How Social Media Helps your Business
When you have a presence on social media, you are making it easier for your customers to find and connect with you on social. And by connecting with your customers on social, research shows that you’re more likely to increase customer retention and brand loyalty.

Social media does not only help with brand awareness on social networks but also increases your website traffic. In addition, the more social media shares you receive, the higher your search ranking will be.

Studies have also shown that most of your customers expect you to be on social media. Over 67 percent of consumers now go to social media for customer service. They expect fast response times and 24/7 support—and companies that deliver win out. A study by Aberdeen Group shows that companies engaging in social customer service see much bigger annual financial gains (7.5 percent YOY growth) vs. those without (2.9 percent).

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social-media-interaction

Every business is dependent on its customer base for survival. The stronger the relationship is between the business and the consumer; the better positioned the business is to effectively sell.

It’s not always about the amount of money a business invests in marketing campaigns or even how well-known the brand is that determines its success, but rather its ability to win and engage a group of loyal followers.

Thanks to social media, businesses all over the world have the unique opportunity to communicate on a personal level with their customers. The strategy is simple to understand but using it effectively can be a challenge for many small businesses who have no clue how to effectively engage their followers on social media.

If your social media plan is to simply create a business profile and randomly post deals promoting your products, your time will be better spent doing other things as your chances of success will be very slim.

The best companies at leveraging social media to grow their businesses are those who master the art of creating an emotional and lasting connection with their fan base.

But how do the pros do it?

Below are five useful tips on how to interact with your customers on social media.

Post user-generated content

The hardest part of marketing your business on social media is undoubtedly figuring out what type of content to post. Creating a campaign that leverages content that your followers had a role in shaping can be an extremely effective way of developing posts that actually get shared.

Generating content, which includes customers, makes them feel part of the topic, so they are more likely to bring in ideas as if they were adding value to their own company.

In 2014, Starbucks launched a White Cup Contest and asked their customers to create doodles on their Starbucks cups and submit pictures as contest entries. The person who submitted the winning entry would have their drawing be the template for a limited edition cup. The result was nearly 4,000 entries in a span of three weeks. User generated content bridges the gap between the seller and the customer.

If your customers like what you post, they are also more willing to share your content with their friends and effectively help you reach a wider market.

More than promotions

If self-promotion dominates your social media profile, people will find it monotonous and will be less likely to revisit your page. Using social media channels requires creativity in order to keep your customers engaged and loyal.

Be sure to include appropriate life-related matters, social affairs, economic issues, and current events to keep your content lively and generate interest. Once you’ve attracted them with interesting content, you can then add your promotional posts, but in a way that does not make your posts seem solely sales oriented.

A great example of this is the popular skateboarding site, Shralpin, which shares informative how-to guides that are sure to resonate with their audience.

Adding value first to the lives of your customers should be a top priority whenever you are publishing a social media post.

Be responsive

Depending on what you post and the type of goods or services you offer, many customers will submit inquiries through your social media channels.

You will only secure loyalty and repeat visits if you respond to their feedback in a timely manner.

Be easy to find

The harder it is to recognize your business’ profile, the less likely it is that people will follow you on social media.

Use simple profile names and pictures that are directly related to your organization’s trademarks to ensure that people will easily recognize your business. Using different names and unrelated profile details creates inconsistency between you and your business, which will discourage customers from following your accounts.

It is also a great idea to link to your social media profiles from the homepage of your website.

Have fun

A majority of people use social media for fun and socializing, so you should use it as a platform to have fun as well. If your followers find your social pages uninteresting, they will eventually become bored with your content and stop following you. Be sure to post jokes and other interesting content to keep your customers returning to your pages.

Overall, the use of social media can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy for those who use it effectively.

Don’t use social media to just “be on social media,” make sure its use has a positive impact (and return) for your business.

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There’s no question as to the importance of social media for businesses. In fact, nearly 80 percent of enterprises say it’s the most important factor in digital marketing success, ranking it higher than search engine optimization, content creation, email – even a website.

But, with more noise on popular networks than ever and organic reach dwindling, what’s a marketer to do? The answer of course, is paid social media.

According to a new study from business-to-business (B2B) research firm, Clutch, 86 percent of marketers are now using both paid and organic tactics as part of their social media strategies. In this post, we dive into the data to see how marketers are using paid social media and the key tactics that should be part of your strategy.

Choose the Right Channel

When it comes to paid strategies, Facebook is the top choice for the majority (66 percent) of marketers. This comes as little surprise, due to both sheer numbers – Facebook is closing in on 2 billion active users– and algorithm changes.

With organic reach on Facebook down to a 2 percent, marketers hoping to reach anyone on the network have little choice but to invest in paid advertising there.

And Facebook makes that easy to do, with an extensive range of advertising objectives, robust targeting features, and low-cost options.

Still, it’s not the only choice, and depending on a marketer’s goals and audience, Facebook may not even be the best choice. YouTube and Twitter – at 34 percent and 33 percent respectively – both draw a good chunk of marketers’ ad spend, with LinkedIn not far behind at 30 percent.

Planning to share a special offer? A sponsored Facebook post could be a great option. But, if the post promotes a white paper, it may be more successful as a promoted tweet or LinkedIn sponsored content.

Don’t ignore organic

According to the same Clutch survey, 60 percent of marketers agree that paid social media is more effective than organic. However, that doesn’t mean that organic efforts aren’t important.

In fact, organic social media interactions are vital for developing relationships with current and potential customers. Organic posts – answering questions, engaging with your audience, responding to or sharing feedback – all help build a brand’s online reputation over the long term.

“If a company runs a paid social media campaign, the first thing that may happen is someone will click on the company’s profile,” Rogerson explains. “If the company doesn’t have organic content on its Facebook page, then the customer can’t learn anything about the company’s character. They most likely won’t click through to the company’s website or download its content.”

Are you tracking the right metrics?

Tracking results is a core component of any social media strategy. How else will you know if what you’re doing is working? But, when it comes to metrics for paid campaigns, many marketers are looking at the wrong things.

Clutch’s survey revealed that 27 percent of marketers said audience growth was the most important metric to track, followed by website clicks (19%), and engagement (17 percent).

The problem? Two of those stats – audience growth and engagement (likes, shares, and mentions) – arevanity metrics.

With paid campaigns, in particular, marketers should be tracking results that justify ad spending and demonstrate ROI for the company. These include conversions, click-through-rate, reach, and cost per conversion or cost per click, to name a few.

Final thoughts

As organic social media reach continues to decline, those businesses that haven’t incorporated paid tactics – or haven’t done so strategically – will be forced to reassess.

As Steve Pearson of Friendemic bluntly puts it: “A better solution for not being able to do paid social media is not to do any social media. Doing organic social with zero paid is a very inefficient use of resources. … You’re paying a lot to produce the content, but very few people are seeing it.”

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1 You’re directionless

I find that companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don’t have clear strategic goals for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don’t have goals you likely don’t put enough resources to reach the goals and you don’t evaluate through analytics whether you’re achieving those goals.

2  You won’t know your online market share

Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven”t researched this.  Perhaps more importantly you won’t understand your online marketplace: the dynamics will be different to traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behaviour, competitors, propositions and options for marketing communications. See online marketplace methodology post.

3 Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share

If you’re not devoting enough resources to digital marketing or you’re using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!

4. You don’t have a powerful online value proposition

A clearly defined online customer value proposition will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal.

5. You don’t know your online customers well enough

It’s often said that digital is the “most measureable medium ever”. But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes not sentiment. You need to use other forms of website user feedback tools to identify your weakpoints and then address them.

6. You’re not integrated (“disintegrated”)

It’s all too common for digital to be completed in silos whether that’s a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT or a separate digital agency. It’s easier that way to package digital marketing into a convenient chunk. But of course it’s less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.

7. Digital doesn’t have enough people/budget given its importance

Insufficient resource will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing and there is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.

8. You’re wasting money and time through duplication

Even if you do have sufficient resource it may be wasted. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organization purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.

9. You’re not agile enough to catchup or stay ahead

If you look at the top online brands like Amazon, Dell, Google, Tesco, Zappos, they’re all dynamic  – trialing new approaches to gain or keep their online audiences.

10 You’re not optimising

Every company with a website will have analytics, but many senior managers don’t ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once a strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email and social media marketing. So that’s our top 10 problems that can be avoided with a well thought through strategy. What have you found can go right or wrong?

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