Social Media Marketing

Cultivating Your Customer Relationships Using Social Media

Cultivating Your Customer Relationships Using Social Media 900 600 Amy Judge

Every business owner’s dream is to have a brand so rock solid that their customers largely do the marketing for them. Think about Colgate vs. Crest. For the most part, Americans choose one or the other and base their decision on what they have always used. But is one toothpaste truly better than the other? Who knows and, quite frankly, who cares. You’re going to buy the one you feel more connected with. Now, while you may not have millions of dollars to sink into innovation and advertising, don’t get discouraged! Small businesses have a tool at their disposal that’s more engaging than has ever existed, and it’s largely free! Social media.

It seems social media is never going to go away. I know, I know. You’re quitting Facebook. And you mean it this time. But before you delete your online life, consider this: there are more than 1.86 billion active users on Facebook right now. And that’s from Forbes.com, so it has to be true. Social media should be an integral part of your marketing strategy because you can connect, engage, and build a loyal base by reaching multiple people at once. Not to mention your ROI! Social media platforms now have built in tracking so you can see which advertising efforts work and which ones don’t. You can’t do that with traditional forms of advertising, which tend to cost thousands of dollars. So, now that I’ve convinced you to keep your business on social media, let’s go over some steps on how to use these nifty tools.

Solve a burning problem
This is how you initially get people engaged. Check out Gekks no show socks as an example. When their sponsored content promised to solve every problem I’ve ever had with trying to achieve the sockless look, I had to find out more. I went to their website, ordered their product, and can’t stop telling people about them.

Stay engaged
Always invite your audience to like or follow your business’s page. Even though they may love your product, there’s still a chance they haven’t followed you online yet. I literally just liked the Gekk’s Facebook page and have been using their product for a couple of years. Also, don’t ignore your audience. Make up contests, provide special offers, and communicate with your customers.

Practice your customer service
Your social media platform is an excellent way to consistently thank your customers. 10% off is a thank you gift I have a hard time passing up! Additionally, when a fusspot begins to speak up, you can immediately and publicly offer a solution. Think of how that will make your company look to potential customers. People who haven’t done business with you yet will go in knowing the type of customer service they can expect from you. That’s a unique opportunity to start a business relationship with a high level of trust.

Cultivating your customers on social media doesn’t have to be challenging. In fact, it should feel natural because your audience wants to work with someone authentic. All of these hints will strengthen brand loyalty, but the bond with your customers will be even stronger when they feel like they know the person behind the product.

The majority of our customer base here at Wild Fig Marketing is made up of small businesses. So we understand the challenge of wearing too many hats and having a full plate. Managing your social media platforms is important, but it also takes time. If you find social media consistently moves down on your priority list, consider contacting us to see how we can help. And we would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to follow us on Facebook.

What We Can Learn From a Few Real-Life Horrifying Marketing Mistakes

What We Can Learn From a Few Real-Life Horrifying Marketing Mistakes 900 500 WildFigAdmin

We love to herald social media as a highly-accessible and effective platform on which to market our businesses and target our campaigns and indeed it is! However, we must acknowledge the other side of the social media marketing coin. Because of its accessibility and visibility both from a business and consumer standpoint we are faced with the grave possibility of inadvertently sabotaging the reputation of our business while actually working to propel its success. Let’s take a look at two large scale social media disasters from 2017 – what went wrong in each situation and how we can learn from each of them to protect the reputation and integrity of our own businesses.

Dove’s Bottle Blunder
Earlier this spring, Dove piggybacked on its “Real Beauty” slogan and released a campaign called “Real Beauty Bottles”. Real Beauty Bottles consisted of 7 uniquely-shaped bottles of identical body wash intending to celebrate the beauty of women’s many body shapes. Unfortunately, however, the way the campaign was received was nothing to celebrate. Social media exploded with backlash against the campaign, accusing Dove of reinforcing women’s negative body image issues and pigeonholing women into identifying which awkwardly-designed body wash bottle best represents her individual shape.

View Campaign

What can we learn from Dove’s campaign disaster?
It is crucial to really know your audience, handle hot button issues with the utmost caution and have a process in place for screening your campaign prior to launching it – double and triple checking for hidden implications or any potential for misinterpretation.

As we see with Dove, entire campaigns can miss the mark and tarnish or ruin our brand image. Perhaps the greater threat of self-sabotage lies, however, in the daily host of emails we send off to our subscribers and our tweets/posts on our social media accounts.

Adidas’ Shortsighted Word Choice
Adidas gets the credit for a recent, epic email fail. This past April Adidas sent out an email to the Boston Marathon finishers with the subject line, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” This shortsighted word choice mortified an entire nation that still vividly recalls the horror of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the backlash on Twitter was swift and harsh. Fortunately, Adidas issued an equally swift and heartfelt apology – owning up their blunder with humility.

What can we learn from Adidas’s email fiasco?
Maintain an awareness of the context in which you are communicating your message. Also, be sure to have someone in your office proofread all material that is sent out or posted on social media – an easy precaution up front that can help you avoid a social media faux pas which could harm your brand image and affect your customer base. Finally – own your mistakes – we all make them! How you navigate marketing blunders can not only help you save face but enrich the integrity of your business and your brand.

If you would like help formulating a marketing strategy tailored to your business goals contact one of our marketing experts to set up your free 15 minute exploratory call to see how we can help you maximize reach and avoid the faux pas.

Harnessing The Power of a Social Media Calendar

Harnessing The Power of a Social Media Calendar 900 600 WildFigAdmin

Social media may be the biggest player in today’s business world. It’s certainly the most disruptive, as the landscape continues to evolve.

We recently talked about choosing the best social media platforms for your business. Once you’ve selected those platforms, you need to participate on them. You can fly by the seat of your pants, posting and sharing when you have extra time or inspiration, but then you risk struggling for ideas and not meeting your frequency and engagement goals.

A far better strategy: plan out your social media; do as much as you can ahead of time; and schedule it automatically. A social media calendar is an essential tool for mastering your social media presence.

SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR VS. EDITORIAL CALENDAR

As you learn more about the social media calendar, you’ll also come across the term “editorial calendar.” These are separate but overlapping functions. An editorial calendar lays out the topics you plan to cover for a month, a quarter, or a year. For example, search for “editorial calendar Forbes” and you’ll learn that in June 2017 they focus on women, in February 2017 they focus on retirement, and so on. Depending on your business, you may want to establish an editorial calendar so your content will reflect cohesive themes. An editorial calendar is potentially a resource to feed your social media calendar.

BENEFITS OF A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR

Your social media calendar is a slightly different beast, however. The goal of your social media calendar is to plan your content, shares, posts and platforms to make sure you’re covering all your channels, optimizing your content, and batching the work involved to be more efficient.

The benefits of performing social media based on strategy and a calculated schedule are vast:

  • Advance preparation ensures you don’t miss crucial announcements, holidays or events. Whether it’s a product launch, World Diabetes Day or a local marathon, these hooks make excellent foundations for content.
  • It’s easier to generate ideas when you devote specific focus to social media. Taking the time to brainstorm multiple topics for blog posts, tweets or Facebook posts means you always have a list of ideas in your back pocket when you need them. It’s often the case that during that the act of writing a blog is when you come up with ideas for other blogs, for example.
  • You can coordinate your campaigns across multiple channels. The richest source for your social media is your own content, so while posting a blog is good, it’s crucial to share it across multiple platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram–depending on the content and the industry. Failing to do this cross posting is a huge lost opportunity, and sharing according to a schedule ensures you don’t overlook it or overdo it.
  • When you plan ahead, you can conform to a predictable balance of content and platforms, allowing you to evaluate the performance of each.
  • Consistent posting is essential to readership and SEO success.
  • Pre-scheduling as much social media as possible is essential for saving time. Tools allow you to schedule tweets, Facebook posts and more in advance, so you can do a week’s worth or a month’s worth all at once.
    It saves time to batch the writing of content. For example, once you settle into the right headspace for writing blogs, you may be able to write an entire month’s worth of blog posts in one day.

If you need some help with social media, contact us to schedule a marketing strategy session with one of our team members, which will include our insights into social media and guidance so you can master that side of your promotions. In the meantime, check out this blog post on how to choose the best social media platforms for your business and download this this handy Social Media Cheat Sheet to help you pick the best platform for your business.

 

How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms For Your Business

How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms For Your Business 900 600 Amy Judge

We’re in a social media revolution, and there’s no telling what the future will bring.

Think back to 2006, when both Facebook and Twitter were launched: over the past 11 years, they’ve had a phenomenal and unexpected impact on marketing and commerce. New platforms are introduced every year: some will evolve into “the next Instagram” and others will fail to take off.

You know a strong presence in social media is essential today, but the sheer quantity of platforms is so overwhelming that paralysis sometimes sets in.

Here’s some good news: experts agree that the best strategy is to pick two or three platforms and devote your digital strategy to mastering them and attaining a strong presence. It’s not realistic to achieve mastery of multiple platforms–the bandwidth and resources requires are too great. The prevailing wisdom is to craft a social media presence that’s deep and thorough on the few platforms which are best suited to your needs, rather than to generate a shallow and ineffective presence on many.

So how do you choose the right platforms for your business? Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each platform: B2B vs. B2C, highly visual vs. service oriented, brief vs. in-depth.

Also, consider your goals. Forbes.com offers these top ten benefits of social media marketing: http://bit.ly/2wgqGUX

  1. Increased brand recognition
  2. Improved brand loyalty
  3. More opportunities to convert
  4. Higher conversion rates
  5. Higher brand authority
  6. Increased inbound traffic
  7. Decreased marketing costs
  8. Better search engine rankings
  9. Richer customer experiences
  10. Improved customer insights

While all of those goals are worthy, you’ve got to prioritize. A younger company in a competitive field may prioritize increased search engine rankings, whereas a high-touch business like a restaurant or tour company may consider richer customer experiences or improved customer insights more important.

Where will you get the most traffic? It’s tempting to pursue the platforms with the highest numbers. According to Wikipedia, as of April 2017 these were the top five, based on active use accounts:

  1. Facebook: 1,968,000,000 users
  2. WhatsApp: 1,200,000,000 users
  3. YouTube: 1,000,000,000 users
  4. Facebook Messenger: 1,000,000,000 users
  5. WeChat: 889,000,000 users

However, what’s more important than total users is demographics. Where are your customers hanging out? Research the demographics of the platforms you’re considering. Only 9% of Facebook users are between 18-24, so that’s not the platform for you if your audience is young. Snapchat, however, is a perfect target for young consumers: 60% of users are under 24 and 100 million users consume 30 minutes of content daily. LinkedIn is an excellent platform if you’re offering B2B products or services: with its business-focused membership, sharing content here is a great way to establish credibility.

Because the best platform depends so much on what type of business you’re in, your customers, and your marketing goals, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It pays to research the characteristics of various platforms, and study what the competition is doing. Search online for inspiration in “social media success-story” articles and case studies.

If you need some help with social media, contact us to schedule a marketing strategy session with one of our team members, which will include our insights into social media and guidance so you can master that side of your promotions. In the meantime, check out this handy Social Media Cheat Sheet to help you pick the best platform for your business.

Don’t Overlook the Power of the Hashtag #

Don’t Overlook the Power of the Hashtag # 900 600 Amy Judge

Hashtags. Introduced in 2007 by an unassuming Twitter user and initially reserved for social media platforms hashtags are now prevalent even in colloquial speech. #crazyright. Most of us have a general idea of what they are but how many of us know how to leverage them appropriately to drive the content marketing reach of our business?

With numerous social media platforms and hundreds of millions of new posts per day the quantity of social media content and the rate at which it is growing is virtually incomprehensible. For example, Twitter grows by 500 million tweets per day and Instagram grows by 60 million posts per day. This does not include Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+ and the like. So how does a consumer find specific content related to their particular subject of interest? Or how does a business reach a potential client with pertinent marketing? Think of hashtags like keywords that link related content. Hashtags provide a pathway through which to help a consumer categorize and sort content, similar to the now-antiquated library card catalog. For your business this means that hashtags provide the ability to drive a tremendous amount of organic traffic to your content with a miniscule amount effort – #brilliant.

Alright. We’ve established the value of leveraging the almighty hashtag to optimize your content marketing reach. Now let’s take a look at 5 practical tips for incorporating them into your social media marketing:

  • Create a custom hashtag for your business to help create brand awareness and drive social engagement within your follower database. Think both catchy and relevant. Just make sure that your custom hashtag isn’t already widely-used for an unrelated topic!
  • Implement your custom hashtag as well as other relevant hashtags to promote events or campaigns within your business. Hashtags are an incredibly efficient vehicle through which to generate interest and engage an on point audience with your marketing endeavors.
  • Educate yourself on which hashtags are currently trending and ride those waves. Hashtagify.me is one resource that will keep you up to date on trending hashtags. Incorporating trending hashtags will maximize your brand’s visibility.
  • Research each of your preferred social media platforms with regard to hashtag rules, etiquette and statistics. It’s important to recognize for example that Twitter only accommodates 140 characters and 2 hashtags per tweet and incorporating 1-2 hashtags per tweet generates 2X more engagement with that post. Conversely, Facebook doesn’t limit the number of hashtags a user is allowed and their character limit on status updates is a whopping 63,206!
  • Test out hashtags. See what generates engagement from an on point audience and what doesn’t. Then make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal impact.

Don’t overlook this effective little symbol.

Hashtags are a powerful tool in your marketing tool box. Careful research and implementation of hashtags on the social media marketing front will undoubtedly drive the content marketing reach of your business and propel you towards achieving your goals. Contact us for ways we can help generate strategic, engaging content to capture more leads while letting you focus on what you do best. To learn more, schedule a complimentary, 15-minute exploratory call with our team: calendly.com/wildfig/15min.