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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 You’re 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".

Will Recent Twitter Timeline Changes Kill Your Marketing Results?

Will Recent Twitter Timeline Changes Kill Your Marketing Results?

7 reasons why diversifying your social media efforts is becoming increasingly important

Every time a social media network updates their timeline algorithms, it sends marketers in a tizzy.

The same is true now for the recent update Twitter made in their timeline algorithm. Now instead of showing Tweets in order, they will be displayed according to relevancy.

But don’t let all the outrage and #RIPTwitter hashtags frighten you.

Even though Twitter has reordered their timelines, you can still switch it manually back to the old chronological timeline view in your settings. Simply go into your settings and find the checkbox that looks like this:

Twitter timeline settings

Ensure it is unchecked and your tweets will be back to chronological order.

Why to Diversify Your Social Media Efforts

The recent “TwitterGeddon” is one reason why it’s important not to put all your social media efforts into just one social media platform.

While you may be “winning the game” with tons of followers and all your best posts showing in follower’s timelines, it only takes one algorithm shift that can change everything.

We’ve seen It happen with Facebook and it could easily happen on any social media channel that business owners use to help promote their business.

How to Bullet Proof Your Social Media

So what is one to do?  Diversify your efforts.

To avoid your social media marketing from getting killed, diversify your effortsClick To Tweet

Here are 7 compelling reasons why you should be focusing on more than just one social media channel:

  1. Smart entrepreneurs, marketers and business owners are discovering that sharing unique content across several social media platforms can smooth out any sudden changes that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others may make.
  2. Posting original articles, quotes, and graphics across various social media channels gives you multiple opportunities to share value with your fan base.
  3. It’s important to know that different fans “hang out” on their own favourite social networks too. So sharing your advice on multiple social platforms ensures no matter where your fans are online, you can share valuable information with them.

    Even if you only have time to share one post across multiple platforms, you can reword the post for each platform to make it more interesting and compelling for that particular audience.

  4. It gives you the opportunity to cross-pollinate and test markets to see which version of the post garners the most engagement. That allows you to “test market” for headlines, images, tone of message etc., which can be used later in promotional copy, landing pages, and ads.
  5. Posting on several social media networks allows you to maximize your lead-generation and traffic-driving efforts.
  6. Since you likely have different followers on each network, posting blog articles, offers, and calls to action on each social network allows you to double and even triple the outreach to potential prospects.
  7. Sharing unique content on your various networks let’s you nurture fans more quickly. Instead of getting just one marketing touch on Facebook, a raving fan can read your posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and get a mega dose of your expertise. It’s three times the fun!

Bottom line – limiting your business to using just one social media platform for your marketing platform is wasting an opportunity to reach more targeted leads.

If you find yourself in overwhelm trying to generate high-value content on a consistent basis for your business, we can help you get more followers and generate high-interest content to keep your fans engaged.  Find out more about our social media services today!

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".

A Newbie’s Guide to Hashtags on Social Media

A Newbie’s Guide to Hashtags on Social Media - Tips, Explanations and Examples on How to use Hashtags for your Business

Tips, Explanations and Examples on How to use Hashtags for your Business

If you are new to social media you may wondering what hashtags are about.  We see them everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and even Tumblr.

But what are they supposed to do? Why do they seem so random? Who is supposed to use them?

It’s no wonder this all can seem very confusing!

That’s why I’ve put together some tips to help you understand what the heck hashtags are and how to use them strategically in your business.

What are #Hashtags

Hashtag keyword exampleBasically hashtags help people find stuff and share stuff. They are like an organizational tool for social media.  They are a way to make it easier for people to find posts on a given topic as long as those posts use the same hashtag that is being searched for.

Hashtags are where given words are prefaced with the keyboard pound hashtag sign: #. One or more words can be used if the hashtag and keyword(s) have no spaces in between them. Once added to a social media post, the hashtag phrase becomes searchable and clickable.

For an example M&Ms just unleashed a new Pumpkin Spice flavored candy for Fall.  Starbucks is also promoting their Pumpkin Spice latte. If you go into Twitter and type #PumpkinSpice in the search feature, it will pull up a list of these and other Pumpkin Spice related posts.

Why Use #Hashtags

When done properly and strategically, hashtags are a great way to gain more exposure for your business. Here are a few examples how:

  • Knowing popular hashtags for your industry and adding them to your posts can help you get traffic to your blog or website.
  • Searching hashtags helps you do research on topics, spy on your competition, and discover great content.
  • Adding hashtags can help brand yourself, your business, your products, and gain you recognition.
  • Promoting specific hashtags for a live event can gain community amongst your attendees and followers.

And some people use hashtags just for fun or to make a point.  My favourite is #ChocolateIsSacred and have used it more than once!

Read more below about strategic ways to use hashtags in your business.

When Hashtags Were First Created

Twitter created the #hashtag feature on June 1, 2009.  All Twitter hashtags (words with the # sign in front of them) became hyperlinks to discover more tweets pertaining to that subject.

Other social networks soon followed such as Facebook in 2013, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, and Instagram. Some networks like Google+ and Instagram have embraced hashtags with a fury where Facebook still lags at bringing this feature into mainstream usage.

In fact, not long ago I conducted a very informal survey about the use of hashtags on Facebook and many said they had no idea what they were, others thought they were spammy and cluttered up their newsfeed and most all never clicked on them. Indeed, the only people who were using hashtags were either marketers or social media managers!

But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used… as you’ll see there are plenty of reasons to incorporate them into your social media strategy.

Rules for Hashtag Use

Different platforms have different official and “unwritten” rules about using hashtags. Here’s a few to be aware of:

  • Sentence case doesn’t matter, but you can use it to improve readability like: #SecretStarbucksMenu.
  • You can’t use special characters such as dashes, asterisks etc.
  • Do not get spammy.  Three or less hashtags is perfect.  Use too many and it can be considered hashtag spam.
  • Avoid having your Twitter or Instagram posts automatically send to Facebook when you tend to use a lot of hashtags. This is a real turn off for those on Facebook.
  • Research a hashtag before using it.  An existing hashtag may be used for something else that you don’t want to be associated with or draw attention to.

15 Strategic Examples On Using Hashtags in Your Business

Just like knowing the best keywords of your industry and optimizing your website content to include them in order to be found in search engines, hashtags can also be used to help you get found in social media.

It’s important to create Hashtags for:

  1. Events you are holding.  For example the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver just ended for another year and throughout their Twitter campaign, they used #TheFair hashtag as seen in this example below.


  2. Tagging famous people or big companies who are mentioned in a post. For instance, #ElvisPresley results in hundreds of posts about the King of Rock and Roll.
  3. Posts related to trending topics. Author and Spiritual Teacher Wayne Dyer recently passed away.  The hashtag #ripdrwaynedyer was created to tap into the social searches for news relating to his passing.


  4. Doing research.  For example, if you were doing research on the latest news for our upcoming Canadian Federal election, do a Hashtag search using #CanadianElection2015 to find several posts on the subject.
  5. Product promotion. Creating a special hashtag for your brand or product can help you gain a fan base. Creating a hashtag for your book or movie can help get traction and turn it into a trending topic.  
     
    For example, We use our own #SocialBlast hashtag to help brand our online Social Media and Online Mareketing membership program, Social Blast, as seen in this example post below.

  6. Humour. People also use hashtags as a way to share funny stuff with others and have a good laugh. Here’s a hashtag used by late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon describing his friend’s car and going on a road trip with him.

  7. Popular Industry Topics. If you see a post on a popular industry topic, by adding that same hashtag to a post you create will help you be discovered by others looking for content on that hashtag.
     
    Here’s a post we have pinned for a blog article of ours to remind people of the importance of having a Smart Phone friendly website using the hashtags #webdesign, #mobileready, #business and #entrepreneur:


  8. Campaigns.Lots of people “monitor” certain hashtags. So using a hashtag consistently can help you gain a following. For example Nike held a series of promotions using the #nikezoom hashtag.

  9. Live Chats. Chats offer businesses the ability to connect to their customers, extend their reach and awareness. If you have a live chat on a certain topic, creating a hashtag can help you attract people to attend.
     
    For Example #BeTheOne is a monthly chat about inspiring people to make a difference through personal leadership that infuses integrity, dignity and character.
     
    Here’s a list of Twitter Chats you can attend: http://tweetreports.com/twitter-chat-schedule/
  10. Tap into Trending topics. Including a trending hashtag in your post can increase the overall reach. Ritetag is a great tool to help identify trending hashtags to use. It allows you to search 11 million hashtags to see what’s hot or not, has a long life, is overused, and underused.
     
    That way you can select the best hashtags to reach your audience.
  11. Company or Personal Name. Gain recognition by creating a company tag like #Apple and #stephenking.
  12. Quotes.  If you share quotes, hashtags will help you be found.  Some top ones to use are #motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes and #quotes. Look at the use of hashtags in one of our recent Twitter posts.  Every topic relating to the quote has its own hashtag.


  13. Recurring post themes. For example you may post a #photooftheday, #followfriday or #throwbackthursday for daily or weekly recurring posts.   We use #eTip as a daily theme where we share tips on various subjects entrepreneurs utilize in their business.

  14. Gaining blog readers. Using a hashtag on Pinterest pins can drive readers back to your website or blog. When someone clicks on a hashtag of yours most of the results that are shown on Pinterest link back to related blog content.
     
    Note that these results are somewhat different than what you would find in Twitter. Where Twitter displays results in chronological order, Pinterest displays in popularity.
  15. Research your competitors. Follow hashtags your competitors use to do market research and keep up on their latest news.

Hashtags are a lot of fun once you get the hang of it you’ll be hashtagging with the best of them.

Make a point to create and use hashtags for your social media and don’t be afraid to create your own unique ones like what we did with #SocialBlast and #eTip (even though others now use it too and that’s ok!)

It’s a great way to tap into a base of hot prospects interested in what you have to share. Jump in, Try Hashtags Today!

What’s your take on using hashtags? Do you use them in your business social media marketing? As a user, do you find them useful or spammy?

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".

Marketing eTip: Building Your Social Reach on Twitter

Today’s eTip is about using Twitter to help build your network…

Twitter is a great social media network that can help build your reach in a big way.

Listen to today’s 1 minute tip that explains what you can do on Twitter to help build your social reach and garner new clients from your efforts.

Be sure to follow colleagues, big brands, people in your ideal target market and also leaders of your industry that share the same target market as you. Also follow those in your local community and build a presence with those that live in the same geographic region as you.

Avoid playing the numbers game on Twitter. There are a lot of people who will follow anyone, no matter who they are, just to get those people to follow them back. If they don’t follow them back, then they’ll unfollow them.

This type of game enables bragging rights to how many followers they have but the problem is, those followers are not going to convert into clients if they are not in their target market, so the number is very misleading and it ends up being a big waste of time.

To me this is not at all what Twitter was meant to be.

Follow the people that you want to be engaged with and have an interest of, don’t worry if they don’t follow you back – instead, watch the conversations, reply to posts of interest, RT posts you know your followers would be interested in and get visible this way.

These people will see how much you are interested and will naturally follow you because of that. Do this daily and watch your fan base and client list grow.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – do you use Twitter to help build your social reach? Or if you have a question, I’d be happy to answer.

To your success,

P.S. New to Social Media or you find online marketing overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.

CLICK HERE: www.socialblastcoaching.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".