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Social Media Marketing


Twitter With New “Buy” Button

Two days ago Twitter officially announced a new "Buy" button that can be embedded in tweets to allow users to buy a product with a couple of clicks. For now the feature is limited to a "small percentage" of users on its mobile app only.

However, it's an important announcement as it could signal the next evolution for social platforms as they move from being not just a place to connect and share content, but also important engines for social fuelled "discovery commerce". 

In their blog post, Twitter goes on to say, “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.”

The social media giant began dropping hints and signals that something like this might be coming when it hired former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard to lead its commerce team over a year ago. Speculation only increased when a tech news blog got its hands on a mock-up of the Buy Now button a few months back and users began discovering the buttons sporadically as part of Twitter's initial beta tests. 

To start, Twitter will be testing the feature with a select group of artists, brands, and nonprofit organizations.

With people becoming more and more comfortable with completing transactions on their mobile devices, be it their smartphone or tablet, mobile commerce will continue to evolve quickly, and its something we've been watching and planning for very closely here at Shopify



Free Advertising Methods When Money Is Not Enough

Become en expert
Submit articles related to your business to the local paper, trade journals and professional organization’s newsletters. Choose a topic that reflects your expertise on the subject and make sure your business is mentioned.

Aim to be one of the great public speakers
Professional meeting planners are always looking for presenters and workshop leaders for conferences. Research contact names in the Directory of Meeting Planners or start with your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. If, like most people, you dread the thought of public speaking, join your local club; this is also a great way to meet potential customers. When you do get the opportunity to make a presentation, be sure to collect business cards for a drawing to win a book or other prize related to your business.

Reward Referrals
One of the best ways to get new customers is to enlist the help of your current ones. Offer a reward of free merchandise or services for any lead that turns into new business. If you publish a catalogue, include a card where customers can provide the name and address of someone else who might want to receive one. When you get a new customer from a referral, be sure to send the source a personalized thank you note along with their reward.

Set up a newsletter
It’s crucial to keep in touch with your current customers as well as potential ones, and what could be easier than sending out a regular newsletter? After you obtain permission from the recipients, you can describe new products, offer coupons and provide links to articles online your customers might be interested in reading. Keep it simple with pure text or include photos and other graphics

Start a blog or contribute to a forum
This can be a great way to drive traffic to your website and keep a conversation going with your customers. There are several free blogging sites to get you started, I recommend Blogger , WordPress or Tumblr . Here you should post any type of news, promotional messages or information related to your product or services. Another way to get your name out there is to contribute to online discussion groups (without making it obvious you’re advertising). Find the forums that relate to your business by typing in keywords at the top online group websites. I recommend Google , Yahoo groups. Be very careful when using forums to advertise. Many discourage users from bombarding discussions with their own links or promoting their business. Find a forum built for this type of promotion, otherwise you could lose credibility.

Sponsor and charity
Any time you do anything for a charity such as sponsoring an event or donating free materials, make sure the press knows about it ahead of time. They might send a reporter to cover the occasion, but if not, send them photos to publish afterwards

Social media Advertising
It is to no surprise that social media is playing a social role now in the business field due to it’s large database of active people. If businesses know how to use that power they can make millions with minimal efforts. Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest have large number of global population active during the day. With the right message, banners, keywords there is lot of power to exploit.
In this article we tried to give 7 free advertising methods but by no means these aren’t enough. If you don’t make a plan and a budget for advertising you’re in big trouble. This methods have their place and their contribution in the business advertising but without the plan and the budget your business is flying on autopilot.

Feel Free to comment to know more about free advertising methods.



10 Social Media Accounts You Can Learn From

Social media is by far one of the best ways that you can market your business. A large percentage of the population are now using social media in some capacity, around 73% of adults as of September 2013. It is for this reason that you need to be active on social media and using it to grow your business. 

But how do you choose which social media platform to use? This is a great question because every social media outlet is different. Some work differently than others because of the kind of audience they attract. For example, a popular Twitter account may not work so well on LinkedIn.

You need to spend a bit of time working out which social media platform is going to be the most beneficial for your business and what kind of audience it mostly attracts. A great way to help you work out which outlet to use is to analyze the following 10 social media accounts below and how they use these platforms to effectively promote and grow their businesses.

How To Market Your Horse Business (Facebook)
Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, in particular among teens. The problem is in making your message stand out amongst all of the noise on Facebook.

There is one shining example of this and that is an account called How To Market Your Horse Business. 

This account has won numerous awards since its inception such as 2012 Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Facebook Business Page, and has been featured as “9 Businesses Doing Facebook Right”, “5 Facebook Pages We All Aspire To”, to name just a couple of their many accolades.

The reason that this is a page you should learn from is because it found its niche and offers advice from an industry leader. They also do a great job of user engagement and this is something that every Facebook page should be doing. It also does a great job visually of branding itself with the cover photo both horse and marketing related. If you want to learn how to market your business via Facebook then this is a great place to start.

Taco Bell (Twitter)
Twitter is another giant of the social media world being the second most popular platform globally. There are some 58 million tweets that are being sent everyday so it can seem difficult to make yourself stand out.

Taco Bell is one food giant that has earned their reputation on Twitter and this is because of the way they post tweets. They keep everything lighthearted and comical. It’s fun and entertaining, and gives people a great experience. Even when users criticize them they still respond with a witty comeback and don’t take it personally. 

This is not all they do well though. They also use hashtags properly, promote new products, and have fun with holidays and other events. They do everything well from engaging their users, connecting with influencers, understanding their niche, etc. This kind of interaction is great for the kind of younger audience Twitter attracts.

There is a very good reason they won Ad Age’s coveted Marketer of the Year Award for 2013 so learn from Taco Bell’s example. 

AppleOne (LinkedIn)
LinkedIn is by far the most popular professional network online with a registered user base of 300 million people in over 200 countries and territories. However, LinkedIn is different to Facebook and Twitter, generally attracts a different type of audience so your approach needs to be different.

AppleOne is an employment company that was founded in 1964 and they are a great example of using and managing a LinkedIn page. One thing they do particularly well is excluding images and rich media. This makes their page stand out when they do share an interesting article with a high quality image that grabs your attention. They also do a great job at explaining what they do on their profile.

They have done such a good job with their page that it was included in the Best LinkedIn Company Pages 2013.

Blue Bottle (Instagram)
Instagram is a great social media platform for your business especially if you rely on images. This is another hugely popular social media platform with 200 million active users who share 60 million pictures per day. 

One brand that you should take notice of on Instagram is Blue Bottle Cafe. The reason this works so well for them is because it allows them to showcase their pastries and lattes with great designs. They also upload photos of their employees in their cafe. This allows you to get a sense of what the cafe is like and helps to add some personalisation to their business.

Blue Bottle Cafe is a great example to follow if you are a business that could use images to promote your business.

Travel Channel (Pinterest)
Pinterest is another image based social media platform and this one has been growing rapidly in popularity. This is a great platform to be focusing on if you have a business that has anything to do with images so things like travel, food, DIY, etc. This outlet has 70 million registered users who check out pages 2.5 billion times per month.

One of the top brands you should learn from on here is Travel Channel. What they do great here is break up their boards. For example they have a board for Europe, castles, destinations, hotels, and they even have a board for foods around the world. They have found their niche within the travel industry and they have a specific audience that they market to. 

This is a great account that you can learn from if you want to create an account on Pinterest.

Dutch Photo Walk (Google Plus)
Everyone knows how popular Google is but not everyone knows how popular Plus is. Google Plus has over 540 million users who share and post content every month. 

Google Plus has amazing potential because of its ability to connect with YouTube, maps, and search. There is one account in particular that has realised this amazing potential and that is Dutch Photo Walk. 

This account is by a group of people who love to take scenic walks throughout the Netherlands. They then take pictures and share them on Google which is a great way to connect with users. They go one step further though and create a Hangout where people discuss the post-walk. 

They understand Google Plus well and are a great example of how you can use this platform to connect with other Google services and products. 

The White House (Tumblr)
Tumblr is growing in popularity especially in regards to mobile usage. It might come as a surprise to many people but one account that uses Tumblr well is the White House. 

Some people may not find the White House all that interesting but what they do well is post great content. One day you might see the Marine One taking off from the front lawn, the next you might see a picture of all the living Presidents chatting. 

Another thing they do well is tapping into the spirit of holidays and events. For example their image of eggs in front of the White House with the caption: GET EGGCITED: Today’s the White House Easter Egg Roll. This helps people get into the spirit of any events that may be presently occurring.

The reason why the White House account is so effective is because they share content in a way that is witty, fun, and effective. Not only that but it shows users a behind the scenes look at the White House which piques curiosity for many people.

Jethro Ames (Vine)
Vine is a new social media platform but one that has immense potential for future growth. Since Vine began in April 2013 it has become the most downloaded app in the App store. Video is going to be an important piece of content in the future with predictions that by 2016 55% of internet traffic will consist of video.

If you are looking for a great example of how to use Vine then take a look at Jethro Ames. This guy has perfected the stop-motion video clip and he’s become so good at it that many brands such as GE, The Coffee Bean, Comedy Central, etc, have hired him to work on their videos.

Ames has become such a well known figure on Vine because of his trademark style. He keeps things simple, engaging, and shareable. His trademark style that he has become so well known for is pretty simple to. He takes things like Pac-Man and uses them to play with food. Basically he’ll take something that is nostalgic and use it in his own style for creating his videos. It’s a simple but effective technique that he has made his own.

16 Handles (Snapchat)
Snapchat is another image based social media platform that is enjoying growing success. There are roughly 26 million users in the US who share 400 million snaps per day.

Whilst some brands are hesitant to embrace Snapchat, others are more keen to jump on board. For example, the account 16 Handles is one company that has jumped on board and they are having great success with Snapchat. They are a New York City yoghurt shop that have used Snapchat successfully for running promotions. In fact, they are the first company to run a Snapchat marketing campaign with its ‘Snappy New Year’ campaign.

This was a simple idea they used that got users engaged. What they did was ask users to take a picture of themselves eating yoghurt and send it to the 16 Handles Snapchat account. Their reward for participating was a coupon that gave them 16-100% off a purchase. The promotion was successful for the company as they had 1,400 interactions.

Snapchat is a platform that is new for marketers but 16 Handles were able to take a tried and trusted tactic- a competition, and apply it to a new format with success. They are a great example of how to use this platform to promote a business.

Absolut (Whatsapp)
Over 450 million people use this app every month with 70% active per day. In four years this app has outgrown Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Skype, and Twitter. This represents great opportunity for marketers especially when you consider how popular mobile usage is nowadays.

Absolut Vodka was the first brand to run a marketing campaign using this app. It promoted the launch of its new Limited Edition Absolut Unique in Argentina. Included as part of its promotion, the company offered two tickets for the public to its exclusive launch party. What they had to do was convince a fictional character called “Sven” through Whatsapp that they were worthy of entry. It was fun, it was engaging, and it worked. More than 1000 messages via audio, images, and video were sent. They also got around 600 new customers because of the buzz it generated.

This is great example of how to use Whatsapp for promotional purposes. 

In Conclusion
Social media is something you should absolutely be using to market and grow your business. If you don’t then you are putting yourself behind every other business in your industry that is. If you are unfamiliar with these social media platforms and how to use them to grow your business then you can use the examples above. They are all examples of social media done well and you can learn a lot from them.





How to Increase YouTube Rankings

If you are not using YouTube to generate web traffic to your business, it’s about time that you start because there is some great potential to build publicity for your business and your brand using YouTube. YouTube is world’s second largest search engine so it’s well worth your time learning about how you can use this tool to help generate traffic for your business.

One of the great things about YouTube is that you can optimise your video content so it ranks well in search engines. In this article I’m going to show you how you can use YouTube to generate even more search traffic than what you could get with Yahoo and Bing.

You need to start with a video
It is easier than ever to create a video that you can put on YouTube. You can use the camera on your phone, or a proper video recorder to record your videos. The main thing to remember is that your content is valid.

It is very easy to use and YouTube is such a great source of traffic. Here are some of the key reasons why you should be using this platform:

  • There are over 1 billion people using this service
  • There were over a trillion YouTube views in 2011
  • There are 4 billion views on the service every day
  • There are over 100 hours of video added to YouTube added every minute
  • There are 1 billion average YouTube mobile video views per day
  • 40% of YouTube traffic comes from mobile sources
  • YouTube has experienced growth of traffic of 52.86% since 2013

There are plenty of statistics you could point to as proof as to why you should use YouTube to increase your web traffic. The bottom line is that YouTube is a massive source of traffic you should be using.

How SEO and YouTube Works
There are two specific categories that YouTube ranks content for. These are Video Content and User Engagement and these are the two areas that should be your focus when it comes to using SEO with YouTube. However, it is very important to remember that SEO for YouTube doesn’t work in quite the same way as SEO for Google.

It should be noted that the search query in YouTube does not have the ability to tell if a video is relevant to a users search query. If you know how YouTube ranks content you will know how you can optimise your video for YouTube’s SEO.

YouTube’s SEO
There are some key things to remember with YouTube’s SEO:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags used
  • Transcription
  • Your channel authority
  • Delivery of your content

This is the basic way in which YouTube distributes and ranks video content based on its search engine function. One great thing with YouTube’s search engine is that you can control it as a publisher, meaning if you optimise your content properly you’ll have few problems in getting it ranked highly.

Another great thing to note with YouTube and SEO is that you don’t need a high level of User Engagement to rank highly for your videos. Instead, it’s about how well you understand YouTube’s SEO.

The Importance of the Title
The title is one of the most important aspects of YouTube’s SEO. There is going to be a lot of content out there that is similar to yours so you need to stand out and the easiest way you can do this is with a clear and unique title. 

The title is where you optimise your video for SEO and is arguably the most important component. The reason this is so important is because it influences your CTR (click through rate).

Just like with Google you need to make sure your content is high quality and relevant to the audience. You shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of your content just to rank highly. Be sure to include the keywords in the title tag and make sure it relates to the video itself.

The Importance of the Description
The video description box is your one real chance where you can really describe and define your video. This will be most beneficial for users who look for your video content primarily through YouTube rather than Google. 

The point of this information is to increase the CTR and provide users with some basic information about what they are going to get when they access your content. Show users in your description that your video will be beneficial for them.

YouTube is such a great way to increase publicity for your business and your brand that you’d be crazy not to use it. It is very simple to make a video and they are a great way to sum up a lot of content in a short period of time. It is very easy to rank highly for videos that are relevant to your business and this is something you should be using if you want to generate some extra web traffic outside of the usual channels.



Pinterest vs. Twitter: Which is Best for my Business?

Social media is a powerful marketing tool for your business. If you haven’t started using social media to market your business then it’s about time you started. The question you now may be asking is, which social media platform should I use?

It’s a good question to ask considering how many social media platforms are now available.  You need to use the platform that is going to give you the best results for your business because each of the platforms have a different audience. We all know about Facebook but this is used more commonly to keep in touch with family and friends. Then there is LinkedIn, which is most commonly used by professionals and is great for networking. Google + tends to attract a more techie kind of crowd.

Then we have Twitter and Pinterest. Twitter is one of the most popular platforms of social media with close to 676 million registered users and 115 million monthly active users. 

Twitter is also a powerful tool for marketing. It has become wildly important for many businesses ever since it introduced paid advertising. Now many businesses are using Twitter to promote their businesses through Tweets that are promoted to customers and prospects on the network. 

However, we also have Pinterest, which is a visual social media platform. Images have taken off in the social media sphere ever since Instagram and now the fast growing Pinterest is adding to the popularity of images. Images have become a powerful way to grab people’s attention and spread messages and many businesses realise how powerful this can be for their business.

Pinterest is relatively new on the social media scene, launching in 2010, and experiencing a surge of growth in 2013. They have 70 million users worldwide but the most important statistic of all for businesses is that about 70% of users are on Pinterest to help them make a buying decision. It has also recently been announced that brands like General Mills, Expedia, and Gap are participating in the first ever paid ads on Pinterest.

So which is to be for Your Business? Pinterest of Twitter?
To put it simply, this depends entirely on your audience and where your audience is going to find your message. Keep reading.

Pintrest Perks
Just because Pinterest is gaining momentum and popularity doesn’t mean you should be using it. You need to take into consideration the type of audience you have first. If you are a business in the food, travel, or DIY crafts, then your business will benefit from using Pinterest. This is because these types of audiences are the most active on this platform. For example, cooking and dining makes up 66% of activity. On Twitter that percentage is 42%. Twitter might be strong in this field but it doesn’t even come close to Pinterest.

However, the biggest advantage of Pinterest is that 83% of its users are women. This might not mean much to you at first but consider this. Women have a better retention rate than men do and they become more active. In other words, Pinterest has the most potential for an engaging and interactive social media campaign. 

Secondly women also view Pinterest as a reliable source of information and advice so if you wanted to establish brand loyalty then this is a great place to start.

The Advantages of Twitter
This doesn’t mean that Twitter doesn’t have some incredible benefits. In terms of gender Twitter is more balanced. Twitter also has more users who live in cities and it’s the preferred choice when it comes to the tech industry. 

But Twitter’s biggest advantage is that it can be used with other social networks, websites and emails. The passive nature of Twitter means it is great for driving traffic to other social media outlets like Pinterest. This is a feature that other social media platforms don’t have and it places Twitter with a distinct advantage in this area. Twitter is also great for customer service with many people tweeting a brand with their questions rather than sending an email.

Disadvantages Pinterest and Twitter Present
Each of the platforms has their unique advantages but they also have their cons.
Arguably Pinterest’s biggest con is that it’s favoured by women. The problem with this is obvious, it’s not going to reach everyone. It has a specific niche that is not ideal for other fields like say sport. A football team would have a hard time on Pinterest for example because of the nature of the audience.

Pinterest does generate more leads than Twitter but it doesn’t drive as much traffic as Twitter. 

Twitter isn’t flawless either. One of the biggest problems with Twitter is the fact that there are millions of tweets flying around everyday so it’s easy to get lost in them all. Not only that but Tweets are limited to only 140 characters, which can be frustrating sometimes. If you have a long message you want to broadcast to the world then it is difficult to do so on Twitter.

In Conclusion
There are both pros and cons to both Pinterest and Twitter and the one you should use depends entirely on your audience. Once you’ve figured out your audience you’ll have a better idea of which social media platform to focus on and once you’ve got that figured out, you’ll have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal.

Which platform do you prefer and why? 



Grow Your Social Media

Grow Your Social Media with these 5 Key Steps

Social media is enormous! So enormous in fact it accounts to 40% of all time spent online. Social media has created a new way for consumers to discover brands and for marketers to reach out further to potential customers. Incredibly 93% of marketers today say that they use social media for business growth. Last year (2013) saw a outpouring in popularity for platforms including Pinterest, Instagram and Vine. This year we’re expecting even more sites to pick up traction including Google’s own Google+ which is becoming an essential part of people’s daily lives.

However, to make the most of this incredible marketing channel, here are five essential steps you should adopt for successful social media marketing.

Plan your strategy
A clear digital strategy is essential for successfully driving sales and leads from social media. 25% of small businesses do not have any strategy in place for their social media marketing. Appreciate that each social network has its own audience demographic and that you should make your choice as to which platforms best suit your business based on their target customers.
Here are some demographic differences between some of the leading networks.

  • Facebook is the leading social media network, with 67% of people online using it.
  • 60% of these Facebook users are female.
  • A 28 years old female is the average user on Twitter.
  • 18–29 year olds tend to be the primary user of Instagram.
  • Pinterest is heavily used by the female gender, with 80% of users being female and those, which have higher education and higher earnings.

With these in mind, you need to take the time to research your customer. What is their personality type? What is their lifestyle? What value can you add for them online?

Having selected the appropriate channels, monitor what your competition is doing. What is working for them? Start creating a social content calendar, as this will help you to organize, plan ahead and remain consistent with a social content schedule.

Quality content is vital
There is no denying that audience engagement is vastly improved with quality content. This can make the difference between your content being shared across multiple platforms and helps to generate more interest in a brand. Quality content also makes a difference when it comes to your organic SEO.
So what exactly do we mean by quality content?

  • Informative
  • Sharable
  • Actionable
  • Relevance to your target audience

To write like a master you need to embrace humor but also promote authoritative knowledge of the subject, your industry and your audience. With content being so crucial to social success, you, as a social media marketer, should experiment to see what works best for you, even if they are successes or failures.

Visuals engage
A study by the University of Harvard shows that 70% of all Facebook activity revolves around the posting of images and that 44% of all users are more likely to interact with brands if they use pictures in their posts. On top of that 121% more shares were generated when using professional quality photos with an average of 90.64 shares per post.

Because of this love for visuals, social networks like Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram are becoming increasingly more popular. You need to think ahead and create your strategy incorporating images at every opportunity.

Don’t forget, when scrolling down a Facebook newsfeed, it is the images, which secure the most feed space, increasing brand visibility, and decreasing the chances it is missed. This is especially true on mobile devices, as images greatly increase the visibility of a post. Furthermore, studies have shown that people are more likely to remember the contents of a post when accompanied with a striking image.

Don’t forget to be active and responsive
When your customers flock to your business’ social platforms to post comments, don’t forget, they are going to expect you to be social as well. Microsoft and Xbox are two excellent examples (among many businesses), which openly embrace Twitter for customer relations and support.
Boasting an impressive 1.3 million tweets, the Xbox support profile is one of the most active and responsive brand feeds on Twitter. It even goes so far as to call itself “the most responsive brand on Twitter”.

With an average of just 42 minutes per response to feed mentions, the Microsoft Support Twitter feed is lightening fast when compared to traditional customer service outlets.

With this in mind you need to remember that simply responding is not enough. If you are too automated with your responses it could get you into trouble through inappropriate responses. Responding with a generic reply could inadvertently promote negative attention and you could be seen to be uncaring. Public perception is a big deal when it comes to social media, as customers want to feel that they’re interacting with a human instead of an automated response robot.

Get your ruler out and measure those metrics
Although there are hundreds of millions of social media interactions every day and the majority of businesses embrace the power of social media marketing, incredibly 25% have no strategy in place to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
I can bet that through the time and money you spend on social media marketing, you’ll want to see a return on your investment. Measuring metrics is one the best ways to measure activity and to see where it can be improved.
A few metrics which you should definitely keep track of are:

  • Click through rates from posts onto your business profile
  • The number of shares you receive across various networks
  • Conversion rates
  • Website traffic generated from social channels. (You may even find activity coming from platforms you don’t even use)

As with traditional marketing, one of the main goals of social media marketing is to increase sales. On the same hand maintaining brand awareness is just as important. By monitoring these key metrics you can adjust your social media tactics to increase efficiency and return on investment. Which let’s be honest, is the bottom line for determining whether any marketing strategy is effective.

Social media must be employed if you want to be successful in business. By failing to plan and measure results, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Listen to what your audience is saying and engage at every opportunity.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and gained some insights into making the most out of your social presence.





Social Media Promotion Ideas

Running promotions on social media sites is a great way to drum up excitement, gain exposure, increase engagement, and increase your follower count. If you've never run a promotion on social media, the idea may be overwhelming. Below are a few ideas from GroSocial to get you started:

  • Run a photo contest. Photo contests are a fantastic way to get your community involved. Ask followers to post their own photos of them interacting with your product in some way. In order to win the contest, entrants need to get the most votes. Guess how they get votes? By sharing their photos with their social networks and asking their friends to vote. What does this mean for your Facebook page? More traffic and more potential new fans.
  • Run a challenge. This too can involve encouraging fans to post photos of themselves though it doesn't necessarily involve getting votes. For example, Revlon’s “red lipstick” challenge encouraged Facebook users to post photos of themselves wearing red lipstick and then sharing their photos with their friends.
  • Hold an essay contest. Photos are highly shareable, which is why photo contests are so popular. However, compelling stories are a great way to drive engagement, too. For example, you could run a contest asking fans to share their inspirational pet rescue stories, business success stories, adventure of a lifetime stories, and so on and then either pick the winner at random, have a panel of judges, or use a voting system.
  • Hold a caption contest. Post a funny photo and ask fans to submit captions. You could offer a small prize to the winner or hold the contest purely for bragging rights. Either way, caption contests are a great way to get a lot of people engaging, liking, commenting, and sharing your post. Caption contests are also a lot of fun, and they allow your followers to share their wittiness.
  • Hold a trivia contest. Again, you could award a small prize to the winner or hold the contest just for fun. You could also award a desirable product or service from your business.
  • Hold a “how many jelly beans” contest. Remember having to guess how many jelly beans were in a pickle jar? Use a variation of this concept by posting a photo of a large quantity of your products and asking fans to guess how many. For example, a grocer might post a photo of a pyramid of tomatoes (how many tomatoes) while an accountant might post a photo of a stack of papers representing the latest IRS regulation (how many pages).

These are but a few ideas for holding a social media promotion. What types of promotions have worked for you? Share your ideas in the comments section below.



Marketing to the Sexes on Social Media

When you think of Pinterest users, who immediately comes to mind? Women! While many social sites such as Pinterest appeal to women, it would be a mistake to ignore men on social media. In fact, according to The State of Social Media for Small Business infographic, only 36.5 percent of its survey respondents said that most of their clients were women. Both men and women are using social media, making it important not to make assumptions. Checkout these tips from GroSocial to make the most of your social media marketing.

Who is Your Market?
In many cases, the sexual identity of your market is obvious. For example, if you sell women’s shoes, your market is primarily female. On the other hand, if you sell dog supplies, your market likely consists of both men and women. Depending on your business, you may want to target one gender over the other for any number of reasons despite your products and services’ universal appeal. In any case, you should know who you want to target on social media so that you can attract the right users to your social media sites and then craft campaigns that will resonate with them.

Start by examining the sexual make up of your current customers. Is it an equal mix? Do you have more male or female buyers? Why? Does it surprise you? Is your current marketing affecting this mix? Does it make sense to replicate this audience on social media?

Attracting Your Target Gender
Once you’ve determined who you want to target, you can then work on attracting them. On option is to use Facebook ads to generate more likes to your business page and show those ads only to users who meet your criteria. Facebook allows you to specify demographic details including gender.

Marketing to Your Target Gender
Building an audience is just the beginning. From there, you’ll need to “speak the same language.” After all, if you’ve built an audience of men but then discuss issues more relevant to women, your message will fall on deaf ears and vice versa.
What if your audience is mixed? That’s fine, too. While your messages will need to be more inclusive, you can still run the occasional gender-specific campaign.
Whether marketing to men, women, or a mix, getting a clear picture of who you are speaking to will help you to be more clear in your targeting and messaging. If you haven’t yet defined your target audience, start by at least determining whether it’s primarily male, female, or an even mix. You can always build from there.



16 Instagram Tips for Business

Instagram is a powerful branding tool for businesses of all types. This mobile social media platform has been having a huge growth of users lately and has surpassed 200 Million users making it presently the fastest growing network. Some businesses have a hard time initially with Instagram but with these Instagram tips for businesses, you’re sure to grow your brand while avoiding any consequences.

  1. Make your profile public – If you’re trying to use Instagram for business, your profile better be set to being PUBLIC. I knew one woman with a small business that changed her personal Instagram account to her business account and didn’t understand why she wasn’t seeing results. She has initially set her account to private and forgot. Make sure everything is public.
  2. Make the most of your bio – Your bio is one of the most important elements on Instagram if you are going to use it for business. Use a reliable image for your picture that matches others you’ve used on social media. If possible, use the same username as you do on Twitter and Facebook. This will make you easier to find, tag and mention.
  3. Bio URL – The URL in your bio is the ONLY outbound link possible on Instagram, so make sure you are making the most of it. One thing to remember is that you can change it as frequently as you’d like, so do so as needed. You can make it go to your homepage, blog, landing page and more.
  4. Blend videos with your photos – Most companies never post videos, they might get a bit less engagement (photos are 1.5X more) but they tend to have a greater brand impact. Only 6% of brands post videos, I say stand out from the pack. Don’t be a stat chaser and post some videos!
  5. Remember to use #hashtags – Hashtags are the best way to be discovered by new users, make sure to use them. Unlike Twitter, people tend to use more hashtags on Instagram. My rule of thumb is to use as many relevant hashtags as you’d like but don’t go crazy (over 7 and you’re starting to look spammy.) Relevancy is the key when using hashtags, don’t just newsjack hashtags.
  6. Variety is the spice of life – You ever meet someone that only talks about themselves? Chances are if they’re your friends, they might not stay that way for long. Same thing goes for social media. Talk about topical events, share other people’s posts, and mix things up. Remember to try and entertain people first. Don’t ever be too promotional.
  7. Take better photos & use less filters – There are some basic rules to photography you can follow for better pictures. Think about your composition for a few seconds before you take a shot. Try and avoid leaning on filters every time to correct bad photographs. I like filters just don’t overdo it.
  8. Respond to comments – If someone takes the time out of their day to cooperate with you, respond accordingly. Thank them for any praise and answer any questions they might have. Remember, social media is about engaging with others and establishing relationships.
  9. Follow your followers back – Everyone likes to grow their following, try and follow back your new followers; this goes especially for when you feel that they are a good fit for you.
  10. Showcase your employees – People love to get a behind the scene look from companies. It’s also a great way to show appreciation for your workers. If it’s someone’s birthday and they are blowing out candles, post it on Instagram.
  11. Feature Instagram channel on Facebook – Did you know Facebook provides a way to feature your Instagram photos on your page? Just click here to add a tab to your Facebook page.
  12. Show appreciation to your followers – If your followers take a great picture of your product or service, ask them if you would be allowed to share it. Give them a little shout out and share their picture on Instagram or even your other social channels.
  13. Embed photos on your website – Instagram now allows you to embed photos from both your fans and your own account. This is another way to show your application to people.
  14. Show your brands story – Try and convey a true sense of your brand to your followers. If your company has a long history, look to the past for inspiration. Get creative and be authentic.
  15. Work with other brands – Even if you’re a local nail boutique, you can reach out to other brands (you don’t need to be a multinational.) Try your vendors that supply your nail polish, if you do work for a local events company reach out to them. Cross marketing is free and helps everyone involved.
  16. Ask questions – Questions always have the highest engagement. Interact with your customers within your comments section by asking them questions such as, how they use your products. Ask questions about their lifestyles to engage with them!

Instagram is a great social media platform for brands. Using some of these tips will sure to grow and improve your exposure.

Do you have any tips of your own? Post them below. We would love to hear about your experience.




    The Do's and Dont's of Social Media for Business

    You’ve got your Facebook page up and running, maybe even a Twitter account. That’s a fantastic start but you may be wondering, now what? Use this list of do’s and don’ts from and get your social media presence off to a terrific start.

    • DO respond promptly to comments and questions. Social media users are accustomed to timely, if not real-time responses. If you will be using your social media sites as a customer service channel, a prompt response is essential.
    • DO learn the etiquette and terminology of the social media sites you are using. If you don’t know what specific hashtags or acronyms mean, do a quick web search and find out.
    • DO learn as much as you can about your target audience and actively seek out the right type of followers. For example, if your ideal customer is a 40-year-old business woman, find Facebook groups that appeal to her and join the conversation. Alternately, you could run a Facebook ad that specifically targets other users in your desired demographic.
    • DO run exclusive social media promotions. People follow your business page for many reasons, and access to exclusive discounts is one of them.
    • DO be social, but not too personal. Sharing behind the scenes photos of your business is a fun way to socialize with your followers without being overly personal. Keep your socializing on a professional level just as you would at a business mixer. This isn’t the place for idle gossip, swapping recipes (unless it’s related to your business of course), or posting cute pictures of your kids.
    • DO keep promotions to a minimum. The general rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. That means out of ten posts, eight of them should be non-promotional in nature. This doesn’t mean posting eight cute pictures of your kids (see the rule above) and two coupons. Examples of non-promotional posts include links to interesting industry research, asking questions, sharing tips on how to use your products, and tips for solving a problem your target audience might have.
    • DO think of diverse ways to re-purpose content across multiple sites. For example, if you write a blog post about an industry report, you might post the most eye-opening stat on Twitter, ask your Facebook followers for opinions about a controversial one, and post an infographic on Pinterest.
    • DON’T post long videos. Short, 30-second videos are fine, but anything longer is likely to be perceived as an intrusion.
    • DON’T keep talking about yourself or your brand. Stop and listen.
    • DON’T make participating in a social campaign overly difficult. The easier you can make it for users, the better.
    • DON’T forget “what’s in it for me?” If you want your followers to take a specific action, think about what’s in it for them? Why would someone want to join your mailing list – what’s in it for them?
    • DON’T try to be on every social media site possible. There’s way too many of them. Pick a handful of sites that make sense for your business and its audience and focus only on those. Otherwise, you’ll wear yourself too thin.

    Finally, DO keep plugging away at social media. Time and experience will make you better at it.



    Evolution of Facebook Audience Targeting

    Facebook is revolutionizing digital ad targeting through what they are coining “Audiences” as the umbrella term with a variety of technical ways to target people, not cookies based on digital behaviors. The “move fast, break things” culture that Facebook embodies could not be more true in terms of the advancements made to the array of targeting features introduced to their ad platform this year.

    This Infographic by Opnia, a social advertising and mobile app dev agency,provides a detailed overview of the evolution of Facebook audience targeting. As you can see the targeting opportunities to splice and dice your messages to a highly relevant audience are endless. And now with Facebook’s improved analytics tool “audience insights” advertisers can upload email data to garner social insights about their customers. This tool can be used in a variety of ways for research and content marketing, but main focus is to improve targeting through Facebook advertising.



    Benefits of Social Media Marketing

    Once considered “new media,” social media has been around for over a decade. In fact, Facebook recently turned 10. No longer “new,” social media marketing appears to be here to stay. After all, users continue to flock to social networks, and so do marketers. What’s in it for your business? Check out these benefits of Social Media Marketing

    • Traffic and exposure - Social media marketing allows you to reach a much wider potential audience as your followers interact with your social profiles. In addition, many businesses periodically and strategically link to their blogs, websites, and landing pages from their social media pages which further drives traffic. In addition, you can keep the majority of your status updates social and informative and then encourage users to opt into an email campaign where you have the opportunity to guide them toward a buying decision.
    • Loyal fans and brand advocates - Engaging users on social networks breeds loyalty. In addition, many of your most satisfied customers will share their enthusiasm for your products and services with their own networks.
    • Leads, leads, and more leads - You can also use social media to generate leads. For example, you might offer a special report, ebook, or whitepaper on your blog or Facebook page in exchange for an email address.
    • Marketplace insights - Some social networking sites such as Facebook also provide you with detailed analytics. For example, you can quickly see the demographic makeup of your Facebook followers. In addition, you can target specific demographics through Facebook ads.
    • Improved rankings in search engines - Search engines want to serve up relevant results to their users. Having an active social presence with a great deal of engagement, likes, shares, and comments can signal to search engines that your website is highly topical and authoritative.
    • Increased sales - Who doesn’t want to increase sales? Social media with its ability to deliver additional traffic, loyal fans, and leads can positively impact your bottom line by driving sales.
    • Lower marketing costs - Social media marketing is not free, but it’s also not overly expensive. For example, you can sign up for Facebook and Twitter for free and then interact with followers without any upfront costs. That said, your time has value, so don’t forget to factor that in. In addition, you’ll need someone to write quality content for your blog, email newsletters, content marketing campaigns, and so on, and you may want to invest in targeted ads to attract the right following. According to HubSpot, inbound leads cost 61 percent less than outbound ones (social media is a form of inbound marketing).
    • Business partnership opportunities - Finally, social media is a fantastic place to network with other business professionals in your industry as well as potential partners. Start by joining LinkedIn or Facebook groups and becoming an active contributor.

    These are but a few of the many benefits you can expect from social media marketing. Your customers, prospects, and potential business partners are using social media. This means that you should, too!