Six social media mistakes to avoid

Since we last posted this article, we have discovered another major mistake that companies make.  The mistake is inconsistency with social posting.  Companies need to post content on a regular, consistent basis.  This needs to be done for a couple of reasons:

Keeping your audience engaged

If you are not posting regularly, you are not giving your followers a reason to come back to your social page…or your website.  Get your content out there regularly.  Here are social posting frequencies that we have seen perform the best:

  • Twitter – at least twice per day.
  • Facebook – daily.
  • LinkedIn – twice per week

Sending algorithmic signals to the search engines

The search engines regularly monitor social media.  They use social listening to determine which user accounts are active, how well the content produced is engaging with the audience and whether the social media activity is leading to visits to the company’s websites.

The bottom line is that if you regularly post engaging content that is relevant to your audience, it’s going to help your company succeed with your marketing objectives.

Social media can be a great tool for reaching target audiences. Thus, many companies create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms to try and reach these potential customers. Just because everyone seems to be using social media doesn’t mean it is not difficult to navigate. Often mistakes can be made. Here are some to be aware of and avoid. 
Not having a strategy
The exchange between Alice and The Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” can be a lesson for marketers:

 “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

If you jump into social media without having a plan, you will likely get somewhere, it is just a matter of where you will be.
Leah Neaderthal, president of Growthwork Solutions and founder of FamilyBridge says, “Random acts of social media happen when someone says, ‘We need to do social media!’ and then puts in time and effort for a week before fizzling out. Take the time to plan a basic strategy that enables you to have a consistent social media presence for the long term.”
Not dedicating resources
In order to reap benefits from social media, you have engage with users on a consistent basis. You need to promote content, share information and monitor conversations. All this takes time. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the time it takes and improperly plan their resources (whether in-house or contracted).
When asked by BusinessCollective.com to name the number one problem owners can make with social media, John Berkowitz, co-founder of Yodle, a company that helps local businesses with marketing says, “Too many business owners jump into social media without a plan or the resources to maintain an active and productive conversation within their community of customers, prospects and employees. Social media is not a ‘set it and forget it’ medium. It’s better to not participate than to participate poorly or passively.”
Creating too many accounts
Because they are there, many companies make the mistake of creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Google+, Slideshare, Vine and Snapchat. Ask yourself if you have time to dedicate to all these accounts. Also ask yourself if you will be presenting your company and promoting your brand well on all these platforms. You don’t want to appear as if you don’t know what you are doing. Further, you don’t want to start up an account full force only to abandon it. Remember, you are trying to build a following and get users to trust you. You can’t develop that relationship if it is done badly or stopped mid-stream.
Focusing too much on your brand
Many businesses may be inclined to continually send out a message to those they believe will buy from them. The Content Marketing Institute says smart marketers understand that traditional marketing and it’s becoming less effective by the minute. Use social media to attract and retain customers by consistently pointing to valuable content. You want to provide something to people who may never buy anything from you, but want to read what is presented and then share the content with others. Marketing experts often remind that you’ve “got to give to get.” No one likes a hard sell.
Incorrectly using hashtags
Using hashtags in social media helps create visibility for your brand. Using keywords and jumping into trending topics can help immensely with your social media efforts. However, you don’t want to over use hashtags. Make sure your hashtags are most relevant to your overall strategy. Then, follow the best practices of Twitter and use no more than two hashtags per Tweet.  Remember, overusing a hashtag devalues its strength.
Forgetting the social part of social media
While it is important to point to quality content, people who engage with social media expect that companies will be responsive. Social media is the place to build relationships. The way to do this is to be proactive with your target audience. Thus, when you create a social media account, spend an equal amount of time responding to questions, thanking users for their comments and reposts as you do posting your own items. Doing so helps builds trust and intimacy between you and your audience.
Kyle Clayton, co-founder of Set Jet, a membership-based private jet charter, states he boosted his sales by 49 percent (https://businesscollective.com/11-social-media-mistakes-business-owners-make/) in one year by having effective social media. “Jump in the stream, talk to people, and provide content. Being social and interesting, while providing useful content based on your business, will get you results.”
Taking time to know what you want from social media, how you will use it and how you will be involved are basics that help every business. Sure, social media is an art as well as a science, but having a plan and going toward goals will make the effort more successful.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

What’s Better for my Business: Facebook or LinkedIn?

Businesses have different options when it comes to content marketing promotion. Two options that always come to mind: Facebook versus LinkedIn, which is highly debated right now on the internet. As the head of Michael Marchese, the CEO and Founder of Tempesta Media with almost 25 years of industry experience, says it really comes down to audience and purpose. LinkedIn is significantly better for companies who focus on B2B marketing. Facebook is significantly better for those companies with B2C marketing initiatives.

Facebook = sales; LinkedIn = leads

The people that sign up for LinkedIn are employed by some sort of company, whether it’s their own company or another one that they work for. The purpose of why they’ve signed up on LinkedIn is to network from a business perspective with other people, either within their industry or they’re looking for prospective customers. They can also be looking for a specific vendor for a need that they have internally. Just by nature, these people are looking for other businesses.
Facebook, on the other hand, is used on a more social and personal perspective. Facebook users want to stay in touch with their friends and family. They want to learn about various interests that appeal to them personally. Simply put, they’re not looking to do business on Facebook. They’re trying to maintain a social lifestyle. So at the very root of it, Facebook is geared more toward companies that are trying to go and attract consumers.
A great example would be 7-Eleven. They sell all kinds of food and other products through their stores to consumers. For them, it makes a lot of sense to go and advertise on Facebook because the audience that’s there is interested in purchasing things for their own benefit. So if they can see a coupon off of a free Slurpee at 7-Eleven, that’s going to appeal to them personally.
Likewise on LinkedIn, if Tempesta Media ran a campaign offering content marketing solutions to businesses, those businesses are going to be very receptive because the whole point of why they’re on LinkedIn is they’re trying to go and advance the objectives that I mentioned earlier. So if you’re going to build a professional audience and you’re a B2C-oriented company, Facebook is where you should center a lot of your operations. If you are a B2B company and looking for a significant presence, you want to focus on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn will do a good job for B2B companies in generating leads. Facebook will do a good job on to be for B2C companies in generating consumer sales.

Google AdWords as an alternative to Facebook and LinkedIn

For those companies that are looking at using Facebook as an advertising medium, the targeting platform that’s used within Facebook is incredibly robust and is similar to Google AdWords in terms of its granularity for targeting purposes. Regardless of the size of your budget as a B2C-based company, Facebook is a good alternative to Google AdWords. While incredibly good in terms of its audience, Facebook has limited targeting capabilities. For companies that are looking to use LinkedIn, they should prepare to spend at least a couple thousand dollars in marketing costs just to get their campaign started and get the initial optimization out of the way. You’re not going to have nearly as many targeting options as you would see within Facebook. I think Google AdWords is also a good alternative to LinkedIn for B2B companies, and that should certainly be included in their mix.

One last tip

However, overall, these are just solutions, and they’re part of what I call paid media. Most companies should make sure that they also have earned media and owned media as part of their digital marketing strategy. Content marketing is a perfect example of owned media. Guests commenting or posting is an example of earned of earned media. You need all three working together to make your digital marketing program successful.

How to find prospects using social media

Social media is a great conversion tool. It can pull prospects to your website and help to move them from prospect to customer. While you can learn about the best practices of various social media platforms all day and educate yourself on what to put out there, if your prospects aren’t using social media, the question begs: how do you reach them?
Do your homework
Are you sure your prospects aren’t really using social media? Before making any assumptions, take some time to look at the data. According to Pew Center Research 65 percent of adults now use social networking sites. This is a nearly tenfold jump in the past decade. Chances are relatively high that your prospects are actually using social media.
However, if you’re not sure whether specific audience members are in the mix or not, there are ways to go about verifying usage. Email marketing is a good way to make that connection. If you have a list of prospects, the direct approach is often most helpful. Consider sending out a survey and asking about social media usage. The results will give you verification one way or another.
If you fear you’re not getting the traffic you desire on your current social media, take to the various platforms you use and inquire with people there. Many platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have polls you can create and embed with your posts. Be sure you ask your question in a way that the returned data is helpful to you. For example, don’t be broad with your question such as “Do you often use Twitter? Yes or no.” If you Tweet such a poll, you know they are on Twitter and will likely click “yes.” Instead, try, “How often do you check Twitter? Weekly, daily, many times a day.”
Use the Internet to your benefit as well. For example, if you are curious about specific buyers, you might do a Google search to see what you can find. Discovering a LinkedIn profile, Facebook account or Twitter handle provides insight on how much those particular people engage with social media.
Another good resource is SocialMention.com. This search engine is unique because it will yield information such as blog posts and YouTube videos.
Remember, you are searching to find out not only that the prospect is out there on social media, but whether they use it and how often. See how often they Tweet. Look at the number of connections they have on LinkedIn. See how they engage with others (Likes, Retweets, responses to blog comments, etc.) This information can reveal a lot about your prospects if you take the time to look at everything before you.
Provide an invitation
One way to find out if people will engage with you on social media is to invite them to do so. Again, if you have a database full of prospective email addresses, use email marketing to your advantage. Instead of sending a blanket invitation, create targeted personalized emails that point out reasons why they may want to consider joining you on your social media. Be sure to provide links so it is easy to click and connect.
Give them what they’re looking for
In order to make sure your prospects engage with you on social media, you need to be relevant to them. Thus, as you do your research to see if your target audience is on social media, also check to see what you are providing on social media. Make sure it is engaging enough to pull your audience in.
Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics, suggests creating a “buyer persona,” a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customers. Then, deliver quality content on a consistent basis. Daily posts keep an audience’s attention.
Always monitor your metrics to discover what posts do well and when. Work to create content that engages prospects so you can see that they are there. When they “Like,” share or Retweet, you know they are out there. You might also consider providing incentives that reward those who do engage with you. This can be anything from a discount or coupon to an ebook or exclusive content.
The bottom line is that not every social media platform will be right for every prospect. Don’t immediately assume they aren’t out there. They may be, but just not on the platform you are using. Take some time, do some research and you will see who is out there.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

How to use social media for thought leadership marketing

Social media offers a special opportunity to B2B and B2C marketers; it is a great tool to improve your visibility, position yourself as an expert in your field and share unique perspectives. Providing content via social media in this way can establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
Thought leadership can generate attention from your targeted audience (as well as industry leaders and the media) and can become part of the foundation of your overall marketing strategy.
If you have much to share with your target audience and want that audience to look to you for insight in a way that makes you their “go to” resource, here are tips for establishing yourself as a thought leader.
Before you type anything
There’s a saying that you’re given two ears and only one mouth, so you can listen more than you speak. This adage holds true online, as well. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, nine out of 10 organizations market with content and use eight tactics on average to get their message out. What will make you unique?
Social media provides a number of ways to send out your message. However, in order to become a thought leader, you need to do your homework. Start by “listening.” Understand what your audience wants to hear from you. You can’t just be spouting what you consider to be words of wisdom; you have to be relevant.
Also, some of the most influential thought leaders are well read. They keep up on the news, understand trends and know what is happening in their industry. What is your competition saying? Do your research before getting out on social media and sending out your message.
Blog with purpose
According to research by Blogger.org, a training program for bloggers, 60 percent of businesses have a company blog. The best news about that? People read what’s put out there. Their research revealed 329 million people view a blog and look at 25 billion pages a month.
Even if you don’t have an established blog on your own or your company’s website, LinkedIn provides a great forum for thought leaders with the ability to publish a post.
However, wherever it is created, a blog written by a thought leader should never be a sales pitch in disguise. Instead, your words of wisdom should be original thinking and content that provides resources and good utility. Become that “go to” expert by being that expert.
Before beginning a blog, take some time to create an “editorial calendar.” Map out a month or more of ideas. Decide what you’ll write and when. Be intentional and relevant with your content. For example, if you have great insight on taxes, posting that information in June isn’t as helpful as February or March when individuals are focused on upcoming tax season. In your calendar, leave space for spontaneous postings as well. Sometimes the daily news can inspire you with a message you need and/or want to share.
If you decide you want to blog, invest what is required. There’s nothing worse that a well-intentioned blog that starts out strong and then suddenly goes dormant due to a lack of time or ideas. Additionally, while you may hire ghostwriters to create other blog content for your company, hiring someone to ghostwrite thought leadership makes that other person the thought leader. Don’t deceive your followers by presenting yourself as someone you are not. If you find you need assistance with your blog, allow others into the mix to do topic research or final edits. Let your messages be your own.
Short and sweet
Even if you don’t have time to compose daily or weekly blogs, social media offers other options to keep connected to your audience and be a thought leader. Twitter, for example, allows for great words of wisdom in a small space. Just a few words can still be very influential. Sharing helpful articles, memes or links to other industry insiders lets your audience know you want to provide content they are seeking. Twitter also opens up the opportunity for conversation and relationship building with your followers. Respond to those who are active, retweet and like your content. Give to get.
Just keep in mind that true thought leaders present solutions to real world problems and new views on hot-button issues. Others will look for your leadership and what they can learn from you.
Need some inspiration?

 
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

How to use LinkedIn as a marketing tool

LinkedIn is no longer simply a place for posting your resume, networking with headhunters or searching for a new job. With more than half a billion business professional members worldwide (and two new members joining every second), LinkedIn has become a great business-to-customer and business-to-business social network to help you promote your organization to potential clients. Thus, it should be a vital part of the social media marketing strategy for every business owner.

Why LinkedIn?

InsideSales found that “social media is overused when we consider how many leads it actually gains.” However, as the only social networking platform solely focused on business, LinkedIn is an ideal platform on which to focus marketing efforts. The numbers for this social network site are astounding: LinkedIn is responsible for more than 80 percent of a business’s social media leads. All other social media platforms combined only contribute 19.67 percent of leads. LinkedIn is therefore overwhelmingly the most effective platform for lead generation and sales for B2B marketers.

The basics

Before you start working on your company’s profile page, make sure you have made any necessary updates to your personal LinkedIn profile. If you do not have a professional profile picture, add one. Then, create a company page for your business. This will be a pipeline to your company website as well as a representation of your brand, so make sure it is attractive and professional. Here are a few tips to help ensure your LinkedIn company page will be a powerful conversion tool for potential clients.

  • Use an attention-grabbing header image.
  • Create a compelling pitch in the description field; speak directly to your target audience.
  • Do not clutter the description with general information about your company, such as office locations.
  • Remember: The first two lines of the description should hook the reader.
  • Be sure to add your company website link in the appropriate section so it can be easily accessed.
  • Under the specialties tab, use keywords that people are likely to use when looking for a business such as yours in the LinkedIn search engine.

First-class LinkedIn

While a basic LinkedIn account is beneficial, a premium account offers a fuller range of benefits. To get all of the advantages from this social media platform, consider upgrading to a premium account. Forbes reports that, “Even at its new, higher rates, LinkedIn’s premium subscription offerings are relative bargains, compared to traditional business data sold by the likes of Dun & Bradstreet or consumer-credit agencies.” Premium business owner LinkedIn accounts currently come in three flavors: Business, Business Plus, and Pro.

  • The Business account costs $29.95 per month and allows you to send three InMails per month, 300 profiles per search and five folders in the Profile Organizer.
  • Business Plus costs $49.95 and allows you to send 10 InMails per month, 500 profiles per search and 25 folders in the Profile Organizer.
  • The Pro account costs $499.95 per month, allows you to send 50 InMails per month, 700 profiles per search and 25 folders in the Profile Organizer.

Putting search to work

Your company page is a great tool to gain conversions from your followers. Utilizing the advanced search options provided by LinkedIn can help you locate additional prospects. Even if you do not purchase the upgraded membership, LinkedIn provides a great filter for narrowing down a search. In the right-hand drop-down menu, filter your search by connections, keywords, location, current company, industry, past company, school, profile language or nonprofit interests. With the results, it is possible to immediately gain insight into a particular company that may be a better target for your prospecting.
Of course, the bigger your personal network is, the greater your opportunities for finding relevant prospects. According to LinkedIn, the average CEO has 930 connections. Typically, the best lead generation comes from people to whom you are already connected. If you have been selective about who you are linked with and ensure that you have some kind of relationship with your first-degree contacts, they can be most beneficial in helping you find and engage with potential customers.

Be active

Having a gym membership is not helpful to your well-being if you never use it. The same is true of LinkedIn. If you join but fail to participate, it will not help you to achieve the growth you hope to see through the social media tool. One of the easiest ways to actively engage is to connect to a number of users at once by joining LinkedIn Groups. Here, you can engage in discussions and relevant conversations with audience members.
One little-known advantage of LinkedIn Groups is that moderators can directly email group members once per week. Users are less prone to check in for the latest status update on LinkedIn than they are on other social network sites. Hence they are more likely to appreciate it if you share a weekly briefing of high-quality, relevant content, even if it is directly from your company blog. In doing so, you avoid the high costs of email marketing while sending your message directly to highly targeted potential customers.
Another way to remain active is to utilize LinkedIn’s content publishing platform to become a thought leader in your industry. According to a Hootsuite blog post, an overwhelming majority – 94 percent – of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. Freely share any relevant information, such as a company blog post or infographic, that showcases your business and your brand.
Like other content marketing, this is a cost-free way to distribute your knowledge, build trust, position your brand within your industry and help your followers stay up-to-date on your business and its sector. Through publishing efforts, you can gain a following from users not currently in your network, eventually converting them into new prospects.

Stay up-to-date

The LinkedIn social media platform is constantly evolving. Already this year, LinkedIn updates have reintroduced hashtags to the platform. The network added native video capability, revamped advertising campaign options and launched lead generation ads. In this fast-changing environment, you may find it difficult to keep up. For help creating and managing your own effective content marketing campaign, contact Tempaesta Media today.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

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