have reached a point in my presence and building my business, that I am okay with that.  It is a mental thing that you have to get past.

When you are starting to make this list, you need to understand what your end game is.  Are you looking to build a following, looking to get new customers, looking to build a referral based business?  What is your ultimate goal?

Are you looking to work all Social Media sites or just focusing on one/two?

Where is your target market sitting?

What information will benefit them?

What are the reasons why someone would want to use/buy your product/services?

Answering these questions will start to help you formulate your Social Media plan.  It will guide you as to where your focus needs to be as well as what parts of specific Social Media you need to focus on (for example:  Facebook Business Pages, Videos whether recorded or live, Groups, etc.)

Once you decide on which Social Media sites answer all your questions, you then need to do some research to find out what works best in each of these sites.  What time of day is best to work it?  Where do you need to focus for that site?  How often do you need to post?  (For example:  Twitter you would need to tweet at least 5-7 times per day).  What are some of the key elements you can take advantage of that is popular in that site?

The research is important for you to understand how you are going to move forward and how much time you need to commit, on a daily basis, to build the presence you are looking for.  Once you have established this, you NEED to commit, you NEED to schedule the time on your calendar, and you need to STICK with it!!

Building a presence, getting attention, is work.  Remember way back when, people walked hours and hours, going door to door to sell their products/services, because they were determined to make a living, build a successful business.  Well, we are fortunate that we are able to do this from the comfort of our homes, in a relaxed environment and behind a computer.  It doesn’t get any easier than that 😉

P.S.  If you decide that Facebook is one of the sites you are going to be focusing on, download my FREE Daily Checklist HERE!!

 

 

GUEST BLOGGER: 7 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Social Media

Email marketing is an integral part of every successful digital marketing strategy. In terms of ROI, it frequently outperforms other digital marketing channels, making it a favorite among marketers who have to work on a limited budget. Email marketing is an excellent backup option if all your other marketing attempts start to fail. Your website might get blacklisted, your social media accounts might get blocked, but with an email list in place, you still have a means of reaching out to your audience.

The effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns is primarily determined by the size and quality of your mailing list. There are already many articles online on how to grow your email list, so we have decided to narrow down our focus on social media as a way of generating email leads. Give these techniques a try, and watch as your mailing list starts growing faster and faster before your eyes.

Add CTAs to Your Social Media Profiles

The most direct way to leverage social media for growing you email list is to include a call-to-action in all your social media profiles. Ideally, your CTA should point to a landing-page that gives them an option to receive some kind of benefit, in exchange for their email address. This tactic works best on your new social media followers, as they are more likely to interact with your brand immediately after hitting the subscribe button.

Offer Bonus Content

Creating quality social media content is essential for keeping your audience engaged with your brand. And if your content is good enough, your followers might be willing to lend you their email address in exchange for a second serving. There are two ways of implementing this strategy. One is to gate certain parts of content until your lead provides an email, and the other is to offer something extra for those willing to give away their address.

Host a Giveaway

If you are willing to invest a bit more into growing your mailing list, you can host a giveaway on social media. Give your followers the chance to win a premium prize simply by giving you their email address. Make sure that the prize you are offering is tailor-made for your target demographic – otherwise you will attract people who are just in it for the freebies, and are therefore unlikely to keep interacting with your brand. You can also go a step further, and give your contestants the opportunity to gain multiple entries to the contest for CTAs such as sharing the event on social media.

Add Sharing CTAs to Your Email Content

While we are on the topic of sharing, be sure to include the option to do so in your newsletters, courses, ebooks, and other bits of content you will be sending out in your emails. It costs you practically nothing to add a small share button at the end of every email you send, and those shares do add up over time. Giving people the option to share your email content will make you seem more generous and forthcoming, so your existing customers will want to return the favor.

Advertise on Facebook

This tactic requires some social media training in order to implement it right, but if you have the skills required, it can be extremely effective at expanding your email list. First you need to create a landing page with the appropriate CTA, or use one which you made previously. Then you have to set up the ad itself through Facebook, making sure to include an evocative title, a quality advertising copy, and an eye-catching image. Finally, you have to specify how much money you are willing to bid on a monthly level to have your ad displayed to your target demographic.

Create How-To Videos for Youtube

While it might not be immediately obvious, YouTube is as much of a social network as Facebook or Instagram. The type of content you need to produce in order to attract a following differs, but it is still a platform for generating email leads. When deciding on the kind of video you need to make to promote your subscription CTA, be sure to look into video tutorials. Creating how-to videos covering basic topics can easily acquire millions of views, and that is a lot of potential emails you stand to gather for your list.

Host an Online Seminar on Social Media

Some people require a bit of persuasion before they divulge their email. And in order to persuade them, you have to invite them to a talk first. This can be done by creating an online seminar, giving your target audience the opportunity to interact with you directly. Give your first session away as a freebie, and then provide the option to subscribe for future session by providing an email. This way, your leads will get a chance to see what they are getting before making a decision whether to commit to your brand.

Conclusion

While being a powerful marketing channel in their own right, social networks give businesses the opportunity to enhance their other marketing efforts as well, including those that involve email marketing. Growing your mailing list is just one of the things that can be made easier by properly using the social media tools at your disposal.

 

Michael Deane is the editor of Qeedle, a small business hub he has started with a couple of friends. He is also a digital marketing executive, always looking for ways to make his clients lives easier. You can find him on Twitter at @ Qeedle_

When you finally do it……..

Have you ever had something that you wanted to do and you kept putting it off?  Then you finally buckled down and did it?

I am EXCITED to announce that I have finally launched my Creating Your Presence Academy!!!  This was something that I wanted to do for the last year and kept putting it off as I didn’t know if business owners were ready for it, BUT they are!!!

I have created a 6 month online program that will teach MORE than Facebook!  Facebook has become very competitive and we, as business owners, need to do more than just posting on our Business Pages.

Based on my own work and what I have been teaching through my consultations, I have developed a program that will cover different areas that will compliment each other BUT also bring MORE to your target market.

  • Branding
  • Facebook (2 month module)
  • Blogging
  • Opt-Ins/Newsletters
  • Networking

I have provided detailed training through written, video and exercises.  You also get an one hour Zoom call with me, each month of the program.  What is even better, you get to work this program at your own pace, not based on how the others are progressing or not progressing.  We all learn at different rates and some things will be easy, some harder.  I have allowed you a month for each (with exception to the Facebook module) however, you may finish the module quicker.

The program is housed on Facebook with their new groups, Social Learning.  The group has everything done through Units, allowing you to mark as complete when done.  This group will also be a support system for you as you work through each module and an opportunity for me to continue to teach you.

Another element that has been incorporated is other Businesses are providing FREE learning material for you.  These learning materials will enhance what you are already learning, you are going to LOVE it!!

Sooooooo, now the question is “how much is it?”

ONLY $625!!!!!!!  Just think…..I charge $75 for an one Zoom call with me, so this means that you are getting all the learning elements and freebies for ONLY $175!!!

The $625 can be paid in 5 monthly installments of $125 OR if you want to pay in full, you will receive a discount of $100, costing you ONLY $525!!!

Ready to get started?  Send me an email at tammy@tammyhudgin.com so that you can arrange your payment method and I will get you added into the Group to get started!!

Are you as EXCITED as me??

Creating Your Presence Academy

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