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  1. The Anatomy of a Perfect Social Media Posting Schedule

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    Social media marketing requires careful attention to detail, and a posting schedule that keeps your followers interested without annoying or alienating them. It’s a tough balance to strike, since each social platform and each demographic will have different preferences for the types of posts they see and how often they see them. However, if you can start your momentum with a solid social media posting schedule, you’ll be in ideal shape to grow your following and cultivate the loyalty of your existing fans.

    In this article, I’ll break down the elements of a perfect social media schedule for each of the three biggest social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    Facebook

    articleimage498 Facebook

    Facebook is the most popular social network around, due in part to its ease of use and widespread appeal. However, it’s mostly used by people who want to keep in contact with their friends and family—not necessarily people who want to read news or promotional materials. Keep that in mind as you arrange your posting schedule for Facebook.

    Frequency

    The frequency and timing of your Facebook posts should cater to a Facebook-centered crowd. Most active users on the platform check their news feeds multiple times a day, making it a relatively active network. However, most people only get occasional updates from their list of a few hundred friends—that may seem like a lot, but when you’re checking your news feed often, that only results in a handful of new posts every hour.

    Combine this with the fact that most users are checking in to see things their friends have shared or posted, not posts by companies they do business with. Ultimately, you want to post enough to be visible, but not so much that you’re annoying your users, so for Facebook, something in the 1-3 times a day range is suitable. For most small companies, once a day is plenty, preferably around lunchtime when the platform becomes super active.

    Post Types

    As for the types of content you post, Facebook gives you plenty of options. Visual content attracts more engagement, so include an image or video with everything you can—even if it’s just a basic status update. Facebook users react best to content that has value to them. This means posting free giveaways or significant discounts, or providing entertainment in the form of an amusing article or funny video. Keep things light and concise—Facebook users aren’t going to go crazy for a business-related infographic as much as they are a cute cat picture (as long as it’s appropriate for your brand).

    Original/Shared Ratio

    On Facebook, you should aim to strike a balance between original content and shared content. Schedule your posts in advance, but do leave some wiggle room for sharing posts and content that others come up with. For example, schedule two posts a day for six days out of the week, but leave the seventh day open for content you’ll scout for and share in real-time.

    Twitter

    articleimage498Twitter

    Twitter has a user base rivaling that of Facebook, but the character limits and lightning pace of the platform distinguish it. Twitter demographics tend to fall in the younger range, and your updates are more restricted by the platform’s requirements. Still, it’s a great platform for getting visibility because it what it lacks in individual post flexibility, it makes up for in post volume.

    Frequency

    Twitter’s major posting advantage is its rapid-fire news feed. Users check into Twitter much more frequently than Facebook, and their newsfeeds tend to update constantly due to enormous following lists and high-frequency updates. This means you can accommodate a greater frequency of posts without risking the alienation or annoyance of your followers.

    If you’re an average business Twitter user, you can get away with posting upwards of 10 times a day (at least through the work week—weekends tend to be slower). Space these posts out by at least a half an hour, and highlight some of the main times people check in—early in the morning, noon, and around 3:30 pm.

    Post Types

    Twitter does not have much flexibility with post types, but the same principles of Facebook apply here: people like visual content. Include an image or a video whenever you can, even though the character limit might prevent you from doing so. Since you’ll be making a higher number of posts, don’t worry about it if some of your tweets are purely text updates.

    Infographics and videos tend to circulate Twitter quickly, so be sure to include some in your schedule. You’ll also want to leverage Twitter for posting and syndicating your onsite content by posting the title of your articles along with a link.

    Original/Shared Ratio

    Twitter is a platform built for social sharing, so leave plenty of room in your schedule for retweets. Create lists on your social profile for industry authorities and interesting accounts, and scroll down your news feed for items to share whenever there’s a gap in your schedule. Sharing others’ content is a great way to capitalize on external trends and build mutual respect with other popular accounts.

    LinkedIn

    articleimage498Linkedin

    LinkedIn is a much more professional network, built exclusively to help business-minded individuals connect with each other for work opportunities. It’s a somewhat pickier crowd than Facebook or Twitter, but if used correctly with a proper posting schedule, it can be highly beneficial.

    Frequency

    LinkedIn is a slow-moving network, since only a small percentage of its users check in on a regular basis. If you’re updating your company’s page on LinkedIn, one update a day is plenty. Any more than that, and you’ll likely be wasting your effort or annoying your company’s followers.

    On the other hand, if you’re posting content in the promotional sections of LinkedIn Groups or posing questions to group members, feel free to post once a day on each of them. For example, if you run a company page and belong to three groups, you can post up to four times a day—once on your company page and once for each of your three groups.

    Post Types

    People on LinkedIn love information. You won’t find many funny viral videos on the platform. Instead, you’ll find highly relevant, targeted information written by experts in their field. Articles and whitepapers are excellent choices for posts on LinkedIn—though that visual rule still applies. Include images with your posts to get some extra attention, and use the group forum to launch meaningful discussions amongst its members.

    Original/Shared Ratio

    LinkedIn is a place for authority and professionalism (for the most part). Sharing information is possible (and encouraged, if you want to start a discussion about a specific article). But for the most part, original content is your best bet. Post your new articles and ideas to increase your presence as an authority, and avoid the temptation of relying on shared content on the platform.

    The rules and considerations above aren’t outlined in stone. Every brand has a unique voice, and a unique target demographic they’ll need to consider before getting too deep into a social strategy. As you become more experienced in social media marketing, experiment by varying your routine with A/B tests to measure your reader engagement and determine which tactics are most effective for your unique situation.

    The perfect social media posting schedule is one that incorporates fundamental best practices with changes that specifically accommodate the preferences of your users. At the end of the day, your goal here is to make your users happy and give them the material they want to see.

  2. Learn by Example: 5 Social Media Triumphs and 5 Disasters From Major Brands

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    Many companies have adopted a social media strategy, plunging headfirst into an interactive marketing presence but without much strategy or forethought. These companies often find themselves struggling to find a meaningful way to engage with their customers, or suffering from backlash from a misunderstood following.

    Fortunately, these mistakes are preventable. Most social media strategies are best developed organically over time, by analyzing your impact and adjusting your tactics accordingly, but it’s also valuable to look at the past social media campaigns of major brands. In some cases, you can learn from their mistakes, and in others, you can model your campaigns after their successful examples.

    Take a look at these five social media triumphs:

    1. Oreo Takes Advantage of a Super Bowl Blackout.

    articleimage497 Oreo Takes Advantage of a Super Bowl Blackout

    Super Bowl XLVII back in 2013 suffered an unfortunate blackout mid-game. But to the savvy social media marketer, this was a major opportunity. The folks over at Oreo saw their chance, and took it by posting an image of an Oreo on a dark background with the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark” and the accompanying phrase “Power out? No problem.” The post was enormously popular, due in large part to the fact that so many Super Bowl viewers had turned to social media during the lull in the game. Opportunism is a powerful weapon.

    2. Esurance Makes a $1.5 Million Investment.

    articleimage497articleimage497Esurance

    It took a lot of cash up front, but it paid off big time. Also during a Super Bowl (in this case, Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014), Esurance announced that it was giving away $1.5 million to one lucky social media user who tweeted using a designated hashtag (#EsuranceSave30). The campaign triggered 200,000 tweets within one minute, and over 5.4 million tweets over the course of the campaign. If you do the math, that means Esuarance paid about $0.28 per tweet, which isn’t bad, especially considering all the off-site attention they generated in addition to their Twitter-based brand exposure.

    3. Samsung’s Stealth Product Placement.

    articleimage497Samsung’s Stealth Product Placement

    During the 2014 Oscars ceremony, Ellen DeGeneres made history by taking a ridiculous selfie with a number of other attending celebrities. Within an hour, the image had 400,000 retweets, and eventually it became the most retweeted image of all time. It was later revealed that the photo was taken quite clearly by a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, making it a stealthy—and brilliant—social move for the major electronics company. Hundreds of thousands of followers didn’t even know they were being marketed to.

    4. Human Rights Campaign’s Marriage Equality Image.

    Back in 2013, the Human Rights Campaign showed support for equal marriage rights by changing its logo to a red and pink equal sign. After a bit of encouragement, several users also changed their profile images to match that red equal sign, and it wasn’t long before the campaign went viral. Eventually, the image was shared more than 70,000 times, with over 9 million impressions. The campaign was successful because it was simple, engaging, and tied to an emotional idea.

    5. Airbnb Makes a Short Film.

    The home-sharing company Airbnb let its users do the campaigning when it started offering users $100 in credit if one of their submissions made the cut in their latest social media effort. Anyone on Twitter could submit a Vine video for consideration, and Airbnb provided a shot list that would culminate in their eventual one-and-a-half minute short video. Comprised entirely of user-submitted six-second short shots, the 90 second video has become radically popular, and the 750 users who submitted content get to see themselves as part of the creative process.

    And, by contrast, read up on these five social media disasters:

    1. Susan Boyle’s Unfortunate Hashtag.

    Back in 2012, singer Susan Boyle was getting ready to release a new album, so it seemed like a good idea to create a hashtag to celebrate and promote the event. Unfortunately, Boyle’s PR team did chose #SusanAlbumParty without considering the fact that hashtags are usually written without capitalization, and #susanalbumparty is open to a much less appropriate interpretation. The hashtag did its job of generating attention, but not the kind it was intended for. Instead, the campaign was the subject of widespread public mockery and ridicule, teaching a solid lesson about the importance of checking for all possible interpretations before posting something.

    2. The Downfall of Amy’s Baking Company.

    As a small operation in Scottsdale, Arizona, Amy’s Baking Company didn’t get much attention until it was the subject of an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. It marked the first time Gordon Ramsay walked off the show in disgust. The public backlash was extremely negative, resulting in several dozen angry comments on the company’s Facebook page. But the owners made everything worse by escalating the negativity with their own angry, hateful rant about the commenters. This only magnified the situation, making them the target of criticism and hate from all corners of the web. The lesson here is that responding to negative comments with more negativity just makes everything worse.

    3. Home Depot’s Questionably Racist Tweet.

    When you run a social media campaign for a major brand like the Home Depot, everything you post is going to be heavily scrutinized. Whoever was running their campaign back in November of 2013 failed to realize this significant principle. Someone posted an image with ambiguously racist undertones, and that’s all it took to send the social media world into a frenzy of accusations. Home Depot did a great job of taking the photo down immediately and apologizing for the error, but if proper review processes were in place, the image never would have been posted in the first place.

    4. #myNYPDLeads to Hashtag Hijacking.

    When it first introduced the #myNYPD hashtag in April of 2014, the New York Police Department thought it would be a great way to support positive experiences with police officers throughout the city. Campaign managers intended for users to take pictures of positive interactions with NYPD officers and use the hashtag while posting them. Instead, sarcastic and angry users hijacked the hashtag, posting images of police brutality and misconduct. This is an unfortunate incident, since the principle behind the campaign was solid, but giving that much power to your user base—especially with such negative controversies in recent memory—is an invitation for negative backlash.

    5. Angry Staffers Take Control of His Master’s Voice.

    Music chain HMV suffered from a different kind of social media disaster in 2013 when a mass firing of employees was live tweeted from the corporate account—by one of the offended, fired employees. The poster even announced that HMV was trying desperately to remove the damaging tweets with “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks!) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?’” It’s probably a good idea to avoid unjustified mass firings, but it’s even more important to have security measures in place so rogue employees don’t hijack and compromise your account.

    There are a handful of fundamentals that “good” social media campaigns share, but beyond those, the best way to learn is through practice and analysis. Avoid the common mistakes of brands before you, learn the elements that make successful campaigns such a hit, and experiment with your audience until you find a rhythm and an angle that works for them.

  3. 5 Steps to Responding to a Social Media Catastrophe

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    Social media is a fickle world, and popularity isn’t always a positive quality. No matter how careful you are or how dutifully you nurture positive responses amongst your followers, eventually, you will face some form of negative backlash. It could be something as simple as an angry review, or something as catastrophic as a campaign against you. If you have a big enough audience, eventually something bad can happen, and when it does, it pays to be prepared.

    In any social media campaign, the measure of a company is not whether something negative ever arises; instead, it is how that company responds to something negative when it arises. The way you respond to a social media catastrophe can either neutralize the threat immediately and win new customers, or turn a simple situation into a complicated, far-reaching one.

    Proactive Measures

    The first and most important principle to understand in the context of social media catastrophes is that most catastrophes are preventable. Rather than waiting for a calamity to respond to, it’s better to take proactive measures to mitigating the frequency and scope of those calamities. You’ll never be able to prevent everything bad from happening in your social presence, but you can reduce the damage by taking a handful of simple precautions:

    • Check your profiles often. Disasters get worse if you leave them unattended. Establish a system that allows your company to check in on your social media profiles on a regular basis, even during off hours. Neglecting your profiles could lead to a small misunderstanding ballooning into a real catastrophe.
    • Proofread everything.Take the extra time to proofread every post you make, and carefully review your planned campaigns for any possible misunderstandings. In contests, clarify your wording. In hashtags, look for possible alternative interpretations. Do everything you can to catch mistakes and prepare for possible misunderstandings.
    • Ask for feedback. Openly invite your users to share their opinions with you on social media—about your brand and about your products and services. Doing so will allow constructive criticism in a contained format, and could prevent angrier, less predictable storms of negativity from arising in the future.
    • Have a plan. Orchestrate your social media management by delegating responsibilities with clear parties and instructions. Make plans for how to handle different types of comments, and how to escalate a situation to a higher response level.

    With these proactive steps in place, you can successfully avoid some—but not all—social media disasters. Here’s how to handle them when they do come up.         

    Step One: Understand

    articleimage486Step One Understand

    Relax. When you see an inflammatory comment, a series of negative posts, or something else that compromises the reputation of your company, the first step is to take a moment to understand exactly what’s happening. Dissect each comment, post, or response, and try to analyze the root of the problem.

    Sometimes, that problem will be internal; an inappropriate post or a mishandling of information could easily turn into a public issue. These problems are usually easy to understand, and relatively easy to correct.

    Other times, the problem will be external; a customer could be openly complaining about your company, manipulating information that you’ve posted, or inciting others to lead a charge against your brand in some way. These issues tend to be more complex and harder to pinpoint—for example, if a customer makes a post on your Facebook page that says “This company is no good. Will not do business with them again,” it’s difficult to tell exactly what prompted the post in the first place.

    No matter the nature of the problem, make sure you understand it as thoroughly as possible before moving on.

    Step Two: Respond

    articleimage486steptworespond

    Responses are powerful because people always like to know they’re being heard. Ignoring a problem on social media will only make that problem worse. The individual who posted the negative material will grow restless and angrier, and others might see that you have taken no steps to resolve the issue, leaving them with a negative impression of your brand.

    Your response doesn’t have to do anything immediately; it can be a simple acknowledgement of the problem, or a request to get more information. But it does have to be sincere and personal. Simply telling a customer on social media to fill out a form on your website or call a customer service number is not enough. If you’re dealing with negative comments, let the person know that you hear his/her complaint, and that you take it seriously. Sometimes, this alone can redeem your brand and set you on the right path for resolution.

    Step Three: Apologize and/or Explain

    articleimage486stepthreeapologize

    Next, you need to offer some level of justification or restitution. If a person has a problem, they have either been mistreated, misinformed, or they have misunderstood your company’s policies. No matter the case, it’s important to back up your response (either immediately or as a part of the conversation) with either an apology or an explanation.

    Keep this level of response public, so others can see that your brand cares enough to offer a sincere level of support. An apology will let your customer know that you didn’t mean for the situation to happen. An explanation will help him/her understand your company policies and procedures—even if he/she isn’t satisfied with the explanation, other followers will see the explanation and you’ll have a better chance of preventing something similar coming up in the future.

    Step Four: Offer to Make It Better

    This step is flexible, based on your company’s direction in customer issue resolution. Once you’ve apologized or explained your company’s stance, you can do what you can to make it up to the individual who feels angry or wronged. You can’t always redeem yourself in the offended follower’s eyes, but by making a public offer of restitution, you can earn a better public reputation and improve your standing.

    If the customer is unsatisfied with a product or service, you can offer a refund, discount, or replacement. If the customer is unhappy with your brand in general, ask them what you can do to make things better for the future. As an extension of step one, you have to understand why your customer is upset before you determine how to make it better. That level of personal engagement can only be beneficial in the long term.

    Step Five: Follow Up on Your Offer

    Finally, you have to follow up with your offer, provided the follower accepts. If you offer a replacement product, send them the product immediately along with the shipping information. If your offer is less tangible, such as a change to a company policy, make a public announcement when the change is complete. If you don’t follow up on your offer, you’ll be asking for a return customer or future complaints—and this time, they’ll probably be angrier.

    Don’t fear social media disasters. Treat them as learning opportunities. If your followers are reacting negatively to something, odds are they’re sharing their honest opinions. If you listen to them and do everything you can to make the situation better, you can either win that customer’s loyalty again or learn how to prevent the situation in the future.

     

  4. Social Media Marketing 101 for B2B Marketers

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    There’s a common misconception that social media marketing for B2B marketers is impossible, or at the very least, inefficient. However, while B2C companies have an easier time generating mass visibility for their products and services, B2B companies can accomplish a similar return on investment—as long as they’re using the right strategies.

    As with any marketing campaign, success in B2B social media marketing comes down to knowing your customers and building a relationship with them. Fortunately, there are ampletools and strategies to get the job done.

    Why Social Media Marketing Is Different for B2B

    articleimage463Why Social Media Marketing Is Different for B2B

    Before we take a look at specific strategies that can improve a B2B social media marketing campaign, let’s examine the differentiators that make B2B companies unique.

    Target Demographics

    The target demographics for B2C companies and B2B companies are radically different. B2C companies generally target residential purchasers of a given product or service, which means they could theoretically target anybody from ages 5 to 100. They have a rich, diverse pool of consumers with varied backgrounds, jobs, income levels, and personalities. Some niche B2C companies won’t be able to take advantage of social media because their target demographics don’t use it, but the vast majority of B2C companies can find some subset of users they can market to on social platforms.

    The target demographic for most B2B companies is business professionals. Age, race, and gender can still vary, but B2B companies usually target a specific type of person working in a specific job in a specific industry. This narrow range leads many B2B marketers to believe that social media is less practical than it is for B2C companies, because they’re casting a smaller net. While this demographic difference is true and significant, it is not an obstacle holding B2B companies back; instead, it is simply a consideration you’ll need to make when formulating your broader social strategy.

    Sales Process

    The sales process is also a typical concern for B2B marketers. B2C companies have the luxury of short sales flows; usually, a consumer reaches a decision point almost immediately after seeing the product or service being offered. Since many purchases are one-time-only and demographics are so wide and diverse, B2C companies can create a short path for the consumer to make a purchase.

    B2B companies, on the other hand, typically go through a lengthy series of qualification rounds before eventually making contact, and even then, close rates can still get in the way. Since most social media users are more likely to make fast decisions, B2B marketers do have a unique challenge. Again, this isn’t necessarily a hindrance. It’s simply another strategic consideration.

    Brand Relationships

    Brand relationships are another differentiating factor for B2B marketers in the world of social media. Brand loyalty, while important for many B2C customers, is more prevalent amongst B2B customers. B2C customers want to make sure the product they are buying is the best, or cheapest, while B2B customers want to make sure they’re being taken care of in good hands. While budgetary considerations are still important, most B2B customers would rather have a strong relationship with their provider than a flawless or perfectly priced product. This is another consideration and key opportunity for B2B marketers, as it requires a different angle in social messaging.

    The Core Principle

    articleimage463coreprinciple

    Despite all the differences between B2B marketing and B2C marketing in a social context, both types of marketing ultimately boil down to the same principle. The goal is to speak to a person, and convince them to make a decision. Even though your business is seeking other businesses, at the root of the exchange is one person seeking another person.Because that personal exchange remains at the center of the B2B marketing strategy, social media marketing offers a strong opportunity to make that exchange.

    Key Platforms for Success

    articleimage463Key Platforms for Success

    Now that you understand the fundamental differences between B2C and B2B social marketing, we can start looking at practical strategies that can earn you more business over time. First, we’ll examine the most popular platforms for B2B marketers and why they’re advantageous for most industries. Then, we’ll look at a handful of posting and interaction strategies that can build your reputation on each of those platforms.

    Twitter

    Twitter is a popular platform for both B2C and B2B marketers because of its sheer popularity and the public availability of its users. B2B marketers can use this to their advantage because they can skip several rounds of qualification in what is otherwise a lengthy and unpredictable sales process. Rather than casting a large net by broadcasting messages to thousands of users (of whom only dozens may be relevant), Twitter allows you to study user profiles and target the most relevant users available.

    List segmentation is one of the most relevant strategies for B2B marketers. By searching for users associated with a given keyword, or by looking at the followings of your competitors and industry associates, you can start sorting Twitter users into different, hyper-segmented groups known as “Lists.” With these lists, you can selectively target your messaging and eventually build a specific following of users who fit your target profile, thereby skipping you directly to the end of your sales funnel.

    LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is another incredibly popular platform for B2B marketers because its demographics are already narrowed down to business professionals. There aren’t any children and there are very few retired individuals on LinkedIn; combined with the fact that everyone on LinkedIn is interested in using the platform for their career in some way, LinkedIn makes a perfect starting board for the average B2B marketer.

    Group building is the best, but most intensive strategy a B2B marketer can use on LinkedIn. Through this strategy, you’ll be able to establish or grow a dedicated following of users who are interested in your brand. If you’re new to LinkedIn, you can find an existing Group that’s relevant for your industry, and join it as an individual user. Through that account (or by acting through your Company’s page), you can engage with different users through discussions, questions, polls, and other opportunities to interact.

    If you want to take the next step, you can even start your own group, and gradually build out. You’ll need to nurture your community as it grows by posting relevant conversation topics regularly and bringing value to the group, but eventually you’ll have a gradually growing community that you can sort through for professional business connections.

    Resource provision is another, less intensive opportunity for B2B LinkedIn marketers. Through Groups, you can post promotions in the form of articles leading back to your site. And of course, you can always post articles on your Company’s profile page. Giving users valuable information is a great way to attract new people to your website, and it will also give you the opportunity to see who’s commenting on your posts and engage them for a follow-up discussion.

    Of course, there are dozens of social media platforms available for B2B marketers, and all of them have unique strengths and weaknesses. What works for one industry may not necessarily work for another, but Twitter and LinkedIn will give you a strong start in the social media marketing world. Once you learn what types of users to look for and which types of messaging appear to be the most effective, you can increase your efforts and widen your strategy by seeking out other mediums that your target audience might use.

    Social media marketing for B2B marketers is the same as for B2C—you’ll have to experiment and revise on a continuous loop if you eventually want to find success. Just remember the central foundation for your strategy: people like to talk to people. If you find the right people and talk to them in the right way, there should be nothing holding you back from the results you want.

  5. Hashtag Tactics: The Why, When, and How to Use Hashtags in Your Marketing Campaign

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    Ever since hashtags emerged on Twitter back in 2007, they have been gradually evolving into a complex system that is often acknowledged, but poorly understood, by social media marketers. Hashtags were first created as a system of categorization; searching Twitter for a given keyword was giving mixed, mostly irrelevant results, and the introduction of the hashtag sought to change that by giving users the power to categorize their own posts.

    It’s revolutionized the way people use Twitter, and has escalated to a phenomenon that extends beyond the limits of the social media platform. Hashtags are now popularly used on most other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, and are occasionally used colloquially in modern speech.

    In some ways, hashtags have evolved from a simple categorization system to a meta-reference at the end of a given statement. Take these tweets for example:

    “I’m working hard on our new content strategy. #marketing” is a simple way to categorize the tweet.

    “Traffic is backed up for almost 10 miles. #KillMeNow” is a meta statement that applies to the tweet, but has nothing to do with categorization.

    Because hashtags can “trend” by circulating in popularity, they have become a fixation for marketers looking for new ways to attract a social following. However, simply throwing hashtags at the end of your posts isn’t enough to win new favor. Like with any marketing strategy, you need to have a firm understanding of the medium and the audience before you can start to see results.

    The Misconception of Hashtags

    articleimage450 The Misconception of Hashtags

    There’s a common misconception that using hashtags will instantly make your posts more visible. This is not necessarily the case. Including categorical hashtags at the end of relevant posts makes you more likely to show up in a user search for that specific keyword, but categorical searches are not as popular as you might think. Instead, hashtags are useful for trying to build momentum around a given topic, or for piggybacking on an already-trending post.

    Using hashtags effectively requires forethought, research, and strategic execution. If you aren’t prepared to invest time in your hashtag strategy, you might as well continue without them.

    How Hashtags Can Be Useful

    articleimage450How Hashtags Can Be Useful

    Hashtags can be beneficial for your company in a number of ways: some try to attract new followers, some try to improve user experience, and others simply provide insights into your niche. Take a look at these potential strategies, and consider how hashtags could be most useful if integrated into your company’s social media strategy:

    Categorizing your posts

    It is possible to categorize your posts using hashtags, especially if those hashtags are unique. This is useful for making your content easily searchable for your users. For example, if you’re writing about marketing, you wouldn’t necessarily want to use a “#marketing” tag, because the competition is high and the number of users searching for that specific term could be looking for anything and everything to do with marketing. Instead, create specific hashtags relevant to your blog categories, or include your brand in some way. If you create something specific like “#ABMarketingSecrets”, it’s highly unlikely that other users will use that hashtag, and any user who wants to read more will be able to find all of your similar blogs almost instantaneously.

    Cashing in on a trend

    Another way to use hashtags is to piggyback on a currently trending topic. Rather than offering an easy system of navigation for your users like with categorization, this strategy is solely intended to increase traffic and attention to your social media profile. Twitter displays “trending” hashtags as the most popular hashtags currently being discussed. If you want to jump in on the global conversation, post something relevant containing that trending hashtag. You’ll get some outside attention from social users who are looking for updates on the trending topic, and if your post is appropriate, your current followers will see you as current and relevant.

    Exciting your followers in a campaign or contest

    The best way to use hashtags for most companies is a specifically created hashtag for a campaign or a contest. Create a unique, easy-to-remember hashtag for your campaign, and promote it—you could tie it to a specific in-person event, a promotional offer, or a contest that enters hashtag users into a pool for consideration. Your users will be prompted to use that hashtag in their tweets, which will extend your visibility, give insight into how people react to your messaging, and give you a chance to get your topic “trending” (thereby greatly increasing your social traffic). You could also assign a hashtag to a specific product or service you offer for a similar, but more long-term goal.

    Market research

    Hashtags can also be used for market research. If you’re interested in specific users with an interest in marketing, for example, you can search for “#marketing” to see what types of people tweet about marketing. Depending on what specific hashtags you search for, you could learn more about your target audience or learn more about your competition.

    Several “social listening tools” exist to help you track hashtag usage and monitor any changes in its popularity, such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social. Put these tools to good use if you intend to use any of the strategies above.

    Mistakes to Avoid

    articleimage450Mistakes to Avoid

    It’s unwise to start blindly using hashtags, however. Using hashtags incorrectly or failing to proactively strategize can actually alienate your followers rather than entice them. When you start using hashtags, be careful to avoid these common mistakes:

    User annoyance

    Cramming all your posts full of hashtags is a surefire way to annoy your users. Hashtags are primarily a way of organizing relevant posts, but when users access their news feeds, they want to see content. If a post contains six words and nine hashtags, they may be turned off. Similarly, if all of your posts contain hashtags, you’ll be seen as overusing or failing to understand them. Use hashtags only when relevant, and in moderation.

    Spelling ambiguity

    When creating hashtags, be very careful to create something that cannot be mistaken for something else. Since interconnected words in a hashtag run together, hashtags are vulnerable to multiple interpretations. For example, take Susan Boyle’s #SusanAlbumParty travesty. It looks innocent enough, but if written in all lowercase (#susanalbumparty), it becomes the subject of ridicule and an embarrassment for the people who created it.

    Negative attention

    Twitter users can be exceptionally snarky, so if you create a hashtag or use one improperly, you could be the subject of significant negative attention. For example, when NYPD tried to use the #myNYPD tag to encourage users to post photos of themselves with officers, Twitter users instead tweeted pictures of police brutality. Careful research and regular monitoring can mitigate the risk of negative blowback.

    Hashtags aren’t a magic route to more inbound traffic, nor are they appropriate for every social media campaign. However, when properly researched and executed, hashtags can be a useful tool in your social media arsenal. The key is to understand the different applications for hashtags, use them precisely rather than blindly, and follow up by monitoring your progress and adjusting your campaign accordingly.

  6. 10 Engagement Strategies to Win Followers on Facebook and Twitter

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    Entrepreneurs all over the country are finally starting to see that having a presence on major networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter is just as important as having a website. But just having a presence isn’t enough. Creating a Facebook page or Twitter profile, only to abandon it and hope it attracts new business, is the digital equivalent of buying a storefront and leaving it empty, hoping people will come in and leave money behind.

    In order to be successful in social media marketing, you need to have an engagement strategy: building a following by making people feel involved and integrated in a digital community. There are many strategies you can use to do this, but here are 10 that I’ve found to be especially effective:

    1. Reach out to new people.

    articleimage438Reach out to new people

    One of the easiest ways to attract people to your Facebook or Twitter presence, especially if they haven’t heard of you before, is to reach out to them. It’s a simple strategy, and a very effective one. Twitter makes it easy to do this. Look for companies or organizations similar to yours and take a look at who is following them. Go through that follower list and follow a handful of people who might be interested in your products. With Facebook, this is a bit more difficult due to privacy settings, but you can invite your own friends to like your page (and encourage your coworkers to do the same).

    2. Create and nurture a group (or list).

    articleimage438 Create and nurture a group

    People want to feel like they belong in a community; this is the foundation behind most of these strategies. When people encounter a company page on Facebook, they view it as a corporate bulletin board, not a community. However, if you create a Facebook group pertaining to a specific product or service you offer, you can invite your followers and create a more tight-knit, interactive community. Just be sure to pop in regularly to stir up conversation and keep your followers involved. Alternatively, you can create lists in Twitter and interact with them in context.

    3. Open a discussion with a question—and participate!

    If you want to get people talking, ask them a direct question. It can be about your company, asking people what they love about you, but theoretically it can be about anything that would get people talking. For example, you could ask your users what their favorite product is—or you could ask them who their favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is. When people respond, keep them talking—depending on how many people respond, you could address the group or address individuals by offering your own opinions.

    4. Start a poll or survey.

    articleimage438Start a poll or survey

    Along similar lines, Facebook offers you the ability to create a mini poll, asking a question and allowing users to choose from a list of options (and see what others have picked as well). You can also do this on Twitter, but Facebook offers a much easier, more visually appealing format for such a survey. When people see the results of the survey, they’ll likely start a discussion around it on their own. Make your question controversial or at least make sure it elicits strong opinions. The more conviction, the better it is for discussion.

    5.  Ask users for feedback on your products.

    Make an open call to your users to share their opinions about your products and services. This is especially valuable if you encourage them to post reviews in a visual format, such as an image or a video. There are three reasons for this; first, you’ll be showing your audience that you care about their opinions. Second, you’ll be forcing people to engage in your community, creating a stronger group mentality. And finally, you’ll get more social media visibility for your products and services. You might get some negative press, but people prefer honesty to pure positivity in most cases.

    6. Start a promotion that encourages responses.

    Do whatever you can to encourage responses and engagement, even if it means investing money in a special offer, such as a free giveaway or a special discount. As an example, you could distribute a coupon code or a special prize to select users who Tweet with a certain hashtag or post on your Facebook wall within a limited amount of time. This is a great way to encourage new purchases from your current following, but it also gives you a chance to get a topic trending as more of your followers publicize your campaign.

    7. Take advantage of local events with hashtags.

    If your business thrives on local customers (and even in most cases where it doesn’t), take advantage of popular local events by Tweeting your presence with hashtags or posting about it on Facebook. Event attendees will see you there. If those attendees are already familiar with you, it will strengthen your brand’s relationship with them. Attendees who are not already familiar with you will see your presence and might follow you as a result.

    8. Have specific users beta test your new features.

    If you plan on rolling out a new product, or a new update that changes your app or website, consider taking a portion of your following and giving them a special invite to try out your new features before you roll them out to the general public. This will greatly strengthen your relationship with those individuals, securing their loyalty to your brand, but it will also be a perfect opportunity to get some real feedback on your new material from real customers.

    9. Use a hashtag-based giveaway to celebrate a milestone number of followers.

    For example, you can offer a $100 gift card to one randomly selected follower when your Twitter account reaches 10,000 followers. If you do this, encourage your users to tweet using a specific hashtag by entering them in a drawing once for each hashtag-containing tweet they make (with an upper limit to deter spam). The spike in hashtag popularity will increase the amount of traffic to your social profiles, and users will encourage their friends and family to follow you in an effort to help you reach that pivotal milestone.

    10 .Sponsor a Q and A session.

    Finally, hold a question and answer session in real time, preferably one that you schedule far in advance. Encourage users to ask your chosen representative about anything, and have your representative give honest answers. Your representative could vary depending on the session, but consider using your CEO, a developer, or a customer service lead. If you’re consistent and you provide real value to your customers, they’ll come to your event regularly and in increasing numbers. Just be sure to keep the focus on the community, and not on your speaker.

    Effective social media marketing requires patience and consistency. You aren’t going to attract a million followers overnight, but if you apply well-branded, consistent strategy to foster a natural community, eventually the payoff will be extraordinary. It’s a kind of gardening; you have to lay a great foundation, and treat your seeds well with regular attention. Only after weeks and months of diligence will you see the fruits of your labor, but believe me, those fruits are worth it.

  7. 5 Reasons That Your Twitter Updates Are Resulting in Unfollows

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    unfollow 1

    Corporations, professionals, and socialites strive to gain loyal Twitter followers with a genuine interest in subscribing to their updates. Annoying habits, such as excessive use of hashtags, send followers running for the hills. Every person behind a social media profile should maintain a level of professionalism when choosing their words, and take precaution to not flood followers with too many unnecessary updates. Having too few tweets also causes people to unfollow a user due to lack of interest, despite offering potentially interesting or entertaining information.

    Save the mundane details of your latest meal for your real friends, and keep in mind all of the Twitter update mistakes that are resulting in unfollows.

    Excessive Slang & Bad Grammar

    twitter - 1

    Purposely speaking with poor grammar or altering spelling may appeal to the middle school crowd. Unless the company is selling Yo-Yos, it’s not going to turn out well as far as building a reputation with dedicated followers. Entertainers and young people have more leeway with their composition, but it does not reflect a good education or professionalism.

    Updates using “text talk”, uncommon abbreviations, and misusing capitalization slow down the readability of a brief 140 characters. Take the time to cleverly fit a message into one single update without butchering correct spelling and vocabulary. Always proofread prior to releasing a tweet out into cyberspace where it is displayed to followers looking for a clear, professional message. Although hashtags are not considered a grammar or slang issue, they also diminish credibility when used excessively. Never use more than two per update and keep in mind that they are not a necessity for any user.

    Extreme or Offensive Opinions

    Politics, religion, vulgarity, and offensive material have no place in the majority of professional businesses. One person representing a major company may take a clear stance on a controversial issue, such a homosexuality or abortion. Never trust a volatile employee take charge of updates that may lead to a rant on a heated subject. Although there are followers that may stand behind the opinion, there are just as many that unfollows due to the expression of a biased stance.

    A political candidate or special interest organization is expected to take a side that at times may seem extreme. Entertainers, businesses, and average people risk their follower base by making unnecessary public statements on personal opinion. Swearing or using slurs add shock value to a statement, but nothing of true value toward building a positive reputation.

    Tweeting Far Too Often

    Never trust anyone that gives advice stating it is not possible to tweet too often. This may be a tactic of marketing sabotage that some newcomers fall for unknowingly. Flooding a follower’s Twitter feed will get you noticed, and subsequently unfollowed. An occasional instance of back-to-back tweets may happen during major events, such as a promotional sale. If followers notice this becoming a trend, they scroll past all messages without taking the time to skim the contents.

    Eventually there is no reason to remain a follower to an account that offers nothing but an obstacle between interesting tweets. A good rule of thumb is to space posts throughout the day to reach the audience during peak times. It is difficult to predict when each individual is most likely to be reading through their feed, however, a post every 4-6 hours leaves few gaps in between. It is also important to think about potential followers seeing your profile as a suggestion by tweeting every few hours.

    Not Tweeting Often Enough

    On the other side of the spectrum, there are those on Twitter losing followers by not updating often enough. It takes skill to continuously provide quality content, but it is absolutely achievable as a part of every marketing plan. Use downtime to plan new, interesting tweets for the future. All it takes is one instance of interesting content being seen to quickly gain a follower. The user may just as soon unfollow upon noticing irregular updates. Skipping out on social media shows fans, customers, and potential clients that there is no understood value in marketing the brand. Not all tweets have to be strictly content, a clever or funny photo also entices users to click. Never waste an entire day without one single tweet to touch base with followers. Once a follower unsubscribes from updates, there is little chance they will ever be regained.

    Boring Topics & Mundane Details

    be appealing

    It is understood that most companies have only one person responsible for their Twitter upkeep. Never use it in place of a personal account for communicating with friends and family. Do not go out on a limb to complain about a flat tire on the way to work. There are more effective ways to relate to followers than to share mundane day-to-day details.

    Stay positive and upbeat rather than focus on any negativity that may be lurking in real life. A television advertisement would not use questionable tactics, and social media networking on the business level should maintain strict professionalism at all times. Celebrate an achievement or award with creativity instead of a boring numerical statistic. Reach out to followers on a personal level to address concerns or appreciate their good comments. By giving people interesting content to read it encourages brand loyalty and eliminates the desire to unfollow.

    Additional mistakes that people make include: constantly advertising without trying to engage the audience, auto-responding to followers, asking for retweets, and going over the 140 character limit. The entire purpose of using Twitter to build a brand or market a company is the reach out to people on a more personal level than mass media advertisement. Set a goal to personally reply to a few followers each day, whether it is to appreciate support or answer questions.

    Use real names or usernames, and strive to always personalize each response. In addition, a quality post gains its own favorites and retweets without having to beg for support. Things fall into place in time with the correct attention to detail. Users expect brevity in content presented to them, which makes it acceptable to avoid unnecessary information. Take the time to carefully edit to make a clear point or statement within the character limit. Never break a tweet into multiple messages under any circumstances.

    There is no scientifically proven method of building a solid stable of Twitter followers, and keeping them from unfollowing at some point. Recognizing the main mistakes that lead readers to unsubscribe from updates in their feed is the best way to avoid them. Observe the habits and strategies used by major corporations with a solid social media reputation to get an idea of ways to represent your own company.

    No matter how big or small, it is important to find a good balance of tweets per day without spamming the feed. Create interesting content that keeps followers interested, and has the potential to grab the attention of others. Always stick to strict guidelines for professionalism in terms of grammar, style, and content. Find a way to be appealing and add value to the profile by giving followers a reason or benefit for sticking around. Posting boring and mundane details is suicide for social media marketing tactics, and is a sure-fire way to be overlooked and unfollowed.

  8. How Many Times per Week Should You Be Posting to Facebook and Twitter?

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    How-Many-Times-per-Week-Should-You-Be-Posting-to-Facebook-and-Twitter

    When it comes to social media marketing, many small businesses assume that more information is better. They hire a marketing intern or someone from their marketing team to post to Facebook and Twitter multiple times a day. Unfortunately, these efforts may not be effective. Your business should be using Facebook and Twitter to connect with fans and followers, but posting all day, every day without a specific strategy is probably not helping you achieve your marketing goals.

    When considering how often to post on Facebook and Twitter, there are a variety of issues you must take into account. Consider the following factors when planning the frequency of posts in your social media marketing campaign:

    How Often Should I Tweet?

    Brand awareness and trust is created through the relationships that are formed by using social media outlets such as Twitter. You need to post enough to connect with customers without overwhelming them. Too many posts could be a waste of time and money, while too few posts could mean that you are not creating connections and new customers.

    So you are probably wondering exactly how many times per week you should tweet in order to carry out an effective marketing campaign. There is no exact number, but data shows that businesses who tweet around 30-35 times per week experience more success than those who tweet 10-20 times per week. Don’t let these numbers mislead you. There is no evidence that tweeting more than 35 times per week will lead to higher engagement.

    In addition to thinking about how often you should tweet, you should also consider when you should tweet. At 5pm each day, Twitter experiences a significant increase in retweets. Retweets mean more exposure for businesses, so you may want to focus some of your energy into this time period. Data also shows that Twitter users click on the most links between 12pm and 6pm. Weekend activity is also higher than weekday activity. Consider all of this information as you plan frequency and timing of your tweets.

    How Often Should I Post to Facebook?

    Posting 3-4 times per week on Facebook seems to be the magic number for most businesses. This will create the most number of likes for your page and increase other types of engagement. Surprisingly, posting too much on Facebook can be harmful to your social media marketing goals. Businesses posting on Facebook more than three times or more per day actually have lower engagement rates than businesses posting every other day.

    Timing is just as important when posting to Facebook as it is with Twitter. It’s quite common for companies to make the mistake of using the same strategy for Twitter as they do for Facebook. Facebook and Twitter are very different social media outlets! While it’s common for people to use Twitter in the workplace, Facebook is often blocked. Due to this reason, the majority of Facebook activity happens on weekends and evenings. Saturdays have the highest engagement rates.

    Experiment and Use Data

    Experiment-and-Use-Data

    Of course, these numbers are only guidelines. You will need to experiment and take a careful look at your data in order to determine the frequency and timing of your social media posts. Start by using the guidelines above and measuring your results. There are a few different ways to measure the success of your posts.

    For Facebook, you can use your page’s Insights in order to monitor engagement, post reach, likes, and other valuable data. Look for trends in your data and begin to experiment with the frequency of your posts. If you find that engagement is higher when you post just 2 times a week, then go ahead and adjust your strategy. Each audience is different, so you may be surprised what works.

    You can also track the success of your tweets using Twitter’s Analytics tool. You can find this tool in the Twitter Ads section of your account settings. This tool allows you to check statistics such as retweets, favorites, replies, favorites, and click-throughs. You are also able to see helpful demographic information about your followers.

    It’s free to use Facebook and Twitter’s data tools, but these tools may not meet your needs as your company grows. If you find yourself in need of more specific data, there are plenty of third party tools to meet your needs. While it’s wise to try the free tools first, you may want to utilize third party analytics tools as your marketing goals expand.

    Other Factors to Keep in Mind

    Lifespan versus Value-Facebook and Twitter posts have a short lifespan by design. These posts don’t last long and they are meant to, so don’t make the mistake of treating a social media post like a blog article. Depending on how many followers you have, the lifespan of a tweet may be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. The lifespan of a Facebook post is a little longer at three hours.

    Think about the time it takes your staff to create content for these posts. Of course you need to have quality content, but you also need to create content in a timely manner in order to get value out of each post. In other words, your marketing staff should be thoughtful and strategic in their posts, but they shouldn’t be spending hours creating a tweet that only lasts for fifteen minutes.

    Relevancy and Currency-Your customers aren’t looking for cat memes or celebrity gossip when they make the choice to like or follow your business. They believe that you can offer them quality information that is somehow relevant to their lives. Of course offering a promotion or deal is fine every once in a while, but the majority of your posts should be content that speaks to a need or fulfills an informative purpose.

    schedule-Facebook-or-Twitter-posts

    There are many tools that allow users to schedule Facebook or Twitter posts ahead of time in order to effectively manage their social media marketing campaigns. These tools are very helpful, but they can also lead business owners to post content that may not be relevant or current for followers and fans. Some overzealous business owners find themselves hoarding content and scheduling future posts that are neither timely nor relevant to their followers.

    Marketing Goals-Before you create a posting schedule for your Facebook and Twitter, you have to understand your marketing goals. Are you just trying to get more followers? Maybe you are more focused on creating website conversions. You won’t be able to measure the effectiveness of your social media campaign if your aren’t clear about your goals.

    There is no exact science when it comes to the frequency of your social media marketing posts. First, take a look at what works for others. There is a strong possibility this could work for you as well. If you aren’t seeing the results you want, then it’s time to experiment with your weekly posting schedule. Mix and up and see what happens. If you are totally lost, remember the data doesn’t lie. Take a careful look at your analytics and page insights so you can understand what your customers are responding to. Used correctly, Facebook and Twitter can be powerful marketing tools. Make sure you follow the tips in this article to create the most effective posting schedule possible.

  9. Twitter Marketing: 5 Ways to a Successful Marketing Campaign

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    One of the greatest innovations in the field of online communication and marketing is Twitter. Perhaps the area where it’s having the greatest impact is in business. Twitter is being used not only to promote ideas, but also as an effective tool to build and nurture relationships with customers.

    What’s great about Twitter is that it lacks the characteristics that tend to intimidate marketers. It’s very simple and easy to use. Still, a lot of small businesses are hesitating to make a foray into Twitter for fear of the unknown.

    If you’re one of those small business owners who’s afraid to include Twitter in your marketing mix, here are a handful of tips to help you get up to speed.

    1. Free yourself from automation

    Running your Twitter marketing campaign using automation tools such as SocialOomph and HootSuite is fine, especially if you are updating your Twitter feeds on a daily basis. However, automation presents some potential pitfalls if used improperly.

    Completely automating your tweets takes away that golden opportunity to interact honestly and directly with your followers. Twitter marketing demands real-time interaction with your audience. If you use it right, you are not only pushing your company’s updates. Perhaps more importantly, you are trying to develop a potentially enriching relationship with your audience.

    You can delegate some of your Twitter output to an automated service, of course, but it’s wiser to devote some time to creating and distributing more personal content to your target audience.

    2. Pay attention to hashtags and streams

    The hashtag (#) is a very useful symbol first popularized on Twitter. Hashtags lead you to specific conversations devoted to certain topics. By using hashtags, you can more effectively place your messages or tweets in front of a healthy-sized mix of highly targeted audience. The converse is just as true: hashtags enable your audience to track your updates more easily.

    Also, it can be highly productive for you to follow streams about topics that relate to your business or various areas of interest. You can follow your competitors on Twitter to see what they are up to and monitor what customers and critics are saying about their activities.

    Of course, you should check up on any streams that involve what people are saying about your business or brand.

    3. Use monitoring tools to take the pulse of your market

    Apart from using or following hashtags or streams, it’s also smart to employ monitoring tools to listen in on your market. That’s because there’s a limit to how much hashtags and streams can deliver to you. There’s always a possibility that consumers are discussing you and your competition without using streams or hashtags.

    Tools such as Google Alerts will notify you any time there’s a mention of you, your brand, and your competition; they’ll also let you know where those mentions were made and when. By subscribing to alerts, you can still read and respond to consumers’ mentions of you on Twitter, even when they don’t use hashtags.

    4. Maintain consistency in your Twitter marketing efforts

    Your customers and followers will most likely be expecting some level of consistency from you. They expect you to update your Twitter feed at least once or twice a day, just as they assume other businesses and individuals will do.

    That’s why it’s important to stay active with your Twitter marketing efforts. You don’t always have to update them with information that relates only to your business. You can provide links to news that more generally involves your industry or market.

    The power of staying consistent is that it keeps your brand in front of your customers on a steady basis so they will always be reminded of you and your products and services.

    5. Avoid being overly self-promotional

    You don’t want to overdo it, however. Nothing turns consumers off like seeing their Twitter timeline stuffed with promotions. Twitter exists for sharing valuable information, not for spamming people. In other words, avoid being overly promotional.

    A good rule of thumb for promoting on Twitter is to tweet promotional messages only once in every five tweets, at most. The rest of your tweets should be a mix of information, humor, and links to videos and images.

    Conclusion

    Making proper use of Twitter will enable you to keep your brand in front of customers and help to nurture and solidify your relationship with them.

    To find out more about the various social media options for your business, contact us today.

  10. Twitter Marketing – Tips for Effective Twitter Networking

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    One of the mainstays of my online marketing campaigns is Twitter marketing. It should be high on your list of online sales tactics too. That’s because Twitter offers tremendous opportunities not only in terms of traffic, but also in providing value to your customers.

    With Twitter, you empower your business by establishing gainful relationships not only with your customers, but also with people that matter to your business.

    Twitter is a powerful marketing and networking tool. But how do you use Twitter more effectively to network with people that matter to your business?

    A lot of companies have failed miserably with Twitter. They got so caught up with the Twitter craze initially — creating a profile or two for their businesses — only to find themselves falling flat on their faces for lack of understanding about how to use Twitter effectively for their business.

    There are certain guidelines that you should follow in order for your operation to succeed with Twitter marketing. It all starts with value.

    How to create business value with Twitter

    Just like in the real world, relationships in the universe of social media don’t happen by accident. To create the kind of meaningful connections you seek on Twitter, the following should be present:

    • Relevant connections
    • Valuable content
    • Unconditional value

    Let’s look at each at each of these.

    Connections shouldn’t happen by chance — relevant connections

    Establishing a lasting relationship with others on Twitter should start by first determining your purpose in connecting with other people. What do you intend to achieve through these connections?

    Once you’ve determined your purpose, you will have a clear understanding of which people and organizations you need to connect with. You can purposely select potential connections to follow on Twitter. Ideally, you should find yourself following people with whom you have a shared interest.

    Providing valuable content

    Once you’ve connected with people on Twitter, you can strengthen your relationship with them by regularly and consistently providing useful content. By valuable content, we mean information your connections can relate to and are apt to be interested in.

    That’s why, when communicating on Twitter, it’s important to stay interesting and informative without being too self-promotional. Nothing will annoy your followers more than seeing a deluge of promotions on their Twitter timeline.

    To provide the best value, strive to vary the types of content that you share with your audience. You can provide links to other sites and pages that help them address their problems. You can also share links that furnish a little humor.

    Be careful, however, when doing so. It’s a good idea to be funny some of the time, but don’t overdo it, and try to avoid doing anything that risks offending your audience.

    You can also share videos that demonstrate solutions to your audience’s collective problems.

    Unconditional value

    Yes, it’s generally accepted that the purpose of establishing a Twitter presence is to expand your business. But in order for you to do that, you need to win the trust and approval of your audience. You need to establish yourself as a credible source of value and solutions first.

    The best way to take care of your audience is to provide unconditional value. This means you should be willing to share valuable information without asking visitors for anything in return. Remember, your goal is to cultivate a community of loyal followers for your business. You can only achieve that if you provide value first, and save promotion for a distant second.

    In fact, make that a rule of thumb when posting on Twitter: Constantly provide valuable information to your followers with minimal promotion. For every five updates that you send out, for example, only one should be directly promotional in nature. Not only will this impress your Twitter followers and earn their trust, but you may just find that they start feeding you useful content in return.

    Conclusion

    There you have it: some quick and simple tips for building your network on Twitter. If you want to learn more about how to grow your business with social media effectively, contact us to learn more about the opportunities.

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