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6 Ways to Capitalize on Social Media Sales

6 Ways to Captilaize on Social Media SalesSocial media, with its ability to instantly connect you with hundreds, thousands, even millions of people, is a ready-made marketplace. But with so many businesses selling their products on social media, how do you stand out and get recognized? Here are 6 essential steps to take when you’re selling via social media.

1. Find the right channels

There are a lot of different social networks out there, and they can each be used in a different way to help grab attention and drive more traffic to your store. Facebook and Twitter are obviously huge networks, but Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn can all help you spread awareness of your brand, attract more people to your store, and even sell products directly. Since each network has a different audience, you’ll have to do some research to determine which ones are best for your company.

There are plenty of tools to help make the process of selling on social media easier. Facebook Marketplace is a great way to find buyers in your immediate geographic location. This can be fantastic for people who sell homemade goods, such as baked items or crafts, since it targets buyers who live in your immediate vicinity. For businesses that already have an online store, Shopial is a site that connects your store with Facebook or Pinterest, and lets you advertise on those platforms. It’s perfect for people who are too busy to tailor their shops for each social media platform: Shopial will do those for you.

Action Step: Do a twenty-minute research session and figure out which social media channels are most compatible with your brand and product. Make a list of the top three and focus your attention on those.

2) Build your network

Half the struggle of succeeding at social media sales is finding the people who will want to buy what you have to offer. Rather than waiting for customers to come to you, you have to get out there, find where they spend their time, and catch their attention there. Then you have to engage with them and build a relationship. If those people have a good experience with your brand, or like the product you sell them, they’ll likely recommend you to their friends, and studies show that these days people are much more likely to buy something online when it was recommended by someone they know.

Part of building your network is making sure that anytime someone comments on an article you post, or mentions your brand name in a tweet, or sends you a DM, you respond as quickly as possible. This may mean turning on push notifications on your phone, or enabling email notifications, to make sure that you don’t miss a notification while surfing your various social networks. Replying to and engaging with customers can be time-consuming, but it is definitely worth it. And don’t just wait for people to search you out—be proactive and spend some time searching various social media sites for keywords that have to do with what you’re selling. If you find a post or a tweet that you can respond to—for example, a question that you know the answer to, do it! You might be talking to your next customer.

Action step: Begin searching keywords related to your brand on the three social media sites most relevant to you and engage with people using those keywords.

3) Sell Your Expertise

The product you’re selling doesn’t have to be a tangible, physical object. If you’re an expert in your field, you can provide online classes or seminars, e-books, or video courses that teach others what you know. Sharing knowledge online is all the rage right now, and if you can demonstrate expertise in a certain area, there will be people who are willing to pay for it.

Amazon’s free Kindle Direct publishing program allows you to publish your own PDFs or ebooks, making them available worldwide. Kajabi also makes it easy to turn ideas and content into digital products.

Action step: Think about whether you have a special area of knowledge or expertise that could translate into a marketable product.

4) Be Courageous

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You miss 100% of the shots you don’t takDon’t be afraid to reach out to people online. Remember, you have something great to offer them. However, don’t jump into a conversation with the attitude “I have something to sell you”—nothing turns people off more than the door-to-door salesman vibe. Instead, leave a thoughtful comment on one of their posts, retweet one of their tweets every now and then. Start building a relationship and becoming familiar to them first. But never avoid reaching out because you’re scared of how they’ll respond.

Action step: Reach out and start a conversation with someone on social media. You never know where a simple connection might take you.

5) Curate Your Content

In order to win people to your business, rather than your competitors, you have to make sure that you’re offering top-notch content and products. This can mean anything from making sure that you’re offering high-quality goods, to choosing the perfect picture to represent those goods, to designing an eye-catching and creative logo.

The social media sales scene is a competitive one, and you’ll want to put your best foot forward in order to differentiate yourself from others in your field. Another important way to make sure you’re offering the best content is by listening to your customers—do they have complaints? Questions? Suggestions for improvements? Showing that you listen to and care about your customers helps them be confident that you’re giving them quality goods.

Action step: Ask yourself the question “How can I improve the product I’m offering?” Write down three concrete answers.

6) Stand out from the crowd

In the past, it was enough to have a working website and checkout feature—businesses didn’t have to spend as much time creating a strategy for social media sales. But today, there are so many different companies online competing for the attention of customers, you have to do more than wait for the crowds to come to you. Luckily, taking the action steps above will help you stand out from your competitors.

By focusing your social media energies on the networks most relevant to your business, building a network of relationships with potential customers, offering your expertise to the world, boldly reaching out, and offering quality content, you will be well equipped to take advantage of the sales opportunities social media provides.

 

7 Time Saving Social Media Management Tips

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Looking to make the most of your time and social media? Check out these seven tips and tricks that can save you time and energy, so you have more time to develop a killer brand.

1. Plan Ahead and Batch Your Time

If you’re jumping between social media networks throughout the day, trying to find the perfect article or make the perfect post, it’s just simple logic that you will waste a LOT of time. Rather than building your social media presence five minutes at a time, set aside a solid hour or so where you can settle in and do some serious work. The steps below will offer ways for you to best utilize this time by finding content and setting up queues ahead of the time. An hour for crafting your social media presence can do wonders for your productivity.

2. Find the Best Content to Share

The journey to find great relevant content for your Facebook or Twitter page can be a long and time-consuming one. Are you supposed to spend an hour on Facebook, Twitter, and Google, punching in keywords and trying to find articles that will appeal to your target audience? This is where content tools like Buzzsumo comes in handy. You can type in a keyword and the top articles related to that keyword will show up. The best part? It shows you how many times those articles have already been shared on social media and  it ranks them in order of shares. Obviously this tool can be used to find interesting content you know will appeal to your readers.

Another great tool is Social Mention  and one way to use it is by selecting keywords for your own brand, so that if anyone posts something about it, you can retweet or share it. This also saves a lot of time because you don’t have to switch from platform to platform searching for your company’s keywords to see what people are saying about you. Instead, it’s all there in one handy place for you to review, share, and retweet!

3. Save Energy Using a Social Media Post Scheduler

Once you’ve used a tool like Buzzsumo to find content, you can use a post scheduler like HootsuiteBufferSprout Social, or eClincher. They often offer enhanced analytic services so you can better gauge what to share and when.

These post schedulers can also schedule your posts at peak times, when the most people are likely to be online, so that you don’t have to spend time trying to figure out when the best times to post are. You can also schedule out all your posts months in advance. This is also useful if you have an assistant or interns–rather than give them complete control over your company’s social media account, you can give them access to the post scheduler accounts so that you and they can work together to post great content.

4. Use Themes and Hashtags to elp You Decide What to Post

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Take advantage of daily trending hashtags for creative content like #TipTuesday where people share tips related to their industry. Utilizing themes and hashtags can give you ideas for what to post, and since you can use a different hashtag for each day of the week, you’ll never be monotonous or repetitive!

Try to be creative with your hashtags and themes–for example, use #TBT, or “Thowback Thursday” to post a juxtaposition of a 50-year-old picture of the building your company is housed in, compared with the way your office looks now. You can even come up with your own hashtags and themes for particular days of the week that are tailored to your brand.

5. Be Selective About Where You Post

Believe it or not, you don’t need to be posting on every single social network on the internet. In fact, that can lead you to spread yourself too thin and decrease the overall quality of your posts. Think long and hard about which social networks are best suited to promoting your brand. For example, if your company is more visual and heavy on images, Pinterest would probably be a good venue for it. On the other hand, if the emphasis is on professional articles and analyses, it would probably be best to concentrate your energies on LinkedIn.

Nothing says you have to limit yourself to only one social network, but if analytics are showing that your efforts just aren’t effective on a certain site, it’s best to cut your losses and boot it off your social media list. And speaking of analytics…

6. Use Analytics to Improve Your Social Media Strategy

Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter all offer analytics tools so that you can see which posts get the most attention, which ones are liked or shared the most, and a whole host of other insights that will help you streamline your social media activity. Here are a few questions you should be asking. What was my most popular post? What time are people interacting with my posts? What type of post is getting the most engagements – video or blog posts? Are my followers growing each month?

Use the data from your analytics to compose a monthly report so that you can see overall patterns and learn from your mistakes–or successes! Make notes of which posts did well, which ones didn’t, and who your top followers and influencers are. This report will give you tons of information on how your brand is doing, and will save you a lot of time in the end.

7. Turn to An Expert

Sometimes, there really is nothing like someone who’s been tried and tested in the field. If you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of running your brand’s social media accounts, considering hiring a social media consultant (like me!). A consultant can make sure that your social media presence is as good as it can be, while freeing you up to attend to other important aspects of your business.

Do you have a stellar social-media time saving tip? Share them in the comments!

5 Tips for Developing Your Business Social Media Strategy

social mediaImagine you’re on a road trip to visit a friend. You wouldn’t want to start it without some idea of how to get to your friend’s house–at least not if you wanted to do it without getting lost. A social media strategy is like a GPS for your business. It keeps you on the road to success, without timely and costly detours. And even if you get a flat tire or some other catastrophe along the way, at least yu still know where you’re headed and how to get there. This article will show you how to develop a great “road map” to keep your business headed towards social media success.

1. Get Your Goals Down on Paper

The first step in developing a strategy for your business’s social media is to figure out your goal. What do you want this strategy to achieve? Once you figure that out, you’ll already have an idea of what you need to do to reach that goal. Do you want to increase your follower count by 25%? Boost post engagement? Up sales? Whatever your goals are, write them down. But keep it narrow and focused–if you try to achieve too many goals at the same towards, you’ll end up reaching none of them.

Action step: Think about your business’s needs and what you would like to achieve for it. Write down two objectives that you can take concrete steps towards. (more…)

A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook and Instagram Live

 Facebook and Instagram’s live video recording features are great ways to connect with viewers. But they can be intimidating, even scary. After all, live videos, by their very nature, mean the audience sees whatever happens on camera, good or bad. But live videos don’t have to be intimidating; they can actually be a lot of fun. With this guide to help you, you’ll be familiar with the ins and outs of live videos in no time.

What Can Facebook and Instagram Live Do For Me?

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Now You Can Target Facebook Ads to Those Who Engage With You

This article was originally posted on rso-consulting.com.

Even if you have trouble keeping up with all of Facebook’s changes, you’ll want to pay attention to this one. Your Facebook ads can now be targeted specifically to people who engage with your page or ad, using a new feature called Facebook Page Engagement.

What is Facebook Page Engagement?

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The Facebook Page Engagement feature in Custom Audiences gives you precise targeting for Facebook ads.

Located in your Ads Manager account under Custom Audiences, the new Facebook Page Engagement tool allows you to take your ad targeting a step further. You can target any user who has engaged with your page or ads, using one of these six different conditions:

  • Everyone who engaged with your page – Like the name suggests, this option targets everyone who has engaged with your page or ads on Facebook or Messenger. It gives you the broadest audience selection of the six, but it may return the least conversions.
  • Anyone who visited your page – No mystery here. This option lets you target your Facebook advertisements to anyone who has visited your page. The audience is a bit narrower than what’s available with the previous option.
  • People who engaged with any post or ad – This Facebook Page Engagement option gives you even more precise targeting. It includes people who engaged with any of your posts or ads, including reactions, shares, comments, link clicks, and carousel swipes. It’s a great choice if your content gets a lot of action, because it essentially lets you remarket to those who have already shown interest.
  • People who clicked on any call-to-action button – Any time someone clicked on a call-to-action button (in an ad or in your shop, for example), you can target your Facebook ad to them with this option. Consider this option when you want to remarket to someone who clicked but didn’t convert the first time around.
  • People who sent a message to your page – If you get a lot of messages on your page, then this option could be a great way to follow up with a special offer via Facebook ads. The audience is narrow but more likely to convert since they’ve reached out to you before.
  • People who saved your page or any post – This last Facebook Page Engagement condition is a natural fit for anyone who saved your page or your post. You may want to use this option to target this audience with ads featuring content similar to what they previously saved.

When setting up your Facebook ad using Page Engagement, you can also specify the window of engagement. For example, you can target your ad to everyone who engaged with your page in the last 180 days. Or you can narrow it down to people who sent you a message in the last 60 days.

Facebook Page Engagement is like hyper-targeting for your Facebook ads. It’s a great way to touch warm prospects who have already shown interest. Give this new feature a try, and compare your results with your previous campaigns.

10 Steps to Go Viral on Social Media

10 Steps to Go Viral on Social Media

 “Let’s go viral.” It’s a phrase we hear it all the time, yet the truth is people think by just saying those words aloud, as if they are ordering a side of fries, makes it happen. And that just isn’t the case.  There are two types of viral: the random content that takes off like “Charlie Bit My Finger,” and the much more planned and develop campaigns like the “Old Spice” commercials. There are a few things both of these types of viral social media have in common, but if you’re actually planning to “go viral,” than you should be doing the following:

1.     Be strategic. If you want a campaign to take off you really need to put in the time and effort to plan it. This means studying your audience; what resonates with them, what they care about it, what channels they are on, and how you plan on connecting with them. The Dollar Shave Club is a perfect example of knowing their audience and connecting with them. The company knew who they were targeting and how to target them. This viral commercial  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI took off because it was funny while still highlighting that brand and what they were about.

2.     Be emotional. The core of any great campaign strikes a cord with you. You feel the emotion behind the mailman donating books to a boy http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/boy-asks-mailman-junk-mail-books-read_55b6b002e4b0224d88338ba4 who was reading junk mail because he had nothing to read. Not only is it emotional and pulls at your heartstrings, it makes you want to join the cause and take action yourself. That’s real viral success.

3.     Tell a compelling story. It doesn’t take much to tell a great story in a minute or two. Great stories do two things: they evoke an emotion in you and inspire you enough for you to share it. When you tell a story, whether it’s a blog post or video, the goal is to create a connection with your audience. You tear up a bit when you see Budweiser’s Puppy Love commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQB7QRyF4p4 because you have a best friend and can relate. It doesn’t even reference the beer company to the end, which was probably a contributing factor to why people shared it. People don’t share commercials; they want to share an emotion and experience with someone.

4.     Share positive content. Why? Because positive content gets shared almost twice as much and increases your chances of going viral. Several studies have confirmed this, including one conducted by Fractl http://www.frac.tl/research/viral-emotions-study-2 that interviewed 800 people and found that there was a significant correlation between the number of content views and the number of positive feelings (such as joy, interest, anticipation, and trust) reported by study participants. The bottom line: create and share content that highlights positive emotions.

 5.     Incorporate an element of surprise. The Fractl study also found there was a high correlation between the element of surprise and social sharing. So perhaps consider incorporating an unexpected twist to your campaign.

6.     Write list posts and include infographics. A study done by Buzzsumo, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/noah-kagan/why-content-goes-viral-wh_b_5492767.html revealed list posts and infographics receive more average shares than other content types. This is probably because list posts are easy to read, as are infographics. So be sure to have a lot of images and good visual component to your posts or campaign. And if you do write a list post use the magic number 10 that receives more shares than any other number.

7.     Write longer form content. It turns out that our short attentions spans might be longer than we think. The Buzzsumo study found that the top 10 % articles shared were between 3,000 and 10,000 words. So if you really want to stand out write in-depth posts that people can use as a resource time and time again.

8.     Know when to share it. The timing of when to launch a viral marketing campaign is just as crucial as launching it in the first place. You absolutely need to know your audience and when they are online. This includes the most active day of the week at the peak time on the most popular social media channel for your target market. Additionally, it can help leverage the time of year. For example, is there a holiday, event, or new promotion coming up that you could tie the launch of your marketing campaign into? Look at what’s trending and how you could capitalize on it.

 9.     Make sure people can find your content. Do you have an easy domain name or website to remember? Are you using social media to increase your awareness? You can’t go viral if people can’t find you or your content.  Not sure if you’re findable? Do a Google search to see if you come up. And not just with the exact words from your campaign, but words close to it as well. If you aren’t coming up be sure to add keywords and tags to everything you’re doing.

10. Advertise on social media. In addition to the organic approach, you should invest in advertising for more awareness of your marketing campaign. Facebook advertising usually has a huge pay off and ROI for marketing. Don’t overlook Twitter’s sponsored tweets or sites like IZEA that pays social influencers to share Tweets.

 

 

 

5 Quick Tips on Writing Your First Professional Business Blog

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Writing professional blog posts for a company blog is a common task given to interns in the marketing, PR, and communications fields. But it’s not just busy work, it’s a cost-effective marketing investment in content marketing that helps drive web traffic, generate leads, and increases engagement.

It is important for newcomers to business blogging to note that writing a professional business blog is different than writing a personal blog.  Business blogging can be fun, but it’s still business, meaning content and voice can make or break the success, or failure, of your post.

In order to deliver worthwhile results, follow these 5 tips for writing your first professional blog:

Tip #1: Know Your Audience

After you settle on a topic, visualize different personas that might find your blog interesting. Knowing who your audience is will help you shape the tone of the blog post and the type of language you use. Variables like age, profession, industry, education, and experience-level will greatly affect what the appropriate tone of your blog should use.

Tip #2: Read Other Company Blogs

I challenge you to find a great writer who is not also an avid reader. And even though you’re likely not aiming to win a Pulitzer Prize for your business blog, the same applies to you and your professional blogs. You should subscribe to successful blogs in your industry and read them as much as possible. Reading other company’s blogs will provide you with a wealth of inspiration and will help you develop your own writing style.

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Tip #3: Incorporate Relevant Images

Posting a blog that’s just a large block of text will lead many readers to hit the backspace button, no matter how well written the blog may be. Adding images that are relevant to the topic and the tone help break -up the text, and improve the readability of a blog. To avoid copyright issues, only use images that your company owns, or from free stock websites like pexels.com.

Tip # 4: Create an Eye-catching, Yet Informative Title

This may just be the most important part of your writing process. The title is going to be the first thing readers see and will ultimately determine whether they click/read your post. You want to come up with an interesting title that immediately grabs your readers’ attention. However, there is a fine line between an interesting title and clickbait. So make sure your title is still relevant and informative.

You also want to come up with a title that speaks to a topic your readers might be searching. There are a few tools you can use to help with this process. The first is just Google search. Start typing your topic or keywords relevant to your topic into a Google search and see what topics autofill suggests. Another fun tool is the Blog Post Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule.

Tip # 5: Proofread…..and Then Proofread Again

Everyone makes mistakes, but posting a blog with glaring spelling and grammatical errors will hurt your credibility as a writer and the credibility of your company as well. Running your blog through online tools like gingersfotware.com and grammarcheck.com will help you catch common mistakes that we often overlook. Having someone peer-review your blog will also make sure it is ready to be seen by the masses.

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Regardless of what business industry you are in, these tips will help you develop a voice for your company through blogging.  And as long as you remember to always write with your audience’s benefit in mind, you will be on your way to becoming a great business blogger.

The Power of Thought Leaders in Social Media

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A thought leader is a person who provides innovative and unique ideas, instead of simply reiterating other people’s content and thoughts. They’re often very influential in their field, and may publish books or articles about their industry. They’re considered experts or authorities in their particular field, and people often turn to them for opinions or advice. Thought leaders start conversations, solve problems, lead discussions, and contribute to the development of their industry through their knowledge and influence.

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How to Create Your First Video Campaign for AdWords

More people are on YouTube than any cable segment in the United States, which means there is a huge audience there that will only continue to grow. And when you create your campaign, remember that mobile is just as important with video as it is for other AdWords ads since more than half of video views are on a mobile device.

Video presents such as a unique way to connect with the right people. Since they can like, share, and subscribe to your videos – rather than simply click – it’s a much different experience than user behavior on a typical Google.com search. With keywords, demographics, and topics, you can connect with the right customers at the right time.

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Facebook Messenger Now Has Sponsored Messages – Should You Use Them?

This blog was originally posted by RSO Consulting and can be found here

Last week, Facebook opened up sponsored messages to advertisers within its Messenger app. With one billion monthly users, Messenger is a tempting place to reach more customers…but are Facebook sponsored messages right for your business?

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Facebook’s sponsored messages open up in the Messenger app.

What is a Facebook Sponsored Message?

Sponsored messages take place right in the Facebook Messenger app. They activate once a user clicks on a News Feed ad, and then directs them to the Messenger app, where the sponsored message appears. If you’ve used Messenger before, then it looks just like a conversation you would have with another Facebook user.

If your business already uses Facebook Ads, then sponsored messages is a pretty neat tool for engaging your customers on a more personalized level. Instead of pointing to a website page, the Ad points to Messenger, where users can interact with the advertiser (you) directly.

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