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Case Study: How we Doubled our Client’s Website Traffic during a Pandemic

When COVID-19 hit the United States in March of 2020, it forced companies to rethink their digital marketing messages. The unknown of the pandemic and how the economy would respond was scary for brands and caused many companies to hold or press pause on their marketing campaigns. Despite the unknown, companies were leaving marketing opportunities on the table. 

Morgan & Associates is a CPA and advisory firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with locations throughout the state. Their primary focus is to support business owners with expert tax, accounting, and advisory services. They provide regular analysis and insight to business owners to help them make smart business decisions throughout the year. 

Katie L Smith & Company began working with Morgan & Associates at the beginning of 2019 to increase awareness of Morgan & Associates in Michigan and drive potential leads to their website. The social media strategy was to reach successful entrepreneurs and business owners through the sharing of tax news and business-related information that was directly applicable (and exclusive) to the financial well-being of entrepreneurs/business owners through blogs and social media posts. The process would be to build trust with the target audience by first educating about current market opportunities and pitfalls.

 

Want a custom social media strategy for your business? Contact us today.

 

Establishing a social media strategy upfront (a year ago) for Morgan & Associates allowed for an immediate shift in their marketing strategy and messaging when COVID-19 made its presence in the US economy. Morgan & Associates was able to use the same social media strategy but shift it to address the current market opportunities and pitfalls that COVID-19 brought with it. We were able to reach entrepreneurs and business owners right where they were, experiencing fear, the unknown, and questions that surrounded COVID-19. We immediately started posting on topics such as: staying safe during COVID-19, what rental owners should do during COVID-19, SBA loans, sick credits, CARES ACT updates, layoffs, PPP, loan forgiveness, etc. 

While other companies were hitting pause on their social media and marketing campaigns, Morgan & Associates quickly pivoted and provided the necessary information to their target audience during an unprecedented time, amplifying their trust-building strategy. The pivot proved successful. Morgan & Associates’ website traffic immediately increased, doubling in months of March and April. 

 

 

Without a social media strategy and management process in place, it becomes difficult for a company to successfully pivot in time for a natural disaster, environment change, or an industry shift. Before COVID-19, Morgan & Associates moved their marketing from a guessing strategy into a more calculated environment, setting themselves up to be ready when their environment changed.

Is your Twitter Strategy missing this?

Is your Twitter Strategy missing this?

Crafting the perfect tweet consists of obtaining a sweet graphic or video from your designer, writing a creative 280 character description, having a Call-to-Action (CTA) link that is begging to be clicked on, and scheduling the tweet out on Twitter during an optimized time.

Each tweet takes time, and for your business, that’s company time and resources. Which is why it’s natural to hope for the best results from each tweet. However, if you’re looking at the analytics a day after a tweet is posted and you’re disappointed in the singular results of one tweet, then your Twitter strategy is missing something.

Your tweet didn’t fall short because of its content, but from Twitter’s algorithm not ranking your tweets high enough. Here’s what you need to know about Twitter’s algorithm, and the one change you can make to increase your tweets’ ranking.


The Twitter Algorithm

Twitter has been known for its reverse chronological order for years, however, in 2017 Twitter introduced its first feed algorithm with “while you were away” and “in case you missed it.” Twitter’s “new” algorithm was to help users see relevant content they missed when they were offline. 

Twitter’s algorithm brings a mix of real-time content and content shown based on the algorithms’s ranking of past tweets to your Home feed (unless you turn off the Twitter algorithm on your account).

Twitter’s algorithm is constantly evolving, but when first released, Twitter publicly stated three characteristics the algorithm considers when ranking tweets. They are…

  1. The Tweet: recency, media usage, and interactions received
  2. The Author: past interaction with author, strength of connection, origin of relationship
  3. You: tweets you found engaging in the past, how often and heavily you use Twitter

 

Twitter Reposting Schedule

Every time you open your Twitter app or refresh your feed, Twitter is scoring every tweet from the people you follow to determine what tweets will be shown at the top of your Home feed. Changing the feed every second, in real time.

This is the same for your target audience’s Twitter. So when you post your tweet once, you leave too much up to the “fate” of Twitter’s algorithm. If you want your content in front of your followers regularly, you need to be repeating your tweets on a consistent basis.

At Katie L Smith & Company, we use a simple reposting schedule that sends out the exact same tweet, not once, but up to seven times during a 12 month period. This reposting strategy guarantees an increase in the reach of a single social media post.

For example:

Post #1 receives 40 impressions

Repeat Post #1 receives 30 impressions

= 70 impressions total


The reposting schedule we recommend for Twitter:
   

 

A Quick Note: When following the above reposting schedule, remember to consider the shelf-life of your content. Consider how far into the future the post will remain relevant to your target audience. Will it still be relevant in 24 hours? Next week? Next month?, etc. Once the content reaches its relevancy expiration date, remove it from your reposting schedule.

A reposting schedule is just one piece to a well-rounded Twitter strategy that touches on only a portion of the Twitter algorithm characteristics. If you are interested in learning how you can obtain a well-rounded Twitter strategy and have your tweets rank higher and get seen by your target audience, fill out the contact form below, and our social media strategist will be in touch with you!

The B2B Social Media Strategy that Works

The B2B Social Media Strategy that Works

Prior to planning out your social media strategy, it’s important to first understand where social media fits into your sales and marketing process. Once you visualize this, you will bring more purpose to your posting.

“When we do Influence Marketing well, we widen the funnel at the top.”  – Anonymous

Social media is a tool to increase awareness and influence of your company and brand. And when you play to this strength, you can load up the top of your sales funnel with potential new leads.

KLS-Sales-Funnel

In the sales funnel above you can see social media fits well at the very top under the Awareness stage. The Awareness stage is where “strangers” (or your target audience) are first introduced to your company. Where they receive their first impression of you. Tools under the Awareness stage can include: Google searches, SEO, web pages, blogs, and social media. 

From the first awareness (or subsequent), you drive your target audience into the second stage of the sales funnel, or the Consideration stage. Driving people from only “seeing” your content to engaging with it and seeking more.

 

The B2B Social Media Strategy

Now you can map out your social media strategy to fit the journey your potential leads (target audience) take from not knowing your brand to their first awareness on social media and into consideration of your product/service. 

Below is an outline of the B2B strategy that we use for our clients and have found success in. Spend some time brainstorming and outlining each section. If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out. 

 

Blueprint

The blueprint sets the foundation for your social media. It identifies who you are, who your target audience is, and how you will be speaking to your target audience on social media. You will want to…

» Identify who you are and what you provide to clients.

» Identify who your target audience is on social media. 

» Identify your brand’s voice and tone for social media.

» Identify the specific pain points your target audience is experiencing.

 

Posting Strategy

The posting strategy outlines the specifics to the day-to-day operations of your social media accounts. As a team you will need to decide upfront…

» What you want to accomplish on social media (your goals/objectives).

» What social media platforms will work best to reach your target audience and achieve your goals.

» How often you will be posting on each social media platform.

» What type of content you will be posting on your social media accounts.

 

Content Strategy

The content strategy dives into the plan for reaching your target audience on each of your designated social media platforms. By using your messaging and content and keeping your goals in mind…

» Lay out the “big idea” for each social media platform.

» Lay out which type of posts will be published on each social media platform.

» List the KPIs (key performance indicators) for each social media platform.

 

Hashtags

Do the hashtag research. Each social network’s hashtags differ, so you’ll want to lay out your industry hashtags ahead of time for each social network you will be posting on. You’ll want to…

» Research the popular industry hashtags being used on each social media platform.

» Research the fastest growing industry hashtags on each social media platform.

» Research location based hashtags that are related to your business.

» Research some general popular hashtags that fit well into your social media strategy.

 

Industry Influencers

Industry influencers are people or companies who are the experts and industry leaders in your business field. Knowing who your industry influencers are can help you stay in the know, add expert content to your social media strategy, allow you to engage with them on social media, and advertise to their followers. 

» List out the industry influencers your company can connect with.

» List the social media networks of each industry influencer.

 

Paid Advertising

Social media is a pay-to-play environment. Social media platforms like Facebook utilize the willingness to pay for ads as a determining factor between an actual business account and spam account. Having a plan for consistent monthly advertising spend will help to play towards the social networks algorithms and help to boost your overall monthly analytics. You will need to decide…

» What is your monthly budget?

» What will be your campaign objectives?

» What type of content will you promote each month?

» How long will your campaigns run for?

 

KPIs

When you set a goal, it is important to follow it up with trackable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Avoid falling prey to vanity metrics and lay out your social media KPIs in advance. Here are some common B2B KPIs…

» Impressions – the total number of people who had the opportunity to see your content in their News Feeds.

» Clicks – the number of times people clicked on your content to engage with it.

» Outbound Clicks – the number of times people clicked to a blog or landing page.

» Engagement Rate – the total number of engagements divided by the total number of impressions.

» Leads – the number of new contacts, forms submissions, downloads, etc.

Don’t Fall Prey to Vanity Metrics

Don’t Fall Prey to Vanity Metrics

It’s surprising how many B2B business owners and marketing managers get caught up in the wrong social media metrics. 

And, you might be one of them. Here’s how to know…. Do you get hyper focused on a few of the public facing analytics – the number of “likes” and followers your social accounts have? Do you only look at your profile pages to judge the success of your company’s social media efforts?

If your answer is even a slight ‘yes’, then you might be spending too much time on vanity metrics.

Vanity metrics are the metrics that make you look good to others but do not help you understand your own performance in a way that informs future strategies.

Vanity metrics can be important. They are certainly important to large consumer brands (like Starbucks) and Instagram Influencers, but they do not hold much weight in B2B marketing.

We won’t say to never look at your social media account followers or post likes, but there is so much more depth in other social media analytics than in vanity metrics. Understanding the analytics that matter will help you better judge the success of your social media efforts.

 

Here are the 5 B2B social media metrics that matter:

  • Impressions – the total number of people who had the opportunity to see your content in their News Feeds.
  • Clicks – the number of times people clicked on your content to engage with it.
  • Outbound Clicks – the number of times people clicked to a blog or landing page.
  • Engagement Rate – the total number of engagements divided by the total number of impressions.
  • Leads – the number of new contacts, forms submissions, downloads, etc.

 

Focusing your social media efforts around these five metrics will help you to see past the vanity of social media and into the true power that social media provides for your company.

For example, would you rather have your Twitter post receive 1,000 likes…

  • A high number of post likes (Vanity Metrics)
  • No opportunity for people to learn more

 

…or 1,000 post clicks to your website?

 

  • A low number of post likes (Vanity Metrics)
  • High probability for link clicks and new leads; in this case 14-day free trials

 

My guess, 1,000 clicks to your website is much more valuable. That’s 1,000 potential new people to your website who took the opportunity to gain further access to your content or learn more about your products/services. And, if you have an inbound marketing strategy, that’s a HUGE opportunity to get those 1,000 people into your sales funnel.

Don’t get overwhelmed with this list of metrics. There are easy and simple ways to measure them. There is no shortage of services that help, at Katie L Smith & Company we use Traject Social.

8 Ways to Protect Your Social Media Brand in a Crisis

8 Ways to Protect Your Social Media Brand in a Crisis

When a crisis hits, whether it’s internal (financial, personnel, etc.) or external (natural disaster, sickness, etc.), your company needs to respond. You have the responsibility to take care of your team, customers, shareholders, and the safety of the general public.

The recent events of COVID-19 has left businesses and organizations scrambling to develop a public PR response in a very short time period, and many are turning to social media as the frontline of communication to reach the mass majority. Social media is providing an easy avenue for companies to share their company-wide message as well as ongoing updates. However, this sudden shift into the unknown can leave a company feeling vulnerable about their brand. As the crisis increases so do the emotions, opinions and conversations online, and an underprepared company can be left feeling naked and afraid. 

These feelings are very real during a time of crisis. Any misstep online can be detrimental to the future of a brand. The last thing your company needs during a crisis is a PR situation on its hands because of carelessness or unpreparedness.

Here are eight steps your business or organization can take to safely protect your brand during COVID-19:

 

Review Social Media Account Access

Take a minute and visit the admin access pages on each of your social media networks. Make note of who has admin rights to each account. Is this information currently accurate and updated? Update it right now and make a note offline of who has access to which accounts so you can revisit later.

*Every business should stay in complete control of their brand’s social media accounts. Make sure there are enough levels of management with access to help prevent from loss of account access.

 

Increase Account Security

Social media accounts are providing more and more security measures to help protect against cybercriminals and account loss. Use them! From two-factor authentication to login alerts, these will help to ensure the safety of your accounts during uncertain times.

 

Establish a Line of Communication with Customers

The worst thing your business or organization can do during a crisis is cut off all communication with your customers. Make sure to communicate how your customers can contact you during the crisis. Social media networks do provide private messaging tools. Make them available!  And, make sure you have designated staff members monitoring and responding to messages in a timely manner. The last thing you want is to lose a percentage of customers because they were unable to contact you.

 

Limit Public Conversation on Platforms

When emotions are high and topics are sensitive, adding additional protection to your social media accounts is not a bad thing. Visit your account settings on each platform and make adjustments on how people can and cannot communicate and engage with your pages.

Here are some setting options broken down by each platform.

*If you’re looking to limit conversation and keep one line of communication going, follow the steps under recommendation.

Facebook  

Visitor Posts: Decides if visitors to your page are allowed to post, share photos and videos, etc. Recommendation: Adjust settings to require approval first or disable.

Message: Allows people to contact your page through private messaging.
Recommendation: Turn on

Tagging Ability: Allows others to tag photos and videos published by you.
Recommendation: Disable

Others Tagging this Place: Allows people and other pages to tag your page in content.
Recommendation: Disable

Page Moderation: Blocks posts or comments that contain specific words.
Recommendation: Limit the conversation on your page surrounding specific topics by uploading a list of keywords related to the crisis. Here is our keyword list for the Coronavirus. 

*Note: Facebook does not allow you to turn off commenting on posts all together. The best way to limit comments is by uploading a list of keywords. 

Profanity Filter: Blocks the use of profanity from your page.
Recommendation: Set to strong.

Live Commentary: Doesn’t allow people to go live in your watch party when one of your videos is playing.
Recommendation: Turn on

Instagram

Turn off Commenting: Turns off all comments for individual posts.
Recommendation: Turn off comments on specific crisis related posts.

Comment Controls: Limits comments from everyone, hides offensive comments, or restricts the use of specific keywords in comments.
Recommendation: Limit the conversation on your page surrounding specific topics by uploading a list of keywords related to the crisis. Here is our keyword list for the Coronavirus. 

Tagged Posts: Sets manual approval for posts your account is tagged in.
Recommendation Turn on

Story Controls: Determines who can reply and share your stories.
Recommendation: Limit or turn off

LinkedIn

Commenting: Allows comments on specific posts.
Recommendation: Turn off if necessary

Twitter

Photo Tagging: Allows people to tag you in photos.
Recommendation: Limit or disable photo tagging.

Direct Messaging: Filters who can send your account direct messages.
Recommendation: Turn on ‘Receive messages from anyone’, and you may want to turn on the quality filter as well.

 

Review Upcoming Scheduled Posts

A crisis is stressful and busy, but don’t forget to review the current social media posts scheduled to go out that week and in the proceeding weeks. You don’t want to be the business or organization that neglected to remove a post that portrayed insensitivity during a crisis. Move any scheduled posts back to draft status and save it for when things settle down.

 

Pause Any Unnecessary Ads

Same goes for your scheduled paid advertising. Review your ads and determine their relevancy during this time. Running paid campaigns is not wrong during a crisis, business must go on, however you want to use an extra lens of sensitivity in your promotion. Hit ‘pause’ on any irrelevant ads and pick them back up when the time is right.

 

Address the Crisis on Social Media Channels

Like previously mentioned, silence can do more damage. It is important for your team, customers, shareholders, and sometimes the general public to hear from you during a crisis. Each business will differ slightly in their messaging but a simple statement of your awareness of the crisis and your protocol moving forward will go a long way in protecting your brand.

  

Be Sensitive!

This point we cannot stress enough. Emotions are high right now. Be respectful and sensitive to what you are saying on your social media channels and how you are promoting your business during the crisis. There is nothing worse than you shooting yourself in the foot because you launched an insensitive social media campaign that alienated your customers.

 

Having a social media crisis management plan in place prior to a crisis should be the ideal goal for every business and organization. As you work through the above eight points, make notes to go back to later when developing your own social media crisis management plan. Having a plan in place will help to establish what preventative measures need to take place, who is responsible for enacting those measures, and how your business or organization will respond to the situation in a timely manner if/when a crisis did occur.  

No one wishes for a crisis to occur. But they happen. And when they do it is best to be prepared as a business. Social media is just one part of your business that needs to react and respond when a crisis happens. Take the pressure off of your marketing team and leave the social media crisis management to a team of experts. When you hire a third-party social media business like Katie L Smith & Company to handle your day-to-day social media operations, you can rest assured a team of experts are monitoring and protecting your brand’s online presence every step of the way. Crisis or no crisis.

Interested in a FREE Consultation? Contact us today!

Evaluating Your Year-End Social Media Analytics

Evaluating Your Year-End Social Media Analytics

You decided to do it. You decided to take the plunge and give social media a try. Either you made the investment to pay someone else to manage your company’s social media or you’ve been giving it go. Either way, as a business owner you now need to evaluate if last year’s effort was really worth the cost. Did it even move the needle for your business?

Social Media Analytics

“Social Media Analytics refers to the approach of collecting data from social media sites and blogs and evaluating that data to make business decisions. This process goes beyond the usual monitoring or a basic analysis of retweets or “likes” to develop an in-depth idea of the social consumer” (techopedia)

Social media analytics is the best way, currently, to evaluate the performance of your social media networks, see how it moved your business or brand, and identify what worked and what needs to be improved upon the following year.

But how do you do that? How do you take everything that has happened in the last year and review it in a way that makes sense, not only for yourself but for your staff, company, and board members?

The Most Important Social Media Analytics

From the analytics provided by social networks to third-party tools, it’s not surprising that you get overwhelmed by the amount of numbers and graphs out there. However, if you focus on the most important analytics, you will be able to build a foundation to give you a sense of how your social media is performing.

Here is our list of the most important analytics to look at and evaluate when reviewing your social media efforts:

Profiles: The social media networks that your business/brand has active (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)

Followers: The total number of followers across all of your business/brand’s social media networks at the end of year. (i.e. Twitter: 2,000 + Facebook: 5,000 + Pinterest 500 = 7,500 followers)

Impressions: The total number of times a post showed up in somebody’s news feed/timeline (the number of times people had the potential of seeing a post) across all social media networks for the entire year. 

Reach: The total number of people who viewed a post across all social media networks for the entire year.

Post Count: The total number of posts published to all social media networks throughout the entire year.

Engagement: The total number of times people interacted with posts (i.e. liked, commented, shared, reacted, etc.) across all social media networks for the entire year.

Engagement Rate: The level of engagement posts are receiving from your social media following. Calculated by: 

(Engagement / Followers) / 12 = Average Monthly Engagement Rate

Clicks: The number of times people click on the post, photo, video, or link across all social media networks for the entire year.

Audience Demographic: The followers demographics broken down by gender and age group.

Putting it Together

After you collect the above numbers and begin to review them, ask yourself the following questions:

Did your follower count increase over the year?

Did your impressions and reach increase from the previous year? If this is your first year of social media, does the total number of people that saw your company’s posts seem impressive to you? 

Does the post count feel like you consistently posted throughout the year? Or did your efforts fall short?

Were people engaging with your posts?

Is your average monthly engagement rate between or higher than 1%-3.5%?

* 1%-3.5% is an average/good engagement rate

Were people clicking on your content, and heading to your company’s website? 

Does the audience demographic fall within your company’s target audience profiles? 

Did you reach your goals set at the beginning of the year?


Don’t have a social media goal for the year, and don’t know how to establish one? Read
‘Your No Fail, 5 Steps to Strategic Social Media’.


*Advanced Note
If you have Google Analytics set up on your website or another website analytics tracking software, you have the ability to gain deeper insight into the performance of your social media. By logging into your website analytics tool and locating traffic acquisition, you can view a breakdown of where your website traffic was originating from. Take a look at the social media category. Here you can see the level of web traffic social media was bringing in as well as which social network brought in the most.

Still not sure how your social media stacks up? Numbers are great and all, but you’re looking for more concrete ideas on how to improve your social media heading into 2020. Then take a look at our FREE B2B Social Media Audit and request one today!

Two Types of Hashtags You Should Be Using

Two types of hashtags you should be using on your social media posts

Hashtags have now been around for over a decade. The first hashtag was used by Chris Messina in August of 2007 on Twitter. Chris had the idea to use a hashtag to categorize a group’s discussion or an online conversation on Twitter. Over Benny Pointingthe years hashtags have spread from Twitter across multiple online platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, as well as entering into our text and verbal communications.

Hashtags were originally meant for discussing certain events or topics of conversation. While this is still the case on many social networks, hashtags are becoming exceedingly popular being used to further describe the subject of a post or to create a humorous bit. Many of these hashtags become one-off hashtags that aren’t found on multiple social media posts. While this is creative and fun on a casual communication level, they don’t add value to your business’ social media posts. These hashtags won’t get your content seen.

However, there are two types of hashtags your business should be using to help increase the reach of your content.

 

1. Common use hashtags

A common use hashtag is a hashtag that has the highest count of usage across a particular social media network. Common use hashtags can have thousands or even millions of posts that contain a specific hashtag in the post description. Sometimes these can be popular words or phrases to categorize a certain subject; for example: #bunnies, #rabbit #bunnylove

To determine what the common use hashtags are for your business, start with listing out possible hashtags for your industry. Next research how many posts are currently using each hashtag on a particular social network. For example, on Instagram you can type the hashtag into the search bar and Instagram will give you the current number of posts that contain the searched hashtag. Add this number next to the hashtag name. Creating a small chart like the pictured example will create a visual representation of which hashtags are the most popular in your industry.

Common Use Hashtags

* Note: If you are using Instagram and Twitter in your social media strategy, make sure to research your hashtags for Twitter and Instagram separately. Hashtags that are popular on Instagram are not always popular on Twitter.

 

2. High growth hashtags

High growth hashtags are hashtags that don’t necessarily have the highest count of posts but are growing at a faster rate than other hashtags. High growth hashtags are a good indication for where a current conversation or trend is taking place. If you can identify high growth hashtags for your industry, you will have the opportunity to join an active online conversation and greatly increase the reach of your content.

To determine which hashtags from your common use hashtag list are also high growth hashtags, add two more columns to your chart. Wait 24 hours and recheck the post count for each hashtag. Add this number in the next column. After inserting all the numbers into the chart, you can then calculate the growth rate percentage with the formula below:

Growth Rate Percentage = (New Post Count – Original Post Count/Original Post Count) * 100

Calculate the growth rate percentage for each hashtag and insert into the last column of the chart. Identify which percentages are the highest. Identify which hashtags have the highest use count and which hashtags have the highest growth rate. Are they the same hashtags?

High Growth Hashtags

*Note: It is best practice to calculate high growth hashtags for your industry once a quarter to make sure you are still using the fastest growing hashtags.

 

Benny Sitting

Calculating common use and high growth hashtags will give you a solid plan for utilizing hashtags on your social media posts and working towards increasing your content reach. Using a combination of each type of hashtag is best practice. If you have any questions about setting up a hashtag strategy, contact us for a free consultation.

 

 

Your no-fail, 5 steps to strategic social media

Your no-fail, 5 steps to strategic social media

When it comes to social media, building a strategy is essential. It should serve as the foundation to everything you communicate about your business across platforms. A successful strategy should:

  • Explain your “why”—the reason you’re even using social media
  • Describe your target audience, which will help guide every social media decision
  • Establish key objectives and map out your “how” so you can begin measuring success
  • Ensure you know whether you dollars are being put to good use

The bottom line: You should always know the “why” to every single post or ad campaign across your social media accounts and be able to explain the greater goal each is working to accomplish.

If you cannot, you are wasting time and money because you have no way to measure whether or not your marketing has been successful.

Let’s repeat that.

If you don’t know the strategy behind your social media posts, you aren’t marketing.

You are posting and praying something works.

In order to avoid the “posting and praying” trap, here are 5 steps to developing a successful social media strategy:

1. Start with the “blueprint” of your business

Begin by laying out the most important features of your brand—elements that are necessary to weave into your social media strategy. Nick Westergaard, author of Get Scrappy, Smarter Digital Marketing for Business Big and Small, describes this as defining your brand and how you will tell your story online. “You can’t always see your brand, but it’s what the rest of your work stands on.”

Important features include:

  • Know your target audience (Be specific. Utilize Facebook ad categories to help)
  • Define what makes your business/brand unique
  • Map out your brand story
  • Describe your brand personality and voice
  • Define your brand visuals

2. Map out your social media plan

Asking questions is the key to mapping out your plan. Begin with asking the why, what, where, when, who and how.

  • Why are you even using social media?
  • What is your objective, and what are you expecting as a return on investment? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, discover new leads, provide customer service? What social media networks and content can help you reach your goals?
  • Where will the action steps take place?
  • When will they take place?
  • How will you implement them?
  • Who is going to do it?

These questions might be tough and take some time to figure out, but answering them will help clearly define the work that needs to be done and who is expected to accomplish it.

3. Understand no two social media platforms are the same

Every social media network is different and contains its own best practices for marketing. It’s important to understand each in order to map out how you can use it to reach your goals.

Decide on your objectives for each social network in terms of reaching and interacting with your target audience. For example, how are you going to use Instagram to achieve your social media objectives? Will you use Facebook, or LinkedIn, or any other social media network differently? Using each social network in a way that matches best practices will help you clearly define and measure whether or not you’re reaching your goals.

4. Map content to your yearly sales cycle

Every business has a sales cycle, which includes seasons and trends. What are yours?

It’s helpful to take a step back and review how your social media content could align with specific seasons and trends. What are your potential customers thinking about during specific times of year? Can you match your sales trends with topics to use on social media?

For example, a landscaping company is looking to book summer lawn care packages when the snow is starting to melt. Or a retail shop is gearing up for the holiday season in the fall. Match your sales trends with potential content and call-to-actions in your strategy. You will use this later when building out your monthly content calendar.

5. Plan on paid advertising

Social media is pay-to-play. The days of reaching your customers organically (free) are over. The research is clear. It’s a foregone conclusion across social media news networks.

But that doesn’t mean you should jump off Facebook or other social networks. It means you have to step up your money spend. Determine what that looks like for your business. What can you spend monthly? What content should you promote on which networks?

The importance of paid advertising makes having a strategy even more important because it allows you to be strategic from the beginning, ensuring you’re not wasting money in places that make no sense for your audience and goals. When looking at how to use your advertising dollars, refer back to your goals. How can you accomplish them through paid advertising? Can you establish monthly, quarterly, yearly campaigns with a corresponding budget? Map out what that looks like for your company.

 

Want to know how your company's social media stacks up?

Receive your first ever social media grade with our FREE B2B Social Media Audit.

1.7 trillion reasons your business

1.7 trillion reasons your business can’t afford to ignore the online mommy market

New moms are one of the most lucrative markets in the world—and moms in general are the largest demographic group online today. In 2016, the online mommy market reached over $1.7 trillion in spending. Yes, TRILLION!

This means many brands that aren’t spending the time to understand and actively court this market online are likely leaving money on the table.

Who are millennial moms?

Women today are working more, starting families later, traveling more often and sometimes living in cities far away from their families. Many young moms are no longer able to rely on their mothers, grandmothers, neighbors and community for help. As a result, they’re learning to adapt with changing times as they raise their children. Their new source of support? The Internet.

According to Maria Bailey and Bonnie Ulman, authors of Trillion-Dollar Moms: Marketing to a new generation of mothers, “Eighty-eight percent of moms rely on the Internet for their parental guidance, advice, and ideas for raising children…If they face a challenge or need product information or validation, they go to the Internet.”

This means moms have found their place online, and as a result, they’re launching their own blogs, websites, Facebook support groups, Instagram accounts, Pinterest boards and YouTube channels. They’re literally flooding the Internet with their ideas, support, knowledge, experience and wit.

What are they looking for?

 So why are moms flocking to digital and social media platforms more than any other demographic? There are 3 basic reasons:

  1. Support & Community
    This is a time of transition in which many mothers sometimes feel isolated and alone, especially if they find themselves without family nearby or a local support community. Online communities help facilitate an atmosphere in which new moms can engage with other moms and ask questions, exchange information, experiences and even frustrations. The Internet offers them a way to connect 24/7 with others amidst their busy lifestyle. And it has become a means in which they’re able to find community and support.
  2. Identity
    When a female discovers she’s pregnant, she begins the greatest transition of her life. In the process of becoming a new mom, her sense of identity changes. It’s a time of great adjustment, and in the midst of inevitable insecurities around parenting, she begins to search for information and resources to help along her journey. Getting involved in online virtual communities, social media sites and blogs allows her to share her new life, fears and failures with others. It’s an authentic space that allows her to learn and grow and identify with other moms around the world.
  3. Social change
    Not only is the online mommy market an economic powerhouse, it’s also a driving force in social change. Moms are using digital media to improve the status of women, amplify their visibility, and advocate for change, according to FW Song, author of the article The Serious Business of Mommy Bloggers. Social media and blogs have given moms a powerful voice in our culture and they’re becoming strong advocates for change with enormous followings.

Bottom line: you can’t afford to ignore the online mommy market

This market offers brands today the perfect opportunity to connect with moms who not only might need, want or enjoy their products and services, but also be willing to use their influence and connections to help promote them. Smart companies will look for ways to learn more about and leverage the powerful influence this market wields. Whether you’re looking to sell to or service new moms, the best way to reach them is where they are at. And they are online.

3 ways social media advertising is driving our economy

3 ways social media advertising is driving our economy

We’ve all seen advertising in action:

An advertising agency persuasively promotes a product or service, showing how it brings value to our lives.

We see the ad and often instinctively believe we need that product or service.

We decide to purchase it.

This isn’t new news to any of us. In fact, advertisers have been manipulating supply and demand curves and increasing sales for businesses since the mid 19th Century.

The Internet: an advertising game changer

With the introduction of online advertising in 1994, the game began to change. The incredible growth of the Internet and social media platforms since then ushered in a new era in which online advertising began overtaking the importance of traditional marketing.

In fact, according to the Journal of Creative Communications, social media advertising now consists of 56% of business advertising efforts.

This is because social media advertising incorporates elements that traditional can’t: allowing businesses to specifically target their audience and engage with a product or service—all in real time.

As social media advertising has shown itself to be effective in manipulating the supply and demand curve (just like traditional marketing), it has emerged as a powerful driving force for our economy. It’s doing this in 3 key ways:

Shifting the demand curve

Advertising raises the level of demand for products, which results in an increased number of products or services sold. A unique element of social media is its ability to create a longer lasting demand shift by capitalizing on the importance of word-of-mouth and opinions of friends in consumer decisions. Pepsi’s Refresh Project campaign is one example. Rather than spending millions on a one-time Super Bowl ad in 2010, Pepsi put its money in a social media campaign that lasted an entire year. This project allowed consumers to apply for grants each month as well as share and vote for the winning projects themselves, which created the potential for a viral spread to outlive any one-time, paid-for ad.

Rotating the demand curve

When advertising rotates the demand curve, it creates an inelasticity for a product or service. When this happens, a consumer is willing to pay the current price for a product or service, allowing the business to grow demand while increasing supply without lowering prices. And because social media advertising is so effective in encouraging ongoing connections with consumers, it naturally helps a brand build its reputation and credibility, which helps ensure this curve rotation. As consumers become more connected with and trust a brand, they are less sensitive to prices.

Creating a direct network effect

Social media has a phenomenal ability to leverage the word-of-mouth networking that occurs by users recommending and sharing products. For example, research shows that when someone recommends a product to a friend, the chance of them purchasing that product increases. As more people purchase a specific product, its value becomes directly linked to the number of consumers consuming that good. Many product trends can be traced back to word-of-mouth advertising that spreads through sharing and recommending products or services via social media. In this way, social media plays a role in creating direct network effects.

Social media advertising is proving itself to be a powerful driver of today’s economy. For this reason, it’s important for marketers and businesses to take note of social media’s effectiveness in shifting the demand curve, rotating the demand curve and creating a direct network effect.

Have you considered ways you can leverage social media advertising to build your business? I’d be happy to talk with you about the best platforms to increase your sales.