Monthly Archives: October 2014

4 Ways Sports & Social Media Marketing Are Alike

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Just like bike racing, social media marketing is a marathon.

Just like bike racing, social media marketing is a marathon.

Sports seasons are in full swing. Just turn on the TV for football, baseball, soccer, racing, volleyball, golf. The jerseys are out, the diehard fans using their season tickets and invitations to watch the “big game” are everywhere.

Though social media marketing doesn’t have a season, or downtime, there are remarkable commonalities. Before you think we’ve been watching too much football, or spent too much time on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, read on:

It takes a lot of practice and effort. Many a business has jumped into social media without thought as to the time and effort it takes to maintain an updated, relevant site. Setting up a Facebook page or Twitter profile is not effective marketing unless the site has regular information pertinent to your audience—and continues to have regular postings. Social media marketing is a marathon. If you don’t have enough time, or feel you don’t have the expertise to maintain your site, contact a local marketing firm that achieves social media marketing results for small businesses in your area.

You have to try a few different techniques to find your hole-in-one. Like any pro athlete, you need to find the technique that fits your business and audience. Often that means trying out different tones and images to find what engages your audience. Though there have been extensive studies on what times (weekends, holidays, times) are ideal for social media postings, the true formula for timely postings that engage your audience can only be found by trial and error.

Recruiting is involved. Recruiting in social media can have two different meanings: recruiting from within your team or outsourcing. No matter what route works best for your business, you need to find your most trusted employees or marketing firm to post to your social media page. This is your business’ face—your connection to your clients—don’t just trust any intern, young employee or marketing firm.

You have to adjust your game for the team you face. While your social media audience should not be perceived as your opponents, you do need to adjust your game plan depending upon your company’s voice and audience. For example, if you are a pizza shop in a college town, your posts should fit your Millenial audience rather than the minority of Baby Boomers who follow your site.

Just like a successful sports team, finding the right team chemistry and game plan is a touchdown again and again. And though there is no Super Bowl in social media, the rewards—connecting with your clients outside of the sales meeting—is as great as a trophy.

How to Spread the Word about your Social Media sites

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Is your social media page like the tree that fell in the forest?

It’s that old adage about the tree in the forest with a new twist: does a social media page make noise if no one is around to hear it? The answer: yes, but is it worth your time to maintain?

Though maintaining a social media site with relevant, updated content does have search engine optimization value, a social media page with few or no followers is not reaching its full potential. So how do you attract those elusive followers and fans? It’s easier than you think, but also requires a full effort as you run your business:

  • Invite people at the counter, in sales meetings and when you provide customer service. We know, in the digital world we live in, it seems counter-intuitive that spreading the word via mouth is still one of the best ways to draw people to your social media sites. It’s also one of the easiest. A simple, “Don’t forget to check our Facebook page for discounts” when you check out a customer or ending a client meeting with “We’d really appreciate it if you’d check out our social media sites for more information” is a personal invitation. In today’s world, many of your customers and clients can find the site right there—and continue the connection that you initiated in person.
  • Integrate your social media and blog into your marketing materials. Producing a brochure? Add your Twitter profile address. Sending out a direct mail piece? Don’t forget to add a QR code they can scan with their smart phone that takes them straight to your Facebook page.
  • Get your employees’ buy-in. If you are a real estate firm, ask your employees to follow your page and share information with their friends. That doesn’t mean they need to share everything, but, as powerful advocates, they can share posts they feel are relevant and expose your business posts to a new audience.
  • Connect your social media pages to your website. If a customer is on the verge about buying your product, the “tipping point” that influences their buying decision may be a discount or promotion. But how will they know about it? Add links to your social media sites to your website. Today’s consumers not only research your website, but your social media sites as well—and you need to make it easy for them.
  • Add the social media addresses to your email signature. This is one of the simplest—and most overlooked—way to spread the word about your social media sites. You send emails to your customers with quotes, product information and customer service inquiries. Why wouldn’t you want to continue to connect with them after they’ve read your email?

If you’ve outsourced your social media site maintenance (remember there’s no shame or blame in it), consider these efforts your part of the bargain. You’ve invested in the experts to create and maintain an online presence, so why not fulfill your role by spreading the word? However you spread the word, make it easy. Today’s customers are overwhelmed with information and have little time to search. Give them a link, icon or graphic that captures their attention—and then keep them engaged on your social media pages with updated, relevant content.

Bad Social Media Marketing Advice You Should Ignore

detail_splash2Joining social media as a business can make you feel like you’ve just had a baby. Once you’re on social media, like a new parent, you receive advice from everyone and anyone that thinks they know about social media. And, like the woman that told you to mix whiskey into your baby bottles, you need to be able to filter out the bad—like these four falsehoods you’re bound to hear once you’ve given birth to a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest page for your business:

  • “Social media is the place to sell, sell, sell!” Unlike traditional marketing, social media is a platform where the traditional advertising strategy yields negative results. Studies have shown that one of the main reasons consumers follow a business Facebook page is for special social media offers, but they don’t want to be sold to all the time. What they do want: information relevant to their life with a bit of entertainment and humor, if the nature of your industry allows it.
  • “Social media produces positive results and feedback.” This advice is partially true. Often when businesses join social media, they overlook the fact that they receive good and bad feedback from customers.  The truth: when you put yourself “out there” on social media, your followers can put anything on your page. Don’t get offended by one bad review or comment. Listen, and use the negative feedback as an opportunity to show the excellent customer service your company is capable of providing.
  • “Once you join social media, you don’t need anything else.” No, no, no! Don’t abandon your traditional marketing and sales tactics. Integrate social media into your marketing strategy, and use a similar tone and graphics on your social media channels so your customers recognize your brand. Studies have shown that email marketing, sending a message to your email list, is as strong as ever. Use that strength, and evaluate your results to find out what tactics produce the best results. Prioritize your time appropriately so you are reaching your customers through the tactics that get results.
  • “The more you post on Facebook, the more ‘likes’ you get.” Studies have shown that the number one reason customers ‘unlike’ a page is because business posts are crowding their newsfeed. They want to see their friends’ updates and a few business updates, but they don’t only want to see your company’s Facebook posts. On average, we’ve seen positive results from posting 1-5 times per week.

If you feel overwhelmed by the bad advice, put your social media marketing channels into the hands of someone you trust. Network with other business owners, and find a marketing firm that produces results for other small businesses. There’s no shame with utilizing a good “babysitter” that you trust—giving your business social media marketing results and relief from the overwhelming flow of good and bad advice.