Why You Need to Outsource Your Social Media Marketing

Back when email was on the rise and everyone was head-over-heels in love with this quick new form of communication (after you waited for AOL to log you in using dial-up for about half an hour), many businesses scoffed. “We don’t need this email. It’s a fad that will pass. Customers would rather call us on the telephone!”

Those businesses learned very quickly they do need email to reach a large portion of their customer base and those who did not perished. History repeats itself and this time social media marketing is the new “fad” businesses are reluctant to pick up.

Via Flickr by tashmahal

Via Flickr by tashmahal

Some businesses outright refuse to add social media accounts for their businesses. Others hastily create accounts and pages and often do them wrong (such as creating a Group instead of a Page on Facebook).

There are also many businesses that realize they do need to have a social media presence, but try to do it in-house to save money. Here is where the majority of businesses go wrong. It may seem easy to create a business profile and update it every now and then. You do it every day on your own Twitter and Facebook accounts, why should your business be any different?

You feel confident at first, filling out some basic About Us information and sharing your first post. You might think it’s a good idea to link your Facebook and Twitter posts to save time. You might decide to update once a week or every few weeks with text updates on sales or sharing funny cat videos you find online. When you don’t have time to post, you let your employees take over. People start liking and commenting, which you love looking at. Every now and then a customer might complain in a post on your page that is promptly deleted so your business doesn’t look bad.

It seems things are running smoothly on the social media front. However, your business is not growing at all. Your time on social media seems like a waste and you don’t know how other businesses are accomplished on these platforms. This is because you don’t understand everything you did wrong like I just did.

Nicole Yeary2

Via Flickr Nicole Yeary

As a social media marketer for a huge variety of different business industries, both big and small, I can look at your profiles for five minutes and understand all the mistaken steps you took. I will start brewing ideas on how to fix them and optimize your account.

Many customers prefer to communicate through social media and get updates from their business on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more. When you ignore these platforms or use them incorrectly, you come across as inauthentic, inconsistent, and uncaring about customer needs. Hiring a professional social media marketer allows your business to become a likeable brand on the internet. Your customers will turn to you for their questions, concerns, and investment in your industry.

Professional social media marketers have studied the nuances of every platform extensively. They know the exact formula for posting on each platform and the language preferred by those users. They understand how each social media site is different in expanding a business’ reach, what kinds of posts get the most engagement, and how to create and time messaging. They can also analyze your account and audience to find out when your customers are online and most likely to see your messages.

Social media experts will interact with your audience as a business and customer service representative to increase your customer loyalty. Marketers will learn everything about your business to create a brand personality for your social media presence that is likeable and engaging. They will collaborate with you to get the most out of your website, blog, special offers, sales, events, and more. On top of that, social media marketers are constantly analyzing your platforms to see where improvements can be made.

Via Flickr ChrisL_AK

Via Flickr ChrisL_AK

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? For social media marketers, it is another day at the office. For you, it takes a lot of research and all of your free time, if not more.

This work is not as expensive as you might think. No matter how big or small your advertising budget is, you can find ways to afford social media marketing. At the very least, you can shell out a one-time expense to get consultation on the basics of social media marketing.

I have base prices for my services and different package options for all kinds of businesses. However, I can also take any monthly budget you set and tell you exactly what I can do for you with that amount. I also offer consultation on the basics of marketing tailored for your business needs and goals. You can view my social media marketing service options on my website. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments or to email me at h.s.hobbs@gmail.com!

Originally posted on LinkedIn

 

Advertisements

Welcome to the Rebranded, Revamped HS Writing Blog!

Hello followers!

Pink Sherbert Photography 7

Via Flickr Pink Sherbert Photography

I am so sorry for my long, long absence. I gained a client that took up my entire time, which caused me to abandon the blog in the first place, then budget cuts left me with scrambling to find new clients. Currently, I am playing the waiting game for multiple clients and projects to see where I land – a very exciting (and nervewracking!) time for me!

This afternoon, I made time for my blog and came up with this! The rebrand, as you can see, is much simpler than the previous design and name. The main focus of the blog will still be social media marketing (hence the presence of my Twitter banner I am very proud of creating), but I am also branching out to talk about the tips, tricks, and trials of being a freelance writer. Expect a post tomorrow about the world of freelance. I am excited to include this topic since I have never written about it before!

I want to hear what you think of the new blog and want your suggestions on post topics. Now my blog is more accessible for a variety of topics. I am no longer restricted to certain topics to post on certain days, so anything you want to know about I will write for you!

Don’t forget to check out my Contribution Page on my blog! If you want to write a post for the blog, I will include your name and give you full rights to show it off to clients, friends, family, your dog, whoever! I also offer sponsored posts if you want to promote a product, app, software, website, etc.

Benefits of Paid Advertising for B2B on LinkedIn

Yes, I am writing a post about paying for advertising. I believe that you can go very far organically if you know what you are doing on platforms and have great content. However, I struggle with LinkedIn. I have a client that is B2B and I need to be on LinkedIn for them. But, since working for them is not my only job, my profile is not optimized to promote them. So I have to look for alternative methods, and that means paid advertising.

Via Flickr koka_sexton

Via Flickr koka_sexton

LinkedIn probably has the most benefit for PPC advertising than any other social media platform. You will see a lot of benefit even from minimal ad investment. While it is difficult to understand their ad creation station overall, once you know your way around you can get a lot of bang for your buck.

There are two kinds of advertising on LinkedIn – Cost per Click and impressions per one thousand users. It costs around $2 per unit of measurement on each option. No matter what you option you choose, you are bound to get thousands of impressions in just a few hours.

Via Flickr koka_sexton

Via Flickr koka_sexton

The downfall of paid advertising on LinkedIn is the poor click through rate. Many companies complain that they may get a ton of impressions, but very few clicks when they pay for advertising. There are many studies and analysis online that explains why this is, but personally I believe it is the audience.

Users on LinkedIn are strictly professional. They will only click on links that are worth their time. They are too busy to investigate any link they come across, like on the Twitter and Facebook platforms. This means what you are advertising has to have a lot of worth for your target audience. Advertising can help you get their attention, but your content needs to be outstanding.

Why Facebook Organic Reach is Extremely Difficult

With the many other social media platforms out there, businesses are giving up on Facebook and moving on to what they think are bigger and better opportunities. While I believe ditching Facebook is a really bad decision and there are ways to grow organically still, there is a reason why businesses are jumping ship. Facebook’s algorithms are making it extremely difficult for businesses to grow organically.

Facebook isn’t trying to be mean to businesses and force them to pay for advertising, although that is a big perk since many businesses who choose to stick with Facebook pay to grow. There are so many Facebook users and brands on Facebook that it takes a lot of management and algorithm updates to ensure the news feed does not become overcrowded and too messy to deal with. Especially since there are more than 18 million business pages on Facebook that are all trying different methods to get their content more exposure.

Image from BufferApp

Image from BufferApp

The algorithms have hundreds of thousands of ways to determine what shows up on users’ feeds. This is why it has become too difficult for businesses to figure out an exact method to get their content and brand noticed by thousands of users. There are four things that affect the content that is seen:

  • What kinds of posts receive more interaction from users
  • Device the user is accessing Facebook with
  • The speed of internet the user has
  • How the user interacts with Facebook ads
  • What posts a user chooses to hide or report as spam

Here is the good news! A small reach does not necessarily mean that you are not doing well on Facebook. Instead, when you look at metrics, you should measure traffic to your website, leads, and buys from customers as a result of Facebook. If these are contributing at all to your business’ growth, then you should stay on Facebook and ignore how big your reach is.

For a better chance of exposure on Facebook, you can look at my previous Facebook posts and try this odd tactic – do not post at peak times. There are many guides about the best time to post on Facebook and other social network sites. I even have articles about this! However, many businesses are saying they are having more success by posting at non peak times. The thought is since there is little sharing from other users at these times, your content will get noticed more by people who are on Facebook. This is further proof that sometimes a small reach is not detrimental to your Facebook marketing time.

How to Use YouTube to Boost Your Online Presence

First and foremost, I am so excited to be featured on Spotistic! They interviewed me about being a social media manager for multiple companies. Check it out and tell me what you think! You should also follow their blog because their posts are helpful and hilarious.

On to YouTube! YouTube can be a great platform to help market yourself online. However, you should never jump in without understanding some basics on how to use YouTube to better serve your followers and target audience. The most viewed and engaged with videos are humorous and easy to share with anyone. Think of Old Spice commercials and other SuperBowl-type TV ads. Even though it is marketing, people share the hilarity with their friends.

Via Flickr by thms.nl

Via Flickr by thms.nl

Best said by my lovely employers and fellow creatives  at CopyPress: “By using both correct strategy and creative appeal, your video will not only establish a solid online presence but produce tons of traffic.”

There are five types of videos that are easy to make and connect well with your audience:

  1. Interview. Interview an employee, a loyal customer, or an executive to talk about your brand or product. Don’t forget to make it fun and creative!
  2. Video testimonial. Slightly different than interviewing a customer. Instead, the customer talks freely about how your product or service helped them.
  3. How-to video. This is my favorite kind of YouTube video. They are very informative and helpful and can be a lot of fun to watch when you get creative with it!
  4. Documentary style. Make a video in the documentary style explaining a specific case where your product or service helped. Or it can be a highlight of your product or service.
  5. Case study. This only applies to certain businesses. A case study video allows you to show specifically how your product or service will help your customers.

My 100th Blog Post! The 3 Basic Things You Need to Market Correctly on Pinterest

Congratulations to me on publishing my 100th blog post! And it’s about my favorite platform, Pinterest!

Pinterest is an amazing visual platform that, when used correctly, can do wonders for marketing your product or brand. When users visit your Pinterest accounts, your boards with products will be the same as window shopping for visitors. There are three things you need to do on Pinterest to persuade visitors to “walk in” your shop after looking at the window display.

Beautiful Images

2db18d774f56cfd84fcd83720a32fefe What makes a person walk into your shop? Seeing a beautiful window display full of items that catch their eye. You need to do the same on a digital front and create boards full of beautiful images that persuade people to click to your website. Previously they might not have considered your item for purchase, either because of need or cost, but after seeing it displayed so wonderfully they fall in love. Make sure your images are high quality and follow the Pinterest image rules:

  • Simple, white background
  • Bright lighting
  • Easy to process (aka not too much stuff in the photo besides the product)
  • Relates to trends in the current season

Description that Motivates

asfert What you put in the description matters. The space below the image needs to be used to further explain what the product is and why the viewer needs it in their life, whether it is beautiful or functional. You need to appeal to basic human needs with an engaging description that almost forces the user to click out of curiosity and intrigue.

When You Post

pinterest analytics Most shoppers are active on Pinterest in the evenings. After a long day at work, people get on Pinterest to relax and “window shop.” Even though its inconvenient to get on Pinterest at night, posting your products with great images and motivating descriptions in the evening will get you more click-throughs to your website. Of course you need to look at your own analytics after a couple months to see when YOUR followers are online, but try to keep posting at night whenever you can.

My Controversial Opinion on The Weather Channel’s Social Media Fail

One of my social media buddies Jessica Wooldridge Tweeted me and a few other gurus our opinion on The Weather Channel’s social media fail moment. I read what happened and found I had way more opinions than could fit in 140 characters. I am writing a blog post giving my opinion as a social media marketer representing multiple companies on how The Weather Channel employee handled the situation. Hopefully my opinion can be a learning opportunity for businesses trying to learn the ways of Twitter.

Fort Worth City Council Member Joel Burns Tweeted a simple complaint to The Weather Channel, asking them to change the photo on the app. When he opened the weather for his city, the app displayed a photo of Dallas instead of Fort Worth. He wanted to see his city, not Dallas.

wct10

The Weather Channel did not respond after his Tweet sent at 7:05 AM. Burns Tweeted again at 7:40, just 35 minutes later, saying:

weather channel twitter

Okay, I get it. The Weather Channel is not perfect. I especially hate the update to their app that happened about a year ago. The interface is sensitive and poorly laid out and it can be a pain to find weather in a different city. However, Burns only waited 35 minutes before deleting the app.

Yes, you need to respond to complaints as a company. Yes, you need to do it in a timely manner. But a timely manner means within a couple hours, not 35 minutes. For all you know, the social media team was in a weekly strategy meeting since it was Monday.

Not only that, but Burns was outright rude about the “poor customer service.” He is the same as a customer in a restaurant who asks the waitress for more napkins on a busy Friday night and then is infuriated when they are not brought back in under five minutes, nixing her tip. His wording and vengeful tone was extremely rude and unprofessional. Which led to a frustrated social media team at The Weather Channel to respond:

weather channel twitter 2

 

Alright. Here we go.

The Weather Channel responded a minute later. This could mean they were on the whole time and ignoring Burns. Or it could mean they just started looking through their Tweets and were responding to things when his Tweet caught their eye and they became frustrated. Regardless, they responded at the wrong time with the wrong thing.

Companies ALWAYS need to be the bigger person when confronted with complaints and unruly customers. The same goes for this interaction between Burns and The Weather Channel. They should have apologized without the sarcastic comment. It was unprofessional and inappropriate.

However, what Burns said was also unprofessional and inappropriate. He WAS bullying. It doesn’t matter that he was bullying a corporation and not a person. It is still bullying. As a political figure, that is terrifying. People quickly rallied behind Burns, scorning The Weather Channel and how horrible they were to BUrns.

wct3wct8 wct7 wct6 wct5 wct4

 

The Weather Channel should not have responded that way. But in this incident, no one is recognizing that Burns was unprofessional, inappropriate, and yes bullying. All things you do NOT want in a city council member. The Weather Channel would have been the winner in this incident if they had responded apologetically and been the bigger person while RT what Burns said. This would highlight how poorly Burns behaved and The Weather Channel would have been a great social media example.

wvt9

The person who Tweeted the sarcasm should not be fired. That person should be reprimanded and The Weather Channel should have protocols in place for future incidents. But everyone is ignoring the bad behavior of Burns on Twitter. This is being overshadowed by The Weather Channel’s fail. It needs to be discussed.

3 MORE Ways to Engage Readers in Your Business Blog

Creating a business blog can be a huge asset to your marketing plan. Business blogging provides readers with informational content that establishes your brand as an industry leader. Sometimes when you make a blog it is not successful at first. There are six ways to change that and get ultimate reader engagement. This will help promote your business and create a loyal customer base.

Via Flickr by See-ming Lee

Via Flickr by See-ming Lee

  1. Ask questions. To make engaging with the blog easier for your readers, you should include questions at the end of the post. Do not ask anything like, “What is your favorite color?” The question needs to relate to the blog post topic, be thoughtful and dynamic, and inspire readers to participate in discussion in the comments.

    In order to have these dynamic questions, you need to have a very interesting blog post that discusses the similarities and differences on something, or that pose a discussion on a prevailing train of thought. Get creative with your post content and the questions that you can ask readers will activate more discussion in the comments. Make sure to reply to comments with great answers to questions.

  2. Share on social media. Not only do you want your readers to share your blog posts, but you should also share it on your own social media accounts. Each reader has a different way they like to interact with content on the web, so you need to post your blog to all of these sites in order to reach all potential readers. Many people do not want to comment on the actual blog and instead will share their thoughts on a social media site.

    Make sure to respond to these alternative comments and even consider featuring them on your next blog post for further discussion. The business should have the basic four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. If your business is large or sells high-end products or services, you do not necessarily need a Facebook page.

  3. Get to know your readers. This is the most important rule. Interaction with your readers is the key way to engage them. Get to know those who follow and comment on your blog and respond to any questions or great comments. Even respond to negative ones in a kind and professional way – absolutely do not start a flame war. By responding to readers, they feel valued and it shows others in your blog community that their responses are viewed.

Vine – The Tweet of the Video Marketing Platform

Vine is quickly rising in popularity for businesses. The six second video allowance is difficult, but many businesses are unleashing their creativity to make amazing and effective marketing content in a short period of time. Since it is a new platform, many businesses don’t know what to make of it. I thought I would try to explain it for those who are confused.

dgzdfgdrf

Compare it like this – you can write a long blog post, then pull a sentence and Tweet about it. This is essentially a Vine. Sure, you can make a longer YouTube video to make your point, or you can make a Vine that highlights the points you want to make in the video. This highlight reel is more likely to be watched by your followers as well. After all, who doesn’t have six seconds to watch a video, no matter what its about?

dgdrfg

Vine videos are absolutely supplemental marketing. Just like you can’t only have a Facebook page, you should never only have a Vine account and that’s it. Vine videos are meant to be shared on your different platforms and supplement other marketing messages. So, if you are trying to promote a new product, you can create a six second video highlighting how cool the product is to get your followers engaged.

fdgsfdhtr

A great example of using Vine correctly is supplied by Molson Canadian 67. They are suppliers of a premium light beer only available in Canada. They took the six second platform and created a campaign called #mixin6. They show followers how to make cocktails out of their beer in only six seconds. In the description of the video and on all platforms they share the video on, they include the recipe. Not only are they highlighting their product, they are also providing useful and entertaining content to followers, engaging them with the brand completely.

Still have questions about Vine? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @HS_Writing!