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So you’ve set up your social media empire using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and you’re blogging too. This article delivers five foolproof steps to get you on your way to finding, formulating and distributing content that will get you noticed. The first step in social media planning is largely the first step in identifying your brand—determine who you are and who your customers are. You’ll need to determine what your readers want to know from you, what their likes and dislikes are and where they congregate.
Be sure you know the lingo and style that your clients are comfortable with and where they talk to each other—on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs or on social bookmarking sites.
Most newspaper editors today have to admit that what readers want is tomorrow’s news yesterday.
Research will be a big part of your social media planning, so make sure your sources are on the cutting edge of your topic. You’ll also want to provide analysis to help guide your readers’ absorption of the information you provide.
Do the work for them by writing on point, underscoring the impacts and keeping the content valuable.
Sit down now and write a list of burning questions the people you would like to have as fans and followers are asking.
Who will regularly do the information-gathering, writing and distribution for your content? One thing to keep in mind: whatever schedule you set for yourself or your staff will no doubt require more time than you think, especially in the beginning. According to the recent 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, most business owners can maintain a very respectable social media presence in six hours a week, including research and production time. The greatest time-saver and strategic tool in your content-planning arsenal is an editorial calendar.
Using an editorial calendar helps you bring clarity and purpose to your content—on a committed schedule.
You can also add keywords to your calendar, so you know which words you should be including in your content about a given theme. A great deal of the content we respond to, whether by creating our own posts about it or directing readers to what someone else has said, happens as breaking news.
Interviews make great content as well, and because they happen less frequently, you can target individuals for monthly, bimonthly or quarterly rotation.
Twitter and Facebook both have applications that will push to the other when you post to one, so know if you have set that up.
Whatever Facebook RSS app you use to pull your blog posts to your profile or fan page may also be given permission to update automatically. If given the proper permissions, HootSuite and TweetDeck (and others) can push content automatically, without you scheduling it, so they may also tweet a new blog post, for instance, when you’ve already done so using another app.
The single most important component to your editorial planning should be your ability to absorb new information and create valuable content from it. In this article I’ll explain the different types of LinkedIn ads and show you step by step how to set them up to reach the ideal audience for your business.
Wondering if you should focus on Pinterest or podcasting, or put more effort into Facebook?
In our fifth annual social media study, more than 3000 marketers reveal where they focus their social media activities, how much time they invest, what the rewards are and where they’ll plan their future efforts. To understand how marketers are using social media, Social Media Examiner commissioned its fifth annual 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. We set out to uncover the “who, what, where, when and why” of social media marketing with this report. If you’re responsible for marketing your business, you’ll want to closely analyze the pages of this free 43-page report and use it to persuade others.
This report is free when you register for Social Media Examiner’s FREE updates.  Simply complete the below form and we will send you the report.
Using psychology to connect with your target audience is a powerful way to engage and motivate them to take action. In this article you’ll discover five psychology principles you can use to improve your social media marketing results.
To apply this principle to your social media marketing, tell a story to reach your audience emotionally. Expressing how people can benefit from your product or service will help you increase engagement on social media. Taco Bell’s Twitter account socially engages its audience with its witty and interactive tweets. Taco Bell creates an image of fun and generosity, which inspires brand loyalty and makes the franchise relatable. Of course, you don’t have to give everyone in the country a free breakfast to garner attention. The next time you share something about your brand on social media, explain or show why it will make a difference in people‘s lives.
These days, reviews and testimonials on products and services are available at the click of a button.
Consider a 2008 study that involved hanging public-service messages on residents’ doors, asking them to use fans instead of air conditioning.
Crate and Barrel’s website invites customers to leave reviews for products and gives them the option of uploading a picture. There are a number of ways to create social proof; show Facebook likes and post testimonials to tell your audience about how popular your product is. The most effective social proof, though, is created when you have unmoderated positive reviews.
Partnering with an authority figure will improve the perception of your brand if it’s someone people trust, respect or like. If the person is recognized and successful in his or her own career, it reflects positively on your brand. Professional tennis player Maria Sharapova is highly sought-after for endorsements because of her successful career and wide social media following.
When people are uncertain or don’t know how to act in a situation, they often look to others for guidance. In 1985, Coca-Cola performed an experiment on whether people preferred the traditional Coke or their newer formula. One of the most effective ways to grab people’s attention and make them take action is to make something scarce.
In this article you’ll discover recent insights on the effectiveness of paid social media marketing. Discover insights revealed by new research on the effectiveness of paid social media marketing.
In fall 2015, the Content Marketing Institute (with MarketingProfs) surveyed 3,714 marketers from around the world about content and other digital marketing successes. As revealed in the chart below (from eMarketer), 76% of B2C respondents use promoted posts (for example, boosted Facebook posts and promoted tweets and pins). The majority of B2C marketers rate promoted social posts and ads second only to search engine marketing (SEO and SEM) for all marketing tactics. As for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other ads (as opposed to the more editorial-style posts), 59% of respondents rate these 4 or 5 on the 5-point effectiveness scale (74% of those surveyed report using them). More interesting is the jump in marketers’ perception of effectiveness from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015. Perceived effectiveness stayed mostly even for offline promotion, online banner ads, and native advertising.
B2C marketers surveyed by the CMI also put Facebook at the top of the heap in terms of effectiveness, with YouTube coming in second.
B2C marketers and businesses report they most effectively reach their audiences via Facebook. A satisfaction rate 10% to 15% higher than what B2B companies report (see below) could reflect that the B2C space for these two marketing tactics is not as saturated. Of the 93% of B2B marketers and business owners using paid social media, 52% use promoted posts and 51% use sponsored ads.
To compare tactics, B2B marketers pinpoint search engine marketing tactics like PPC or paid search advertising as the most effective paid marketing tactics, with 55% rating them 4 or 5.
A darling of the B2B world for years, LinkedIn has become the salesperson’s hunting ground. Key Takeaway: When using social media channels, keep in mind that consumers go to Facebook and LinkedIn with different goals and mindsets. B2B marketers, on the other hand, must recognize that LinkedIn users’ goals have more to do with career advancement.
Key Takeaway: Snapchat received a C– grade, but it only recently brought down its minimum advertising budget from the $700,000 mark. While Instagram scored only a C+, the Facebook-owned platform just recently opened advertising to the masses with APIs that make self-service advertising as easy as it is on Facebook. Advertising agencies, marketers and business owners are still sorting out which industries do best on which social platform. A few years ago, average everyday people from around the world began sharing their video-gaming, makeup, and fashion tips on YouTube or via their blogs. Users admit to being influenced more by messages coming from their social heroes than almost any other person or platform. The key to engaging with your audience on a more personal level is to focus on the right customer, at the right time and with the right employees. In this article you’ll find out how to create a social media marketing plan to put customers first and improve engagement. In social media many companies take customer-focused brand messages and customize them into content for each channel.

The reality is that your target audience has different communication needs depending on which stage of the buying cycle they’re in. Rosalia Cefalu of HubSpot believes different employees are best suited for communicating with customers in different stages of the buying cycle. When you include employees outside the marketing department, one-on-one engagement with your customers becomes more scalable. Once you identify departments and employees, establish goals for them and customize social feeds or open new social accounts to connect the right employees to the right customers.
You can customize your social messages and divide social responses with these three consumer personas. In this stage of the buying cycle, you want to find consumers who are in the market to buy, but haven’t purchased from you. Here you’re looking for people using the right keywords, such as mentions of your company, competitors, industry or specific products and services. If your company has a public relations or corporate communications department, they may play a role looking for larger industry or corporate issues and identifying journalists or bloggers for media outreach. This stage is where you focus on keeping customers happy, resolving any issues they may have and further assisting them. Customer service representatives are ideal for providing what they may already do via the phone, email or online chat.
Five Guys’ approach to social media begins with service and is driven by a process that empowers employees to connect with the right customers at the right time. Employee involvement in social media has also made Five Guys’ content more personal, sincere and local. Individual Five Guys locations in the United States and around the world have their own social media accounts to communicate locally on promotions, new flavors or products and events that resonate with the community. Five Guys consumer-centric approach enables individual locations to uncover customer feedback, respond directly and make changes that improve the customer experience.
Customer-centric social media produces satisfied customers who often become brand ambassadors, generating buzz and sharable content.
Five Guys’ consumer-centric approach pays off with plenty of user-generated brand content.
If your social media marketing is using a customer-focused (but still brand-first) model, it may be time to consider a customer-centric approach. Have you ever been asked to show the return on investment (ROI) for your social media work? Have you had trouble giving an exact number to explain your ROI or even set quantitative goals for your social media? 25% of marketers said that their biggest marketing challenge was finding the ROI of their marketing activities.
In this article, I’ll show you how to tweak some of your social media actions with your business goals in mind and make them easier to tie to your ROI.
Tap into your social audience whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Pinterest. For other social channels such as Facebook or Google+, take advantage of the visual real estate you have and include an engaging photo. On LinkedIn, post your content in marketing groups that are discussing similar marketing principles. Part of tying your social media efforts to ROI is to understand what actually comes from social media.
One way to attribute campaigns to social media is to tag the URL so you know it comes from social.
A UTM tag allows you to add identifying information to your URL that will help you keep track of the source the link is coming from.
Another way to find out where your customers are first hearing about your company is through surveys. Of course, when you gather this information from your customers, you can use it to tie into measuring your social media ROI.
In the case of Google Authorship, your content (especially when you upload a picture) may appear at the top of search engine results.
Also, remember Google pulls in data from social media to make sure that its results are also influenced by social activity.
Appearing higher up on the page on Google’s search results directly influences your business ROI because most people do not click past the first page on Google results.
Remember, you don’t want to fall into thinking that social media is a panacea to cure all of your business’s problems. Instead, the lesson here is to use tactics like these with your business goals and your marketing strategy in mind. There are simple tactics you can use to grab attention and increase engagement with holiday shoppers on Instagram.
In this article you’ll find six tips to boost your Instagram marketing for the holidays.
It’s a well-known fact that asking questions on social media is a good way to generate engagement. Put two similarly themed products next to each other in one image and ask users which one they prefer for the holiday season.
You can use apps and tools like Layout from Instagram to make it easy to compile two or more pictures into a single image that you can share. Giving back is always good for both your community and your brand reputation, and this is particularly true during the holidays. Some businesses collect donations of money, food or toys and drop them off at a local charity.
No matter what option you choose for your business, supporting a charity can be a massive opportunity for positive brand-building. Encourage your Instagram audience to create and share holiday–themed content using a branded hashtag.
Feature perfect pairs in your Instagram posts to flesh them out and form a more visually dynamic image. As fun and exciting as the holiday season is for many, there is no doubt that it’s often an expensive time of year. To generate conversions and increase sales and impulse buys, use high–quality images of your products with mentions of sales, promotions and giveaways. With many users more willing to splurge come the holiday season, promoting sales and discounts on Instagram gives them the perfect reason to do so. Though relatively new, Instagram is emerging as a strong ad platform, as it’s partnered with (and run through) the incredibly successful Facebook ads. While all types of ads can perform well on Instagram, these two options in particular will help your content stand out in the holiday season. Remember, too, that it’s important to make good use of hashtags and choose interesting, eye-catching images users will want to see. You want to reach potential clients and establish your authority online, but what’s your plan?
Content could include your own blog posts or links to others people’s work posted on your social networks.
The “social” in social media requires a conversational approach, but you still need to speak your clients’ language.
How would you classify them in terms of education, hobbies, tech-savviness and time spent engaging in social networking? Most readers today—of any format—don’t feel they have the time to connect all the dots, so tell them why the information you’re sharing is relevant to them. You’ll be rewarded with clients, followers and fans who trust your information and know you won’t waste their time.
Getting started with social media content has a learning curve, so be prepared for the extra time needed to get comfortable with the process. If you have some themes that you would like to explore in intricate ways, mind-mapping helps you flesh out the many angles around any given idea.
One option is this Google docs-based social media calendar to lay out your content by date and topic.
Google AdWords and Wordtracker both offer free tools to help you find the most valuable keywords for your subject. When you type your post into the left-top field, you can use the calendar button to choose your release date. Automating posts, when done carefully, is an effective way of pushing content when you can’t be there to do it yourself. Consider going manual until you understand exactly which permissions you have opted into for each platform. Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report!
Rather than spout information or simply show a scene, this ad takes the viewer through a complicated situation that gradually unfolds to reveal the outcome. They lead audience members through a story they need to interpret for themselves based on the actions of the characters. They’re likely hoping someone steals a base with the promise of free breakfast from Taco Bell.
There are other effective methods to let people know what you or your product can do for them. Results found that telling a group that 77% of their neighbors were using fans was more effective than mentioning residents could save $54 a month.
Pictures help other potential customers visualize how the product would look in a home setting. Crate and Barrel also encourages customers to load images of their products in use to Instagram with the hashtag #CrateStyle. Your followers will know that your product or service is remarkable enough that happy customers vouched for you on their own account.

In this Facebook post, The Honest Company uses the principle of scarcity by showcasing a deal that is available only for 12 hours. You can create the feeling of scarcity by offering to give away or sell something in limited quantities or for a brief period of time.
While just 263 identified as B2C marketers and business owners, their insights are still instructive. Sixty-one percent of these users found promoted posts effective, rating them either 4 or 5 on a 5-point effectiveness scale (3 is neutral).
Conversely, the number of marketers viewing social ads and promoted posts as effective leapt by 20% and 30% respectively for each tactic.
These early adopters find them effective (worth 4 or 5 on the scale) at rates of 64% and 59%. B2C is getting better results because with less competition, each campaign draws more eyeballs. With the majority of its respondents in the B2B space (1,521), the Content Marketing Institute had a robust sample from which to draw insights for this vertical.
Forty-eight percent of promoted post users and 45% of sponsored ad users rate these tactics 4 or 5 on the 5-point effectiveness scale (again, 3 is neutral). At the other end of the scale, traditional online banner ads disappoint with only 29% of respondents finding them somewhat or very effective.
The platform has always enjoyed a more serious reputation than Facebook with its memes and fun apps that appeal to a diverse audience. In turn, they should provide content that helps users build skills for their current job, find vendors to solve business problems, or get another job. Recent check-ins with industry experts add another dimension to the evolving picture of social advertising possibilities and limitations.
While the report didn’t look at B2B versus B2C, in general, executives graded Facebook higher than Pinterest, which earned the second-highest scoring of the contenders with a solid B. Snapchat is in talks with developers now about creating the APIs that will eventually allow businesses of all sizes to advertise on the platform without the interference of third-party developers and agencies. With best practices proven more anecdotally than quantitatively at this point, the burden rests on each business to measure all leads and sales resulting from social media to truly understand their own ROI.
Creative online marketplace Izea, along with research firms Halverson Group and The Right Brain Consumer Consulting, surveyed 511 marketers with experience in sponsored social efforts.
This process is good and effective, but it puts channels, content and messages first and assumes the target audience’s needs are always the same.
Zambito has expressed this thinking in terms of B2B, but it applies to social media as well. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to make sure your prepurchase, purchase and postpurchase interactions with the consumer are different. Setting up a social care team enables you to generate customer engagement throughout the buying cycle to gain new customers, repeat purchases, loyalty and brand advocates. Create social media campaigns to grow fans and followers and monitor conversations to engage with those responding.
Or if you’re a B2B company, you could activate sales representatives to address the needs of leads.
Automation could also play a role such as for scheduling follow-ups in a week or two to find out if customers are still happy.
They’ve been able to boost engagement by connecting directly with individual customers instead of simply talking at their target audience with general brand messages. Connecting individual customers with front-line employees via social media has enabled Five Guys to be a more customer-centric company, which is a challenge with over 1,200 locations across the globe. Monitoring this type of feedback on a local level is much more efficient, making one-on-one engagement more scalable.
Whether you’ve created an ebook, blog post, webinar or white paper, you should promote it through social media.
Then you’ll want to make sure you use each social media platform in the best way to connect with them. Then you’ll want to be sure to track the traffic that comes from social media to see what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. Include a question that asks how your customers found your company at strategic points of contact. And it can also be helpful when planning which marketing resources should be used more heavily. Then be sure to include a tracking mechanism, such as asking your clients where they first heard about you. SEO consultants have proven that having a presence on Google+, Google Places and Google Authorship can help your SEO. Twitter announced that it’s opening its advertising platform to all users in the United States.
Then you’ll want to optimize your presence on Google’s platforms and track how visible your business is in their search engine results.
When your social media tactics are in line with your marketing goals, you’ll find it easier to measure your ROI.
Showcasing two products not only highlights the products you want to feature, but also can generate a ton of conversation and engagement with users. With the focus on giving to others, many customers will not only take more notice of your charitable work and donations, but may also participate along with you. Others will sell products to raise money, as Sterling Jewelers does by selling Christmas bears for St. Consider offering some sort of reward, whether you’re running an official contest or not.
This technique often results in higher sales, and works just as well for Instagram marketing as it does in person. Showing the second item not only increases the chances of a larger sale, but can also make the first item look even more alluring. A blue diamond pendant looks even better with a matching ring, a fishing rod is more appealing with a full tackle box and an assortment of tea flavors with an exquisite teapot adds a personal touch. Though all the focus for sales is on Black Friday, you can benefit from heavily promoting your upcoming or current sales or discounts throughout the holiday season on Instagram.
Also add a note in the description with a coupon code or to tell customers where to find those deals. Carousel ads allow you to feature multiple images (often of products) that can be used to show a variety of choices or tell a story, and it’s no secret that video content is taking social media by storm. Your clients have specific issues that need solving, whether they’re about your product or service or their own business struggles that you can help untangle. For now, the most pressing questions that are top of mind should form the initial core of the topics for your editorial plan.
It can also help you plan how you would like the components of your social media plan to interact. Share clips from the interviews you conduct or vlog your how-to article on a given week, rather than writing it.
Taco Bell’s strategy shows that captivating the audience begins with thinking about what they want, first and foremost. When the identities of the formulas were revealed, preferences for the new Coke went up by 6%.
Still, given the small sample size, smart marketers must explore the experience of B2B marketers and others when considering paid social ads. Marketers and companies that provide lighthearted content there generate goodwill with engagement following from that.
In LinkedIn’s case, providing critical, career-building information creates the goodwill that could lead to a sale down the line. While this study doesn’t analyze specific marketing tactics like promoted posts and social ads, it does provide a general idea of which platform drives ROI the best. Start with the customer’s need and then build the social media process, content and resources around the customer.
When you search for “social media twitter advertising,” the first article to appear after a New York Times article and sponsored results is an article that is pulled in from Google+ with an image.
Also you get great ready-made content for no cost to your business, aside from the effort it took to find the content. The prize can be a gift card, giveaway or the chance to have their content featured by your brand. You can not only search for a particular topic or hashtag, but also refine your results by keywords and by the time the post was uploaded. Incorporating these six tips with your Instagram best practices will help your content perform well throughout the holiday season. Before you can determine volume and frequency, you’ll want to figure out what your business can reasonably deliver.
If you can’t maintain the quality level of your content at the rate you’re trying for, reduce the frequency until you can.
Use responses and questions you get to one area of content to begin planning your approach to deepen understanding on a given topic or to explore another. These principles apply even if the person is not an expert or authority in the field that he or she is promoting.
Build your own authority by using credibility markers such as sharing your previous experiences, educational background or recognition that you’ve received for your work. The prize for winners is a Starbucks gift card, and the contest generates a ton of great content every year. Use a tool like Iconosquare to help you run contests to increase fan content, allowing you to schedule the contest and moderate responses in bulk.

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