Category Archives for Social Media

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!

How Social Media Marketing Services Utilize Social Media

Social media can be used to grow any business, including social media marketing services. The same techniques that help increase awareness and recognition of other brands work exactly the same for marketing services. Learn more about the insider tricks of the trade and put social media to work for your business.

Strategize

Before you can do anything, figure out what you want to achieve. Create specific goals and then create a plan, complete with due dates, to help you reach those goals. Goals should be realistic. Adding a couple of hundred followers in one month may be feasible while adding 1,000 followers in one month is very ambitious. Attempting to reach unrealistic goals will set you up for failure and can be very discouraging.

You can always revisit your goals if necessary. If you find that you easily reach goals, reevaluate and start working towards something new. Continue to measure progress, set goals and create a plan or strategy to reach your latest round of goals.

Find the Right Network

There are tons of social media platforms available. Major platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are probably safe bets when it comes to choosing which social media platforms to use. However, do some research and figure out the best platforms for your brand. Most platforms provide analytic data, so you can get an idea of who exactly is using the platform. Line this data up to your demographic to figure out which social media platforms make the most sense for your brand.

Keep in mind that the right platform for your brand may actually be several platforms. If you find your demographic is spread out over multiple platforms, then be prepared to set up accounts of each relevant platform. Make the best use of your time and avoid platforms not used by your demographic. Going where your customers are will increase the odds of reaching your target audience.

Create Accounts

In order to make social media work for your business, you need to create an account on your platform(s) of choice. Setting up an account, filling everything out in full and uploading timely and relevant user images and banners creates a polished and professional appearance. Include links to your site and complete biographical information to help users get to know your brand and understand what you are all about.

Customize Content Based on the Platform

You can share the same content across different platforms but take the time to customize the content based on the specific platform. Each social media platform has their own unique quirks. Most notably, Instagram is ideal for photos and videos, Twitter limits posts to 280 characters, while Facebook is better suited for longer text-based posts. Tailor each post to perform on the social media platform you are using in order to maximize user engagement.

Make the Most of Specialized Features

Each social media platform has different features designed to help set that platform apart from the others, but also to help you connect with users. Check out the features available on your platforms of choice and put them to work to promote your brand. For instance, Facebook offers live streaming through the Facebook Live feature and Instagram offers IGTV. Learn how to use these features and put them to use promoting your brand.

Carve Out Time for Community Building

The ultimate goal of social media marketing is to grow your brand, and one way to do that is through building your online network and community. Take time to engage with others, like customers, vendors, employees and even competitors if it makes sense. By liking, sharing and commenting on the posts of others, you will increase your visibility and also create an approachable image for your brand.

Review the Data

Check out the analytics to get an idea of how your posts perform. Most social media platforms provide analytic information for users with admin privileges. Tools like Google Analytics provide insight into how much traffic comes to your website via social media to help you understand how your posts are performing.

Try to identify patterns to figure out what makes users engage with some posts over others. When you find these patterns, integrate these findings into future posts. For example, if you notice that a lot of users respond to posts that go live at a certain time on a specific day of the week, make sure to always post during that time. On the other hand, if you notice part of your posting strategy is completely failing to connect with users, abandon ship and move on to something new.

How to Use Social Media Like a Pro

Harnessing the reach and capabilities of social media puts your brand into contact with your customers and will grow your brand. Using social media like a professional can help you take your business to new heights. Learn more about how to make the most of social media marketing by reaching out to our team.

Twitter Can Help You Grow: Here’s How to Use the Social Platform

Twitter is a social media platform that serves as a news source for many of its users, while also facilitating communication and bringing people together. With about 67 million active users in the U.S., Twitter is one of the top social media platforms. Twitter can help your business reach existing customers and position your brand in front of new customers to help grow your business. Here’s what you need to know in order to use Twitter to grow your business.

Set Up Your Account

When setting up a business account on any platform, it is important to provide full and complete information. This helps users learn about your business and get to know your brand. Some pieces of information are required on Twitter, such as your name and handle. Your name is simply your business name, and your handle is the shortened name you choose that is preceded by the at symbol (@). A handle is important on Twitter and this is how others will tag you in posts. Finding the right handle can be tricky. You want something that clearly represents your brand and is easy to read and understand, as well as being available.

All In

Also fill out the optional information, like your bio and location as well as your profile and banner images. The more information you provide, the more users can get to know your brand. Everything needs to be cohesive and showcase your brand. This will help your business appear serious and professional and ensure users recognize your account as representing your brand.

Use Hashtags

Twitter is known for hashtags, which are words or phrases that follow a pound sign (#). Users can search Twitter by hashtags, so including relevant hashtags in your posts can help users find those posts. Hashtags are particularly handy for helping users who do not already follow you, find your posts. This is a great opportunity to spread your reach and introduce your brand to new users.

Find Relevant Hashtags

It can be enticing to use a bunch of hashtags to help increase the visibility of posts. Resist the urge and only add a couple of relevant hashtags. Going overboard may give your posts the appearance of being almost like spam, and can turn users off from engaging with your posts.

Start Trending

Twitter makes it easy for users to see what hashtags are trending. Simply go to the search page and scroll to see what hashtags are currently popular. Using a trending hashtag, when relevant to your post, can help increase how many users see your post and learn about your brand. The key is to make sure the trending hashtag is relevant. Trying to latch onto a trend when it just doesn’t make sense will do nothing to increase engagement and may actually hurt your brand’s image.

Include Multimedia

Photos, gifs and videos do well on all social media platforms, and Twitter is no exception. Include images and other forms of multimedia to help generate interest and get users to interact with your tweets. Eye-catching and relevant multimedia will cause users to stop scrolling through their feed to see what your post is all about. Twitter even features a built-in gif keyboard to make it easy to find the right image.

Poll Users

A built-in poll feature further increases engagement. Add a poll to learn more about what your followers think. This can help steer decisions about new products and services and the direction you take your brand, but it can also be fun, show users your brand’s personality and help raise awareness of your brand.

Grow Your Community

Social media is ultimately about being social. Follow members of your community, whether they be customers, influencers, vendors, media and even competitors. As you build your network, it is important to engage with these users and like, comment and share their posts. This will help support your industry, but also increase the awareness and recognition of your brand.

Create Lists

Twitter makes it easy to organize users by groups using the list function. You can create and add users to lists, so you can easily zero-in on posts made by specific users. For instance, you can generate a list of industry influencers or members of the media and add relevant users to those lists. When you go to those lists, you will see all of the posts made by those users. This is a great way to see a custom feed and help streamline the act of community building.

Start Growing with Twitter

As one of the top social media platforms, Twitter has a lot to offer your business. Mastering how to use Twitter can help you reach a wide audience and grow your business. If you want to learn more about leveraging Twitter for your business, reach out to the Automate Your Social team, and we can help!

How to Use Facebook to Promote Your Sites

Finding and connecting with your customers is absolutely necessary to grow your business and increase awareness of your brand and websites. It is also a major challenge. Locating your audience is a big hurdle, but once you find them, you then need to engage with your followers to direct them to your site and help move people through your sales funnel. Facebook makes it easy to find, connect, engage and close sales with your customers – if you know how to use it. Here’s how to use Facebook to promote your sites.

Locate Your Audience

There are hundreds of social media platforms available, and you need to go where your audience is if you want to direct them back to your site. About 68 percent of the adults in the U.S. currently have an account on Facebook, meaning your demographic is likely on Facebook. If you want to connect with these customers, you need to get your company on Facebook, as well.

Fill Out Your ‘About’ Info

Possibly the easiest way to direct users to your site is to include the link in the About section. Anyone who wants to visit your site will seek out this section to find the link. Even if someone isn’t specifically looking, they may be interested once they see the link. Make it easy for people to find your site by providing complete info in your About section.

While you’re at it, make sure to fill out all of your About information completely. A complete About section will make your Facebook page appear more professional and help provide lots of useful information to your followers.

Promote Via Posts

When you publish a new blog post, add a new FAQ or make any updates to your site, promote it with a Facebook post. A quality post needs to feature compelling content and a link to the page you are promoting. Use active language, ask questions and feel free to use intrigue and maybe even fear to encourage clicks. The goal is to get people to be so interested in your post that they follow the link back to your site to learn more.

News Feed Targeting

Facebook enables admin users to target posts to reach a very specific audience. Posts can be targeted to users who follow your feed based on location, education level, employment status, industry, hobbies, likes and even relationship status. For example, if you want to reach single, male programmers between the ages of 25 and 30 who enjoy basketball and live in the Miami area, Facebook can make that happen.

To target your posts, go about writing a post like normal, and look for the drop-down box with the default setting of Public. Select the drop-down and choose News Feed Targeting. At this point, a new prompt will appear, and you can select the details surrounding the users you want to see your post. This is a great way to ensure you reach the people who will be most interested in the content you are promoting and help drive traffic to your site.

Schedule Posts

Another way to make the most of your posts is to schedule them, which can be done directly in Facebook. Scheduling posts enables you to make the most of your time. You can write posts when you’re available and schedule them to go live at another time when your users are more likely to see the posts and engage with them. You can find lots of research around when users on Facebook are the most active. Put this knowledge to use to maximize the effectiveness of your posts and ensure your audience is seeing them at the most ideal times.

Promote Your Community

Be involved in your community to help establish your presence on Facebook. Follow vendors, members of your industry and customers to help make others aware of your brand. Like, share and comment on the posts of others. This practice can help generate engagement on your posts, since some users and industry professionals may be inclined to return the favor and like, share and comment on your posts. Being engaged with others raises your visibility. The more visibility your brand enjoys, the more people in your network and beyond will be aware of your brand. You can then use this awareness to direct users to your site through your posts.

Promote Your Site Using Facebook

Facebook can be an extremely effective tool to promote your site. With so many users, Facebook can put you into direct contact with your followers and help make users aware of your site. Learn more and find out how our team at Automate Your Social can help you make the most out of Facebook to promote your site.

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 to Decide What Content to Highlight on Facebook Live

Facebook Live is an amazing tool that enables businesses to connect with their audience. This connection can help build trust, turn your followers into brand ambassadors, close sales and improve your bottom line. While Facebook Live is capable of doing all of these great things, it is only effective if you provide quality content. Knowing where to start on Facebook Live can be a challenge, so here’s a rundown of what types of content to highlight.

1. Answer FAQs and Respond to Comments

If one of your customers asks a question either through social media or your website, it’s likely others have the same question, but just didn’t ask. Use Facebook Live to answer these questions. Talking through the answers can help clear things up and make it easier for existing customers to use your products or services. This information may also encourage customers to take the leap and make a purchase.

According to Facebook, videos should be about 10 minutes in length. Complicated questions with long answers may provide enough content to round out one video. You may find it necessary to group similar and less technical or involved questions into a single video in order to hit the 10-minute mark.

Answering questions can be an ongoing series in which you routinely address questions posed by your followers. Keep the content flowing by encouraging users to reach out with questions you can answer in future videos. Also, make sure to direct users to the FAQ page of your site if you have one. This can help users gain a better understanding of your offerings and drive traffic to your site.

2. Share Tips and Hacks

People always enjoy quick and easy tips to make their lives easier. Use Facebook Live to share informative tips and hacks with your followers. For instance, if your business involves customers sending artwork in a file, host a video where you show users how to quickly, correctly and easily set up their file and send it to you.

Up the level of engagement by encouraging users to share their own tips, tricks and shortcuts in the comments. These user-supplied tips can lead to future videos and maybe even collaborative projects.

3. Highlight Your Team

Interview team members to help users put a face to the name and learn more about how your business works. The interview can cover the role the employee fills at your company, what they do in a normal day, how long they have been with the company, what they did before and maybe a bit about their personal life, like hobbies, favorite movies and other information.

Being interviewed in a live video can be nerve-wracking for some people. Help eliminate stress and ensure your Facebook Live interview goes smoothly by putting together a list of questions ahead of time and giving it to your team member to review. When your coworker knows what questions are coming, he or she will be more at ease and better prepared to provide thorough and thoughtful answers.

4. Give a Tour

Show your customers what your store, office or other facilities look like by giving a tour on Facebook Live. People love getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into areas they would not normally be able to access, so show your users around. You may take for granted how interesting the production floor of your facility can be, or the stunning views from your office, but for your followers, this first-time look can be very interesting.

5. Show a Sneak Peek

Give users a look at what you are working on in R&D, your latest inspiration board, your new location while it is under renovation or your latest product prior to launch. Seeing new products before they are available or what items and services may be available in the future will get users excited about your brand and offerings. This level of transparency can also build loyalty.

6. Promote Events and Campaigns

Creating hype and awareness around upcoming events and campaigns will get users interested and excited. Create a Facebook Live video sharing the details for any events or sales coming up or explaining what new and exciting projects are in the works. You can also add links to the comments, so users can head to your site to learn more, RSVP, place a preorder or whatever other steps are relevant for your upcoming events and campaigns.

Find the Right Content

Facebook Live is a great way to provide useful and engaging content. Finding quality content for Facebook Live that will interest viewers takes some work, but this work can pay major dividends. If you need help deciding what content to highlight on Facebook Live, reach out to the Automate Your Social team and we can help!

Why Facebook Live is a Great Way to Interact with Your Target Audience

Video is interesting and engaging and quickly relays information, making it a great way to communicate with your target audience. Facebook offers a feature, known as Facebook Live, that essentially allows users to broadcast live video. Taking your videos live enables you to gain all of the benefits of video plus some additional perks. Find out why Facebook Live is a great way to interact with your target audience.

Find Your Audience

Facebook has a tremendous number of users. The latest count puts the number of people on Facebook at 2.27 billion. With all of these users, it’s likely that a large segment of your demographic is using Facebook. Facebook, in general, can prove to be an excellent way to promote your brand, but adding video can further extend your reach.

Keep It Simple

All you need to start live streaming through Facebook Live is to click the text box to start a post and hit the ‘Go Live’ button. This will activate your webcam or the camera on your phone, and you are then live. You don’t need fancy equipment or a soundstage. You can immediately begin talking and interacting with your followers. This can level the playing field and allow your brand to connect with customers in a real and meaningful manner.

Go Live

Not all types of video are the same when it comes to social media. While video in any form, whether live or prerecorded, can dramatically increase engagement when shared on social media, live video performs better. Live streaming video can receive as much as 6 times more interaction than video on demand.

Create Something Special

Live video can be a fun and interesting way to mix things up, especially if you routinely post video recorded ahead of time. The ability to live stream video from your phone means you can give tours or travel during your video. This adds some excitement to the post and may encourage users to watch while knowing that anything could happen.

Unexpected things can and probably will happen during a live stream. Personal foibles and even how you deal with equipment issues or other setbacks help personalize your brand and can further endear your company to your audience.

Latest Trend

Facebook is always adding new features geared toward increasing communication and engagement. The Facebook algorithm is always changing, but it appears to prioritize live video. If you share the same information via a written post or upload a prerecorded video, neither of these posts will enjoy as wide of a distribution as a live video.

Users respond well to visual content and seek it out. Facebook Live is quickly taking over the live streaming platform, and more users report watching live streaming video on Facebook Live than YouTube. Users expect and want video, particularly live video. When you give your users what they want, they will be more likely to engage with your posts.

Increased Engagement

Users can like your post and leave comments during a Facebook Live stream, which allows you to interact with users in real time. If a user likes your post, you can thank them, or you can answer their questions in the comments. Engaging with viewers in real time clearly relays information and increases viewer retention. Facebook strives to create a sense of community. Sharing useful content that provides value and encourages engagement helps contribute to your community. This level of availability can help entrench your brand as a trusted resource and authority and help progress customers through your sales funnel.

Making the Most of Facebook Live

Engagement of live videos increases the longer you are live. As more people watch, like and comment, the engagement increases, and Facebook will actively promote your live video post by placing it in the news feed of more users. As more people see your video, they will watch and interact with the video.

With this in mind, it can be tempting to stretch out your videos in an effort to maximize engagement but resist the urge. As long as you have useful and valuable content to share, you can continue to record but wrap things up at a natural ending point. Videos that run too long may turn viewers off and have a reverse effect.

Reinforce Your Brand

Consistency is always important when it comes to branding, but consistency and authenticity are extremely important when live streaming. Stay true to your company’s mission and core values and represent your brand in a real and accurate way.

When users read posts and see your logo, they internalize your brand, but when they see you and your team talk about your brand, they form an immediate connection. Putting a face to the brand can help customers create a more solid rapport with your company.

Connect with Your Audience

Facebook Live can play an important role in your content marketing strategy. When used properly, live streaming can increase engagement and allow users to connect with your brand. Learn more and find out how we can help you interact with your target audience via Facebook Live.

Social Media is a Necessity for Your Business – Learn How to Use It Now

Social media is here to stay and learning how to use these tools can help grow your business, generate leads and close sales. Studies show 77 percent of Americans have some type of presence on social media, so it’s likely your customers are logging in, liking, sharing and connecting with others. If that’s not enough of a reason to get you interested in using social media to promote your brand, consider that your competition is on social media. Learn how to use social media, so your brand doesn’t lose out.

Find the Right Platform

With so many social media platforms, it can be hard to narrow down the right fit for your brand. Most platforms provide information about their users, like age, gender, location and maybe even relationship status, employment, industry and more. Use this information to figure out which social media platform or platforms your customers frequent and set up accounts for your business.

Create the Right Look

From your website to your social media accounts, even to signage and printed materials, make sure your branding is consistent across the board. Use your logo and official colors in your profile picture or banner. You want to make sure users know they have found you.

Let Your Personality Shine Through

Users respond to authenticity, so stay true to your brand when posting to social media. If your brand is quirky or funny or whatever, let this show through when posting. By showcasing your personality, you will create an experience that will pull users in. Failing to inject some personality into your social media presence can cause users to lose interest in your brand.

Provide Value

Give users a reason to visit your social media page or feed and follow your account. When users have a reason to engage with your brand, they will. Providing value, either in the form of useful information about your specific products or services, or your industry as a whole can prove effective.

Drive Traffic

Social media can be a conduit to help users learn more and close sales. Directing users back to your site, either to blog posts or other pages with useful information, can help improve your site ranking. The better your site ranks, the more organic traffic, or rather users who find your site through search engines, you will receive.

Build a Reputation

When leveraged properly, you can use social media to establish your brand as a trusted authority. This is beneficial because it will increase the odds of customers turning to your brand when they have questions or want to learn more.

Consistently providing valuable content can help establish your brand as an authority. Engaging with your community can also reinforce your presence. People know your business is on social media to generate leads and close sales, but when you take the time to answer questions and help out, users will see your brand as a trusted source. Engage with your community and customers by liking, commenting and sharing posts from others. It’s important to promote your brand but make an effort to just be present and sometimes take a break from pushing your products and services.

Use Images

Images help generate interest in posts. The more interest your posts receive, the higher the engagement and the more users see your posts. Include emojis, photos, gifs, infographics and videos to encourage users to stop their scroll and read your posts.

Make a Time Commitment

Social media takes time and consistent work. Dedicate regular time to posting and engaging with your community to ensure this happens. Building a network of followers is a process. It can be discouraging, and you may not always get the kind of reception you think a specific post deserves but keep at it.

Have a Plan

Define goals, so you know what you are working towards. When you understand what you want to achieve, you can create a plan that will get you there. Create posts around this goal to help you get where you want to be.

When you reach your goals, take a brief moment to celebrate your success, but then set a new goal and create a new plan. Continuing to push and work towards new goals will further expand the reach of your brand and grow your business even more.

Analyze the Metrics

An essential part of learning how to use social media is looking at your performance. Set aside time to review your data. Look to see what is working and keep doing that, but also look to see what isn’t working. Change up your strategy to better align with your goals.

Start Growing Your Business

Social media is vital for businesses. There is just no other way to connect with your customers and close sales as effectively. How you use social media will significantly impact your success, so learning how to use it is mandatory. Reach out to learn more about how to properly leverage social media for your brand.

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!

How to Decide What Hashtags to Use on Twitter to Drive Your Business

Hashtags are a great way to help customers find your business. Selecting the right hashtags can expand your reach and drastically increase awareness of your brand. Still, sometimes figuring out which hashtags to use can be a headache. Here’s how you can decide which hashtags to use on Twitter to drive your business.

Types of Hashtags

Hashtags are like search words, and just how certain words deliver certain results when typed into the bar of a search engine, hashtags can be used to help users on Twitter find posts. There are different types of Hashtags. These different hashtag categories each serve unique and specific purposes. When selecting hashtags for Twitter, it’s necessary to understand what you want to achieve in order to choose the best hashtags for the job.

Branding Hashtags

Any type of hashtag related to your brand or a specific campaign serves the purpose of promoting your business. These hashtags direct users to your posts and increase awareness of your brand. Using your company name or slogan are examples of branding hashtags. For instance, Nike using #JustDoIt and KitKat using #HaveABreak are both examples of branding hashtags.

Utilizing your company name or a slogan as a hashtag can make it easy for users to find all of your posts. Choosing to use a hashtag around a specific campaign or event can help raise awareness of sales, new product launches and other events.

Content Hashtags

Hashtags that directly relate to and sum up the content of your posts help users interested in certain topics separate your company from the rest. Examples of content hashtags would be a printing company using the hashtag #Stationery or a company that manufactures solar panels using hashtags like #Solar or #Renewable. Using content hashtags related to your industry, products or services can help customers find your business.

Niche Hashtags

A niche hashtag targets a specific audience. These tags are not specific to your brand, but they still serve the purpose of helping users find your posts. For instance, Twitter users who are into photography may use hashtags like #Photography or #PhotoOfTheDay. These are somewhat broad terms that are still strong enough to reach people interested in the topic find relevant tweets.

Keep It Simple

The goal of hashtags is to make it easy for users to find your posts. In order to make it easy, stick to simple words and phrases. Hashtags should be easy to spell and easy to remember. Long jumbles of letters and words that are hard to understand will likely prove ineffective. Readers should be able to immediately read and understand a quality hashtag.

Do Some Research

Your hashtag needs to stand apart from the rest, so run a search of any potential hashtags you plan to use before going live with them. You want to see if the hashtag is already being used, and if it is active, how are people using it? If your hashtag of choice already has an existing history that is not relevant to your brand, you may want to avoid using it. Some hashtags may sound innocuous but can still have social, cultural or political implications that will distract from your marketing strategy.

When searching for the ideal hashtag to use, you can search directly on Twitter. Take the time to also search your potential hashtags on other social media platforms and Google. Again, you want to find out how these terms are being used in order to avoid any negative or irrelevant associations. Just because a hashtag isn’t being used on Twitter doesn’t mean it isn’t being used elsewhere and already has some baggage.

Monitor Trends

Twitter makes it easy to track current trends. Keep an eye on what is trending and be ready to post when you come across something relevant to your brand and your products or services. Finding a relevant trending hashtag may not often happen, but when it does, you can really expand the reach of your post and help make users aware of your brand.

Several tools make it easy to monitor hashtag trends.

  • Hashtag.org is a pay site that tracks hashtags across various social media platforms and provides useful metrics.
  • Trendsmap provides an interesting visual representation of trending hashtags based on geographic location.
  • Hashtagify is another free tracking tool that offers a wealth of analytic data to help users make the most of hashtags.

Make a Decision

The right hashtags can be a game changer and seriously increase awareness of your brand and positively impact your Twitter presence. On the other hand, failing to use the right hashtags may garner attention for all the wrong reasons. Do you need help to decide what hashtags to use on Twitter to drive your business? We’re here to help, so reach out, and let’s figure out the right hashtags for your business.

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