A Rough Guide to Social Media Marketing

A Rough Guide to Social Media Marketing

Not so many years ago, the use of social media was seen as a new and exciting approach to marketing. These days, it has come to be regarded as a key pillar in any business’s digital marketing strategy. Good social media marketing strategies can boost your online presence in various ways; social metrics and shares can positively affect your SEO, direct relevant traffic to your website, help you manage your online reputation and connect you directly with your customers and potential customers.

Below are some essential steps to get any social media marketing campaign off the ground.

Defining Your Goals

Defining your goals is an essential first step to building any social media marketing plan. Although it would be easy to say every company’s goals are ultimately to increase revenue and achieve a good ROI, you have to be more specific when sitting down to define individual goals. It’s rarely as simple as just wanting to sell more and make more money. You need to think how your business will benefit best from social media.

What are Your Goals?

With that in mind, do you want to drive traffic to your homepage, get more likes or followers, get your content shared or retweeted, raise your overall brand awareness, explain your products more efficiently and dispel myths about your industry or your product. Perhaps you just want to use social media as a platform to show your personality and that of your business or establish you as a thought leader in your field through intelligent and insightful commentary.

All of these are legitimate and distinct goals and need to be considered. Try to pick two primary goals and then have a secondary goal that you’d like to achieve as well.

Identifying Your Brand ‘Archetype’

The psychologist Carl Jung describes archetypes as “images and thoughts which have universal meanings and that transcend cultures, showing up as dreams, literature, art or even in religion”. Of course, it’s unlikely Jung new much about brand marketing and social media didn’t exist in his day, but his concept of archetypes has become a powerful one for marketers. Brands, as it turns out, can take on defining characteristics in just the same way as people.

The Price of BrandingSee how much brands are actually spending to create a logo that relates with their audience.

Identifying whether your brand is a hero, magician, explorer or any of the other nine archetypes, allows you to not only understand your brand but also the audience you are trying to connect with on an emotional level. Let’s look at it another way. Ask yourself what emotions your brand is aiming to generate in people? If you haven’t thought about it, then you should. Think about the last time you looked through Facebook. Which shared newspaper articles and videos did you click on? Was it the funny ones or the emotional appeals for stolen pets or missing loved ones? Or perhaps you clicked on the ones that were trending, wanting to make sure you were up to date with what everyone was talking about. There are several other emotional levels as well, like colors! Now think about your brand. Which emotions do you want it to generate when people see your social media marketing?

Defining Your Target Audience

A great way to do this is to think about your ideal customer – not a conceptual ideal customer either, but an actual identifiable individual. If you are already trading, think of someone who lives and breathes your brand (such as Apple). They buy all your new items and tell all their friends about you. Now think about them as a person. Where do they go, and what do they do? Are they an adventurous traveller or a home-lover, family person or a true individual, forging their own way in the world? What are their hobbies? Where do they shop? What smartphone do they have? Where do they access the internet and what is their favourite social network? Understanding what motivates your potential customers is the key to any successful social media marketing campaign and building kudos around your brand.

Landing Pages Target the Right Audience

Picking Your Platforms

Defining your target audience will assist in picking your target platform. Yes, it is great to have a presence on them all but you will, and should, have a favourite. Google plus is a great network for improving your SEO and is an absolute must if you are producing regular blog content, as plugging it on Google Plus can often see it appear high up in the search engine results pages. Twitter is great for reaching an enormous audience, if you are willing to accept that most people are there to promote themselves and not to buy from you. Pinterest is ideal if you have a very visual brand, and Facebook is great for B2C brands and for those with a lot to say.

Social Networks

Whatever the nature of your business though, Facebook and Twitter are just too big to ignore. Try starting with these and picking another two or three to go with them.

Planning Your Content

It will save you a lot of time and effort if you loosely plan what you are going to share and where. It is important to know whether the majority of your fans follow you on all social platforms. If they don’t, you can repeat content across networks. Don’t annoy people, though. If they follow you on several platforms, and you are repeatedly posting the same things on all networks at the same time, you could end up alienating your biggest fans. Mix your content up and share different things on different platforms. If in-depth content goes down better on LinkedIn than it does on Facebook, then make a note of this and only share your meatier content through this platform.

Writing Great Content

It is also worth bearing in mind that you have a short window of time in which to grab your fans and hold their attention. Successful brands don’t come across as advertisers these days – instead can be seen more as publishers, providing users with material that they want to see and not material that they think they should see. This is an important difference and is what separates inbound advertising from good content marketing and brand building. You need to engage your users on an emotional level in order to touch them on a logical level and get your brand message across.

Measuring Success

This goes back to the first point about defining your goals. Think about the old adage of target setting. Your plan must be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. This is a very old approach to target setting, but it still rings true. If you can’t measure the success of each and every post you place on social media, how will you know which should be repeated?

Building Your Success Recipe

Measuring success can involve metrics like views, retweets, hashtags, blog comments and placements, CTR, bounce rate, duration watched. Google Analytics is a must if you are to measure traffic to your site in any way but social media is a different story. There are now a host of social media monitoring tools available such as Hootsuite, so shop around for the ones that most suit your needs.

About the Author: John Lanyon is Creative Director at Hurricane Media, a video production and content marketing agency based in Bristol. An award winning film maker, John directed the lauded short documentary ‘Who’s Lenny’ which won Best Short Film at the Royal Television Society Awards in 2012. In his years at Hurricane he has helped create video marketing campaigns for leading local and global brands and is an authority on online video marketing and social media. You can follow Hurricane on Google+, Twitter or Facebook.

How to Find Contact Info and Social Profiles with ManyContacts

How to Find Contact Info and Social Profiles with ManyContacts

One of my favorite things about the internet is being able to connect with millions of people around the world, without ever needing to pick up the phone of worry about when someone is available. Thanks to email and social media, not only has it never been so easy, it’s also never offered such an opportunity for networking with others.

A great example of this is in online marketing and entrepreneurship. Sure, guys like Tony Robbins and Mark Cuban might be wishful thinking when it comes to emailing them and getting a response, but there is whole world of experts and professionals who take the time to respond to their emails and social media conversations. I happen to be one of them.

With all of this being said, the internet has completely changed the way we connect with each other. However, you still need to know where and how to find the right people and how to best get in touch with them.

Take myself for example. If you wanted to get in touch with me, you can use the contact form on this site, or try to find me on social media. This can be a time consuming and tedious process if you don’t know where to look. I recently came across a service called ManyContacts which makes the process of outreach and finding contact information online much easier. Best of all, it’s free and can really add some value to your business and outreach process.

ManyContacts – How to Find Anyone’s Contact Info

Everyone has their own preferred way to connect with others online. I personally prefer Email, Twitter, and Facebook. Other people might like LinkedIn or Google+. While email is the standard for connecting with others, it isn’t always the best or most immediate option. It’s also always a good idea to follow someone on social media and share their content before trying to approach them with a new opportunity or asking for a favor.

This is where a handy tool like ManyContacts comes into play.

Since most people are using Gmail these days, it was brilliant for the company to create a free Google Chrome extension that makes the tool extremely easy to use. You can download it through the link and will also see a screenshot of it through the chrome web store below.

   manycontacts-in-gmail

Once you’ve installed the application, you can then start putting it to use right away. Since the app works right within Gmail, all you need to do is make sure it’s activated and then hover over any email within your account and instantly see all of the social network profiles associated with that email account. You can see this in action in the video below.

As mentioned earlier, if this was something you wanted to accomplish manually it would be quite an annoying and tedious process. Not only would you have to run over to Google and do a search for a name or email address on Twitter or Facebook, you would also have to sort through everyone with that shares the same name as well. ManyContacts isn’t just a free tool, it’s also dead simple to use.

discover-social-profiles

Once you come across a name or email in your Gmail account, all you need to do is click on the social profile icon to access their page. This will load up their profile in a new browser tab, where you can connect with them or share, like, follow in a matter of a few clicks.

ManyContacts Works with Many Websites

While many of us are currently using Gmail on a daily basis, what about everyone who isn’t? Simple… the ManyContacts Chrome extension was built to integrate within your existing Gmail workflow, but also allowing for you to search email addresses across multiple domains, websites and email providers as well.

extract-emails-with-manycontacts

Once you have the Chrome extension installed in your browser, you will also have access to a button on the right of your address bar as well. This will typically look like a shortcut for the app, but it’s actually much more.

Click this icon button and the ManyContacts tool will automatically extract all the emails listed on the current webpage you are browsing. The end result is a full list of not just email addresses, but also each social profile to go along with them. You can also download the full list or run a custom search of your own.

As online marketers, entrepreneurs and branding experts… I’m sure you can instantly imagine what’s possible through the use of a tool like this.

Performing Manual Checks on the ManyContacts Site

In addition to the chrome extension offered by ManyContacts, they also have a website that anyone can use as well. This is perfect if you want to access their features, but might be using a shared computer or simply on the go and want to run a quick search.

All you have to do is visit their website and enter an email address of your choice. ManyContacts will then put together a nice report right within the browser of that person’s profile, email address and all of their associated social profiles. It’s not as thorough as the application, but it’s still quite amazing. You can even run multiple email checks at the same time.

manycontact-website

Using ManyContacts as a Business Tool

ManyContacts is a great tool for scanning through emails and finding potential contacts on different social networks, but it’s also a great tool for business as well. ManyContacts also offers a business solution where data can be pulled together instantly after someone completes a form on your site. After all, why lower your conversion rate by having someone fill in their name and social profile information when an application like ManyContacts can do it all for you?

Take a look at the video below to learn more about how this is done, and why businesses of all sizes would find this type of solution useful.

All-in-all, ManyContacts is quite an amazing and useful application. It’s free to use and simple enough for anyone to get started within a matter of minutes. Download the free Chrome extension and start playing around with ManyContacts and see for yourself.

15 Ways to Respond to Negative Social Media Reviews of Your Brand

15 Ways to Respond to Negative Social Media Reviews of Your Brand

Social media can be fickle at times. With more than 3 billion users now spread across social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, it’s more important than ever to know not only what’s being said about your brand, but also where and how you should address it. This is something the business and branding world refers to as ‘reputation management‘.

While social media is a great place to share brand love, followers can also bash your company with a single comment, leaving you vulnerable to their harmful posts and tweets. It means nothing for a customer or user to make a quick statement online — but it means everything to the individual or brand they might be talking about.

How you decide to handle the negative comments can mean the difference between going down in flames and moving forward graciously. You may even turn some of those negative voices into new brand advocates if you play your cards right.

Below, 15 entrepreneurs from YEC give advice on the best ways to respond to negative reviews on social media, so your brand doesn’t get tarnished as a result.

How Top Experts and Brands Respond to Negative Social Media Reviews

1. Acknowledge and Log for Future Reference

If we receive negative reviews on social media, we reach out to the individual in a direct message, thank them for their feedback and ask them if there is anything that can be done immediately to improve the situation. Once communication has concluded, we log all feedback and review it when it’s time to make updates and improvements to our product. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

2. Look at the Positives

A negative comment is a perfect opportunity to highlight the values of your business in a positive light. Emphasize your business values and offer a solution that reinforces positivity. Don’t forget to take it easy. No hard feelings; there’s authenticity in being able to laugh at yourself. Give your customer value through a quick and personalized response. Be considerate and stay sincere.

David Tomas, Cyberclick

3. Be Transparent and Reach Out

It’s important to keep a public conversation public so that whoever runs across a negative review in the future can see the complete context of the situation, however it ends up getting resolved. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also personally reach out to your customer via email or phone and find out how to make things right.

Tim Chaves, ZipBooks

4. Address It With Passive Honesty

You want to address concerns in a frank and forward manner, but you also want to pull the complainer out of that channel as quickly as possible. Move them to an email or a phone call — anything that gets them off their soapbox. Be professional, address their concerns and offer to help through another medium. “The customer is always right” exists for a reason.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Create, Create, Create

In our business, any negative feedback is an open invitation for creative solutions. Maybe it will be a piece of content that targets an experience or something we missed. Life is about edits, so use this as an excuse to edit. It is an investment of someone’s energy to write a negative review, so channel that into creatively solving the problem, if it exists, with content. Taking it personally solves little.

Matthew Capala, Search Decoder

6. Acknowledge and Investigate ASAP

The best way to address negative reviews on social media is to acknowledge the concern, probe further, offer a solution and promise to address it in a timely manner. I think it is important to acknowledge the negative review, but you also need to investigate beforehand to find out how they came to that judgment. It can be very subjective so it might be an isolated case.

Daisy Jing, Banish

7. Be Positive and Respectful

No matter how personal or derogatory the review, it’s important to stay professional, positive and respectful when you reach out to the unhappy customer. Let them know you are concerned and are there to listen. Even if it becomes unreasonable, turn the discussion back to anything positive you can do for them.

Zach Binder, Ipseity Inc

8. Listen First

You have to respect a customer’s negative review. You may not agree with it, but the best option is to try to understand why they are experiencing what they are complaining about. Simply listening will allow them to get their frustration off their chest. You can learn from this and it will give you an opportunity to find a solution to their problem.

Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co

9. Focus on the Issue

We’re all human, and it can be difficult to keep a level head when dealing with negative criticism. Rather than focusing on the person, try to understand and address their issue as calmly as possible. Once you’ve addressed the issue to the best of your ability, that’s the end of the conversation. Don’t be drawn into a long and public debate — you have more to lose than the customer!

Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

10. Respond Quickly and Honestly

Time is critical when managing negative reviews online. Keep in mind that customers will be engaging with the review during the time prior to your response and they will not come back to read your comments. Act quickly and be honest about the comment. Don’t sound derogatory and don’t be partial. Apologize and speak honestly about the situation. Respond quickly and do not engage in back and forth.

Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

11. Don’t Be Defensive

If you made a mistake and failed to offer the quality of service you aspire to, take responsibility and try to put things right. If that doesn’t work, give the customer a refund and send them on their way. Some customers simply aren’t a good fit for your company. Whatever you do, don’t get defensive and lose your cool.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

12. Keep It Short

Show that you are empathetic and responsive to customer concerns. The best way to handle negative social media publicity is to have your support team respond (just once) publicly offering to fix the situation and urging the user to contact your company. Other people on the forum will see that your company is responsive and willing to fix the situation. Never argue back and forth on a public forum!

Arian Radmand, TurnGram

13. Take Responsibility

Most of the bad reviews are posted out of anger and hate. I personally don’t know one person who has written a completely honest negative review. They will exaggerate to try to get their point across. If your company made a mistake, try to fix it before it gets online. If it got posted online, just suck it up and answer whatever reason you had to not solve the problem beforehand.

Adrian Ghila, Luxe RV, Inc.

14. Convert Them to Evangelists

Go into total emergency customer service mode. In multiple businesses I’ve worked with, some of our most enthusiastic fans have come in first as what can best be described as haters. Unless they are jerks, people often just want to be listened to and taken care of. If they are passionate enough to complain, they likely are passionate enough to brag about superior resolution of their problems.

Benjamin Berman, Optimize For Growth

15. Accept Constructive Criticism

First and foremost, I think it’s important for any business owner to acknowledge that no company is perfect, and that pleasing everyone isn’t a realistic goal. Accepting negative reviews as constructive criticism is healthy practice, and openly communicating with your audience about brand improvement lets them know that you’re not only listening, but that you value their opinions.

Kelly Woo, Profectus Financial

Don’t Let Social Media Ruin Your Personal or Business Brand

Online reputation management is something every individual and brand needs to deal with. While many people think Google and social media just happens, there are ways to monitor and control what is being said about your services, products or brands online. Take action today and gain more control over your brand’s first impression today.

If you enjoyed this expert roundup, I recommend you also take a look at our previous ones on expert SEO tips and best tips for making money online.