Category Archives for Marketing

The Key to Social Media? Be Social

Everybody wants to “win” at social media marketing, but not everyone knows how. You’re probably wondering as well — that’s why you’re reading this!

Here’s the secret — the key to winning at social media is the “Social.” Want to know how you can make it work for you? Read on!

Social Media Changes FAST

When we bring up social media from a business perspective, most people think of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and maybe Pinterest or a few other sites and apps. Some of us probably remember having a cringe-worthy MySpace page or Bebo account, and while that seems like ancient history today, we can trace the concept of social media back to the early days of the internet and electronic bulletin board systems. That was before we got good at digitizing images or compressing data so there was no Instagram, and we didn’t carry phones in our pockets yet, so Twitter would have to wait a couple of decades too.

I’m not trying to give you a history of the internet, just illustrating a point — that social media has changed a lot over the years. From text on a CRT monitor, to immersive apps on a smartphone, the evolution of digital interaction is staggering. 

Not only has social media evolved and altered the way we communicate with friends, family, coworkers and even strangers, but it has also changed the way that we buy, sell, market and advertise.

That change is only going to continue. Right now Facebook seems like a permanent fixture in our lives, as if it will never go away. Yet we have no actual way of knowing that — lots of us thought that we’d be on MySpace forever. We have no idea what’s coming up just around the corner. With that uncertainty, it’s difficult to see how anyone can plan an effective long-term social media strategy.

What does that mean for social media marketing?

Well, first things first — there’s a lot of garbage social media marketing strategies out there. Every day, someone advertises a new way to “hack the algorithm,” or “game the app.” Someone will always happily sell you a new technique that they swear will make you go viral. 

Here’s the thing, all of those techniques and strategies may have worked at one point. The problem is that social media changes so quickly that by the time you develop, package and sell a course to teach a new strategy, it’s probably not that effective anymore. 

The second problem with social media marketing is that all of the attempts at “hacking” the secret to going viral miss the point of social media in the first place — engagement. Social media wasn’t developed primarily to sell things. Rather, people wanted to build a way to communicate on the digital frontier. Now that frontier has been settled, and most of us interact via social media every day. That’s what makes it so attractive to marketers. Everybody’s on it!

How can we do Social Media Marketing right?

Remember, the secret to successfully using social media is right there in the name. 

Be social.

For social media to work for you and your business, you have to engage with your followers. Too many people treat Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter like billboards, when they’re actually communities. The results? Less than stellar. 

Here’s a little hypothetical explanation. 

Imagine you’re at your favorite hangout. Maybe it’s a coffee shop, a bar, an arcade or even the gym. You’re there with friends, enjoying yourself and making conversation. Now imagine someone walking up and immediately telling you about their product or service. No small talk. No chatting. No engagement. Even if you would normally have an interest in what they’re selling, you’re probably not going to give them a call, just because of how they interacted with you. 

That’s how too many businesses approach social media. They just walk up and shout, “BUY MY PRODUCT!”

What’s the Alternative?

Put yourself back at that hangout spot. Imagine someone walking up and saying, “Sorry to interrupt, but I overheard your conversation and I find that subject very interesting. I’d love to hear your opinion on it.” This person shares interesting information, tells funny anecdotes and gives helpful suggestions. From your conversations, you know that this person sells a product or a service, but they don’t cram it down your throat. Then one day you complain of a problem, and they inform you that their business solves that exact problem at a reasonable cost. They offer to show you how it works if you’re interested but if it’s not right for you, no big deal. Whether you decide to become a customer or not, this person continues interacting with you in an enjoyable way. 

This is the right way to do social media marketing! By engaging with the community you hope to serve, and helping them solve problems. Cynics and skeptics read this and say, “so you want me to go pretend to be friendly with people just to make a sale?”

No. That’s not what I want anyone to do. Don’t pretend to engage — actually do it! 

Look back at the above example. The person who walks up and asks to chat isn’t faking it to try to sell you something. They’re simply trying to create a new friendship with an interesting person. Only once they know that your problem can be solved by their product or service do they offer to show you how it works to see if you’d be interested in buying. No high pressure sales techniques, no bait and switch. Just human interaction.  

Moving the Example Online

Of course it works out a little differently online, but the principle is the same. Here are the steps:

Engage.

Provide value.

Demonstrate how you solve problems.

Offer them your product or service.

Keep engaging.

EPDOK is a pretty crummy acronym, but these steps work when it comes to social media marketing. How you implement it is up to you. Different companies take different approaches — some serve as news aggregators, sharing information and articles that they know will be helpful to their audience, then interacting with commenters. Others provide entertainment value, even going so far as to tease some of their followers who comment — The official Wendy’s Twitter account is a great example of using jokes, memes and humorous reposts to engage with an audience. 

Does This Mean I Shouldn’t Post Ads?

It’s not that you should never post ads. There’s nothing wrong with a well-written ad, they just shouldn’t be your only content. Remember, social media is a community, not a billboard. If all you have to offer are ads, then you’re not adding much value to the community. Once you do create that value however, those ads will be received much more positively. Again, take a look at the Wendy’s Twitter account — you’ll see ads. You won’t see just ads. 

To successfully engage, you have to share content consistently. Not constantly, but consistently. Whether you share serious information, helpful blog posts or just entertaining stories and pictures, you need to share consistently. 

Why Most People Fail at This

Here’s the challenge; actively using social media takes time and effort. That’s why people love the idea of “beating the algorithm” or paying for likes and subscribers. It seems like a shortcut, but while it may provide some short-term traffic, it won’t ever offer any long-term sustainable growth or connection to an audience. 

Creating content to share, or sometimes just finding it, takes time. Posting it takes time. 

And all of that just provides the foundation for engagement! The actual interactions — likes, comments, shares, follows, etc — take time too. 

Which is why we started Automate Your Social. We help you develop that social media foundation, build an audience, and demonstrate value so that you don’t have to do it alone. This frees up time and energy to actually engage with your audience, converting the right people into customers. 

Ready to find out if Automate your Social is the right fit for you? Contact us for a consultation and we’ll discuss what we can do for you!

The Ins and Outs of Social Media Marketing

Social media is a marketing force that can drastically grow your business if leveraged properly. The catch is, you need to understand and capitalize on the right trends to best position your brand in front of your target audience. Social media marketing can seem simple and overwhelming all at the same time. Here’s what you need to know about the ins and outs of social media marketing to grow your business.

Understanding Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is essentially using social media to connect with your target demographic. The way you connect is through the creation of quality content that will appeal to your customers and potential customers. This content should consist of blog posts, images, graphics, videos and more. Share this high-quality and appealing content across your social media accounts to raise awareness of your brand and your products or services.

Defining Engagement

The way people interact with your posts is defined as engagement. When people like, share and comment on your posts, your engagement increases. High levels of engagement help your social media marketing strategy on two fronts. Your content is intended to be interesting and appeal to your audience. Users interacting with your posts is evidence your content is engaging.

Social media platforms are governed by algorithms. Each platform uses a proprietary algorithm, but they all prioritize engagement. The more users engage with your posts, the wider the distribution the social media platform will provide your posts.

Pick Your Platform

Just about everyone is on social media now. Twitter and Facebook dominate, but people are also using Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and a plethora of other platforms to connect and communicate with friends, family and others from all over the world. People have become so attached to their smartphones that there is even a term used to describe the fear and anxiety people feel when they are separated from their mobile devices.

In order to reach your audience, you need to be on the platform or platforms your customers are most likely to use. You can determine this by reviewing the analytic data for each platform. Setting up accounts on the right platforms is a step in the right direction, but you still need to ensure you are posting the right content to the right social media platforms.

Target Your Posts

Different types of posts do well on different platforms. The clear examples are videos on YouTube and images on Instagram, while Facebook and LinkedIn allow lengthy posts, making them better suited to relaying written information. Posting the same content verbatim across different platforms can prove ineffective. Tailor your posts to your platform of choice to give it the best chance possible of promoting engagement with followers and other users.

Call to Action

Quality posts need to achieve a goal. Goals generally will be about increasing awareness or sales and can range from getting more likes and followers to getting users to visit your website to read a blog post or see your latest product offering. Posts should be catchy and compelling and encourage users to do something, like visit your website, share the post, comment or something else. When in doubt, you can simply ask users to do what you want. Crafting a post that asks users to share or retweet or check out your latest blog post can help you meet your objective.

Pay Attention to Trends

Trends are always emerging and evolving. Putting a trend to work for your social media marketing can help expand your reach. Some trends are fleeting, so getting behind the wrong trends can end up being a waste of time and do nothing to improve your engagement. It pays to be in the know and aware of new trends but remain cautiously optimistic and don’t go all in until these trends are proven.

A great way to help identify lasting trends is when they are features built into a platform. For example, Facebook Live started out as a trend, but it is now here to stay. This feature is a great way to connect with users, and it can be a very integral part of your social media marketing strategy.

Start Using Social Media Marketing

The sooner you start using social media to market your business, the sooner you will get the hang of things and start seeing results. Expect a lot of trial and error as you navigate social media with the intent of growing your brand, but when it all comes together, the hard work will be worth it. Want to learn more about how to put social media marketing to work for your business? Get in touch with the Automate Your Social team to find out how we can help!

How a Social Media Marketing Agency Can Help Your Business Succeed

Running a small business requires a tremendous amount of work and self-sufficiency. Entrepreneurs often find themselves taking on all sorts of tasks to keep everything together while moving the business forward. Social media marketing is a key component of a growth strategy. You may be inclined to take on your social media marketing just like you do everything else for your small business, but it may not really be worth it. Here’s how a social media marketing agency can help your business succeed.

Work with Experts

You know and understand your industry inside and out, and you are an expert in the field. A social media marketing agency is comprised of experts who are the best at what they do. When you work with an agency, you will receive quality work from professionals who understand what they are doing. Agency pros follow trends and developments, and they understand how social media platform algorithms work. A talented social media marketing agency will use all of this skill and knowledge to best position your brand for growth.

Time Management

With enough time, you can likely learn what you need to know about utilizing social media marketing to expand your business. However, you may not have the luxury of time. Finding time to do everything you need to do for your small business can be hard. The longer your task list grows, the greater the odds of things being forgotten or overlooked. If you are feeling overwhelmed and overworked, it’s also very possible that you may rush through tasks, and the quality of your work may suffer.

Outsourcing your social media marketing to an agency can free up significant blocks of your time. You can get high-level updates, and focus on scaling your business, implementing process improvements, hiring a talented team and the other necessary tasks related to running your business. All while the agency tackles the day-to-day mundane social media marketing work. Everything that needs to happen in order for your business to succeed will still happen, but you are not left doing it all on your own.

Make the Best Use of Resources

As your small business grows, you will need to hire employees to handle specific jobs. A logical question that many small business owners face is whether to hire a marketing manager or bring on an agency. There is no universal answer, and it really depends on what stage of growth your business is at and the specific needs of your company.

Hiring an employee is expensive. Between on-boarding and training, benefits and paying a fair and competitive salary, there are a lot of expenses that go into expanding your team. All of these expenses may be for nothing if the employee doesn’t work out or quits the position.

An agency, on the other hand, can do the work of a marketing manager, but for significantly less money. This allows your small business to make the best use of your capital. Many small businesses may also find they just simply do not have the resources to pay for an experienced marketing manager. Hiring a recent graduate may be more aligned with your budget and can completely work out, but hiring unproven talents carries a risk. Working with a social media marketing agency can enable you to work with talented and experienced individuals who may otherwise be out of your budget.

Scale Your Marketing to Fit Your Needs

Another possible pitfall to hiring employees is ensuring there is enough work to keep your team busy. A small business can lose money if a salaried employee is completely caught up and runs out of productive work. Sending an hourly employee home due to lack of work may cause that employee to start looking for a more consistent job in order to make ends meet. Either way, a small business will lose money in both situations.

By comparison, a social media marketing agency is available when needed. Whether you need a few hours of work per week or more, an agency can meet your needs, and you only pay for the work that is completed. As the needs of your small business change, the agency can keep pace and continue to help your business succeed.

Bring in the Professionals

Taking on your own social media marketing takes time, knowledge and dedication. You have the best of intentions and want to grow your business but bringing on a social media marketing agency may provide a more cost-effective solution. Hiring a professional agency will grant you access to talented marketing experts who can push your business to the next level without harming your bottom line. Want to learn more about how a social media marketing agency can help your business succeed? Get in touch to find out what our team at Automate Your Social can do for your business!

Reasons to Work With a Social Media Marketing Agency

When it comes to promoting your brand, it’s imperative that you have a comprehensive marketing strategy. Without an overarching plan to reach your customers, you will be treading water without any direction or means of achieving success.

One of the most crucial elements of any marketing strategy is social media. However, many businesses still don’t understand how to utilize social media effectively, which can cost them a lot of money in the long term.

The fact is that social media sites are where your customers and clients are, so you should be capitalizing on that fact. However, what’s the best way to ensure that you’re getting the most from your social media campaign?

Simple, hire a social media marketing agency.

One of the biggest reasons why brands fail with social media is that they don’t invest as much time and effort into it as they do with other marketing methods. Also, they mistakenly believe that they can handle it in-house with just a few posts a day.

However, if you’re not getting the results you want from social media, now is the perfect time to hire an agency that specializes in this type of marketing. Here are a few of the top reasons why.

Experience You Need

Do you know how to market your brand effectively on each social media platforms? Do you know which sites have the bulk of your target demographic? Do you know how to craft and promote an ad that will reach specific customers?

If not, then you should be relying on a social media marketing agency.

The fact is that these are the experts. They live and breathe social media, which means that they understand how to utilize each platform to its fullest potential. Not only that, but they can tailor your message and your campaign across different sites so that your audience will respond faster and more rapidly.

Twitter users are different than Facebook users. Instagram users are different than Pinterest users. Each site has its own potential, and a social media marketing agency will know how to exploit that to your advantage. Use their experience and their expertise.

Focused Attention and Response

For the most part, businesses who don’t use an agency to market themselves on social media are usually falling behind the rest of the crowd. One of the most crucial elements of any social campaign is activity, which means that you have to be online all the time.

The fact is that it’s not enough to post a couple of pictures or articles every day or two and call it good. Social media is all about interaction with your customers, which means that you have to engage with them regularly.

Are you replying to comments on your posts? What about direct messages? Are you policing your comments section to spot potential problems so that you can head them off before they get bigger?

If you’re not doing these things, then your campaign is doomed to fail.

Having a social media marketing agency by your side means that you will have a dedicated team using and engaging with your audience on all of your different accounts. Research proves that the more active you are, the more loyalty you get in return. Thus, hiring specialists means that you can develop stronger bonds between you and your clientele, ensuring long-term success.

Better ROI

When you invest in social media marketing, you can boost all of your other marketing and sales tactics. While social media itself may not be driving higher sales numbers directly, they can increase your overall traffic, which can help you cultivate and convert leads.

The fact is that social media is an access point for many users. These days, it’s much easier to find out about a new business on social media than it is through other channels, so it’s imperative that you utilize your accounts and profiles accordingly.

When someone sees your business page on Facebook, they are more likely to visit your website to look at what you have to offer. Even better, if you provide most of that information on your page already, the customer can be converted more efficiently.

Overall, having a social media marketing agency develop and execute your next campaign can help drive more leads to your landing pages and sales funnels, which will help your bottom line.

On Top of Trends

When you spend time on the internet, you’re blown away by how quickly information can spread around. It doesn’t take long for something to be trending, and a big trend can dissipate as fast as it appeared.

If you want to make the most out of social media, you need to capitalize on these trends so that you can take advantage of them before they become stale. Even better is if you can create trends of your own that help your brand develop a higher profile on social sites.

If you’re not connected to the pulse of social media, you’ll always be behind the eight ball when a new trend develops. Thus, having an agency monitoring your accounts and the social world as a whole ensures that you can take advantage in real time, rather than being late to the party.

Contact Automate Your Social Today

If you’re ready to start working with a quality social media marketing agency, then contact Automate Your Social. We can help you get the most out of your profiles and accounts so that you can build your bottom line and succeed with your marketing strategy. Best of all, we know how to automate these processes so that you can get even more out of them. See how we can transform your social marketing.

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