A Simple Guide to Marketing on Social Sites

Social sites

From the days of Myspace to the current landscape of nearly 200 (or more) social media platforms, social sites have really grown into something, haven’t they?  It used to be that sites like Facebook and Instagram were nothing more than a collection of peoples’ pictures and random thoughts, but now they are thriving, self-contained communities with ecosystems that rival the entire Internet. They’re also a huge contributor to any successful business, which is why today, we will be discussing the basics of marketing on social media.

Why Market on Social Sites?

Before we delve into the how, let’s talk about the why. As an insightful and intelligent business person, I’m sure you’re wondering “why should I invest my time and money into selling on sites like Facebook when I could just pursue other marketing strategies? How do I know it’ll work?” Those are great (and common) questions.

Here’s the deal with marketing on social sites: it works like magic – which is to say, it’s often mysterious in how it works, but there are foundations and best practices for attracting followers and delighting customers.  Worldwide, there are about 3.5 billion people using social media. That means that when you advertise on social sites, you are broadcasting to a huge audience.

In addition to the pure scope of social media advertising and marketing, there is also the added benefit of creating a more personal relationship with your potential customers. When you interact with people on these platforms, you aren’t just a generic brand, but a personality to which the consumer feels directly connected.

One final benefit of using social media as a means of marketing is that it can have a crossover effect with other marketing strategies. People who like your brand on social sites are likely to talk about it with other people in real life, and social media can even help boost your SEO. Boosting social pages on all your print and digital materials will further enhance your presence and reach.  You get quite a bang for your buck with the proper use of social media.

How to Market Using These Sites

Ok, so you’re still with me, right?  Here’s the deal.  There are a couple hundred platforms out there, but we only really need to worry about the top ten.  It’s not likely you’ll be able to spread across multiple platforms.  That would require an enormous amount of effort and budget.

So how do you actually start marketing on these social platforms? I’m so glad you asked, because I’ve been dying to tell you.  Start with your target demographics and put in the legwork (or hire us) to research typical demographics for the following platforms:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. YouTube
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Snapchat
  7. Reddit
  8. Pinterest
  9. Google+
  10. Tumblr

Figuring out your target audience can be tricky.  If you’re trying to sell a fancy wine, you’re not going to want to be aiming at broke college kids. Develop some buyer personas and learn who your audience is.  Do some research about what platforms they use and when they are likely to log on.

Once you have this figured out, start planning posts out by the week. If you are going to be posting 3 times a week, aim to make the posts somewhat related to the days and times you’re posting. This will make it easy for your audience to follow along and will help keep them engaged.

What kind of posts are we talking? Well, an easy and efficient way to go is to create posts that link directly to other content, such as a blog or product page. This lets you get your brand out there without being overly pushy or sales-y.

Warning!  Don’t let this be the only kind of posts you create.  That would be too boring, unless you have an amazingly talented blogger.  Facebook really doesn’t like it when you lead people off the platform, so if that’s all you’re doing, you won’t get as much reach. 

Making posts that are likely to connect with the audience emotionally is a must on social sites. If your targeting parents to sell kids clothes, throw in a few posts about how great kids can be (or how terrifying and funny it is to be a parent of ever-growing children).  If you’re talking to broke college students about your restaurant, talk about how super it would be to eat something other than Ramen tonight.

This allows your audience to feel a connection with your brand on a more human level. Everyone knows a sandwich place wants them to buy sandwiches, but when the sandwich shop talks about their dog-friendly culture, it takes on an element of sincerity and humanity. This is what separates you from the competition.

How to Start

Putting off things like marketing on social sites can be easy. It can seem so complicated from the outside, but the reality is, it’s quite simple once you start. Make a business profile, learn who you’re trying to reach, and start planning your posts.

If you like a bit more structure, try planning out posts in a spreadsheet. This will make your post creation easy and seamless and allow you to stay consistent.

Of course, you could always hire someone to manage your social media marketing and help you through the process.  Partner and account director, Rachael Herman, is a social media expert, proving success on multiple social channels across a variety of industries over many years.  Her secret?  Well, she won’t tell me.  She says, “every social engagement specialist has their own methods.  My way wouldn’t work for you, and yours make me jealous.”

Now, there’s a lesson to eat away at the mind’s walls of uncertainty.  Thanks, Rache!

If you’re looking for some help from an engagement specialist, schedule a chat with Rachael.  She’s happy to consult and won’t hassle you with sales pitches.

Black Friday Shopping and Cyber Monday Deals: Tips for Success

black-friday-cyber-monday-marketing

Like it or not, it’s the most wonderful time of the year yet again – the holidays. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, whether you are a business owner or consumer. These two days are what kick-off the holiday spending spree, so it’s important you are prepared for what is to come.

Most businesses do most of their sales during the busy holiday season, which is just one reason why it is so important to get all your ducks in a row, so to speak. If you aren’t careful, the holiday shopping season can sneak up on you, causing unnecessary stress. To be successful with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, specifically, you must learn how to appeal to the mass of willing shoppers looking to spend their hard-earned money on your goods.

Enter: Digital marketing. In order to draw in both new and existing consumers, you must know how to use various digital marketing tactics to your advantage, such as SEO, advertising, social media, and web design.

Plan Ahead For Black Friday and Cyber Monday

If you ask any small or large business owner, the key to success with the holiday shopping season is to be prepared – very prepared. Over the last several years, it seems sales start earlier and earlier, with people lining up for Black Friday deals not long after the turkey has been carved. This means you must be ready for shoppers, well, now.

No need to panic if you are feeling a little behind, social media is here to help. Social media is no longer just about connecting with long lost high school friends; it is much, much more than that. Today, social media is a business owner’s secret weapon, and their ticket to success during the holidays.

Social Media: Your New Best Friend for Black Friday Shopping and Cyber Monday Deals

A great place to start is to create events for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday on whichever social media platforms you are using. This is an excellent way to get your brand on people’s minds, and who doesn’t love a fun holiday shopping event? There are many different directions you can take, such as Sip and Shop events or offering special deals on these days.

Once you have a better idea of what you want to do for these busy shopping days, it’s time to promote. Relying on a wide range of digital marketing tactics will help you with a lot of this. From content marketing to SEO, and of course social media marketing and advertising, find what works best for you and run with it.

Don’t Forget About Branding

This part is often overlooked, but we can’t stress the importance of focusing on branding during the holidays enough. Branding is your opportunity to create a specific identity for your business, which we like to think of as the soul of your company. During the holidays, you must get in the spirit and rely on your brand design to do the talking for you. With so many options out there, making your brand stick out from the best is an absolute must. The last thing you want is to fall through the cracks because of poor branding or a weak digital marketing campaign.

The holidays are a festive, fun-filled time of year that bring out the best – and sometimes the worst – in all of us. For business owners, learning how to navigate Black Friday and Cyber Monday in a way that represents your brand truthfully can be challenging. Stay true to who you are, plan ahead, focus on outstanding brand design, and don’t be afraid to use social media to your advantage. These few little things could be the difference between finding success this holiday season and missing out on tremendous growth opportunities.

And remember, have some fun! Life is far too short and naturally stressful – it’s up to you to ease the burden with humor, joy, and gratitude.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Five ways to market your small business on LinkedIn

Small business LinkedIn

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn may not be the prettiest social media site out there. Its purpose isn’t to share your personal life — the users just won’t care. But, really, that’s what you want. LinkedIn is a place for professionals to connect with other professionals, learn about their business, find jobs, and build their company’s brands.

Over 500 million people use LinkedIn, and 40 percent of them visit the site daily.

Create a Company Page

Your company page is separate from your personal profile. Both are important on LinkedIn. However, a personal page is the hub for everything about your company.

LinkedIn pages can be SEO friendly. To optimize your page, include lots of keywords about your business. Try to use the same keywords that you’ve used for your website. (If you haven’t optimized your website, visit our SEO page to learn more about what this is.)

Remember to also link to your LinkedIn page from your website and from any emails you send. This gives your page credibility. Finally, don’t forget to share relevant content on your page. You can share your own blogs and content, but it is okay to occasionally link to content from other sites too.

Focus on Your Profile, Too

Your personal profile matters. Ultimately, LinkedIn is about connections, and people don’t want to connect with a business. They want a person.

Make sure your profile is the best that it can be. Your page is personal, but it is also professional. Watch out for any grammar and spelling mistakes, create a personal URL, and add your work qualifications.

Make yourself as an admin on your LinkedIn page, and add your company to your personal page.

Join Groups

LinkedIn has groups on any subject matter to join. Learn more about marketing in their marketing groups, and find groups that pertain to your industry to join as well.

After joining groups, participate in them. While you should post your content in the groups, don’t forget to comment on other member’s posts as well. This gives you credibility and helps you stand out.

Don’t be Afraid to Connect

Don’t talk to strangers on the Internet. That might be a good idea on Facebook, but it doesn’t apply to LinkedIn. Feel free to connect with people you do not know — they are probably looking to build connections too. These people can read your content and visit your website. Plus, connections increase your visibility on the site.

Create an Email List

Finally, invite your connections to join your email list. Thank your connections for connecting with you, and invite them to learn more about business.

Ultimately, social media sites come and go; LinkedIn might not be popular forever. Email, however, has remained a steady form of communication. Don’t lose the connections you’ve worked hard to build.

Do you need more social media or marketing help? Learn more about the services we provide or contact us

How to create the best Facebook cover photo or video

Facebook Cover Photos

What are people first attracted to when they visit your Facebook page? Your about bio, videos, and status updates don’t make the cut. Instead, your Facebook cover photo or video is the first thing they’ll see.

People only need 7 seconds to come to a conclusion about a person or place. Make those seconds count with an engaging, appropriate photo or video. Here’s how:

Follow Facebook’s rules for cover photos.

Facebook states that business cover photos and videos are public. They can’t be “deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright.” You also can’t ask others to upload your cover photo to their personal page.

If you go against Facebook’s guidelines, they have the right to take action against your page. Read all of their page guidelines here.

Choose the correct dimensions.

This is the actual size of the image or video cover photo space… not the size of the photo or video.

Facebook cover photo should be 820 pixels long and 312 pixels tall.

Facebook downsizes everything, so to preserve the quality, use HD videos at 1920 x 1080 pixels for best results.

Facebook cover photos will display at 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall on computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on phones, but you need higher quality photos to match this scaling.  pixels and saved at “very high quality” so Facebook downsizes it properly. Photos load best as JPG files.

Don’t include too much text.

Remember, your cover photo is all about engaging your viewers. You want them to want to visit the rest of your page, where you’ll have the room to use more text. On average, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Take advantage of that!

In the past, Facebook demoted content with more than 20 percent text. Although they no longer do this, the idea is still relevant. Keep text relevant and concise.

Use text intentionally.

Many companies focus on using the text in their Facebook cover photo or video to encourage action. For example, some companies share a hashtag that they hope their viewers will use. Others direct their audience to the buttons on their page.

Our Facebook cover video shares snippets of customer testimonials. This is a quick, fun way to intentionally incorporate text into our video.

Don’t be too technical.

In general, your Facebook page should be about your brand, not just your products. Keep most of the technical aspects of your brand on your website or in the “about” section of your page.

Instead, try to use your cover photo as a way to express the why behind your business. Focus on engaging your current audience and bringing in new people.

It’s all about the brand.

Clearly, this is important. Don’t make your cover photo a big image of your logo. That says nothing about you! Instead, use the cover photo/video to show off your products, share your values, and have fun.

If you want to have your logo on your page, incorporate into your profile picture instead.

Practical Ideas

Only you can judge what will work best for your business. However, here are a few Facebook cover photo and video ideas to get you started:

  • Share a photo of your team. Better yet, share a video gif of your team waving to the camera.
  • Do you have shiny, visually-appealing products? Include them!
  • If you work somewhere beautiful, share it. Make sure to use the caption to attach this to your brand.
  • What services do you offer? Show them in action.
  • Show off your mission. Do you work to improve literacy? Show us some books, please!

A few other details to remember for Facebook cover photos.

  • Choose a simple photo that has one central visual point.
  • Don’t hide any content behind your profile picture.
  • Keep important content higher up in the photo.
  • Think about the caption, and add a shortened link to your website.

A few details to remember for cover videos.

  • Your video can have sound, but it should not be essential to understanding your video.
  • Your video should look great when paused or loading. Keep it clean, with bright colors and strong lines.
  • Keep videos 20 to 90 seconds long. People don’t have long attention spans, so we think shorter is almost always better.
  • Use video to make a photo more interesting. Rather than post a traditional video, share an animated image.

We understand social media marketing can be overwhelming for everybody. It’s a lot different than running your own personal Facebook or Instagram page. We’ve dedicated the time to become social media experts. If you need help, please contact us.

Five Ways Startups Can Stay Organized On Social Media

Organize Social Media

Social media matters. 81 percent of U.S. Americans had at least one social media account in 2017.  According to Statista, 1.96 billion people have a social media account worldwide, and that number is expected to reach 2.5 billion by the end of 2018. Social sites dominate the way people interact online, so they should be an integral part of your startup’s marketing plan.

But it isn’t that easy. You have contracts to create, products to design, emails to write, and customers to keep happy. Social media isn’t always the priority. As a small business, we’ve been there too. We understand the tug of the do-list that pulls you elsewhere.

Here’s how to stay organized on social media:

1. Plan your content out in advance.

Dedicate a specific time every week (or month, if that’s better for you) to plan out your social media content for that week. Grab a cup of coffee, buckle down, and just do it. Use a calendar tool, such as Google Calendar, to write in holidays that you want to take advantage of, events you want to notify your followers of, and important industry news that you want to write about.

According to HubSpot, 74% of marketers saw an increase in traffic after spending 6 hours a week on social media. Your hard work will pay off.

* Bonus tip: Post on social media regularly and consistently. You don’t have to post every day, but try to set a social media standard for your business.

2. Take advantage of scheduling software.

You can and should schedule your social media content out ahead of time. Most social media channels allow you to do this from within the website or application. For example, TweetDeck allows Twitter users to schedule out their tweets. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms have similar features.

However, scheduling software allows you to schedule out your content for all social sites from one convenient location. No jumping from one tab to the next: everything is right there. What a relief!

Popular scheduling software includes HootSuite, SproutSocial, Buffer, and AgoraPulse. Most of these sites have free limited plans, as well as affordable plans for small businesses.

*Bonus tip: Do your research. Finding a scheduling platform that you like and will use will be a lifesaver. Yes, it takes time — but it will save time in the long run.

3.  Track and monitor everything.

Remember that weekly social media time that we talked about in tip #1? Good.

Use that time to also look at your pages’ analytics. Did your followers seem to especially like posts with pictures? Great, use them again.

Create a Word document, spreadsheet, or another tool of your choice to record what has worked for you. This can be as simple as writing down: “photos in, questions out,” or it can be more detailed. As your company grows, having a record of social media successes and failures will be invaluable.

*Bonus Tip: Some scheduling platforms include analytics tools in their features.

4. Don’t go overboard.

You don’t need to have Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. That’s overwhelming for you and for your audience. Instead, start with 2-3 platforms that suit the culture of your industry.

Are you a crafts company? Get on Pinterest! Are you educational? LinkedIn is for you.

*Bonus Tip: Try to curate content for each site. For instance, write LinkedIn posts with a professional voice but keep Facebook conversational.

5. Dedicate one social media leader.

This makes your social media cohesive and easier to monitor. As your company grows, you may have a team of people dedicated to this. But remember: be clear on who does what. This ensures that the job gets done.

*Bonus tip: Create social media rules. How do you respond to aggressive comments? Which grammar and spelling rules do you follow? Consistency is key.

The YourImprint team is full of knowledge about how to succeed in digital marketing, and we are eager to assist startups! Learn more tips on our blog, view some real-life branding pieces in our portfolio, or contact us to learn more about our services.