Social media is a low to no cost form of promoting your brand. What is most of the time missed out is the ultimate goal? Why do you want to be on Social Media? Is it to get more followers, build your brand or getting people to purchase your services?
A lot of people place adverts in newspapers, bill board charts, television and it does costs money. If you ask them what was your ROI the answer is very vague. It is very difficult to measure ROI with traditional advertising as most people or businesses have no idea how many people read their advert or clicked on their website as it is very difficult to track where the clicks came from whether it was from the television ads or bill boards.
But the problem arises when people get so concerned about the ROI of Social Media. At least with Social Media there are so many ways to track where your traffic is coming from and you will know how to readjust your marketing strategies.
If you know exactly what you are expecting from Social Media then calculating your ROI would be much simpler. As Social Media is a free form of advertising it can be time consuming. That is why it is important to know your goals so then you will know whether the time you are spending on it is worth it or not.
When tracking your Social Media efforts depending on which ever social media platform you choose to use whether its Facebook, Google plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest and so on you have to find out about certain metrics and these are leading indicators and conversion metrics.
Leading indicators as in the case of Facebook are:
Your total likes/ the number of fans
Engagement measurements. How many people are talking about it?
The amount of traffic you are receiving from Facebook
-The number of leads / sales that are being converted into real customers
These tracking rates and figures can be found on Google Analytics and it is free to set up if you have a Google account.
These figures should be tracked consistently. Without tracking you would not know which of the Social Media platforms to focus most of your attention on.
Social Media is a great way of measuring ROI as compared to traditional advertising. However it is an investment that requires time and effort and with consistency it does pay off.
What I found outstanding is the lack of education anytime I visit most large corporations’ websites. There are no educational materials but instead the focus is still on “what we offer, who we are and so on”. The consumer definitely knows who you are, as you have been in existence for over 10 years, 20 years, half a century or over a century. This is not what people or your potential clients want to know about you, they need to be educated before they make their mind up about purchasing your products and services.
Why is there a lack of education? I sometimes ask myself these questions.
The answer is very simple. I believe that corporations should focus on the consumer by simply incorporating a blog and offer valuable content to its clients and potential clients.
It is not easy to maintain a blog and to be consistent no matter the size of your company. The focus should be on the following:
- Having an audience;
Whilst planning these are the things that corporations should be thinking of:
- What is the purpose of the blog?
- What are you hoping to achieve?
- How would this blog benefit the reader?
- What will the content of the blog be?
The current consumer needs to be informed and educated. The focus is to be frequent and consistent. When you make up your mind to blog once every week then it should always be once a week or else it affects your credibility.
Building an Audience:
To build an audience it is important to blog about different issues regarding your products and services. Not only should the blog be in a written format but also incorporating “how to videos, video testimonials and allowing comments”.
You can surprise your audience by getting the CEO of the organisation occasionally to be involved in the blog posts.
The rewards for having a blog are numerous and it has great benefits for any organisation.
Blogs are great for client engagement as they will spread the word and it will definitely lead to sales for the firm.
For more than a decade bankers have fretted about the threat posed to them by the banking arms of supermarkets. The likes of Walmart and Tesco have thousands of outlets that customers visit millions of times a week. Their networks dwarf those of ordinary banks; small wonder the bankers were scared.
Yet now the boot is on the other foot. Banks and other financial institutions are learning to crunch the data they hold on their customers. Instead of being supplanted by supermarkets, banks my sway shoppers.
A leader in this field is Cardlytics, a private American company founded in 2008. It has developed technology to analyse transaction data held by banks and to use this information to sell targeted advertisements to retailers and others. A supermarket might, for example, be interested in customers who spend $100 or more a month at rival grocers but who have not entered its own stores for six months. It might then offer these people a 20% discount on their next shopping trip at its stores.
Cardlytics would insert an advertisement to this effect into these customers’ online-bank statements, ideally under a relevant transaction such a payment to rival retailer. Customers can accept the discount online by clicking a box. This connects the discount coupon to their debit card, so that the discount is automatically rebated to their account when they meet the conditions (by, for instance, shopping at the store within a certain period of time).
The potential revenues are alluring to banks, which are struggling to maintain profitability in the face of low interest rates (which depress their margins) and consumer legislation that has outlawed or reduced many of the fees they are able to charge. Cardlytics, which recently struck an agreement with Bank of America and is now working with 327 banks that reach 78m households in America, says it is able to charge retailers an average advertising fee worth some 10% of the price of the purchase made by the customer, which is then split with the bank. It also claims mouth watering rates of “click through”. Some 15-20% of customers accept offers, of which about one third are actually redeemed. By contrast click-through rates in most other online-advertising media are less than 2%, and in some cases as low as 0.2%.
Other firms are also trying their hand in these areas. Card networks such as Mastercard and Visa have begun mining their data to provide targeted advertisements. So have some banks. Citigroup, for instance, monitors the credit-card transactions of its customers in some Asian countries and uses the information to send text messages offering special deals. A customer buying clothes at around lunchtime, for example, might be offered a discounted meal at a nearby restaurant.
Although these initiative offer financial institutions a way of exploiting the vast troves of data they hold, they also raise the risk of a consumer backlash over privacy. In most cases firms offer customers the opportunity to opt out of such offers. They also promise anonymity: Cardlytics says the banks it works with never reveal the individual identities of any of their customers. Even so, customers may yet balk when pesky ads invade the sanctuary of the bank account.
Source: The Economist, October 27th – November 2nd 2012
What you have to ask yourself is this why do I need to brand myself online. What is the purpose of it?
These are some of the questions that can come up when you make up your mind to brand yourself online.
It is very simple. The reason why this is important is to show your expertise. There are lots of people providing the same service as you. You are not the only lawyer, designer in your local area. People are going online to search for answers and information before they seek your service.
Being a brand online opens a lot of doors for you.
It is fairly simple to do that. To begin building your brand you first need to have an online presence. Having an online presence is completely free of charge. Go on and create accounts with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Take it one step at a time.
Find out which Social Media platforms your target audience normally gather. I would also say most people are using almost all the platforms.
The next step is offer valuable information to these people. You have to know what they want.
Send out this information in the form of blogging. Set up a blog or get your web designer to create a blog for you. Start blogging and be consistent. Go online and find out what people want answers to. If you need assistance with that seek the services of a Social Media Consultant who can assist you with your research.
Then start blogging initially it can once every month, or every other month.
You might be thinking what will this earn me. I would not be paid for this. I know you will not be paid for what you are doing. But it helps you in your career. You get to know the latest trends within your industry; opportunities will come your way which can escalate your income.
As an expert the opportunities that come your way include speaking, writing for publications, consulting and so on. This is different from whatever craft you are involved.
These are the benefits of branding online.
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There are a lot of brands which took a lot of time to build. But with the emergence of a lot of Social Media platforms, building brands now does not have to be hectic and tedious.
It is much simpler and easier to do but the work has to be done.
Secure your name
Use all the Social Media platforms to secure your name. Your name is your brand and it is very important to secure it. Begin by buying your domain name and getting your name with all these platforms. These are your assets and it is worth securing. You secure your name by going on these Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube and create profiles.
After you have captured your name, spread your message. Be known within your industry as someone who always has solutions. When you always answer questions that people want answers to you will be seen as the expert within your field.
Blogging consistently is one of the ways to build your brand. As I said previously you have to be the Wikipedia in your industry. Your website should be a place where people want to consistently visit because they know they will find answers and solutions to their problems. This establishes your expertise. This tip works in any industry. Whether you are in the real estate business, legal, fashion, music and so on, you can be a solution centre. Your website should not only be about you selling your products and services but your audience want to see fresh information that will help them and this has to be consistent or else they will get bored and go to your competitor. People like to buy from those they know, like and trust and one of the ways to achieve that is through blogging.
Use videos to share your brand
Do some mini tutorials with videos and share them on YouTube. These videos can be one or two minutes long. This is a great way of sharing your brand. Be consistent with these videos. Your audience will see your body language; they will feel more connected with you. These are some of the reasons why people love commercials, it is entertaining and sticks to the mind of the viewer. They get to see the other side of you.
Engage on Social Media
Social media is a market place where you can easily engage with people. So after you have secured your name and shared your message, use this as an opportunity to engage with people. Start conversations with people and take them offline. See them face to face if you can and carry on building relationships.
With the above tips, when done consistently you will establish your expertise and also experience a growth in your business.
Communication skills are not only about grammar but how we deal with each other. It is about building relationships.
As a business owner social media has improved communication skills and these are some of the reasons why:
#1: Show Gratitude
With the traditional marketing world if you bought a book in a shop or a book store and you really enjoyed reading it, it is not likely that you will get back to the author and appreciate his hard work and the impact the book has made in your life. You might want to write to the author but things can come in the way and you will not get the time to do it.
But with social media you can follow this author on Twitter and tell him personally how the book has changed your life. You can also recommend the book. On LinkedIn there is an amazon application which allows you to give a summary of the book you read and recommend it.
#2: Be More Influential
With the traditional marketing world there are restrictions and you can only be at one place at a time. With Social Media when you send out a message you can send it to all most of the Social Networking sites at the same time.
#3: Serve Each Other Better
We can serve each other better by providing solutions. When someone needs help and ask a question the answers the person gets are a lot and most of the time are very well researched. So if you are based in London and you ask a question on Twitter or LinkedIn, people are very willing to help and they act very fast. But when the same question is asked face to face, there can be delays and you can only ask a few people for help. With the online community you have thousands of people who can add value to your life.
#4: Quality and Great Customer Service
When a customer is not happy with a service from a company online, they can easily share their experiences and complain. This customer would get a fast response than complaining the traditional way which involves writing to the store manager and encountering some delays. This pushes companies to offer great service and quality products.
Communication skills on Social Media are not only about the correct usage of grammar, it is more than that. It is about how we add value to each other’s lives and building greater relationships. I would say for that for the entrepreneur Social Media has improved your communication skills.
Do you think that Social Media has improved communication skills? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Not Having Clear Goals - Even though most of the social media activities are free, without a plan it can very time consuming. By setting goals this can easily be avoided. With goals in place and knowing what to achieve, you will be patient with the results.
Not Measuring Results - Most people fail to measure their social media results. This is a very important and an integral part of the business. The measurements in Social Media include the number of responses, the likes, comments, retweets, favourites and so on. Using shortening links such as bitly will give you an indication of how many people clicked on your links even showing the demographics. In these measurements you must also include those who ended up being part of your e-zine or newsletter and the contacts you established. This data is very important to have.
Expecting Sales Overnight - The main reason why some business owners don’t measure results is because they were expecting a sale overnight. Social Media is a means of building relationships with people. With these platforms it has made it easy to communicate with people not only in your local community but all over the world. It has broken barriers. You can be in the United States but still build relationships with someone in Europe. This would not have been possible many years ago. The focus should not only be on an immediate sale on Social Media but also on building relationships which can bring in referrals.
Not Appreciating People - Take time to appreciate those who respond to your posts. You will find that there will always be people or even one person who will always like your posts and comment about it. Appreciate them by sending them a thank you message. There are a lot of messages and posts on Social Media but they took the time to like, comment and share your message. These people are evangelists of your service and they have to be appreciated.
Not Communicating - Lack of communication is one of the common mistakes on Social Media. Some business owners live in isolation on Social Media. They refuse to reply to messages and mostly focusing on posting links of their websites. The focus is mainly on themselves and not interested in people online. Lack of communication also means having no picture and just posting information about your business. This would definitely not lead to any referral or future sales.
Do you have any more Social Media mistakes that can be avoided? Leave your comments below.
Getting customers online is completely different from the offline world. Because in the offline world people can see you and if you have a shop they can come and you can have a chat with them and ask them what they need.
The online world is different. At this point of writing I do not know the name of the person who has visited my website right now, but it is possible to get that information in the offline world.
To get customers online you have to do a few things:
- Always provide solutions. Go out and aggressively find questions to answer online and this must be done daily. Be in groups; add value by answering questions, blog on what people want answers to. Create videos providing information that people want. When someone visits an offline shop, the shop assistant can ask the person some few questions such as “how can I help you?” the person will then tell the assistant what they want and a sale can easily be made.With the online world, you don’t get the chance to ask the one who visited your site what they want. You have to go out there and find out what your target audience want. Provide the answers and they will come on your site to find out more about you.
- You have been of a major help to them and they want your services. Do you have a product which would solve the problem? Your target audience have watched your videos, read your answer in a group online and so on and they have visited your website. So what next? You have a newsletter but some of your audience do not want to subscribe not because they don’t like you the information but it could be because they receive so many emails a day and would not have the time to read yours even though your information is valuable. In their minds the free newsletter is great but that would not solve their major problem. You must have a service that would assist them further.
- At the end of the day just answering the questions would not drive them to go for your service. Your products and services must be visible. If you went to your local shop and you know that they sell something that you need and you went there e and you could not find it they have actually hidden it and you can’t find the shop assistant to ask a question. What would you do? You would leave and go to the next store owner who has his or her products displayed.
To find customers online, you have to go and answer their questions, give them what they want with a lot of valuable content, and when they visit your site ensure that you have your services and products displayed for them to buy from you or seek your services.
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Content Marketing is simply sharing information of value to your target audience to help them in the fields they are in. So if you are a business coach you can share information to your audience on how effectively they can grow their business.
Content marketing can done by different strategies. Some of the strategies include blogging, newsletters, ezines, articles, videos and so on.
Depending on your audience you might choose to use all or some of the above strategies to communicate with them
Before releasing any form of content to your audience, ensure the information is about what they want not what you think they want. When you give them what they want they will be inclined to read or view your content. They will spend time in absorbing the information because it is the answer to a problem they need solutions to.
The question you might be asking is how do I give them what they want? The place to look for what your audience want is obviously online. Go to sites such as Quora for inspiration and ideas for content creation. LinkedIn is also a great resource. They have a section called LinkedIn answers where people are asking questions consistently. Groups and forums online are great places where you can get ideas for creating content.
Now that you have an idea on where to get the right content for your audience, the next stage is to measure your ROI. Some of the best tools to enable you to do that are Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool by Google giving you information about where your traffic comes from. But when you register you will be required to paste a code on your website for Google to be able to give you the accurate information.
Another tool which you can use would be bitly. This tool allows you to shorten your links and to make it look neat and professional. With this platform you get to know the people who clicked on your links, the demographics of people who viewed your site and so on.
You can also measure your content marketing by also making sure there are social media icons which encourage people to share your information. This is important.
Allow room for people to comment on your blogs. When you have a catchy title you will receive a lot of comments.
Above are some of the ways to measure your content marketing efforts. Having these measurements in place would give you an indication of which content marketing strategy is working and the ones you have to improve on.
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Yes. I would say Social Media training is necessary for every business.
Most business owners begin their social media journey by setting up profiles online, tweeting, posting and so on. They do all these only to realise that it’s not what it seems to be, because there is a difference between knowing and understanding social media.
There is a need for training even if a business owner is not sure whether they need social media to grow their business. One must not assume that they do not need it at all. They can make up their mind after they have had some training from a reputable company.
This training should not just be attending an event about it, where they are different speakers and different businesses. Every business is different. Assuming you are a plumber, you spend most of your time in your profession, visiting people in their homes, fixing pipes and so on. When you attend an event the conclusion you might come up with is this: “I do not need any training”.
What does this tell you? Because you saw different service based businesses, that is not a good enough reason to assume that you do not need any training. To know whether you need training or not, consult the services of a social media coach and trainer who would go through your business, the goals you want to achieve whilst analysing your growth plan.
Social Networking is not only about posting messages but it’s about people. So no matter what business you are involved in, you are in the business of dealing with people. We serve people and these social networks are platforms to assist you to offer great customer service to people and to future clients.
Even if you are in the business of selling door to door, what stops you from using these social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and so on? You still build relationships with people. You can collect testimonials and place them on your website. There will be questions online you can answer to display your expertise. You can post a blog providing valuable information.
What can be done on social media is a lot. It is a powerful tool to grow and expand your business, however do seek the services of a consultant who can assist you in how to use this tool effectively and to enable you get more sales and clients for your business.
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