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Category Archive: Social Media Marketing

  1. The 5 Stages of Social Media Growth Every Marketer Needs to Know

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    Social media growth is always a good thing. More followers, more conversations, and more active posting means more visibility, more traffic, more engagements, and more revenue generated for your business. As such, countless marketers and business owners have clamored to do anything it takes to achieve the fast track to long-term growth.

    But what most people miss about social media growth is that it doesn’t happen all at once, nor does it happen in a straightforward, linear fashion. Instead, it manifests itself over the course of five separate stages, each with their own potential pitfalls, keys to successful growth, and future potential. Understanding these five stages, and addressing each of them as your accounts move their way through them, is critical to achieving lasting success.

    Stage One: Emergence

    articleimage1363 Emergence

    The first stage is the hardest to get out of because it gives you no chance for tangential momentum. As you’ll soon see, each stage of development gives you secondary options for future growth beyond the later stages. When you’re first emerging, you’ll be starting with nothing—that means no credibility, no visibility, and no followers.

    The first thing you need to do is build out your profiles as completely as possible and start posting whatever you can. If you have content, syndicate it. If you’re still working on it, you can at least get started by sharing others’ pieces of content. Once those fundamental pillars are in place, your options for growth are existent but rather limited. You’ll have to get started by attracting followers you already know—get started by asking your friends and family to follow your brand, and ask your employees to do the same. For your first few dozen followers and fans, this is all you’ll have.

    Stage Two: Friends of Friends

    articleimage1363 Friends of Friends

    Now, we’ll be able to get somewhere. During the second stage of growth, you’ll absolutely need a stream of fresh content running for syndication. The key to growth at this stage is the exposure to friends of friends (or followers of followers). Ask your friends, employees, and other personally known followers to start sharing pieces of content they think are most valuable on their own timelines and profiles. This will start exposing your brand to different branched networks, which should attract at least a few followers from each “original” follower.

    Growth at this stage is limited, however, as most of these add-on fans won’t exactly be raving supporters. With each branched connection, the strength of your new follower grows weaker, but at this point, quantity can help you as much as quality.

    Stage Three: Ongoing Networking

    articleimage1363  Ongoing Networking

    After establishing a reasonable base of operations (you can probably get at least 1-200 followers by this point), you’ll have to overcome a very simple but somehow very common obstacle. At this point, many marketers try to set their campaigns on “auto-pilot” hoping that the quality of their content is enough to naturally spark further growth. Unfortunately, even for the best content campaigns, this is rarely possible.

    Instead, you have to start knocking on doors. Include your social media information in all your promotional materials to attract new fans who have never heard of you. Whenever you meet someone new, ask them to follow you. And on the platforms themselves, go out of your way to find and follow strangers who might be interested in your brand—doing so will greatly increase your circle of followers, and will artificially skew your follower population to be more engaging and more active.

    Stage Four: Influencers and Collaborators

    articleimage1363 Influencers and Collaborators

    At stage four, you’ll finally be at an authority level that can lead you to explosive growth through the power of influencers and collaborators. When you have 1,000 followers or more who actively respond to your posts, people begin to take notice. Offsite publishers, blogs, and forums will be far more likely to accept your guest post material. Influencers on social platforms will be far more willing to work with you on cross-promotional efforts. You’ll even attract new followers just for having such a high number of followers (this is especially true for Twitter).

    This stage of growth is all about the management of strategically selected, individually powerful relationships. Instead of hunting and pecking for highly qualified new followers, you’ll be swapping content with major players in the industry, opening the door to hundreds of qualified followers in one go.

    Stage Five: Contests, Virality, and Plateaus

    articleimage1363  Contests, Virality, and Plateaus

    Stage five is what I call the “stasis” stage, because you’ll be managing the status quo more often than not. Rather than trying to gradually grow your audience, you’ll be managing the old strategies that have worked for you (particularly on the influencer and collaborator front), while occasionally making bold efforts to move forward. Eventually, you’ll hit one (or several) plateaus that prevent you from moving forward. When you get there, your only option is to start pursuing new spikes of attention. You can do this by issuing contests, getting a piece of content to go viral, or by breaking the rules with a controversial post—the key is to generate a lot of attention all at once in some novel or unique way. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck at that same plateau, all though at this stage of growth, that plateau may be high enough to satisfy your goals.

    Approach each of these stages with a strategy and a focus that is created just for it. Trying to use influencers and collaborators to grow your account when you’re just emerging, for instance, will not be a fruitful choice. Do your best to remain patient and remember that social media success rarely comes quickly; like any other marketing strategy, it becomes successful only after committed research, significant effort, and careful execution.

  2. How to Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

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    Social media campaigns can be tricky. It’s necessary these days to have some kind of social media presence—even if it’s just to help your customers find information on you. But if you’re going to invest in a bona fide social media marketing strategy, you need to do it right. Otherwise, you’re liable to lose more money than you generate from renewed interest in your brand.

    Fortunately, there’s a metric that you can use to determine whether your social media efforts are worthwhile: ROI, or return on investment. If your ROI is negative, it means you’re spending more money than you’re making, but if your ROI is positive, the reverse is true. Therefore, ROI should be your top priority in a social media marketing campaign.

    Note that this formula applies only to traffic organically generated from a social media campaign—if you use social advertising, you’ll need to address that separately.

    Step One: Calculate Your Total Costs

    articleimage1346  step one

    The first step is one of the most complicated, since you’ll be dealing with multiple variables and subjective figures. Start with the easy costs: the ones you can quickly and effectively measure. For example, do you use any social media tools to help you schedule posts or analyze traffic? If so, total their monthly costs. Do you use the help of any employees or freelancers to boost your campaigns? If so, estimate how much you spend on them every month and add those costs to the total.

    Finally, estimate how much time you spend planning and executing your social media strategies across all platforms. Take this number of hours (monthly) and multiply it by your hourly rate. Add this to the total. You should get a figure that represents the average amount of money your company spends every month to uphold your social media marketing campaign.

    Step Two: Measure Your Total Traffic Generated

    articleimage1346 step two

    This step is easy as long as you have Google Analytics installed on your site. Log into Analytics and head to the Acquisition section, where you’ll see a breakdown of all the traffic that’s come to your site over the past month. Take this total number and set it to the side. Then, you can ignore everything except Social traffic—take the total number of social visits your site has earned, and set this off to the side. Again, make sure you’re finding this from a monthly perspective.

    As a side note, you can do some more exploring in this section to learn which platforms generate the most traffic, and which segments of that traffic tend to stick around longest. You can also see what links generate the most traffic.

    Step Three: Measure Your Conversion Rate and Conversion Value

    articleimage1346 step three

    Next, you’ll want to find and measure your conversion rate side-wide. You might be able to do this on the backend of your site, depending on what kind of system you use. If not, you’ll have to set up a Goal in Google Analytics and start tracking one month’s worth of conversions. Eventually, you should come up with an “average” number of conversions your site generates over the course of a month.

    Now, you’ll need to estimate the value of a given conversion. For e-commerce sites, this is pretty simple—all you need to do is calculate the revenue generated by one sale. For B2B companies, it’s a little trickier. You’ll have to calculate the likelihood that a conversion turns into a real customer, and then estimate the lifetime revenue a new customer would generate. Still, you should eventually come up with a “conversion value” that you can use in step five.

    Step Four: Estimate Your Total Social Conversions

    articleimage1346 step four

    Now, we’ll start putting the pieces together. Figure out how many “social” conversions your campaign has generated by dividing your Social traffic by your Total traffic (both found in step two). You should get a percentage that represents how many total visitors on your site came from a social source. Then, multiply this number by your total number of monthly conversions.

    As an example, if you had 500 visitors, 250 social visitors, and 10 conversions, you would divide 250 by 500 to get 50 percent, and then multiply 50 percent by 10 conversions to get 5 conversions.

    Step Five: Calculate Your ROI

    Now, you have the total number of monthly conversions your social media campaign generates. Multiply this times the value of the average conversion and you’ll have the total amount of monthly revenue your social campaign generates. Compare this to your social cost figure (found in step one). If your cost figure is higher, you have a negative ROI, which means you’re losing money. If your cost figure is lower, you have a positive ROI, which means your campaign is profitable. Do bear in mind that most social campaigns start out with a negative ROI, as it takes time to gain momentum and efficiency.

    Hopefully, this measure of ROI can help you determine whether your social media campaign is successful. However, there are a few flaws with this approach. First, it only incorporates the total amount of traffic you generate with your social platforms, but that isn’t the only benefit social platforms can have. For example, your Facebook page might increase your brand’s reputation with a handful of followers who never visit your site, but do tell their friends about your business. Similarly, you might find yourself underestimating the number of hours you spend on your campaign, since you’ll be working on it here and there rather than in one lump session.

    Still, this is one of the most accurate readings you can get for your social campaign. Use this metric to improve your campaign further and figure out whether it’s truly a boon for your business.

  3. 10 Secret Methods of Social Media Gurus for Getting More Followers

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    “Following” numbers aren’t everything in the social media world. Just because you have 100,000 followers doesn’t mean that all those followers are interested in what you have to say. In fact, it’s much better to have 100 passionate fans than 1,000 disengaged ones. Still, there’s no denying that, if all your followers are equally interested in your brand, more followers is a good thing. Scaling up your account organically, by attracting people who genuinely like what you post, is a goal sought after by brands all over the country, but only a handful of social influencers ever reach those heights.

    So what is it that separates the “social media gurus” from the average brand?

    In this article, I present to you the 10 secret tactics social media gurus use to build their followings:

    1. Post what you really think.

    articleimage1333 Post what you really think

    Don’t worry about finding some secret formula for writing the perfect post about the perfect topic at the perfect time. Follow the same rules you would on a date: just be yourself. If someone likes what you have to say, they’ll stick with you. And it’s way easier to just rattle off what’s on your mind than it is to overanalyze a dozen different ways to phrase something. Show off your personality. That’s what people want to see.

    2. Find conversations and hijack them.

    articleimage1333 Find conversations and hijack them

    You could spend all your time trying to start a meaningful, potentially heated conversation—or you could just hijack one already in progress. Search for a conversation that’s already happening between other users (and make sure it’s getting plenty of attention and replies). Inject yourself into the center of it and say something unique. Chances are you’ll get at least one new follower out of every new conversation you join.

    3. Reach out to individuals.

    articleimage1333 Reach out to individuals

    Don’t be afraid to reach out to new people and connect with them first, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter, where personal profiles are more public than on Facebook. Follow a stranger you engaged with in passing, and chances are they’ll follow you back. It’s a quick way to build a network in almost any situation. Just be aware that not everyone will welcome your invitation.

    4. Meet new people in real life.

    articleimage1333 Meet new people in real life

    This is an extremely underrated way to get more followers on social media. Almost everybody in the country has an established social media presence (in some way), so every new person you meet is a potential new follower. Attend professional networking events, talk to strangers, and get to know your neighbors. These simple steps can open you up to hundreds of new connections.

    5. Attend events.

    articleimage1333 Attend events

    Attend as many events as you can, from tradeshows and industry gatherings to fairs and local events. If the event uses a hashtag (hint: it probably does), get involved by posting pictures and comments about your attendance. You’ll instantly get connected with similar users attending the same event. Plus, you’ll start building a reputation as a noteworthy personality in your area, and you might start getting invitations to more events.

    6. Get yourself noticed in real life.

    This is one of the trickier methods to gaining social media popularity, but if you commit yourself to it, you should have no problem. It starts by building a reputation in your community in professional networking events or similar engagements. Then, you need to sign up as a speaker for more community events, and start leading community initiatives or starting events on your own. Become something of a local celebrity, and let your reputation naturally attract more people to your social brand.

    7. Make people laugh.

    This is a much simpler trick that can be done wherever you are. People love to laugh, and if you can make them laugh—or at least crack a smile—you’ll have a far higher retention rate for your followers. Post a funny image, make a joke, or respond sarcastically to other social messages (in good fun). A little bit of humor can go a long way.

    8. Share others’ work.

    It isn’t all about you. Go out of your way to share the posts, images, and content of others around you, especially your own followers. Chances are, they’ll thank you and share some of your material in turn, greatly expanding your network of exposure. Even if you don’t, you’ll earn goodwill among your current following, thereby increasing your retention.

    9. Don’t advertise anything.

    This is fundamental for personal brands. Even corporate brands should stay away from advertising specific products, services, or even a website. Keep your posts entertaining, informative, personal, or otherwise valuable. The minute people start to think you have an agenda, they’ll stop following you. Keep it light.

    10. Do favors for your followers.

    This goes along with point eight, but warrants a separate discussion. Go out of your way to help your followers with their problems. If they ask a question, try to answer it. If they’re facing a challenge, try to help them solve it. Do favors for your followers, and they’ll stick with you forever—and you’ll earn new loyalties from users who witnessed the exchange.

    With these tricks ready in your arsenal, you should have no problem building your social media following to a far more formidable level. Experiment to see what sticks and what doesn’t; the only way you’re going to grow is through trial and error. Just stay patient, stay committed, and eventually, you’ll get the results you’re hoping for.

  4. How to Budget Your Time in a Social Media Marketing Campaign

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    Social media marketing is a demanding job that requires patience, diligence, and consistency. It also takes place on many fronts, with multiple different platforms, multiple goals, and multiple potential uses. Finding a decent pattern of task management that allows you to accomplish all your goals without driving you crazy or burning you out can be challenging.

    However, when you break social media marketing down to its core fundamentals, budgeting your time isn’t complicated. The key is to properly identify your goals, recognize what you truly need in a campaign, and prioritize your tasks.

    Step One: Identify your goals

    articleimage1323 step one

    Your first course of action is to identify your goals. You may think to yourself something general like “get more likes” or “drive more traffic,” but you really need to get more specific here. Think about something like “use advertising to double social-based traffic by the end of the year” or “earn 20 more conversions per month from social media users.” Again, the more specific you are the better, as this will allow you to make strategic decisions related to your time management and prioritization later down the road.

    You’ll also want to set goals related to how much time you spend on social media, or how you outsource the work. For example, you may set a goal to not spend more than 20 hours a week on social media marketing, or dedicated an independent contractor budget of $200 a week.

    Step Two: Segregate your platforms

    articleimage1323 step two

    Once you’ve properly identified your goals and your target audience, you’ll want to properly segregate the social platforms you plan on using. When you first start out, it’s a good idea to get involved on as many platforms as possible, but after a week or two, you should have a pretty good idea about whether your target demographics are actually using the platform in question.

    Take inventory of all the social platforms you currently use and start dividing them into three categories. One should comprise any platforms where your customers aren’t engaging. One should comprise where some of your customers are engaging. The final one should comprise where many of your customers are engaging. Eighty percent of your total effort should be dedicated to your “many customers” group, while the remaining twenty should be dedicated to your “some customers” group. Discard any left over.

    Step Three: Automate what you can

    articleimage1323 step three

    Many people don’t realize how much of a campaign can be automated using online tools and systematic production schedules. For example, you can use a post scheduler to plot out a stream of posts months in advance—it takes some time up front, but spares you the headache of making constant iterative updates. You can also set up your blog to automatically push new updates to your social media channels.

    In addition, you can delegate your simplest tasks to an intern, a freelancer, or some other form of cheap labor. This can free up your time and budget so you can spend them on the more demanding, intensive tasks of social media.

    Step Four: Establish a hierarchy of tasks

    articleimage1323 step four

    Following these lines, make a list of all the various tasks you’ll need to complete in order to accomplish your goals. It may be useful to plot these tasks on a horizontal axis associated with frequency; for example, you could list “multiple times daily” tasks, “daily” tasks, “weekly” tasks, and “monthly” tasks. Then, organize them in a vertical axis in terms of how much effort or complexity they require. For example, responding to user comments may require very little effort while searching for high-potential leads may take substantially greater effort.

    Once you visualize the effort needed for these tasks, you can eliminate any tasks that require more effort than they’re worth, and you can delegate any simple tasks that you need not bother with personally.

    Step Five: Set hours for specific work

    articleimage1323 Step five

    Finally, you can dedicate specific hours to specific tasks or groups of tasks. For example, you can tally up all the “daily” and “multiple times daily” tasks and come up with a rough figure for how much time they’ll take you—let’s say an hour a day. Working five days a week will mean five hours of weekly work, which subtracted from your twenty hour budget will leave you with fifteen hours to spend. Repeat this process, and you’ll eventually be able to see exactly how much time your social management takes—and you can identify key areas to cut if necessary.

    Step Six: Measure your results and calculate your ROI

    Once everything is in place the way you want it to be, you’ll have a theoretical framework for the time spent on your marketing campaign. The only thing to do with a theoretical framework, then, is to test it. Put it into use and measure your results against your theoretical yields—for example, determine if there are any tasks that take more or less time than you anticipated, and see whether you can hit your social marketing goals. If anything is off, you’ll have to make adjustments.

    With these steps in place, you should have no problem coming up with a system that allows you to take charge of your social media marketing campaign. Eventually, you’ll get used to the process and it will all become second nature to you. Just be sure to take regular time-outs to audit your progress and make adjustments to your approach as necessary.

  5. The Pareto Principle in Influencer Social Marketing

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    articleimage1281 The Pareto Principle in Influencer Social Marketing

    The Pareto principle states that for the majority of events, approximately 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of the causes. Named after famed economist Vilfredo Pareto, the principle has been applied to many areas of economic theory, business management, and even everyday life. For example, a business might find that roughly 80 percent of its incoming revenue is supplied by roughly 20 percent of its client base, or a police officer might find that 80 percent of all crimes are committed by 20 percent of the population.

    Obviously, the Pareto principle isn’t a precise scientific measurement (in fact, it would be spooky if it was). It’s a general rule of thumb that helps the average user understand that there will always be sharp inequalities between different influencing factors.

    In my experience, I’ve noted the Pareto principle applies heavily to how influencers in social media account for growth in your social followings. That is to say, 20 percent of the influencer relationships you develop will account for 80 percent of the growth you achieve.

    The Potential for Growth in Influencer Marketing

    articleimage1281 The Potential for Growth in Influencer Marketing

    There are two main appeals of influencer-based social media marketing as a follower growth strategy. The first is that it holds the potential for massive follower growth. Assume for a moment that you have 1,000 followers on Twitter, and a reputable thought leader in your industry has 100,000. If you can get him to post an article of yours on his account, 10,000 people might see it, 2,000 people might be interested in it, and 1,000 people might become long-term fans of yours. That’s an instant doubling of your following based on one influential post.

    The second appeal, as potentially evident from my above hypothetical scenario, is that influencer marketing is strangely easy. You don’t have to undergo any special training, learn any special skills, or pay money to get the job done. Most of the time, all you have to do is ask for a favor, and the influencer, if he/she is in a good mood, will be happy to oblige.

    If you’re interested in growing your social media following at a rate faster than the natural word-of-mouth spread will allow, influencer marketing is the best way to go.

    Why Only 20 Percent Are Worth Your While

    articleimage1281 Why Only 20 Percent Are Worth Your While

    Let’s take a look at the justification behind my assertion that only 20 percent of the influencers you reach out to will result in the most significant increase in your own followers. Again, this is not precisely scientific, so we’ll be looking at approximate figures here, but based on my experiences in the social media world, this is more or less how things go.

    Imagine you have five potential candidates as influencers in your industry. You look at each of them, and they all seem like they’re well respected in the industry, so you reach out to them individually and ask them if they will share some of your content with their audience. Two out of five will either ignore you or reject your request. Influencers are busy people and they generally don’t have time to respond or comply with every single request. Don’t take it personally. Immediately, 40 percent of your potential influencer audience is thrown out. They simply don’t have the time or the opportunity to do you any favors.

    Let’s look at the remaining three then. All three of these influencers have agreed to help you out. Of these three, one has a relatively small audience—still more than yours, but not as large as those belonging to the other two. For example, you might have 1,000 followers, your other two candidates might have more than 100,000 each, and your third follower might only have 8,000. This might get you a handful of new followers, which is always appreciated, but comparatively, it won’t have near the potential impact of the others.

    Now we’re down to two, and each is willing to do you a favor with 100,000 followers or more. Sounds juicy, right? Unfortunately, audience sizes can be deceiving. It’s possible to pay for followers directly, and these end up being false foreign accounts with no activity. It’s also possible to artificially inflate your numbers by engaging in mass following and unfollowing tactics. In short, 100,000 followers doesn’t always mean 100,000 active, organic followers. It’s very possible that your penultimate influencer candidate only has about 10,000 real followers—which is still impressive—but 90,000 fake, spammy, inactive, or uninterested followers. None of these are helpful to you.

    You’re left with one influencer, who wants to help you out, who has 100,000 real followers, and will provide you 80 percent of your total follower increases.

    Identifying the Key Prospects

    articleimage1281 Identifying the Key Prospects

    Your first step in identifying prospects is scouting for individuals in your industry with large followings and an active posting schedule. It is from within this group that the Pareto principle is applied. From there, we can identify three major possibilities that interfere with an influencer’s ability to earn you new followers:

    • Rejecting or ignoring your request.
    • Small followings.
    • Inactive or “fake” followings.

    The second two points are easy to filter out; if you’re interested in maximizing your influencer impact, immediately disqualify influencers with small followings or those whose followings appear contrived (you can do this by seeing what types of people follow the main account and measuring how often those users engage).

    The first point is the hardest to avoid. No matter how you approach the situation, some influencers simply won’t be able to help you out. The best you can do is introduce yourself warmly, and try to build a relationship before you make a cold request. It might take some more time, but it will help you get more “yes”es, and more opportunities to boost that 80 percent of your growth.

  6. The 7 Types of Social Media Influencers

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    Influencers represent one of the best ways to start or grow a social media following for your business. By definition, influencers are social media users who have already established a reputation of their own and are engaged enough in the community to persuade members of their own followings to follow other accounts. In short, if you can win the attention of a social media influencer, you’ll gain instant favor with a portion of his/her audience, greatly increasing yours in the process.

    But not all influencers are the same. Some are more likely to help you out with a favor, while others are more aloof, and some have passionate, dedicated followings, while others tend to accumulate drifters. So how can you tell these types of influencers apart?

    There are seven main types of influencers I’ve encountered, and you need to know how they operate before you get too deep into a social influencer strategy:

    1. The CEO.

    articleimage1280 the ceo

    The CEO didn’t exactly ask for a social following. He was on Twitter and LinkedIn, and once he became the CEO of a widely recognized company, he instantly started accumulating new followers and new respect. Alternatively, perhaps he didn’t create an account until he was well into his CEO tenure. Either way, the CEO doesn’t post often and doesn’t log on often. His following is largely the result of his position, and beyond his control. Getting his attention is hard, since you’ll be competing with many for a timeslot in an already busy schedule, but his level of respectability is hard to match, making him a quality influencer.

    2. The Networker.

    articleimage1280 the networker

    The networker, on the other hand, took great efforts to build her following from nothing. Regardless of her position, she’s always at the center of her community, attending networking events, getting to know other major players, and trying to connect with new people whenever she can. Whenever she meets someone, she connects with them on social media, and often meets new people on social media too. As a result, her network is extremely large, and it’s full of contacts who have a personal connection with her (even if it’s at a distance). She posts often, and her followers are more than willing to listen to her requests.

    3. The Blogger.

    articleimage1280 the blogger

    The blogger built a similarly sized audience, but he did so in a much more passive way. Rather than reaching out for connections, the blogger simply wrote with such quality and frequency that he ended up earning the respect of an entire industry (or community). Generally, the blogger starts on a “home base” blog and gradually earns more features on high-authority publication channels. Because of the strength of his work, each new post helps his following to grow. The blogger isn’t as deeply engaged with his following as the networker, but his followers are all interested in him and they respect him nearly as much as they would a CEO. He’s also liable to grant favors, especially if one of those favors is a guest spot in an article he’s writing.

    4. The Rockstar.

    articleimage1280 the rockstar

    The rockstar has more raving fans, passively earned, than either the networker or the blogger. Her audience is comprised of people who admire her for her personality as much as her accomplishments. Generally, the rockstar makes more personal social posts than the other influencers we’ve seen, posting pictures of family events and making asides about her daily life. Still, she carries much respect in the industry. She’s less likely to share your content, but if she does, her followers will undoubtedly read it. With the rockstar, you’re trading increased influence for a lower chance of actually connecting.

    5. The Maven.

    articleimage1280 the maven

    The maven has earned a reputation as an expert in the field through no special circumstances. He doesn’t hold a particular position, he isn’t charismatic, he doesn’t write often, and he doesn’t go out of his way to connect with people. Instead, his posts are few and far between, but the posts he does make are so impactful that his entire audience listens acutely. Like with the rockstar, it will be more difficult to get the maven to post on your behalf—after all, he has a nearly perfect reputation—but his followers are so passionate, a good word from him could be all you need to become an influencer in your own right.

    6. The Summertime Player.

    “Summertime” isn’t the best word here, but it’s the most appropriate one I could think of. The summertime player uses social media in fits and spurts. Rather than maintaining a strict posting schedule or just getting online regularly, she’ll go through phases of high intensity and low intensity. If you’re looking to get a portion of her audience, just make sure you reach out to her when she’s undergoing one of her more active streaks.

    7. The Businessman.

    The businessman, for our purposes, is you. He’s interested in using social media as a means of gaining a better reputation and seeing some end result, whether that’s increased traffic, new leads, or career opportunities. He’s on his way up, so his following isn’t as strong as some of the other ones we’ve seen, but he’s more than willing to connect and trade favors—as long as it yields some small benefit for him. Businessmen are great influencers to work with because they’re almost always willing to help you out, as long as you help them out a little too.

    Learn to recognize the signs of these seven influencers. There’s no such thing as a “bad” influencer, so don’t be fooled into overall avoidance. Instead, understand what each of these types desires in a social landscape, and try to make it worth their while to help you out.

  7. 7 Strategies to Restore a Declining Social Media Following

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    As hardworking optimists, it’s natural to think about your social media following as a gradual incline, rising indefinitely toward the horizon. As you invest more time in your strategy, learn more about your audience, and start to build an even better reputation, the theoretical model almost demands that your following rise proportionally.

    It can therefore be disheartening if and when you see your social media following reach a plateau, or even worse, start to decline. You’re following the same strategies that led you to a steady rise for so long, yet inexplicably, you’re starting to lose momentum.

    First, don’t panic, this is a situation most, if not all social media managers encounter at one point or another, and it’s typically a natural part of the ebb and flow of social media popularity. When you encounter it, employ one or more of the following strategies:

    1. Use new forms of content.

    articleimage1271 Use new forms of content

    The number one cause for followers leaving is boredom. If a follower feels like he/she has nothing left to gain by continuing to follow you, he/she will leave. It’s really that simple. One way to stave off boredom (or reverse boredom completely) is to experiment with new types of content. Do you usually syndicate links to your blog posts? Consider paragraph-long summaries right on your social profiles. Do you usually have audio-only interviews? Try switching to videos. These will allow you to maintain the directives of your existing content strategy while simultaneously breathing new life into your rotation.

    2. Try new topics.

    articleimage1271 Try new topics

    Of course, if the content strategy itself is the problem, new mediums aren’t going to help you any. You should also experiment with some new topics, as content focused on the same-old, same-old tends to wear down audiences rather than exciting them. Try writing about more of the latest happenings—read news articles and monitor your competitors closely to get the latest scoop on your industry. If that doesn’t work, you can become more adventurous, and try topics that no one else in your industry has covered. In this case, the more controversial you go, the better.

    3. Post more often.

    articleimage1271 Post more often
    Unless you’re posting several times an hour, it’s highly unlikely that people would leave you because you posted too often. If you notice people leaving you, try ratcheting up the frequency of your posts on all platforms. Ramp up Twitter to at least once every hour. Ramp up Facebook to at least four or five times a day. For these purposes, a post scheduler can be helpful, but don’t become reliant on one. Instead, take the time to actually log in and write new posts. People can tell the difference, and the more personal your messages are, the higher retention rates you’ll earn.

    4. Post more objectively valuable promotions.

    articleimage1271 Post more objectively valuable promotions

    When it comes to building a successful consumer-brand relationship, there’s something to be said for a personal, almost friendship-like experience. But those personal connections are peripheral—what really keeps people loyal to a brand are inarguably valuable returns. If a consumer starts to feel that he/she is no longer objectively benefiting from a given situation, he/she will jump the ship. To prevent this, work to introduce more objectively valuable promotions through your social channels. Hand out coupon codes, give away free samples, and offer discounts to anyone who engages with your brand.

    5. Engage via more conversations.

    articleimage1271 Engage via more conversations

    Sometimes, people will leave because they simply don’t feel a personal connection to the brand—this is the level of “friendship” I alluded to in my previous entry. The best way to nurture this relationship is through one-on-one conversations in a social context. If someone comments on one of your posts, respond to them and ask them a follow-up question of your own. Reach out to individuals in your following and get their thoughts. This type of strategy is intensive, but the people you reach out to will remain loyal to your brand for far longer than anyone else in your roster.

    6. Network with more influencers.

    Building a greater network of influencers is going to do two things for your brand. First, you’ll get some residual star power. If you communicate frequently with other influencers in the industry, you’ll be seen as a greater overall authority, and the respect your current followers have for you will begin to grow, preventing them from leaving on a whim. Second, you’ll build your audience faster. Just getting mentioned by a few major influencers should be enough exposure and momentum to reverse the majority of your losses and get you back into positive follower growth territory.

    7. Ask your followers why they left.

    This is a somewhat risky strategy, as reaching out to someone who is likely annoyed with you might harm your reputation more than it helps. However, just one good answer from a departing follower can illuminate the very nature of your follower loss problem. For example, you might learn that your follower left because you cut out a weekly promotion a few months ago, and you can therefore reinstate the promotion to prevent future losses.

    These strategies should help you identify the root of your problem and safely course-correct your campaign back to the numbers you want to be seeing. Of course, don’t be startled if you have hiccups along the way—you’ll undoubtedly experience multiple starts, stops, and following anomalies even as you do everything correctly.

  8. How Your Social Media Strategy Affects Local SEO

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    As SEO grows more popular and more complex in response to the evolving sophistication of Google’s search algorithm, it becomes more difficult to adequately execute a formal strategy and reap the benefits. In an anticipatory move, most modern optimizers are adjusting their strategies to become more specialized and more targeted, effectively drawing up into a niche. Local SEO, which has grown in importance over the past few years, is one of the most common niches to choose—by competing with other companies in your city, rather than other companies throughout the country, you’ll greatly enhance your visibility and reduce the amount of resources needed to sustain the effort.

    However, modern local SEO is about far more than just stuffing your city’s name into your articles and meta tags. If you want to be successful, you’ll need to become more locally active on every possible marketing channel you can—meaning using other marketing strategies to support your local SEO development. One of the best examples of this is using your social media presence to improve your local relevance in the eyes of Google.

    Company Profile Cues

    articleimage1236 Company Profile Cues

    First, remember that your company information, as it appears throughout the web, is a major factor in how well you rank in local searches. Google relies on information provided by hundreds of sources, mostly including third party local directories, to calculate the prominence of a brand and determine information about its name, address, phone number, and hours. If you want this information to be as accurate and readily available as possible, it’s in your best interest to claim as many profiles as you can for your company on as many different social networks as possible, of course ensuring that all your information is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date. Fill out all your profiles completely, and update them all at once when something inevitably changes.

    Audience Makeup and Networking

    articleimage1236 Audience Makeup and Networking

    The makeup of your audience and connections may also play a role in how well established you are as a regional authority; this plays into both the size and composition of your demographics. For example, a Houston-based business with 10,000 active Houston-based followers will generate a higher local authority than a Houston based business with 100 active followers from around the country. The key here is to find followers that are within your region who are also extremely active. The more engaged your brand is with the community, the better.

    Local Story Sharing

    articleimage1236 Local Story Sharing

    You can also improve your authority in the types of stories you share on your company profile pages. Because you’ll need to write articles with some relevance to your region anyway, you can simply share the articles you’ve written as a way to get more regional titles into your newsfeed. You can also scout for other local news via local news channels or followers within your region. Share the ones you think are interesting with your own commentary, and stay active by responding to people who comment. Show off the fact that you’re an integral part of your community.

    Local Syndication Channels

    Sharing on social media works both ways. It’s therefore quite valuable for you to get your own content shared by other influencers in your geographic area. For example, if you update your site with a new press release, try to get it published and syndicated on the social media outlets of your local news providers. If you write a new blog about the state of your industry in your geographic region, seek out an individual authority and ask him/her to share the piece with his/her followers.

    Event-Related Hashtags

    articleimage1236 Event-Related Hashtags

    Hashtags are a fast and powerful way to immediately associate yourself with a given event. In your city, there are probably dozens of local events going on at any given time, each with its own signature hashtag. Get your company involved with these local events, and be sure to use the appropriate hashtag when you post about it. Not only will this help increase your visibility on social media searches for that hashtag, it will also make your posts more relevant in Google’s eyes—especially thanks to the new Google-Twitter tweet indexing partnership.

    Increased Local Traffic

    Traffic is a major indicator for domain authority—the more people you have perusing your website, and the longer they spend on it, the better you’ll fare in search ranks. Having a larger number of more active local followers on your social media profiles means more active, engaged people on your site—and those people will mostly be from your area. This will tell Google that you’re a major local authority, and that local residents appreciate your site.

    Increased Local Reviews

    articleimage1236 Increased Local Reviews

    Finally, remember that the reviews you receive on local directories like Yelp play heavily into your overall rank. The more reviews you have and the more positive those reviews are, the higher you’ll appear in local searches. Use social media to encourage people to write reviews about their experiences—just don’t solicit them directly—and gradually, you’ll see your repertoire of local reviews growing both in size and in quality. In turn, your local ranks will grow.

    Once your social media strategy is geared toward increasing your local relevance and visibility, you should have no problem climbing to the top of the SERPs for your city. With more people relying on local and mobile searches than ever before, the increase in your total traffic should be substantial.


  9. How Your Employees Can Increase the Power of Your Brand

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    articleimage1235 How Your Employees Can Increase the Power of Your Branding

    A corporate brand can only succeed when it is supported by the people behind it. Oftentimes, startups rely on the charisma of their respective founders and entrepreneurs to drive the power of their brands forward, but once a company hits stable grounding, the relative charisma of the CEO takes a backseat to the general state of the brand (with some rare exceptions). At that point, most marketers shift their focus to communicating to their target audience with a singular, unified, corporate brand voice unaccompanied by any individual personality.

    There’s one major problem with this approach: people don’t trust brands. People trust people, and given the choice between listening to a branded message and one from a personal acquaintance, they’ll listen to the acquaintance almost every time. In the modern worlds, brands are seen as progenitors of deceit. They are seen as faceless, corporate tools designed solely to sell to consumers, and consumers are therefore skeptical of branded messaging. You’ll still find success in adhering to a consistent brand message and leaving your brand at the center of your marketing and advertising campaigns, but you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential.

    What’s the answer? You need to rely on that peer-to-peer trust evident in human connections while still maintaining the image of your brand. To do that, you’ll need your employees to step up and increase the power of your brand through their own personalities.

    Encourage the Active Sharing of Branded Content

    articleimage1235 Encourage the Active Sharing of Branded Content

    Your first strategy is a simple one, especially if you already have a strong content marketing strategy in place. By the time your company hits a stable growth stage, content should be a no-brainer—you should be producing regular articles and materials weekly, with syndication on your brand’s social media pages. However, the organic reach of your syndicated content on social media is not what it used to be, and it’s getting smaller. Plus, people are far less likely to click on an article shared by a corporate brand than one shared by someone they happen to know.

    This step is easy. Simply send out a memo (or regular reminders) that encourage your employees to share any materials posted on your brand’s social media pages on their own individual accounts. For example, when a new landmark article gets published on your company’s Facebook feed, ask your employees to share that article on their own Facebook accounts. Even if only a handful of people follow your instructions, you’ll greatly increase the visibility and reach of the article, and you’ll end up with more interested potential fans as well.

    Highlight Personalities on Your Site and Social Media

    articleimage1235 Highlight Personalities on Your Site and Social Media

    Your next step will require more ongoing work from your marketing department. Start by fleshing out a “team” page, or some other section of your website that shows off the individual personalities that make up your company. Include a headshot and bio of each one, and encourage your staff members to write their own descriptions. Doing so will infuse your site with more personality, and will make your brand seem more trustworthy.

    Once that’s done, your job is to follow up that approach on your social media channels as often as possible. Take pictures of your employees hard at work, having fun on break, or engaging with each other in team events. When a potential customer checks out your social feeds, they should get a glimpse of what your team looks like and how they interact on a regular basis; it adds a personal touch to your brand, and gives a face to an otherwise corporate shell. You can also pass off control of your social media accounts to various employees on a rotating basis; doing so injects new personality and diversity into your brand.

    Help Develop Personal Brands on Social Media

    articleimage1235 Help Develop Personal Brands on Social Media

    Personal branding is one of the best marketing-by-proxy strategies out there. Essentially, the individual members of your team will work to improve their own reputation and authority in the industry through content, networking, and social media. For example, your lead engineer might start his own blog and engage in outside interviews, slowly building an independent audience. This is mutually beneficial; the employee becomes more recognized and more valuable in the industry, and the company’s brand becomes more authoritative and trustworthy as a result.

    One or two personal brands are sometimes enough for the boost in authority, but if you can get your entire team working on this, the benefits will be enormous. You’ll even get more links to your company’s website and more SEO authority, ranking you higher for online searches.

    Reward Active Networkers

    articleimage1235 Reward Active Networkers

    Finally, encourage all of your employees to network as often as possible. List upcoming networking events in the break room, and offer compensation for any networking events that require payment for admission. You can even hold your own networking events in the office after-hours. The more your employees mingle with other professionals in your area, the greater your company’s reputation and visibility will grow—you might even get a few direct leads out of the deal.

    Over time, with these strategies in place, your employees will serve as brand ambassadors and enhance the collective power of your brand. This is a way of creating a tight network of interpersonal connections that lead back to your brand, and let your audience know that at the heart of your company is a team of real people.

  10. 7 Ways to Revitalize Your Social Media Presence

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    You’ve got a nice rhythm going. You post every day, multiple times a day. You follow the right types of people. You check the diagnostics of your campaign and try to make adjustments accordingly. In theory, you’re doing all the right things, but lately, you notice your followers aren’t rising or becoming more active—at least not as quickly as they once did.

    Unfortunately, even the best social media campaigns run into the problem of stagnation—sometimes, it’s due to a wave of user apathy, and sometimes it’s due to a content or posting angle that’s overstayed its welcome. Sometimes, it’s just a random, temporary plateau. But no matter what the origin of the stagnation is, you need to give it a jump start if you want to revitalize it.

    If you find your social campaign struggling to gain new momentum, try one of these seven innovative strategies:

    1. Add More Personality.

    articleimages1159 Add More Personality

    Hopefully, your brand already has a personality, but that’s not what I’m alluding to here. Your brand probably needs some real personality—that is to say, some characteristics of your own to make your posts seem more genuine and personal. Even if it steps away from the core personality of your brand, don’t be afraid to inject your own personality and feelings into your posts. Take pictures of wherever you are. Express your real thoughts and opinions. Phrase posts the way you would frame them. You might be surprised how receptive your audience is when you just show off your natural personality.

    2. Crack Some Jokes.

    articleimages1159 crack some jokes

    Humor connects us more than any other feeling, thought, or event. When people laugh with you, they’ll remember you, and they’ll think fondly of you. It’s especially important for businesses with a conservative reputation, businesses in boring or unexciting industries, and “serious” businesses to crack jokes every once in a while. Doing so can help your audience see through the pretenses of your business and realize that there are real human beings on the other side. Make up some jokes about your industry, poke fun at yourself, or if you’re strapped for ideas, share some images or posts you thought were funny. It can go a long way in reconnecting with your audience.

    3. Have Real Conversations.

    articleimages1159 Have Real Conversations

    The term “conversation” can be applied to any exchange of ideas, but when we think about talking on social media, we’re usually referring to a monologue. Because you’re usually working with a one-sided and constant stream of posts from your own head, it’s easy to lose the “social” part of social media. To correct this and start breathing new life into your stagnant campaign, start looking for conversations that are already in progress—they can be from influencers, or individual followers of your social profiles. When you see an interesting topic, jump in—even if it’s only a few words. Your involvement will allow you to connect with new people and help your existing followers see you in a new light.

    4. Create a New Storytelling Campaign.

    articleimages1159 Create a New Storytelling Campaign

    Stories are one of the most powerful communication mediums around, and leveraging a new type of storytelling campaign can spark new interest in your audience. Consider hosting or sharing customer testimonials, or case studies where your business was able to make a difference. You could even go a less salesy route, and tell the story of your business in digestible segments, or interview various team members to show off what your business is really like.

    5. Start an Interview Series.

    articleimages1159 Start an Interview Series

    Interviews are powerful forms of content, but they’re seriously underutilized by the majority of businesses. If you’re struggling to get new visibility, start an interview series in the form of a podcast or video, and back it up with written transcripts. Interview a new person every week or bi-weekly, and be sure to identify key influencers in your industry to work with. Your influencer interviewees will share the interview to their own audiences, giving your brand new exposure to new demographics, and the authoritative power of your interviews will increase the respect and interest within your existing group of followers.

    6. Dabble in Trending or Newsworthy Content.

    Hopefully, you’re already paying close attention to the news and using occasional newsworthy posts and trends to fuel your own content strategy. But if you’re looking for some renewed attention and action from your followers, take it a step further. Go out of your way to find a handful of trending topics and news items every day, and share them—it only takes a minute, and it can inject some new life into your news feed.

    7. Try Some Paid Advertising.

    The appeal of social media marketing for most businesses is the fact that it’s essentially free to use. Generating organic interest and traffic yields more viable leads and healthier customer relationships, as opposed to traditional advertising routes. Still, social media advertising can be just what you need to add a batch of new followers and generate renewed interest in your brand—and it’s more cost effective than you might think.

    None of these strategies are independently guaranteed to work. Every company is unique, every audience is unique, and each strategy can be executed in a number of different ways. Still, if you commit yourself to trying new things and you employ these novel strategies to the best of your ability, it should infuse enough freshness into your campaign to spark new momentum.

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-The AudienceBloom Team