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The Entrepreneur’s Field Guide To Using Social Media Channels

- February 25, 2016

I came across this useful honest article on Social Media for Business I’ve been on an eight year journey of trying to figure out how to use social media to build a business. As I mentioned last week in 4 Basic Elements Of Successful Social Media Strategies, I believe that if entrepreneurs are not leveraging […]

I came across this useful honest article on Social Media for Business

I’ve been on an eight year journey of trying to figure out how to use social media to build a business. As I mentioned last week in 4 Basic Elements Of Successful Social Media Strategies, I believe that if entrepreneurs are not leveraging social media, they are already late to the game. But the whole notion of setting out on this path was daunting to me in 2008, and things have only gotten more complex since then.

Whether you’re a social media veteran or are overwhelmed about where to start, picking the right social media channel to use can be overwhelming. Over the years, I’ve experimented (and failed) a number of times as I have found my way toward using this powerful breakthrough for business. Here is a field guide of some basics that I’ve learned. I believe every entrepreneur can use these to build their business through the major social media platforms.

1. Facebook

If you want to reach the younger generation or are looking to recruit millennials, this is NOT the place. What used to be a giant college party has become the hangout for Boomers, Gen X’ers, and occasionally my kids. But usually, the kids only post on Facebook around the holidays or their birthday, so that grandparents will see and gifts will follow. I’m only being semi­facetious. This is the single biggest platform on the planet for social media, but Generation Z isn’t buying into it like the rest of us did.

Tip: Be careful if and how you advertise. We have found very little B2B success in advertising here, but many of my B2C or e­commerce business friends, like Laura Zander of Jimmy Beans Wool have great success through Facebook advertising.

2. Twitter

This is probably our strongest medium for reaching our client base. Twitter has a huge following in the church world, enough so that the company moved a C­suite executive to Atlanta to be near lots of megachurch pastors. Why? Senior pastors are pulled in many directions, and many of them are high functioning ADD people (I can say that because I am a recovering pastor). So what’s the lesson for entrepreneurs? If you’re trying to reach CEO’s, folks with very little time, or a whole lot of the business world, this is your medium. The other place we have seen this to be an effective tool is in client retention and satisfaction. I’ve been amazed at the number of times I have tweeted about a company and heard back from them quickly.

Tip: Target your tweets toward the short winded and corporate types. This is not the platform for direct sales, but it is a place for branding, sharing thought leadership, and inspiring your community.

3. LinkedIn

This channel wins “comeback player of the decade.” Back in 2008, if you sent me your LinkedIn profile, I would have laughed and called you antiquated. It was a clunky system that didn’t do much, and if that was your best foot forward, I’d have said that you’d do great if the 1990’s ever came back. I was wrong. Over the last few years, LinkedIn has aggressively innovated and become the platform for professionals to house their resume and network. You won’t find my teenagers there, but the minute they graduate from college, you will. I doubt there is much room for a B2C business here, but collaboration with other business owners could be valuable here.

Tip: Use LinkedIn pages and groups to start discussions around the felt business needs of your client base. Think corporate, but with a modern flair.

4. Instagram

Here’s the channel for all things visual. If you sell anything that can be looked at or “oohed and ahhed” over, this might be the spot. My friend (and relative) Mica May of May Designs has been brilliant in her use of this digital medium to sell an old school paper product – notebooks and stationery. This is not the spot for thought leadership. However, you aren’t limited to 140 characters here, so I’ve seen businesses post an interesting picture with a paragraph long message here.

Tip: In 2016, even those of us that aren’t graphic designers know good design. Make sure whoever oversees your Instagram has an eye for good design. Also, if you’re sharing a clickable piece of content on Instagram, put the link in your profile, and then include “Click link in profile to read more,” to drive your audience to the article.

5. Pinterest

Honestly, we have had very little success with Pinterest. I’ve interviewed many CEO’s of social media minded companies, and very few of them have it figured out. To that end, we have chosen not to participate. If however, you are a company that sells something toward a recipe, interior design, or home repair, this might be a great platform. Nearly all users are women, and they are looking for ideas about “how to” design, dress, cook, fix, or apply goods to their lives. Simply having a visually oriented product (that would work on Instagram) isn’t enough here. It’s about the application of the good to life. Think of Pinterest as an online version of a cookbook, or magazines like “Real Simple” or “Martha Stewart Living.” If your product fits there, this could be a winner. If not, you might drop your Pinterest efforts.

Tip: You don’t have to be on all major platforms to leverage social media for your business. Pick your battles based on which platform best fits your business.

6. Snapchat

Want to reach millennials? Want to know what’s up in entertainment? Want to post incessantly and not be criticized for it? Welcome to Snapchat. Honestly, we don’t do too much here. But when we do, it is targeted toward a much younger audience. The posts are focused on communicating our company culture and value of contagious fun. Everything is temporary here, but it’s not to be ignored in building relationships with the next generation.

Tip: Hire a college intern to run Snapchat for you. They’ll figure it out much better than you ever will. There is so much more that could be said here, but hopefully this will give entrepreneurs a beginner’s field guide to entering all things social. I’m learning as I go, but one thing is for sure. Social media isn’t going anywhere. Either get on board with it or get left behind.

How to Make an Audience Love Your Brand on Facebook

- December 10, 2015

How to Make An Audience Notice, Remember and Love Your Brand on Facebook In a world where smartphones and photo filters have greatly improved our ability to take and edit photos, it’s become important to have credible, high quality and relevant visual content on Facebook. The type of content that will not only help you […]

How to Make An Audience Notice, Remember and Love Your Brand on Facebook

Blog Banner - love your brand on FacebookIn a world where smartphones and photo filters have greatly improved our ability to take and edit photos, it’s become important to have credible, high quality and relevant visual content on Facebook.

The type of content that will not only help you establish brand reputation and become instantly recognisable, but also allow your fans to notice, understand and engage with your content.

So if your posts are getting lost in the noise of the Newsfeed or if your presence is hard to distinguish from the competition, it’s time to elevate the visual experience of your brand by following these four elements:

1. Cover Photo

As it takes almost a quarter of the screen, Cover Photos are a perfect place to showcase brand personality.

Use it to highlight an offer, promote hashtag campaigns or communicate some call to action but don’t try to convey too many ideas at once.

If you want to promote your latest eBook, great! Just don’t promote your latest eBook, upcoming Conference and list of prominent speakers all on the same cover. Make sure to highlight just one idea at a time, as that will motivate you to change your Cover photo frequently.

Also, always keep in mind where the profile picture and text are placed so that your overall design makes sense.

For more inspiration on Cover Photo design check out 7 more ways to grab attention with Facebook Cover Photo.

Bouqs - love your brand on Facebook

2. Profile Photo

The Profile Photo is there to make your brand instantly recognisable, and due to its size it is better if you avoid too many details and focus on a design that can hold when shrunken down to the small size.

It is a general rule-of-thumb to use this place for your company logo, as the logo can stand on its own and help your audience easily recognize your brand in the newsfeed and across different social media platforms. It is also recommended that Profile and Cover photos match and compliment each other through usage of similar or complementary colors, fonts and image styles.

3. Facebook Post

Research has shown that photo posts generate 53% more likes than the average text post, but almost 88% of posts already contain photos, so you have to find a way to create a distinct visual style that will make you instantly recognizable and memorable.

The placement and choice of your colors, fonts, images or logo is a crucial part of that process.

Tiffany's example for love your brand on Facebook

Color

Choose two and no more than four colors and use them repeatedly in your social media posts, as that is the easiest way for the audience to recognize your brand in the sea of other content.

The color should reflect your brand so choose pastel colors if you want to be perceived as gentle, friendly and elegant, opt for bright ones if your brand is youthful, vibrant and bold or embrace blues and grays if you want to be perceived as trustworthy, calming and professional.

For inspiration take a look at the way company Benefit Cosmetics uses their pink palette as a background color or as a feature color on images.

Makeup example of getting love your brand on Facebook

Fonts

As they also reflect brand personality you need to figure out how you want to be perceived: as elegant, modern, friendly or traditional?

Make sure to choose 2 or max 3 fonts and use them consistently. You can always experiment with upper cases or different weights (regular, bold, italic) of the same font if you want to create more variety.

Use decorative, ornamental font styles for the headline, as that is a good place to express your brand personality but for the remaining text think only about functionality and choose fonts that are simple and easy to read.

Food matters - love your brand on Facebook

Image

To create posts that reflect personality and lifestyle of your target audience think about people you want to talk to. Are they younger or older? Do they do sports, drive a car, spend days in the office? What do they do for a weekend or what’s their idea of a fun time?

All these questions will help you find the right photo from paid or free stock libraries such as Death to the Stock Photo, Picjumbo, StockSnap.io, Gratisography or Pikwizard.

Mix great images with a catching call to action by using simple and free applications that will help you design your own posts in less than 5 minutes thanks to several dozen pre-made post templates.

Logo

All your posts should be branded so that they provide consistency and reinforce your brand.

Decide on the minimum size of your logo and place it in the corner of the photo. In that way you will make a quiet but consistent statement without being too distracting or overpowering the message or image.

H and M love your brand on Facebook

4. Facebook Ads

The success of any Facebook ad depends mostly on focused targeting and a great design that attracts attention. If a lack of budget or time is what’s keeping you from starting or adjusting your ad campaigns look for applications that allow you to create social media and online ads quickly and for free.

Develop up to at least 4 different ad designs for each campaign (preferably use two different images with two different copy texts) and test each one of them. Stay away from blue or white color, as they will blend in with the background, and don’t forget to strengthen your image by integrating a text that will encourage fans to like, save, shop…

As Facebook has a strict policy according to which text may occupy only 20% of the image, always check whether you’ve met the requirement by using Facebook’s Grid Tool.

Five Four - love your brand on FacebookIf your business includes e-commerce, take advantage of multi-product ads that include from 3 to 5 images and their corresponding links within one ad. For best results, mix images of people and products as they are the best way to showcase the story of the brand.

Five four 2 love your brand on FacebookHow important is visual content for your Facebook page?

Have you been able to grow your community with the help of visual content?

What are your tricks to design engaging Photo Posts or Ads?

How to Understand Your Social Audience for Better Conversions

- November 17, 2015

Social media matters for leads, sales and conversions. The link may not always be obvious, but it’s there. The latest statistics from Pew Research Center show that 74% of online adults use social media, and in the 18-29 age group, this number rises to 90%. Social media is also hugely important in ecommerce, as a […]

Social media matters for leads, sales and conversions. The link may not always be obvious, but it’s there. The latest statistics from Pew Research Center show that 74% of online adults use social media, and in the 18-29 age group, this number rises to 90%. Social media is also hugely important in ecommerce, as a Shopify study shows, with orders from Facebook increasing 129% in 2013.

Understand Your Social Audience for Better Conversions by @SHurl­eyHall

If you really want to maximize your returns from social media and improve conversions, it’s important to understand your social audience so you can create better personas to use in your marketing and deliver what your customers want.

Luckily, most of the main social media sites have the insights you need. Here’s a snapshot of the data they provide and what you can learn to improve your conversion optimization strategies.

Facebook Insights

One site you can’t ignore is Facebook, which has more than 1 billion users and, according to the Pew study cited earlier, is used by 71% of online users. If you have a business page, then there are a lot of stats for you to look through.

Facebook fans online

When you visit the page, there’s a snapshot on post reach, post engagement, call to action button clicks and website link clicks. That’s a quick way to find out if you’re reaching your audience. But if you want real value from Facebook, dig down into the insights tool and look beyond the overview. Here are some of the areas I find most interesting.

Facebook people overview

When you’re in the insights section, the “people” tab shows you key demographic information for your audience.  Apart from gender and age, you can also learn about the country, city and language of page visitors.

Do your Facebook demogr­aphics match your customer personas? #cro

Facebook reach and engagement comparison

Check the charts to see if there’s a difference between the demographics of your overall fan base and those of the people you are actually reaching. If they are similar, then it’s a sign that your audience targeting is right. It’s also worth looking at insights into who’s actually engaged with your content. If your fans are women aged 35-44, but it’s mostly women in the next age band that are engaging with content, this may change your conversion optimization strategies – and your marketing.

It’s also useful to check insights into when your fans are online. Combine this with Kissmetrics’ Science of Social Timing study to work out the best times to share content to reach, engage and convert your fans.

Using Facebook Insights for Better Conversions

Here are seven tactics to try today to get better results from Facebook:

  1. Explore the difference between your overall fan base and engaged fans. How does this compare with the people that you’re actually trying to reach?
  2. Check for similarities in the types of content that people are engaging with.
  3. Reset your Facebook posting schedule based on when your core audience is actually online to improve your chance of reaching them.
  4. If you are using paid Facebook advertising, add a conversion pixel so that you will specifically know which ads are driving conversions.
  5. Explore statistics on the most engaging content (or take a shortcut and just assume that it’s images and video). Integrate these into your content marketing strategy for improved attention and conversions.
  6. Use a call to action on your Facebook page and pay attention to the statistics on how many people are clicking it.
  7. Check the results of Facebook ad campaigns to see if the results match what the insights tool reveals about your audience.

Twitter Analytics

Now, let’s look at Twitter. According to Pew, Twitter is used by 23% of online adults. You can reach the rich data it provides via Twitter Ads, via the link in your profile or by visiting analytics.twitter.com.

Twitter Analytics account overview

Within the analytics interface, there’s an overview of demographics, lifestyle, consumer behavior, and mobile footprint and then you can drill down even further for additional insights.

Audience insights Twitter

What are your Twitter audien­ce’s key interests? #analytics #cro

For example, you can find out the top 10 interests of your audience, and get info on types of occupation, gender, income, marital status, net worth and even buying styles.

Twitter Card Analytics

There’s also information on the performance of your tweets, Twitter cards and videos which can help a lot with understanding engagement.

Using Twitter Analytics for Better Conversions

Here are five things to try with Twitter analytics:

  1. Based on the average income of your Twitter followers, have you got the pricing right?
  2. Are you getting the mobile conversion rates you expect? Twitter provides info on mobile device usage to help with better targeting.
  3. Compare the overall profile of your followers with the profile of your organic audience (the people you have actually reached). Is there a mismatch?
  4. Check which tweets had the most success and use those as inspiration for new ones.
  5. Check your customer personas to see if they match the insights Twitter provides.

Pinterest Analytics

Finally, let’s look at Pinterest, which is used by 28% of online adults and is known to have a strongly female demographic. If you have a Pinterest for Business account (and why wouldn’t you?) then you also have access to analytics.

Pinterest Analytics overview

As with the other sites, demographic info is a good starting point. You can find this in the “audience” tab, where you can learn key geographical information as well as data on how many people have seen your pins and are engaged with them.

Pinterest Analytics Interests

I particularly like the rich data in the “interests” tab, and the fact that since Pinterest is so visual, you can actually see what interests them. It’s also worth checking out the stats on who’s been pinning your content (a sure sign that they like it and are engaged with it). And you can check out on-site activity, looking at views and impressions over a given period.

Which other brands do your Pinterest followers love? #analytics #cro

Other useful insights in Pinterest analytics include:

Pinterest Analytics brands

  • Which brands your audience is most engaged with.
  • The all-time report which tells you which pins are most shared, which pins rank highest in search and which pins have overall engagement goodness.
  • You can also see activity on your Pinterest profile, which is interesting even if your main goal is getting people back to your site.

Using Pinterest Analytics for Better Conversions

Here’s how you can use the data in Pinterest analytics to improve conversions:

  1. Use the statistics on the categories and pins that most engage your audience to deliver more of what you already know they want.
  2. Ensure that all pins have a link back to the source (or a landing page).
  3. Check out the brands that your audience is most engaged with and see what strategies you can learn from.