7 Great Tips For Using Twitter To Market Your Small Business Or Organization

Tweets are popping up everywhere, and everyone from celebrities to executives to politicians to your kids are using the remarkably effective platform that produces them, Twitter. Despite its popularity you may still be unsure what it is all about. So, what is Twitter and why are so many people using it? Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows you to post 140 character updates to the internet and connect with your followers. It is succesful because it is “easy to use, free to use and fun.” (Gunelius) Essentially it allows you to send a short message out to your friends and followers rather than sharing your message via a blog, hence the term, microblogging.

Twitter is an amazingly simple way to share news, updates, thoughts and ideas. Furthermore, it is a great way to build relationships, grow a base of followers and reach people around the world. However, although it is simple to use it is not always simple to master. Many social media managers take weeks, months, or even years to become effective twitterers. Try using the following tips to develop your ability to use Twitter meaningfully.

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1              Develop your voice and community

Develop your own unique Twitter personality. As Heather Mansfield puts it, “share opinions and contribute to discussions.” (Mansfield) Let your followers get an understanding of who you are so that they feel comfortable connecting and engaging with you. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Once they recognize that there is a genuine, living, breathing individual behind each tweet they will react far more positively and you are less likely to find your tweets being ignored, or worse, your account un-followed!

2              Share Your Own Great Content And Other Twitterers Content Too

Great content is vital to the survival of your social media strategy. However, if you constantly only tweet about your business or organization your followers will quickly become disinterested. It will appear that you are only online to promote your own agenda. Find other great content to share. Tweet about breaking news relevant to your business or organization. Tweet about similar organizations, articles from blogs, online newspapers, and anything that interests you and makes sense for your business. If you find that you are not getting any retweets or mentions then perhaps it is time to rethink your Twitter strategy and find different aspects of your business or organization to talk about.

3              Tweet, Retweet, Mention and Follow

Being retweeted and mentioned is the lifeblood of Twitter growth. But how can you expect to be retweeted if you don’t retweet others? Why would you expect to get mentions if you don’t mention other tweets? It’s not simply the polite thing to do. Engaging with others also increases the likelihood that you will find more followers and strengthen your presence on Twitter.

4              Use And Follow Trends And Hashtags

Try to find trends that relate in some way to your business or organization. Use them in your tweets. However, beware of using more than 2 or 3 hashtags or you may be seen as guilty of hashtag spamming. Begin by searching the hashtag to see if it takes you where you want to go. Then decide whether or not to use it. Create new hashtags that are relevant to you, your business and your message.

5              Aim For Five Tweets A Day

If you want to maximize your use of Twitter, aim for four to six tweets a day, or five on average. Perhaps this seems daunting but if you spread out your tweets throughout the day it will not be so challenging. Remember you don’t have to provide all the content, you can use other people’s content too. If it is confusing to keep track of this many tweets, try using Hootsuite or another social media management tool to help you schedule your posts for the day or week. Using a management platform has the added benefit of helping you to keep track of all your social media activities from one convenient location.

6              Use Twitter To Advertise Specials And Deals

Do you have a business? Twitter is a great tool to use if you have a retail operation or a restaurant. You can quickly promote a product, reach your followers and attract interest from others as your tweet is retweeted or mentioned. Give away coupons, free products and services, prizes. The sky is the limit. Use your imagination.

7              Don’t Neglect The Power Of The Image

Photos, images, and videos catch the eye and draw attention to your tweet. They generally receive more attention than simple text. Take the extra time and effort to increase the number of visual stimulating tweets you send.

Summary

Twitter is an excellent social media tool, but like any tool, it should not be used in isolation. View it as an integral part of your social media strategy as it is one of the most important social media apps you can use.

 

References

Gunelius, Susan. 30-minute Social Media Marketing Step-by-step Techniques to Spread the Word about Your Business Fast and Free. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 81. Print.

Mansfield, Heather. Social Media for Social Good: A How-to Guide for Nonprofits. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 97. Print.

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How To Develop, Promote And Protect Your Personal Brand On Social Networks

The Elevator Speech

A number of years ago, when I was training with a group of salespeople, I was taught how to make an “elevator speech.” The concept was simple. Be prepared to share in a few sentences, and in around thirty seconds or less, what you were all about. Disciplining ourselves to cut out all that was unnecessary, we learned to describe ourselves in a few succinct sentences. The purpose was to allow us to quickly engage with potential clients, customers and business associates in a positive, professional and memorable manner. In this way we narrowed the margin for errors we might make when we were trying to make a good first impression. No more rambling about our past. No more hesitation and awkward silences. We learned to present a straight delivery of the goods. The result was that potential customers became more responsive, as did potential business associates like lawyers and accountants.

DSCF1857elevator

Personal Branding

Social media has brought a new twist to the idea of the elevator speech. It is now possible to have your key information, and so much more viewable online and accessible to potential employers and customers. This means that individuals have an opportunity to market themselves in a way that was previously unthinkable. Everyone knows who Nike, Adidas, Coke and Kellogg’s are as they are enormously successful corporate brands who have successfully marketed their businesses. Experience tells us that people gravitate towards well marketed brands. According to Clifton and Simmons, “Brands have been successful because people want them; and every organization’s need to protect its reputation (and so its corporate value) is a rather efficient impetus for them to behave well.” (Clifton, Simmons, 2003) You too, can develop your own personal brand by marketing yourself online. Social networks allow you to advertise your products and skills, share your personal achievements and career highlights all in one location, perhaps even putting yourself in prime position for that dream job offer that you always thought was out of reach. The downside is that, poorly managed, social media networks can damage your personal brand, harm your reputation, and even destroy your career! It is vital then, that your personal brand should present you as professional, irreproachable, an expert in your field and a person of honesty and integrity.

Which Social Networks Should I Use?

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the destination of choice for a strong personal presence online. Long known as the preferred social network, LinkedIn allows you to showcase your strengths in an attractive format. Make your LinkedIn account the hub that is at the heart of your online branding and link here from other social networks. You can post your resume, build a portfolio, connect with contemporaries,  and decision makers, manage your contacts and essentially present your best side to the world 24/7.

Twitter

Use Twitter to promote your latest blog posts, articles, photos, projects and other activities. Tweet about your professional activities and from events where you are present. If you are making a public speech or presentation, tweet about it. Link your Twitter account to your LinkedIn account

YouTube

If you regularly make speeches and presentations that are recorded, you can post them on YouTube and link back to your LinkedIn account. If you have a strong on screen presence, consider setting up your own channel and making professional videos that will enhance your online reputation.

Facebook

Don’t be too casual about what you post to Facebook. If you are trying to present yourself as a media savvy business manager and then post unfortunate pictures of yourself getting crazy drunk when hanging out with the guys, you are asking for trouble. Make sure that you have your permissions set carefully so that only those people that are in your inner friends and family circle can see any pictures or comments that might project you in a bad light in the business world. Better yet, think carefully before you post anything that might come back to haunt you. Consider setting up a separate, professional page for career purposes and only post what is going to enhance your image.

Blog

Many professionals find that establishing a blog relating to their chosen field helps advance their career For example, if you are an accountant, you may wish to develop a weekly blog that focuses on accounting topics relevant to your clients and potential clients. WordPress and Blogger are two of the most well known but there are others that may meet your specific needs.

Other Networks

There are other networks that you may find beneficial to use depending on your career focus. Pinterest, Instagram, Vimeo, to name but a few, can help you in your personal branding quest. Do an internet search for best network tools for your chosen career and you may find sites that are especially suited to your needs.

Summary

Personal branding is, at its essence, marketing yourself to others. It has the potential to bring untold benefits, if it is done well. Personal branding done poorly can bring failures, pain, sorrow and even loss of employment. As our world rapidly moves online it is becoming increasingly important to do personal branding well. Larry Weber puts it succinctly when he says, “Brand value is determined by customers.” (Weber 2007) Although Larry was not specifically referring to personal branding, his statement, I believe, also holds true in this context. The value of your personal brand is something that our clients will determine, not we ourselves. For your future welfare it is of paramount importance to ensure that the brand that is you is also one that is highly valued by others.

References

Clifton, Rita, and John Simmons. “Introduction.” Brands and Branding. Princeton: Bloomberg, 2003. 1. Print.

Weber, Larry. Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. 33. Print.

 

 

How And Why Your Business Should Measure The Results Of Your Social Media Campaigns

You wouldn’t invest money in a technology stock on Wall Street without stopping to check how well it was performing. You would also take time to choose which measurements were important to you and why. For example, you should measure percentage gain, dividends returned, performance compared with competitors, etc. This information would help you to decide if you should buy, hold or sell a stock. Measuring your social media campaign requires the same diligence. It is important to know which aspects of your social activities are successful and which need to be changed or dropped. Be aware however, that it may be far more difficult to draw a direct correlation between money spent and income generated. It is difficult to measure Social media results in the traditional ROI sense,  and there may be more appropriate ways to determine whether your campaign is bringing results.

Football soccer goal net

Establish Clear Goals

It is impossible to accurately measure your social media campaign without establishing clear beginning and end points. So begin by establishing a baseline, a snapshot of a specific moment in time to which you can compare your social media results. Furthermore it is vital to determine what you should be measuring. Some information is more valuable to you so ensure that you know what your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are.  Determine whether you should you be looking to improve your number of clicks? Comments? Likes? Sales?

LI and Bernoff state in their book, “Groundswell”  that “Your strategy should be designed from the start to focus on a primary objective, and it is progress toward that objective that you should measure.”  Focus then, on the correct goal or you may find that you do not have the metrics that you require.

For example, if your primary goal is to increase your profit margin, then perhaps that is what you should be measuring, not likes, comments or sales. However it is difficult to accurately measure your social media impact using profit as there are so many factors to take into consideration.  On the other hand, if you understand that improving your social media campaign will eventually have an impact on your bottom line, or if you are working for a non-profit organization, you may be more interested in seeing an increased number of comments which would, in turn, point to increased engagement, a valuable social media commodity.

Study or office stationary

Use Appropriate Metrics Tools

The following tools represent only a few of the better known products available. A quick search of the internet will reveal many others, each with their own characteristics and capabilities. Choose those that best suit your requirements.

Google Analytics is a tremendous free tool  for measuring social media impact. This tool will allow you to accurately determine KPI’s and boost your ability to meet your customers needs  more effectively.

Hootsuite is another tool that provides a wide array of measuring tools to help you determine how effective your social media campaign is. With over 10 million users and an option for a free trial it is a good place to start.

Sproutsocial is similar to Hootsuite in that it provides a comprehensive platform for publishing to your social media accounts, engaging your audience and measuring performance with analytical tools.

Popular Measurements

Most of the tools available can provide an overwhelming amount of data. While this may seem intimidating at first, take time to decide on the data that will actually be useful to you. Some of the more popular measurements to consider are those that deal with the following categories:

Reach – This will allow to measure data including numbers of fans, followers and likes. These numbers will help you to determine if you are growing your audience.

Sentiment – This will allow you to gauge and respond to the positive and negative comments you are attracting on your sites.

Engagement – If you want to know what people are thinking and saying about your organization and its products and services take time to focus on engagement. Examine the number and quality of comments, clicks, video views and anything else that requires your audience to interact with your social media activities.

Sales – Although this may not be easily measurable,  it is useful to understand what social media interaction leads  directly to measurable sales activity.

Summary

Measuring your social media performance is a vital part of any campaign and should not be considered an afterthought. Establish your goals, choose your measuring tools and decide which measurements are important for your business or organization. They are important keys to the success of your business.

Why You Should Be Using Facebook As A Social Media Tool To Effectively Market Your Small Business

Every business can use more customers, right? It doesn’t matter if your business is big or small, new customers are the lifeblood of any business. The rise or social media has been rapid and all worldwide over the last few years, and it doesn’t look like it is going away any time soon. That said, Facebook is a must for your organization. Whether or not you are interested in knowing what your best friend is having for lunch, or what Aunt Jean did on her vacation, you should be interested in the countless opportunities that Facebook brings to your business. “Why?” you  might ask. “What can Facebook do for me?” Scroll down and see.

Enormous Reach

Facebook has long arms. Well over 1 billion people use Facebook. While they may not all be within your reach, depending on your type of business, many of them may well be.   Research shows that an incredible 47% of Americans say that their purchasing habits are affected by Facebook. Can you afford to ignore that level of interest.

Relationship Building

Having a business page allows you to spread your message far and wide – by building relationships. A page will  allow you to attract and develop relationships with potential customers, market specifically to your niche, find new business contacts, build relationships with peers, and open doors to opportunities that you never knew existed.

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Reduced Marketing Costs

Although it costs time and effort to build and maintain an effective Facebook, the page itself is free. Since 2012 it has also been possible to use paid targeted advertising to further your reach, increase interest in your page, and build brand recognition.   In addition, Facebook ranks high in search engine optimization (SEO.) By encouraging  people to share your content, you will be more widely connected to the social web and be more likely to reach  other potential clients. To succeed at this, you must remember that content is king. If your content is unattractive, people will be less inclined to share it.

Steer Business To Your Website

Facebook allows you to link to all your social media sites, including your website. By linking to your website in the “About” section of your Facebook page you can effectively direct people to the various areas of your online business efforts. As Facebook draws such a large following it can be an effective tool in increasing awareness of your homepage.

Community Cultivation

Using your business Facebook page allows you to cultivate a sense of community. Invite your followers to participate in your page by commenting and sharing. Ask them what about what moves and motivates them. Run contests and other incentives to encourage their participation. Offer tips, post useful links, make and share how to videos. Show your human side by posting pictures from events you are attending. Let your followers see you having fun once in a while, but make sure that you do not display anything that might be deemed offensive.  Join groups and like pages that make sense for your business.

Measureable Results

One of the most useful aspects of Facebook is its ability to provide a detailed analysis of your  page. You can use the Measurement and Insights page to help you get started. Here you can find out about Page Insights, Ads Manager, Audience Insights, and Conversion Tracking to help you measure the success of your business page. There is a flood of data that you can examine but  you can choose to focus on the key metrics you should be measuring.

Summary

A Facebook page is only limited by your imagination and skills. Gift Shops, Real Estate Agents, Hair Salons,  Restaurants, Accountants, Garages, and many more types of businesses can benefit from a Facebook business page. Used well, a good page will only add a new dimension to your business and quickly become an indispensable tool.

Seven Steps To Running A Successful Social Media Campaign

It is finally time to act. You know that you need to get on board the social media wagon. Recently you decided to launch a social media campaign to increase brand recognition for your business. However, you have lots of questions to answer.  Where do you begin? What steps should you take? Who should be involved? The following steps will help you work your way through the process.

Put together a Team

The first step should be to put together a team that can spearhead the initiative. The team may be as few as two or three individuals if your business is small. A larger business may be in a position to put a sizeable team together. If you are a small business and new to social media, choose individuals who, at the very least, are familiar with some of the tools to be used. Ensure that the members of the team are familiar with the risks involved and are understand the need to be aware of their own personal branding.

Set Targets

Decide what you are hoping to accomplish. For example; are you hoping to increase the number of Facebook likes? Are you hoping to demonstrate a new product successfully? Do you plan to run a contest to reward and engage your customers. Establishing realistic goals will help you to successfully evaluate your results at the end of the campaign.

 

Blog post 7 steps

An example of total page views

 

Choose your preferred social media tools

Presumably you already have accounts with Facebook and Twitter and have some understanding of how to use them. Launching a goal specific campaign may require you to open accounts with other social media sites. If you plan to use video to demonstrate how to use a new product, then a YouTube account is probably a necessity. If you are planning to model a new line of clothing, then Pinterest might offer you some unique modeling opportunities while Instagram may provide you with a lot of product views.

Anticipate Two-way Traffic

Two-way traffic is not the enemy, it is your friend. Learn how to use the “pull” method as opposed to the “push” method and use your social media tools for maximum customer engagement and  exposure. For example, if you are using Facebook, respond to every comment as quickly as possible, nurturing and developing the conversation. Encourage your team to participate, and involve the remainder of your staff, if appropriate. Remember to have a suitable social media policy in place that your staff understand and buy into. Determine who will respond to negative comments from customers and what their approach should be.

Get Closer to Your Customers

Use social media to engage consumers and gain a greater understanding of what they are thinking and what kinds of products they are looking for. A survey is an excellent way to do this. Survey Monkey is an excellent tool to use to develop strong surveys. Evaluate the information you glean online and use it to improve existing products and develop new ones.

Make a Memory

Get the creative juices flowing. A memorable campaign can bring very positive results if you are hoping to raise brand awareness in a positive way. However, a dull, boring campaign can be ineffective and end up wasting a lot of time and effort. If you don’t have creative people on your team, or your team is too small, perhaps you can look outside to bring in a freelancer or a small business marketing support team.

Evaluate

Building a strong social media presence takes time and patience. Done well, the results can be easily measured and analyzed. As Melanie Haselmayr says; “social media allows a company to receive feedback on any campaign.” Use the analytics tools provided by social media management experts like Hootsuite to determine what you are doing well and where you need to improve.

Summary

A well run social media campaign can significantly improve your business results. However, learning how to use social media tools to your advantage usually takes time and effort.  Don’t give up if your initial results are unsatisfactory. Learn from your experiences and apply the lessons to your next campaign for improved results. On the other hand, don’t get too carried away if you have great results; as Rebecca Murtagh says “One successful campaign rarely makes or breaks a brand.” Build on the success and build your brand.

References:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/17/facebook-old-spice-farmville-pepsi-forbes-viral-marketing-cmo-network-social-media_slide_6.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2014/05/16/tips-and-tricks-to-manage-your-social-media-campaigns-like-a-pro/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2014/05/16/tips-and-tricks-to-manage-your-social-media-campaigns-like-a-pro/

 

The Death of the Traditional Salesman

Evolution or Extinction

What image is conjured up in our minds when we hear the word “salesperson?” For many, the words “pushy,” “aggressive,” “obnoxious,” “loud,” and “annoying” might come to mind. For those who are old enough to remember the hit show, “WKRP in Cincinnati,” the fictional character of Herb Tarlek, who was the station sales manager, would certainly fit the description. Yet Herb, despite displaying all the above characteristics, and a few more to boot, was rarely successful. However, although Herb was a fictional comedic character, he did in fact bear some resemblance to what has been the accepted norm of a salesperson. We all know salespeople who have turned us off by their methods, tactics and attitudes. Yet with the emergence of social media the role of the salesperson is changing. The rapid growth of social media has given both businesses and consumers alike a glorious opportunity to change the traditional sales process, and benefit from that change. However, in order for this to be possible, businesses need to grasp what is happening and adapt. The salesperson must recognize the changing climate. If he is to survive he has to evolve and adapt, or he is in danger of becoming a dinosaur, a kind of brontosaurus of the business world exterminated as result of today’s version of the giant meteor that wiped out the original dinosaurs – the social media juggernaut! In particular, he has to understand how marketing in a social media world is changing consumers perceptions, preferences and attitudes.

Push vs Pull

Traditionally, businesses have used a “push” method of marketing their products, as opposed to the “pull’ marketing that is more commonly used by social media. In traditional marketing, businesses made potential customers aware of their products and services by “pushing” their messages in their direction. Radio, print, TV, and the once ubiquitous door to door salesman were the tools of choice. The messages were intended to tell potential customers what they needed and push them towards the products and services on offer. The marketing team and its sales force spent a lot of time talking, informing the consumer why they would be better off to buy the product they were offering. Social media, on the other hand, uses the “pull” method by interacting and engaging with consumers, determining their needs and wants, ultimately generating sales by brand building, buzz and word of mouth. Marketing teams that understand social media recognize that they must spend a lot of time involving their potential customers, listening to them and interacting with them by using the wide, and ever growing array of social media tools at their disposal.

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Changing Roles

So, what role should the salesperson have in the current age of social media? The direction of the sales process has changed. Jaques Werth thinks that most salespeople believe their primary function is to “persuade and convince” their prospective clients. But in the social media age, that is not the case. Rather than initiating and controlling the conversation as it flows from the salesperson to consumer, businesses and their salesperson must be brave enough to allow the conversation to flow in the other direction, from consumer to business. Doug Rice discovered that good salespeople “don’t push, they pull.” They ask questions, they listen, they engage and they succeed. Jaquelyn Smith points out that “getting to know your prospects and establishing relationships” is vitally important in generating sales today. Tools like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, to name but a few, allow the conversation to flow in both directions. They allow businesses and their sales teams to truly understand how their customers feel about their products, find out what they are thinking, and determine what they actually need.

Opportunity of a Lifetime

For some, the changes brought about by social media can be too difficult to accept. Unwilling to learn, understand, or change, they blindly carry on with their traditional methods until they hit the wall. For those who pay attention to what is happening in the world around them, a glorious opportunity awaits. Some might even say that the golden age of marketing is upon us. Businesses now have the potential to reach what were previously unimaginably large audiences. Marketing teams have the ability to understand, and connect with their audience like never before, while products can be sold around the world with the click of a mouse. For those who can grasp this, the salesperson doesn’t have to die, but he does have to evolve.