Shareable Content With Active Participation Needed to Achieve Your Social Media Marketing Goals

Majority of marketers today consider social media as the one of the most powerful tools to improve brand reputation. In the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud 2014 State of Marketing Study of Saleforce.com that covered over 2,660 mid to senior level managers from various industries, about 66% of marketers admitted that social networking sites indirectly impact their business performance. The importance of personalized rank results, the results with rel-author that display more prominently in Google search, and #searches that incorporate G+ hashtags queries as part of search on Google imply that social signals can impact SERP rankings quite significantly. Though social signals are evolving as a crucial factor when it comes to achieving their online marketing goals, businesses are still confused as to whether success with social media optimization is determined by shareable content or active participation on social networking sites.

Improve Social Signals Quality Content

Matt Cutts has stressed that if you develop compelling and high quality content, people will naturally link it, like or share it on Facebook or +1 it. Quality content would definitely generate a lot of social signals in the form of likes, shares, +1s, tweets and more. Discussions on Cre8siteForums on clients who do not want to use social media say that marketers who are not interested in, confused, busy or unable to take part in social media activities simply need to create good content that will get shared on social networking sites. This, it is pointed out, will drive traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more without your getting involved in the day-to-day activities on these sites. Marketers can post quality articles on their websites and add social buttons to them so that visitors can share the posts they like in their social network:

It is very important to post high quality content regularly on social networking sites. Entrepreneurs who loathe social sites, but still want to drive social signals in this way can rely on tools that can automatically share blog posts with these sites. Here’s a look at some on these tools:

  • Twitterfeed – Once you sign up for Twitterfeed and select your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles, the tool uses the RSS feed your blogs to monitor for new posts. When a new post is found, it will share that post to all selected profiles automatically. You can choose whether to share the title or description or both and use keyword filters to automatically add or opt out posts that contain specific keywords.
  • HootSuite – This tool not only posts blog content automatically, but also allows you to schedule updates, monitor mentions and conversions, create search streams and track your activity across various social profiles. As this tool supports LinkedIn company pages and Google+ Pages (not Google+ personal profiles) you can share posts across more networks than with Twitterfeed. Though the content cannot be customized for individual posts, you can configure different settings for each social network.
  • SNAP Pro – SNAP Pro supports a wider array of social networks than the tools mentioned above, including StumbleUpon, Delicious and Pinterest, though it would take more time to configure. The paid version allows you to set up auto posting to an unlimited number of social profiles including Google+ personal profiles and LinkedIn company pages. Compared to other tools, SNAP allows complete customization of your posts.

Why Active Participation is Important for a Winning Social Optimization Strategy?

Though there are several ways to share high quality content across social networking profiles and drive social signals without being socially active, industry experts say it is imperative stay active on social networking sites if you really want these signals to work for your search engine optimization efforts. Here are some of the reasons why active social participation is important to your SEO:

  • Direct Interaction with Customers – You need to interact directly with your audience on social sites to attract and retain interest in your products or services. Suppose that you sell ceramic materials and your interesting article about your latest ceramic cookware gets circulated across social networks. Though people like your article and share it in their social circle, they may want to ask you questions about it – like if it is eco-friendly, how to take care of the cookware, and so on. You can respond to their questions only if you interact with them on the network or else potential customers would think they do not matter to you and even take it as poor customer service. They would even think that your product is not authentic. Being socially active allows you to provide timely and suitable responses to every customer query, which in turn, builds a positive image.
  • Share Industry Knowledge – By participating in important conversations on social network, you can pick up the latest industry news and extend your knowledge. At the same time, you can share your industry knowledge with peers so that others come to consider you an expert in your field. This would also make them look upon your content as authoritative. You would miss out on such conversations if you are not socially active.
  • Keep Track of Competition – It is very important to understand how your competitors are using social networking so that you can use similar or better tactics to interact with your targeted audience. Being active on social networking sites allows you to study their social network profiles, content and promotional campaigns.

The bottom line is that in addition to creating high quality shareable content, bonding with your fans and followers is necessary for success with social media marketing. Your social media optimization strategy should facilitate timely and appropriate customer interactions and not focus only on improving content outreach.

The importance of social media is growing and most businesses consider it a very strong medium to improve brand reputation. According to the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud 2014 State of Marketing Study of Saleforce.com, around 66% of marketers say that social networking sites do impact their business performance indirectly. Personalized rank results and results with rel-author with Google search imply that social signals can have an indirect impact on SERP rankings. However, one question that businesses are asking is whether success with social media optimization depends on developing shareable content or being active on social networking sites. The answer is ‘both’. Let’s see why.

It is an indisputable fact that quality content can enhance social signals. Matt Cutts has already stressed that high quality content naturally generates a lot of likes, shares and +1’s. So people who are disinterested in, confused, busy or unable to participate in social networking sites simply need to produce good content which will get shared by others on social media sites. This would allow even those who are who on social media to get traffic from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more. Also several tools are available including Twitterfeed, HootSuite, SNAP Pro and more to automatically share blog posts with these sites. Many entrepreneurs who loathe social networking sites and still want to drive social signals rely on such tools.

However, industry experts point out that if you really want social signals to work for your search engine optimization efforts, it is not enough to simple have your content circulated across social sites. It is imperative to stay active on these sites. If you do not interact directly with your audience, they will lose interest in you. Suppose you are in floor carpeting, have written an article about your latest floor carpet, and people who like your article share it in their social circle. If you think your job is done, you are wrong. Readers may want to ask you questions about the carpet – like whether it is allergy free, how water damage can be managed, and so on. Providing answers to these questions is important to show that your audience matters. If you don’t respond to these questions, potential customers would take it as poor customer service and even think your product is not authentic. Being socially active ensures that you can provide timely and suitable responses to customer queries and build a positive image.

Participation in important conversations on a social network allows you to share your knowledge with peers and other users would consider you an expert in your field and look upon your content as authentic. You would miss such conversations if you are socially inactive. It would also limit your opportunity to understand what your competitors are doing so that you can modify your strategy accordingly.

In essence, success with social media marketing requires you to produce good quality and also be socially active. Bonding with your fans and followers and responding to their queries and comments appropriately and in a timely manner is indeed the key to a winning social media optimization strategy.

Social Media Marketing Trends You Should Not Ignore

The success of social media marketing lies in the right mix of fruitful strategies. The wrong combination will simply reduce the traffic from targeted customers rather than attract them. If you devise your social media strategies such as social media optimization on the basis of current trends, you can increase profits and use social networking sites effectively for marketing. Here are the recent trends highlighted in an article published by Forbes based on the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

Low Usage of Social Bookmarking Sites

According to the research reports, the use of social bookmarking sites has decreased to 10 percent from 26 percent in 2011. This considerable drop of usage clearly indicates the fall of bookmarking sites. Even though the sites including Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Pinterest are still popular among marketers, majority of sites (e.g. DIGG, Friendfeed) are almost dying. Therefore, it is not a good practice to trust a bookmarking site blindly for marketing purposes in the current scenario. Instead, check for the sites that are most popular and perform the bookmarking very cautiously.

Decline of Daily Deal Sites

Daily deal features or simply daily offerings of deals are regarded as a powerful way to attract a large number of targeted customers at a time. The research report says that around 80 percent of marketers are not interested in using the most popular daily deal sites including Groupon or Living Social for their campaigns in the near future.

Now people concentrate more on the considerable amount of returns that they receive from their purchases over time. Hence, it is advisable to use social networking sites for long term marketing goals rather than daily goals.

Top Sites for Social Media Campaigns

Marketers who use social media for marketing will obviously carry out social media campaigns (using social networking sites for promotion) for their products or services to attract targeted customers. The campaigns will be successful only if the relevant site is popular among the customers.

The research report indicates that marketers who spend more than 40 hours a week for social media marketing carry out their campaigns more intensely through Google+, You Tube, Pinterest and Instagram compared to those who spend six hours or less a week on social media marketing. Also, around 92 percent of marketers who have five or more years of experience prefer LinkedIn than 70 percent of marketers having less than five years of experience. Forum marketing has also decreased to 16 percent this year from 24 percent in 2011.

Around 67 percent of marketers are planning to increase campaigns through Twitter even though it is a slight decrease from 69 percent last year. Young marketers, more than older ones prefer photo sharing sites including Instagram for launching campaigns. 62% chose blogging as most suitable platform to master, which is the highest one followed by Google + (61%) and Facebook (59%).

Trends of B2C and B2B Marketers

Business to Consumer (B2C) Marketers use Facebook at a higher rate of 67% than other platforms. In the case of Business to Business (B2B) marketers, both Facebook and LinkedIn have equal majority of 29% each. Given below is the pie chart showing usage statistics for each platform with regard to B2C and B2B marketers.

B2B marketers use a more diverse array of platforms compared to B2C marketers. Both of them do not completely utilize blogging and have minimal You Tube usage.

If you are a B2B or B2C marketer, try to encourage blogs as they are regarded as the most popular social media platform. YouTube being the second largest search engine, you can enjoy the benefits it offers by posting low-cost videos. Orabrush (B2C Company) and Blentec (B2B Company) have become strong brands by making use of low cost YouTube videos.

As B2B marketers increasingly use LinkedIn, they have an opportunity to utilize SlideShare (owned by LinkedIn). This social media entity can be used for generating leads for B2B organizations.

Fewer Check-ins Online

As per the research reports, there is a decrease in the usage of geo-location services including Foursquare from 17% in 2011 to 11% this year. These services allow check-in to your locations automatically online. The decline in these kinds of services indicates that people are now concerned more about privacy and safety. Marketers can tackle this situation by introducing contests and rewards. This will encourage people to check-in more.

If you are still following the old strategy for social media marketing, then it is the time to develop new strategies based on all these current trends. It is better to entrust this tedious task to a reputable social media marketing company that offers reliable social media marketing services rather than try implementing the strategies on your own.

3 Mistakes in Social Media Marketing That May Come Back to Haunt You

Picture this.

You order an item online and it takes way more time to arrive than it should. Plus, a few items are missing in the package. Frustrated, you take to the vendor’s Facebook channel to voice your concerns and expect to be compensated.

And despite repeated prodding, there is complete radio silence at the other end.

The experience didn’t feel good did it? You think maybe this business doesn’t care about you – how you trusted it to give you a good experience and it shattered this trust instead. So you do what any frustrated individual would – you vow never to order anything from here again and hit the “unlike” button.

For social media strategists, there is a lesson to be learned here. A social media marketing strategy can eventually falter with a few unlikes and negative comments.

As a business owner, social media gives you limited chances to make a good impression. How you take advantage of these chances might make your business or break it.

The proof is in these stats:

• 71% of users who have a positive social media experience with a brand are likely to recommend it – Ambassador

• According to a study, hardly 20% of social media posts hardly generate any emotional reaction on social media – Havas Media

• 42% of Twitter users expect to be expect a business to respond to their inquiries within an hour – Ambassador

As a social media marketer, the best way to improve your social media strategy is to first find why it falters in the first place. Here are some mistakes that you might have overlooked:

1 – Being careless with negative feedback

If you have ever dealt with a salesperson, you wouldn’t expect him to become defensive when you have a complaint or be careless about your concerns.

So why would your followers on social media?

Keep in mind, whenever anyone says something negative about you on social media, the rest of your followers can see them. And they will be as interested to see how you respond.

For businesses, this is a nail-biting scenario. But it is totally avoidable. Here is how:

Put someone competent behind the wheel: Experienced professionals like social media experts will take an unbiased approach to the negativity and know that being careless about it serves no purpose.

For example, they know that being unresponsive to comments like “your service sucks! I want my money back” doesn’t really help anyone. A well worded reply on the other hand, helps both your reputation and appeases rising tempers.

To illustrate, your reply should go something like, “We are sorry that you had a bad experience. Can you tell us exactly what happened so we can make amends?” This way, you are more likely to ease frustrated customers.

Become alert to mentions by using online tools: It’s easy to forget about something you don’t encounter every day. Comments on social media are the same. You can’t track every one of them. No one inboxes them to you and there is no guarantee that followers will tag you.

To keep track of all comments, you can use tools like Google Alerts which notify you when anyone uses your keywords on their social media fields.

2 – Using social media management tools to schedule same posts on all platforms

Social media management tools allow marketers to post the same content on several social media platforms at once. Many businesses use it to schedule posts. And it has worked for them too, freeing up the time they need to focus on other tasks.

But oftentimes, people use these tools as a shortcut to schedule same posts on several platforms. It’s a lazy tactic and shows that you don’t care how your content is received by audiences.

Keep in mind, what works on Facebook or Twitter won’t necessarily work on LinkedIn. Every social media platform was created with specific target audiences in mind. A 140 character tweet, for example, won’t sit well with LinkedIn audiences who expect more comprehensive posts.

Use tools to schedule optimized posts

To make the most of social sharing tools, improve your social media strategy first. Take the time to learn about the unique capabilities of each platform. Limit yourself to two or three platforms if that is what it takes. For example, posts that are rich in imagery are more successful on Google+.

Hootsuite and HubSpot are two of the many social media management tools that you can use to automate posts and even see which channels are driving the most engagement. In addition to automated content sharing, these platforms also offer free online social marketing training courses that can help you make the most of each platform like optimizing your posts for different social media channels.

3 – Skimping on social share buttons

Business owners usually reserve their best content for their websites. Content like informative blogs, for example, establish them as experts in their niches.

It also give visitors a chance to stay longer on these websites. Perhaps they would like to look around to see what else is on offer?

Unfortunately, you could feature content that everyone would love to share – but if visitors don’t have any way to share it, it isn’t going to get the exposure you are looking for.

To make this work for you:

Make your social sharing work on mobile: Statistics show that over 15% of tweet mentions are from the tweet buttons that are embedded on your site. This also proves to show that people share a lot on mobile devices.

Tools to create social share buttons for WordPress: You can use online tools to create customized social share buttons for different audiences.

When selecting appropriate plugins, a good rule of thumb is to select those that allow you more freedom in the type of social share buttons you can create for different platforms.

For example, to improve engagement with mobile audiences you can tell your developers to download WordPress plugin tools like Simple Share Buttons Adder to create customized share buttons for your web or mobile audience and add them to all of your social media posts. Another plugin tool is Addthis.

Have a social budget: If anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Tools like Simple Share Button Adder are free to download and use. But if you really want to make your share buttons shine, it’s best to have a budget for it and use it to purchase their pro or premium packages. These offer more customization options and retail for around $10 to $100 dollars.

Select shareable content wisely: If you want to take advantage of social media, your content must be something that people would want to share. Image rich posts, for example, are shared a lot more than text-based content.

To illustrate, consider infographics. Studies show that infographics are shared and “liked” on social media 3 times more than any other type of content.

Wrapping Up

Use tools to keep yourself alert to negative comments and rely on professional help. Avoid taking the lazy way out by ditching the auto posting strategy. Pay attention to the type of content you post, how your followers share content on your social platforms of choice and optimize it for mobile to expand your reach.

It’s a mistake to regard social as a quick and easy solution to market your brand. It takes time, effort and patience. Learning about the mistakes and pitfalls can help you avoid them.