Big Data Analytics And Social Media – The Hype And The Promise

Big Data and What You Can Do With It

The amount of data in our world has been exploding. Eric Schmidt at Google has stated: “Every 2 Days We Create As Much Information As We Did Up To 2003“. (Techcrunch).

Imagine the scope! And, analyzing large data sets, called Big Data, is becoming a large basis of use for businesses and their competitors alike. “Data” is important to every aspect of business. However, data is especially powerful to those seeking to leverage search, social, mobile, local, video, marketing and emerging technologies to compete, provide actionable intelligence to executive teams, provide better customer experiences and earn more market share.

Big Data is a term often associated with Fortune 500 and 1000 companies because these enterprises often have greater resources to invest into the collection and analysis of data.  If you’re a social media “expert” and you don’t know the connection between Big Data and Social Media, then you should sit up and take notice.

Social Media by the Numbers – Twitter/Facebookbig-data-social-media-hadoop

The popularity of social networking has dramatically increased in recent years. Today, there are more than 1.11 billion Facebook users and 500 million Twitter accounts.  This growth has led to a rise in the amount of data created daily, with Facebook reporting 665 million active users each day. Moreover, with the increased interest in Big Data and the capabilities it provides, everyone is suddenly interested to discover exactly what it can do for their business.

With the growing prevalence of users to post an abundance of information about their everyday lives, it provides businesses an opportunity to monitor the data and identify patterns of behavior in individual users.  However, due to the vast amount of data produced by social networks on a daily basis, the analysis of this information cannot be performed with a mere software algorithm; rather it must be done using Big Data analytics.

What is Big Data?

Big Data is a collection of both structured and unstructured data sets that are so immense, ranging from a few dozen terabytes to several petabytes. The data is beyond the ability of regular software tools to capture, manage, and process it within a reasonable period of time.  Unstructured data, which constitutes around 90 percent of Big Data, is made up of emails, social media posts, tweets, videos, mobile phone calls, and website clicks. The Interwebs provides gargantuan user-generated content (UGC). Structured data makes up the remainder of Big Data and is information contained in databases.

Big Data Analytics is where businesses derive new meaning from new data sources. New, meaning that was never practical to discover before. This could be because of scale, data formats, the distribution of data in many locations, or the fact that no one thought of looking before – or how to make use of it in the first place. It is easily as much a new mindset as it is new technology.  Executives and technologists are continuing the discussion, but real world applications are now put to use. Tableau Software provides analytics in the cloud right now.

Who are the Largest Players in Big Data?

A science team at a leading edge technology firm that leverages massive Twitter historical data and many other social media datastreams – @datasift – analyzed the social interaction around big data in 2012. The result was shown in the big data social media infographic. The top five big data related tweets were Apache, 10gen, IBM, HP and Teradata. And, when it comes to big data services and infrastructures, don’t miss The Big Data 100.

Why Should Businesses Care? big-data-why-care

Businesses must care about Big Data so they can learn what to offer, to whom, when to offer something new, and what channels to use. It can also help them know if they can handle problems themselves or they need to get outside help, which competitor might be winning. Shareholders and upward moving company stock prices will reflect victories in this area. Big Data will be the one of the most important things for business since the Internet due to the business insights that it can provide.  However, a small mom-and-pop business may not use at this massive scale, but can get social media analytics and reports from tools like Hootsuite today.

Big Data and Social Analytics

Historically, data analytics software hasn’t had the capability to take a large data set and use it to compile a complete analysis for a query. Instead, it has relied on representative samplings or subsets of the information to render results. That approach is changing with the emergence of new Big Data analytics engines, such as the opensource Apache Hadoop.

Hadoop processes large caches of data by breaking them into smaller, more accessible batches and distributing them to multiple servers to analyze. Hadoop then processes queries and delivers the requested results in far quicker than old‐school analytics software—most often minutes instead of hours or days. Hadoop and other such systems provide complete looks at big data sets, instead of a team of analysts spending days or weeks preparing the parameters for data subsets and percent samplings.

Generate and Analyzebig-data-analyze-databases

So with this overload of data, you must understand how it can be analyzed. Keep in mind the difference between just “data” and the “right data” – data that drives actions. With social media, it can be confusing as to which data is “right,” but again, focus on data that drives actions – either a change in business processes or a change in behaviors. The key to fostering the growth of social media and Big Data is understanding how to make each work individually – one to generate the “right data,” and the other to process and analyze the data.

By using specific social media monitoring platforms such as Radian6 and Buddy Media, you are half way there and can take this data and use the specific results to drive campaigns. You can appeal to the masses by tracking trends, addressing consumer concerns through their feedback, and identifying key influencers who can become brand advocates. These are all excellent ways of using the power of big social media data analysis. Big data analytics platforms like Paraccel may be considered for larger enterprises.

Experience the Power of Data

If you’re actively working on any digital aspect of a brand without the benefit of data, you’re just wasting your time. In this digital age, it is essential to identify trends and opportunities. Now, more than ever, data will play a vital role in every aspect of business. Data always has been a goldmine for marketers (strategy, social, search, SEO, PPC, PR).

However, it’s safe to say that the anticipated growth of data and emerging use of unstructured data are game-changers. Working with Big Data and Social Media will only lead to greater success as technology continues to advance. Those who recognize and embrace the power of this mountain of data early on are most likely reap the most rewards.

You can learn more about digital analytics and big data from our analytics primer.

How To Build More Web Traffic From Social Media (10 Tips You Can Use Right Now)

Social media goes hand in hand with building traffic to your website. Netizens nowadays devote so many hours using their social media accounts to share their thoughts, like interesting things, and search for new and upcoming trends. With that said, having social media accounts to represent and promote your small business is very important to build traffic to your main website.

Social media web traffic twitter birds

An active online presence through social media is an effective way to reach out to your audience in a more personal level. Because people surfing the net spend most of their time on social media sites, you can interact with them more if you are also spending time there. Whether it is a new customer stumbling upon your Facebook or Twitter page or a loyal customer sharing your page and posts, it is important to give them something good to learn and discover about your company.

Here are 10 tips you can use right now for a more effective and productive use of social media sites to build traffic to your website.

1. Timing Is Everything

Make sure majority of your followers can see and share your posts and updates. The best time to post is from 8 AM to 8 PM because these are the main work hours, meaning people are most likely online. The ideal amount of posts to optimize results is between 5 to 10 tweets and 1 to 4 Facebook posts per day. Make sure you post the updates on multiple social media sites and your own blog or website. Pay attention to frequency and timing in order to get the most social engagement possible.

2. Share Your Expertise and Passion

As a business, one of your primary goals is to earn money. However, it is also necessary for your customers to know that you are passionate and an expert about your craft. Consider offering your audience a guide, brochure, or whitepaper to download. Put these on your website and then share the link to your social media accounts so it would be easy for your customers to share them to their friends.

3. Offer Seasonal and Exclusive Deals

Who doesn’t like a bargain, right? Use social media to promote exclusive offers like special discounts, buy one take one promo, or early bird rewards. Raffles and coupons exclusively available to your social media followers can make them feel special, therefore strengthening their loyalty and appreciation of your business.

4. Be Real and Real Time

The more you acknowledge and reply to your followers, the more engaged they become. The effectiveness of your social media strategy depends on how often you use it. Social media engagement relies on daily interactions among users to survive. Although auto posting tools can help you communicate with your audience, more businesses are beginning to understand that engaging with their audiences in real conversations will bring them better results. Being available to your audience in real time means you can have more meaningful back-and-forth conversations.

5. Stay Updated And Be Current

The only thing certain is everything changes; and this is also true about social networking sites. Learn how you can get the latest updates easily so you can know the current trends they are setting. You can follow Facebook’s business page (https://www.facebook.com/business/news), follow social media and tech experts on Twitter (https://twitter.com/smexaminer/writers/members), and set Google alerts (https://www.google.com/alerts).

6. Use Hashtags

There’s a reason Twitter created hash tagging and now Facebook is also allowing it. Hashtags are made for people to trend topics and businesses to promote. Combine those two and you can use hashtags to promote your new products, services, or special offers. Announce it on your social media accounts so your followers can participate making it trend. People who use hashtags are more likely to engage in social conversations and therefore are more likely to share a positive experience they’ve had with your brand once you’ve broken through.

7. Incorporate Infographics

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. A social media page is better to look at if it contains not just plain text but also some infographics to catch users’ attention. In fact, they reach more people because they are shared more often than other online content. They are easy to understand and share, so you could spread the word about your company’s products and services effectively.

8. Be Mobile-Friendly

People surfing the web are becoming more and more on-the-go lately. There are too many smartphones and tablets in the market these days that there’s no excuse not to go online even if you are away from home. Make sure your pages are mobile-friendly and easy to load. Use a design that is accessible and convenient for multiple browsers and devices. Include social media icons, mobile redirects, simple landing pages, and content you want your users to see.

9. Ask Questions

Contrary to popular belief, answering questions is not the end of your social media task. Asking questions is a good way to engage your followers and spark curiosity about your products or services. Some good questions to ask are ones that tap into the interests and lifestyles of your fans to generate conversations. You may also ask feedback questions regarding your newly launched product or service so you can find out what they like about it and what you still need to improve. This way, your followers can feel that their opinions are part of your decision making process.

10. Use a Conversational Tone & Engage

Social media has changed the way businesses communicate publicly. In fact, it is advised to avoid stiff business writing and encouraged to adopt a more conversational tone. Take them inside your brand’s experience instead of just hard selling. Although you are viewed as a business entity, your followers communicate with you and expect a response that would make you look sound a normal person just like them. Having a conversational tone makes your content feel more authentic and engaging to readers.

In a world of social media marketing, giving your followers a unique and personal experience is a must. Be innovative and caring in all your social media pursuits so you could gain more traffic and more loyalty out of your customers.

What else can you add?

photo credit: mkhmarketing

6 Easy Ways To Use YouTube for Financial Services

At this point, everyone knows that leveraging social media is essential for business success, and yes, that is also true for financial services and b2b marketing. But social media extends beyond just Facebook and Twitter; there are myriad social services to be found and you may be missing out on a big one: YouTube (explained). Although a video takes more effort to produce than a tweet, the payoff can be worth it.

If you’re wondering whether a YouTube strategy is right for you, read on to find out what you can do and how it will help you.financial-services-using-youtube-woman

  1. Promote the brand. A big part of YouTube’s utility is that it gives you a way to promote your brand using a multimedia option. You can promote your brand with various types of content: product reviews, customer testimonials, or feature highlights. All of these are ways that you can show people what you have to offer and why your services are superior. Being on YouTube makes you accessible to a new market and makes your brand more relate-able.
  2. Engage the community. Your brand has a community, so you just have to find a way to work with them on a level that encourages response. When you share content you are able to generate buzz for your services. A good video is easy for customers and potential customers to enjoy and to share with others, which expands your community. You can also interact with the community by using your YouTube channel to promote events—either with teasers and hype beforehand, or recaps afterwards, which lets users see what they missed out on. You can also engage the community by offering promotions by video, which can be a fun way to get customers buying into the brand.
  3. Provide customer service. Normally, we think about customer service as being reactive: answering questions, dealing with problems, etc. However, YouTube makes it possible to provide proactive customer service. When you get a new product, for example, post a video that address questions that people have been asking. If you have something that people typically ask questions about, create a how-to video that explains what they need to know. You can also answer customer questions in video format, which doubles as a way to engage with customers.
  4. Integrate your social media. Creating videos on YouTube is part of your broader social media strategy, so make sure that you are cross-posting or embedding your videos onto other platforms. Include the link to your YouTube channel in profiles on other sites. When you post a new video, tweet about it or link it on Facebook. This will drive more people to your YouTube channel and increase your video’s visibility.
  5. Share PR moments. YouTube is a great place for showcasing your outreach efforts. If your company has done anything charitable, record the process and post a clip to YouTube. This can generate goodwill for your company and it is much more effective than a press release for getting the word out there about your altruistic deeds.
  6. Include calls to action. YouTube allows you to overlay notifications on a video. This is a great way to work in a call to action in your video. If you’re answering common questions, you could use an overlay to invite customers to comment or tweet at you if they have questions you didn’t cover. If you are giving a product demonstration, you could have an overlay with the product link and a discount code. This allows you to directly ask users to act without interrupting the video.

If your business isn’t already on YouTube, it is something you should certainly start working into your overall social media strategy. YouTube is a powerful platform that lets you connect with your community directly to engage users, promote a brand, and provide customer service.

John Gower is an analyst for NerdWallet, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you save money with tips on everything from social media marketing to scoring a good cd account.

photo credit: www.videotrueque.es | cc

5 Mobile Marketing Strategies For Small Business (The Integrated Version)

Mobile marketing and mobile solutions are here to stay. Whether you are a large business or a small business, there are potential uses and positive outcomes for you.

“The smartphone revolution has touched every corner of the world, and that in turn is changing how any digital marketer does business.” – Google

If you want to learn how others are using mobile marketing tools and strategies then this post is for you.

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4 Steps To The Google Penguin Analysis and Recovery Process For Marketers

Much is written about the Google Search Engine updates and changes over the years. google-penguin-analysis-recovery-self-help

Most recent and well-known, are the Panda and Penguin modifications. The impact of these can be seen, felt and heard from irate webmaster emails, forum and blog posts, to specific news coverage and SEO alerts from the official Google Webmaster Blog.

This post is not a discussion of the why, what could have been or how insanely uncomfortable you might become when these (very expected) changes are pushed out from from Google and the Search Quality Team.

Rather, we will discuss a simple process or outline that marketers and SEOs can use to analyze and begin to recover from a Penguin “hit”. (Note: even if you haven’t been caught yet, it’s important to stay on top of this. Plus, it will give you a good picture of where you stand.)  

Both large, medium and even smaller websites (5-10 pages) can and will be impacted over time.

Clearly, some will have a more drastic and horrific impact than others.

If you are in a high-trafficked, very competitive market and you find your website traffic and rankings dropping…it will be tougher to explain to your executive team than a ‘mom-and-pop’ store down the block, where traffic and revenue may come from existing customers, referrals and other means of marketing (Trade shows, coupons, signage, posters, direct mail, etc.)

Here’s the hard truth:
Google will not be stopping these (regular) updates. In the future, and to be certain — different search signals and new names will appear (more animals?). Recommendation: Stay alert, follow the trends, watch your web analytics and connect with a quality search partner or agency.

And remember – changes (to your sites, pages) are both algorithmically and manually triggered – for various reasons. We will not get into that detail in this post.

But, let’s dig in to the Penguin Analysis & Recovery Process.
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9 Ideas For Building Traffic To Your Website From Pinterest

Pinterest has grown to be a major social networking site that has the potential to greatly increase the traffic to any website. That’s why it is important, especially for new and pioneering businesses, to incorporate this social networking site to their online marketing strategy.

Although using Pinterest itself is already an effective habit, knowing and applying these nine ideas for building traffic to your website is something that will accelerate your success.

pinterest_logo_red-large1. Generate Original Ideas

Posting original content within Pinterest is going to be the key to your success, so make sure you always have new and great ideas. You have the option of repinning, but becoming truly influential means also posting your own ideas. The key is to express your message effectively and making it interesting at the same time. Posting effective and enticing content regularly will earn you a loyal following.

2. Get Great Visuals

Visuals are key because there needs to be something worth pinning and re-pinning in the first place. Enticing the eyes of your users is the most effective way to get their attention. This is where finding awesome contributing photographers and illustrators to work for you come to play. It’s also good to mix up your content by pinning videos on your board.

3. Add Pin-It Buttons to Your Site

The easiest way to get your site content shared is to install a widget on your site. Don’t underestimate the power a Pin-it button has in getting your content out there. Before you add one, you need to determine whether adding such a button is beneficial for you. If your site has a number of different widgets, it might be better to remove one first and replace it with the Pin-It button so you don’t clog up your site.

4. Pin Up Blog Posts

Like any social media site, you shouldn’t go overboard when posting your own content. You should always focus on providing good content for your users that they can share with their followers and friends. Make sure the topic of your blog post matches the board you’re pinning it up to. Ensure that the image you’re using is of high quality because it is the first thing users will see.

5. Link Your Pinterest Page to Everything Else

Linking your profile to your business website, your other social networking sites, and pages filled with related content gives you the opportunity to gain as much exposure as possible. With them all linked together, viewers of your Pinterest profile will have access to any website you want them to look at, which increases your chances of sales. Doing this will benefit you because after acquiring a decent size following, your other sites are all put in the spotlight for your followers to view.

6. Cozy Up to Big Brands by Showing off Your Content

Most big, well-known brands suck at Pinterest. They may have a solid following, but they’re still trying to figure it out. You may not know it, but you can help them. If you’re consistently sharing awesome visuals that lead to quality content on a topic that’s relevant to their audience, they will re-pin your stuff over and over again. In turn, you will get exposed to their audience and grab some of them to follow you too.

7. Organize Your Pinboards

Believe it or not, users may not want to follow every topic or category you cover. Let them pick and choose, don’t have too many of them. If a user has to scroll to see more boards, they likely won’t. Focus on well-curated boards with defined categories so you could make things easier for your followers to choose.

8. Name Your Pinboards Wisely

Don’t over-complicate your pinboard names with clever names. Pinterest users make a split-second decision to follow you or not follow you and never return. Going too generic isn’t advantageous as well. Naming your pinboards somewhere between generic and overly creative is something important you must learn overtime.

9. Spread Out Your Pinning Across All Boards

It’s not good to focus all your attention on only one board. It may overwhelm those following that single board and turn off those following the other boards. Even if it’s a board you can’t find much content for, it’s better to update it every so often than to leave it dormant. Take the time to update your boards at least once a week to keep things fresh for your followers.

Pinterest takes some time to get used to, but once you have enough followers, seeing the numbers drastically increase is a great reward. Provided that you keep posting good content, your followers will start recommending you and repinning your content. This allows more people to stumble upon your profile and see your posts for themselves. It is a great cycle that just needs to be fueled by top quality content, so make sure you don’t leave it out of your online marketing strategy.

7 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing For B2B

Email marketing is a great way to reach your target audience as personally and uniquely as possible. It is also cost-efficient because all you have to do is compose a weekly or monthly newsletter to attract their attention and convert them into loyal customers.

With the many changes to advertising and online marketing in the B2B markets, you must adapt the way you do your newsletters to the needs and accessibility of your audiences. Updating your approach as often as possible is the only way you can retain the interest, excitement, and quantity of your e-subscribers.

Here are seven ways you can improve your email marketing campaigns.

Lead with a Great Subject Line

E-mail marketingIt might be better to write your subject line after you’ve done the whole newsletter. This will help you have a better grasp on what your email is all about. Find subject lines that meet the average character limit and effectively portray what your newsletter is trying to say. The keywords that you think can pull people in must be near the beginning.

Your readers use desktop computers and mobile apps, which have different character limits. The simpler and shorter your subject line is, the better chances for your message to come across.

Get to Know Your Audience

 

Setting your newsletter to fit your target audience is one thing; learning about their surfing habits, interests, and online mindset is another.

The first step is to have a rough idea of the demographics you want to reach. Once you’ve sent a couple of emails, your analytics can begin to determine who are receiving and reading your emails.

Refer to these analytics regularly to see what devices people are using to read your newsletters and what links they click the most.

Balance Design and Content

A rule of thumb is to never use images in your newsletter, or at least minimize your usage. Some markets, for example – the financial services industries may require more (stock charts, analysis charts, etc). But, most of your recipients can’t see the images included in your email, meaning they can be a great waste of space. In that case, consider adding a special report or document (PDF) that contains all in one, neat format. Putting links on images is also a very bad idea. Instead, just use well-coded html instead of a heavy image design. Pay close attention to the font size, colors, and screen size of your email and test it first to ensure things go smoothly.

Load Your Email with Obvious Links

The main purpose of your newsletter is to drive traffic to your landing page, product page, and website. This can help your audience get familiar with your website and build brand loyalty in the long run. Make sure you put in at least one link per paragraph to get the most out of your newsletter.

Underline the links and color them differently. Use strong and authoritative calls to action. Capitalize on every moment where the user may feel compelled to click. Directing them to where you want them to go is the first step in marketing, so don’t fail on it.

Check Spam Rules

Avoid getting your email flagged as spam and removed from your recipients’ in boxes  It is important to familiarize yourself with these rules at the very beginning of your email marketing campaign to start right. If your message is filled with links, your email provider may flag it as spam and filter it into a different section.

This is the worst thing to happen on an email marketing plan because your audience will not see your newsletter. It may be tempting to send a harder sales email, but it only takes one email that looks like its high spam to keep you out of the inbox for weeks, months, or even years afterwards.

Send During the Perfect Time

While email checking will vary from person to person, the best times to send an email is every afternoon during the working days Tuesdays to Thursdays.

People are busier with their personal lives during Fridays to Mondays because of weekend plans. These days, they tend to shy away from the daily grind. Keep in mind that sending your newsletter at the right time can make your recipients care more about its content. Do a little research on what times work best in your professional industry.

Set Realistic Goals

While email marketing is popular, bear in mind that its open rate and click-through doesn’t result into massive numbers immediately. It takes time, and even then – you must continue to test, and develop the relationship with good, quality info, news, tips and insights. People can be overwhelmed with new inbox arrivals, so your email can be ignored or they can just scan through the contents quickly. The results of your first attempts may underwhelm you. The secret is to build it up overtime by providing interesting and quality content.

Remember that your goal is to make people buy whatever you’re selling and build trust around your brand. Grab every opportunity to remind users that they won’t miss out on the valuable information you can send them if they add you to their email contact list. This way, you can increase the number of people receiving your newsletter and improve your open and click-through rates.

Finding Success With SoLoMo Marketing (Social, Local, Mobile)

Businessman sending text messageSoLoMo is on the tip of every savvy marketer’s tongue, and there’s good reason for this. SoLoMo (Social-Local-Mobile) marketing adds local information to search engine results in order to capitalize on the increasing use of mobile devices.

According to data compiled by Monetate:

nearly 90 million (or 78 percent) of the 116 smartphone owners search for retail content on their smartphones every month.

In 2012, these searches influenced over $159 billion worth of sales, and these numbers are only expected to keep growing.

Unexpectedly High Conversion Rates

Online marketers may be depressed to note that most people who are searching for items on their mobile devices do not tend to purchase them while they are on the device. However, these low conversion rates should not make marketers shy away from SoLoMo efforts. Instead, according to MarketingLand.com, they should look more deeply into the statistics. 

Within 24 hours of performing a search, 90% of smartphone users make a purchase. Approximately 70% of smartphone users call the business they were searching, and 66% of users actually visited a local store after performing a search. These incredible numbers underscore the huge importance and potential that SoLoMo marketing has.

Geo-Location Technology May Drive Sales

For years, search engines have been targeting users with local content based on their IP addresses. However, this tactic is flawed as many use computers with IP addresses that are registered to addresses thousands of miles away from where they are really located.

By relying on the far superior geo-location technology that is embedded in a smart phone, advertisers can achieve this same feat but with far greater accuracy.

By closing the gap between online searches and brick-and-mortar shops, business owners have the opportunity to reach more clients and garner more sales. Shopkick.com has capitalized on these efforts by sending users coupons the moment they step into a store. According to Mashable.com, these coupons and offers can be sent to potential clients without infringing on their privacy.

The Power of Apps

Although an increasing number of consumers are using their smart phones to research buying decisions, many retailers are not capitalizing on this fact. According to MarketingLand.com, less than half of all retailers have optimized their websites for mobile use. Even fewer retailers have designed apps for their potential clients to use while on their smart phones.

Although building an app may sound superfluous to many business owners, the fact remains that while more than 80 percent of smartphone users spend time using apps, less than 20% of them spend time using their mobile browser.

Enticing Clients with Visual Content

When designing a mobile advertising campaign, advertisers should think carefully about the compelling nature of the visual. Hubspot reports that most Internet users perfer pictures to text, and they are moving more and more toward visual content every day. Facebook users upload nearly 300 million photos daily, an increase of 20% from the number they were uploading in early 2012.

Their uploaded pics garner 53 percent more likes than the average status update.

Is there a way for business owners to capitalize on this trend? Break.com seems to think so. Their funny videos and racy photos with headlines like “The Web’s Most Rockin’ Pic of the day – twins!” and “iPad Saves Man’s Life” have enticed a huge number of people to their site, and according to the Huffington Post, Mobilewalla has ranked their app as the 4th best free IOS app of 2011.

More Than a Passing Fad

Karen Hitchcock, vice president of marketing for SoLoMo Technology says SoLoMo is not a passing fad. She calls it an integral part of a successful marketing campaign and claims it is the perfect way for businesses to connect with their clients in novel ways.

Consumers want personalized experiences, and when you integrate SoLoMo into your marketing, you give them just that.

What do you think?

How to Integrate Blogging into Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media marketing has been proven effective for years now, both for brand building and lead generation. The amount of online activity people invest in their everyday lives simply demands your business to utilize online platforms and tools to your advantage.

Especially if YOUR audience is already there. It is important to get the word out about your products, services and how you can help them. However, there is an ingredient you just can’t afford to miss: trust. An effective business blog is what you need to build this.

Here are 7 considerations to make that happen:

Add Your Personal Touch

Big and small companies alike have known and seen for themselves just how personal interaction with your core audience can benefit the performance of your business. You can promote your brand all you want, but no one will believe you, come back or stay active if you don’t build a personal connection with your audience. One of the most effective ways to do this is by incorporating blogging into your social media strategy.

Strengthen Traffic

The role of blogging is to keep your audience current and interested so that they don’t remain as traffic alone. Blogging connects you to your visitors in a more personal way, increasing the chance of generating sales and growing your business. 

Be an Expert, But in a Conversational Tone

blogs-and-social-media

Blogging is about having casual conversations in a public space, but you still have to maintain your authority. Gaining the trust of your audience is a balance between being a relate-able,  normal character and being a remarkable expert.

If you own a web design business, you must come off as a creative and reliable web designer. If you own a dental business, your blog must be filled with new oral care treatments and industry news. In short, you must cater to the needs of your audience while still coming off as an ordinary, connected individual and business.

Add Fresh Content with a Lot of Variety

Routine updates can be a major turn off for your visitors. Instead of earning their trust, this technique may leave them bored and uninterested.

Try to mix your posts up and start a fresh conversation with the help of images and videos. Update your blog on a regular basis, but make sure there is something new, informative, and interesting to talk about. Put a new twist each time you post to keep your audience coming back frequently.

Share Testimonials and Information

Business blogging is all about writing posts that often include sharing experiences, business ideas, and industry news. You must aim to enlighten the minds of your visitors to eventually earn their trust and make them regular customers. Every post is a unique opportunity to offer something engaging, hoping that your visitors will share them to others.

Promote Interaction and Acknowledge Feedback

A business blog should know the value of user feedback. Since your primary goal is to build the trust of people, acknowledging their comments and suggestions is necessary to create a blog they would want to visit often. Do a call-to-action at the end of your posts, add share icons, and check the comments so you could gain insight regarding your visitors.

Encourage them to share their insights about your blog topics and personal opinions about your products or services. Let them know that you appreciate their feedback and it is helpful for your business. The most important thing is to make sure you respond to their comments. Failing to do so may result to your audience thinking you don’t care or respect their opinions.

Add Links to Make Your Blog a Central Hub

Since your blog is the closest and most personal way users can interact with you, make it the central location for where you make announcements. All methods of communicating with you should branch out from there.

Make use of other social network tools such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your blog. Link back to your website and use RSS feeds to constantly provide your main site with fresh content (that they can use in their readers.)  Make sure everything you do on your blog somehow ties back into your company website where people can know you more and discover the complete list of your products or services. But, don’t be overly sales-y.

Through continuous and effective blogging, you can maximize the impact of your social media marketing strategy. Blogging can improve customer satisfaction, generate direct sales, and provide crisis management. Always think about what value and message you want your customers to hear from you. If you know this, you can be confident about the information, news, stories, announcements, and everything you share. In the end, the loyal ones will be your biggest assets.

Provide them with reasons to stay with you and give them opportunities to support your business and be a part of your growth and success.

What do you think?

How Captive Audience Marketing Still Works For Advertisers

In 2010, Time Magazine wrote an article about schools selling advertising space in their hallways to companies that wanted to market to children and teenagers.

The subject matter was harmless — banner ads spanning lockers trying to sell branded notebooks and school supplies — but parents of children who attended the schools had problems with the districts essentially commercializing what’s intended to be a place of education.Cinema audience

The practice is called “captive audience advertising.”

In the case of the schools, the children really had no other choice than to walk up and down those halls every morning, seeing the ads each day.

They were the captive audience.

Today’s best and most common example would be movie theaters.

Playing ads before the movie starts is a classic example of captive audience marketing.

Unless you plan to stare at the floor or lose your seat by hiding in the bathroom, you have no way to avoid them.

The Reputation

Right now, it’s not good. For the past several years captive audience advertising has been labeled as intrusive and ineffective.

A 2004 Wired Magazine article said the method of marketing was essentially dead, and can you blame them?

Just look at the name — captive audience marketing — that term implies force, something consumers don’t take kindly to.

Advertising Redefined

Though it’s much less obvious, captive audience marketing is still used today. Let’s use the service industry for example. Many bars and pubs have TVs spread across the walls, playing any and all sports each night.

But if you look closely, some of those TVs might not be playing live TV at all. Some of them have dedicated in-house ads running food and drink specials, music events and other happenings to keep you coming back.

Chances are, you noticed them but didn’t even realize you were being targeted. It’s not subliminal advertising (because parts of that are illegal) but it is a sort of passive advertising.

It’s also incredibly cheap. According to www.DirectTvDeal.com, a starting satellite package for your bar or restaurant can be $30 per month.

On top of the cost of televisions, that’s a quick rate of return if your customers keep coming back to take advantage of your specials.

Apply It To Your Marketing Campaigns

So now that you know what captive audience advertising is, isn’t, and more importantly, what it should be, there are some pretty simple steps to apply it to your own marketing campaign.

  • Sell small. No one bought a car because they saw the ad in a movie theater. Sell smaller products — food specials, free trials, special events, etc. The amount of customers you bring in will outweigh selling big to a small number.
  • Be subtle. Passive advertising isn’t flashy and doesn’t force its way in (remember what we said earlier). Your customers shouldn’t feel like they’re being advertised to like a 30-second commercial before a YouTube video.
  • Give them options. Hulu’s advertising before videos gives you the chance to let them know if the ad shown was relevant to you. Press yes and it will show more of the same. Press no and it will try to adjust its ads to fit your style.

When done right, this method of advertising is both affordable and effective. Best of all, it’s not intrusive like the Time article implies.

Do this in your own business and you’ll like the results.

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