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Conquering Mount ‘Social Media’ 101

Conquering Mount ‘Social Media’ 101:Starting at Base Camp: 7 Strategies to Post You’re Way to the Top

Starting at Base Camp: 7 Strategies to Post Your Way to the Top

No matter what size or stage your business is in you know social media is a biggie in today’s world… you might also know that it can feel like an impossible task.

Like anything else, there are some strategies to accomplishing the impossible.

If you have a plan in place and understand what it is that you want to accomplish Mount Social Media can be conquered with ease.

Whether you are jumping with excitement to get started, or a bit weary of the whole thing (like I was not long ago) social media is an important reality for any business.

It can help you to increase your search rankings, brand identity and most importantly it allows your business to have a personality and voice that potential customers can start a conversation with easily.

Social Media is an important reality for any business for SEO, brand identity and reach purposesClick To Tweet

If you need some motivation, here it is: EVERYONE can be good, great, amazing at social media!

But it isn’t a random thing, there is strategy involved so you’re not wasting your time and efforts.

Below are seven strategies to get you on your way to the top:

Strategy #1 – Develop a Goal

  • Understand why you want to embark on social media to begin with. What is your ultimate goal? Is it to get new clients, build your brand exposure, provide customer support, or gain a loyal following?
  • It is imperative to understand that social media is not going to get you an immediate return on your time investment. No matter what your goal is, your efforts should all be geared towards building relationships with your followers.
  • Determine how many times a day/week you will post, and block off this time in your calendar. To start, make a commitment to post at least once a day on each of your main channels. Ideally, you will want to post more than that, but this is an achievable goal to get you started.

Strategy #2 – Create a Clear Target Market

  • Who is your ideal target market? The more clear you are on the specific persona of the new client or purchaser of your product that you would like to attract, the easier it will be to fulfill your goal outlined in Strategy #1.
  • Avoid making social media a means to advertise – this is NOT where you want to “push” your wares on people. Social media is all about pulling people in and allowing them to get to know, like and trust you.

Strategy #3 – Start Small

  • Feeling a bit confused as to what networks to be on? Fear not. Start small and build.
  • The best thing to do is to start with one network that you feel your ideal target market hangs out at and focus there.
  • Build your followers and get comfortable with the one platform. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s time to add on another channel to continue to build your online brand presence.

Strategy #4 – Slap Those Social Media Icons Everywhere

  • Include social media icons/links to all of your marketing materials, such as your email signature, your website, your newsletter/eZine and even your business card if there’s room (But only if you can include the whole URL. It does no good to just have the Facebook icon without telling people where to find you!)
  • Cross reference between channels as much as possible. If there is no specific field to add in your other social media channel links, add the full URLs into your description field, accompanied by a call to action such as: “Follow me on these other social media channels as well!”

Strategy #5 – Be Recognizable

  • Optimize your profile description so that it is clear and concise, and uses keywords that your ideal client would be searching for if they were wanting to connect with someone that offers solutions to their problems.
  • Have consistent visual branding across all social media channels. The most prominent brand representation you have is your website and so let this serve as the central theme to all of the visual designs allowed in each of your social media channels.

Strategy #6 – Stay Dedicated and Consistent

  • Don’t bother getting started if you’re not prepared to stay consistent in your efforts. People will forget about you faster than you’d ever want to admit, so consistency is the key to make this work. (If this strategy is stopping you from starting at all, you might want to consider participating in a group social media membership program.)
  • Schedule your posts to save time and ensure posting frequency. There are many tools to do this, one of them being largest – Hootsuite.

Strategy #7 – Hash With a Purpose

  • Hashtags (#) have become very popular on many social media platforms. When planning it is important to make sure they are targeted for your industry and offering.
  • Each industry may have unique hashtags that you can study by being active and engaged in your social media community.
  • Using targeted hashtags will allow you to make more valuable connections and reach your target market.

If you think you are alone in the social media fog, you are not. I often have clients come to me feeling like they are lost when it comes to social media, not knowing where to start or what to do.

I too felt this way not too long ago… but I am here to tell you that there is blue sky ahead! Mastering social media is possible and by following these seven strategies you will be soaring to the top in no time!

What is your biggest social media challenge that’s preventing you from starting that “Mount Social Media” climb? Share in the comments below!

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Why Pinterest should capture your marketing interest

Woman holding tablet in Pinterest

Has yet another social media channel added to the list of “should be using” got your head spinning?  Me too! When I first heard about Pinterest, I  ignored the many articles and posts written about this “amazing” new social media tool… until I gave in and took a look to see what all the fuss was about.

That was a year ago and I’ve been using it ever since as a way to build my brand visibility and drive traffic back to our website.

To my surprise, I found it not only easy to get started, but also a little addictive! At its core, Pinterest is a glorified photo album that stores all of your collected images found on the Internet, from other user’s pins and your own photos uploaded from your computer.

The premise is that you “pin” an image or video to one of your “boards” that you have categorized to reflect a specific theme like recipes,  health, fashion or cool bikes etc. 

Each time you pin a new photo to one of your boards, everyone that is following you will  see it on their “wall” and can like it, comment on it, or even re-pin it to their own album if they want to keep it as a reference and/or share it to their followers.

But how does it relate to business marketing?

There’s plenty of stats to support getting involved in Pinterest and if you are smart about what and how you pin, you have a solid opportunity to drive new traffic to your website, online store or blog.  In fact, according to Media Bistro, Pinterest has 40 million monthly active users and 70 million total users.

So far Pinterest has been more popular with females where they make up 80% of the market share but that doesn’t mean not diving in if your target market is more male – 20% of 70 million is still a lot!

Another interesting stat is 49% of Pinterest users browse Pinterest instead of catalogs when shopping around.  And blogs are the most popular destination that users click to from Pinterest.

Lastly, Pinterest’s 2013 growth in international traffic was 125%, so with that kind of participation, it’s hard to ignore this marketing opportunity while it’s still hot.

The potential is that you can gain a lot of brand exposure if you are pinning worthwhile images that your followers will like too.  What will also happen is you start developing an online persona  that depicts your values and tastes, resulting in people relating to you and feeling like they know you… which is what social media is all about!

Remember, people are more likely to purchase from you if they know, like and trust you!

Pinterest allows you to have a personal account and/or a business account. Which is great news! There is not a lot of difference between the two except for the business account having access to some great analytics that can tell you how effective your pinning efforts are.

You can convert your existing  personal Pinterest account into a business account here and if you don’t have a Pinterest account for your business yet, here’s how to get started:

  1. Go straight to their site at http://business.pinterest.com/ and  click the red “Join as a business” button.  If you already have a personal Pinterest account, you will want to click the “Convert now” link just below it so that your personal account can be converted to a Business account.  (If you want to keep a personal account separate then create a new business account.)

  2. The next step is to fill out your business profile.  Don’t leave any fields blank, you want to fill out this profile form fully in order to take advantage of the Pinterest and Google search benefits.

    1. Create your vanity URL (the User Name section) that  can be your name or your business name – both will work (I suggest using your business name for your vanity URL and add your personal name to the name of your business. For instance, mine is: Susan @ eVision Media. People want to know who they are talking to, even if it is a business account, it’s still a people to people platform.)

    2. Add a keyword rich description in the “About” field that describes your business in an approachable manner.

  3. Next you want to create a few boards to start your collections. Create boards that actually interest you in order to attract like-minded individuals. For instance, if you are an avid golfer, then start a board about golfing and pin photos of  your favourite golf clubs, players,  and other things  related to golf. If you love to collect recipes, this is a perfect place to keep them all organized online for you.  

    Of course you also want to create business-related boards so that you can showcase your expertise, your products or services, what your business is about and be able to send followers back to your blog, shopping cart and website.

  4. You next need to start following other pinners in hopes they will follow you back. There is a few ways to do this, like using the Facebook invitation feature where Pinterest will send an invite to all of your Facebook friends. Beware though – if you don’t have some established boards in place with a few images of interest there, these people may not follow you due to seeing nothing worthy of following! So try to build up your boards first before asking people to follow you.

  5. Visit the main Pinterest news feed by clicking the big Pinterest logo in the top center of your screen and see what others  are pinning. Also use the search feature in the top left corner to find items that interest you and re-pin them to an existing board or create a new  board to reflect that theme.

    Be clever about your names too! Instead of just “recipes” name your board, “Yummy Treats” or “Recipes My Kids Will Love” (Keywords play a big role in Pinterest so the more popular keywords you use in your board names, the better.)

  6. In order to easily pin posts from articles and blogs, it’s best to get the Pinterest browser tool that will go into your bookmarks. Click here to add a PinIt button to your browser.

  7. Surf the web for images and blog posts that you find interesting. I tend to look  out for articles that my target audience would find interesting and I create boards specific for them, such as “Business and Marketing Resources.” As long as the article has an image, you can pin that post to your account.

  8. Interact with other pinners. Comment on their pins, like them and share them.  The idea being you want to get involved with pinners that have common interests and they will in turn get to know you. Developing relationships is your key purpose here – not selling your product or service – that will come naturally as people get to know you.

There are many other tips and strategies that you can use to make the most out  of your efforts so be sure to follow me at www.pinterest.com/eVisionMedia/ as well as on Facebook  where I often post about making the most out of your Social Media efforts.

To your Pinterest success!

P.S. For more in-depth Social Media strategies, I teach a monthly Social Blast program to a group of entrepreneurs and business owners. If you want to receive hands-on training where I show step-by-step how to master social media and eMarketing, come join us! Our live training session is every 3rd Thursday of the month and if you can’t make it live, the recording will be available for you to download and access whenever convenient.

Click here to join Social Blast today: www.socialmediagroupcoaching.com

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".