Social Media

Target Audience Is Princess And Content Is Prince

princess

Within the context of social media, which is still a relatively new and young medium,  the audience is Princess and Content is Prince.

Gaining a social media following can be achieved through targeted, optimised paid advertising, outbound marketing, such as email, brochures, direct mail, above the line (promoting profiles), promotion on marketing collateral like business cards, pop-up stands at events, websites and email signatures.

New followers can also be gained organically as a result of peers sharing, re-tweeting, commenting or liking content, giving it higher visibility/reach and potentially enticing new followers.

The question is how do marketers create content that results in interaction, resulting in the above referrals through existing followers? The answer lies in having a well thought-out, researched content strategy.

Objectives

Firstly, a content strategy should be planned with business or personal objectives in mind, content or Prince should aim to raise awareness, generate sales, elicit contact data for lead generation purposes, gain market research, or start a dialogue.  Without clear objectives, a company or ‘media owner’ does not benefit.

Listening Skills

Secondly, the target audience, Princess, needs to be understood, this involves considering the type of information Princess likes to consume, when she likes to consume it and the value it provides to her life.

Understanding Princess is no easy task, Princess is inundated with content, but serving her relevant, valuable content, inline with planned objectives, helps to achieve the all-magical and mutually beneficial engaging relationship, this requires listening skills from Prince and continuous dialogue.

Mission and Purpose 

To ensure a sustainable future, Prince must have a strong purpose, a clear mission or story, Princess mustn’t be left confused, and there should certainly be no mixed messages, lack of interaction or inconsistent communication which will only result in poor engagement.

Niche/ Segment

Prince cannot please the whole family, nor should he try, he should focus on understanding Princess (the niche/selected target audience) and provide value in the form of her favourite jewels (relevant creative content, information, images, videos, tips, games) and relevant discussion that they’ll both enjoy, not forgetting to have a good laugh!

Whilst keeping objectives, a clear mission, story and purpose in mind, Prince should offer variety, solve problems and learn from success.

Self Promotion/ Sales 

Prince shouldn’t talk about himself or sell all of the time, having a healthy amount of self-assurance is necessary, but taking it too far may turn Princess off.

Medium is the Message 

The medium is Prince’s message, each social media channel should be recognised and leveraged for its strength in communicating with Princess.

The Long Term

Prince should be less focused on the short-term (metrics) and turn his focus to a long-term mutually beneficial relationship, social media is a long-term commitment, a marathon not a sprint,  as a result Princess should become loyal, sharing, commenting, liking and re-tweeting her experiences, creating a happily ever after viral effect, sales, sign-ups and subscriptions for all, the kingdom is happy, otherwsie Prince should learn from where he is going wrong through a host of analytical/ measurement tools.

Categories: Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Social Media | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Creating an engaging Facebook community from scratch in 10 steps

Facebook

A Facebook page can be powerful! There are millions of global active Facebook users checking their accounts daily, which gives you great reach as a marketer. A Facebook Page can help build closer relationships with your audience, engage prospects, create sales leads, build awareness for your cause and brand/product.

Before deciding to create a page, establish who your target audience is and whether or not they actually use Facebook, a great resource to research this is socialbakers.com

You’ll also need to determine what your objectives or goals for the page are and how you’ll measure results – there are some useful metrics in step 10.

Ultimately you want to create a community i.e target a specific group of people with similar interests and give them a platform to discuss ideas and to engage with you and each other.

Now, how do you go about creating an engaging community and gaining fans from scratch?

1) Information, cover image and profile picture

Your page’s profile picture appears on your followers’ news feeds and in sponsored stories, so use an official logo or another image, perhaps one of you, that instantly connects to your brand. Your cover image is also key “real estate” and communicates about your brand/cause, use it for that purpose. Fans will check the cover image and the “About section” when considering liking a page, so make it compelling and give people a chance to learn about your page quickly.

2) Publicise

An owner of a page and admins can share the page with personal contacts; go to “Build audience” and invite email contacts, “friends” or share your page on your personal profile.

Ideally you want to invite relevant fans only, i.e. people who will find your content valuable and share your common interest and engage with your page, aim for quality rather than quantity, although ultimately you do need a large enough number of fans to have a community and to reach your goals of awareness.

Promote your page on other social networking sites that are relevant to your target audience like Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ and link to your page from your personal or company blog and website.

Adding your Facebook address to your email signature is also a way to grow targeted fans as well as offline collateral, like event material. You can use QR codes on your business cards to promote your page, however, it’s also a good idea to promote the page name/ url as QR codes aren’t popular with everyone.

Alternatively, if you have obtained opt in email addresses through your blog, marketing events, website etc. email targeted contacts asking them to join your page.

Another idea is to cross promote your page with page managers who have similar interests who can mutually benefit from promoting your page and vice versa.

3) Understand your fans, really get to know them

Once you start to get fans, do as much as you can to understand them and what content they like to engage with, the best way to do this is to ask questions and encourage conversation. You’ll be surprised how many people are happy to answer questions, respond to polls and engage. Facebook is a two-way channel, don’t only use it to broadcast.

4) Content is king!

Be real – go beyond your corporate goals. Share stuff that engages your audience, don’t just use your page to promote your campaigns or promotions in a sporadic manner, that’s BORING! Form relationships, just as you would with your personal profile. Don’t forget people who use Facebook are human and are looking for relevant but engaging, fun, compelling, informative content, exclusive benefits and interaction, not just to be sold to.

Be original and use a natural tone of voice also have some policies in place, i.e. no political updates, swearing etc.

Editorial calendar – Be consistent,  To  organise content and to create a schedule for posts create an  editorial calendar.  Fans will begin to know what to expect and it means you wont be shouting and sending out random messages.

When people share your posts, comment on them or like content, your brand/ page name is shared with fan’s friends and who may also find your content relevant and share or like your page. Therefore the more relevant and compelling the content you provide, the more it gets shared and spread across the social network.

Get visual. Using imagery is a powerful way to communicate, so use powerful, engaging, ORIGINAL, relevant or funny images – and ensure they’re high quality.

If customers or prospects attend one of your offline events take photos of them and share them on your page, this gets people more engaged, again if they share their pictures on their profiles your page name or brand follows.

Experiment with your posts, test out different content and media, including video, review which posts get the highest interaction “engagement” and improve your “talking bout this score”.

A lot of page owners run competitions using third-party apps to engage followers, this is an idea you can try out to increase engagement and fans.

Facebook has recently introduced the use of #Hashtags. Hashtags turn text into clickable links in your posts. This helps people, who aren’t necessarily fans, to find posts about topics they’re interested in, similar to how it works on Twitter, look for hashtags related to your topic and use them in posts e.g I’ll use #FaceBookMarketing #FaceBookTips.

Research has shown that people like positive stories on Facebook and so the old adage that “bad news sells” isn’t necessarily true with Facebook. Keep it positive!

5) Find complementary Facebook Pages

Find complementary Facebook pages and like them as your Page, then watch your page home feed and comment thoughtfully on the posts and share valuable content on your page, providing it’s not competitor information, again this gets your brand or page name out there and can get you relevant followers.

6) Incite comments and listen

Ask your fans questions, use polls, again engaging, thought-provoking posts can get you those comments. This will impact your “Edge Rank” score; Edge Rank is Facebook’s “algorithm” and determines whether or not your posts appear in fans’ newsfeeds. You should spend some time learning about Edge Rank and you should spend a lot of time listening to your fans i.e. reading what they write about on your own and competitors’ pages. Social media is an interactive channel, learn!

7) Paid Ads and sponsored stories

You can advertise your page targeting people based on interests, location, gender, age, education, language and more, if you chose to use “sponsored stories” when advertising, which I highly recommend, friends of people interacting with your page, because of these ads, will get to see these interactions.

8) Be Consistent, post frequently

Don’t let your page die, so many page owners do. Keep content fresh, relevant and updated. This is an effort, either hire someone who’s passionate, or be passionate, remember you could potentially be reaching thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people in your target audience for a low-cost.

Some proponents advise to post between 1-5 times per day. You don’t want to inundate followers with posts and so it’s advisable to start with perhaps one to two posts a day, reviewing interaction and feedback and taking it from there. This doesn’t mean you need to waste endless hours in front of Facebook; you can schedule posts in advance, which Facebook allows you to do, or use a tool like HootSuite to schedule posts. You should also take the time to respond to fans in real-time and to post in real-time, remembering your fans are human and that you should be aiming to form relationships.

Know the best time to post and when the best “traffic window” is available, this depends on your time zone/s and target audience. Again, this will determine whether or not fans see your posts, you can check this out with “Facebook insights”.

9) Link to your website/blog/ e-commerce site

Link to your website, landing pages, with special offers and use Facebook for commercial purposes once in a while if that’s the purpose of your page. Your blog may be the “hub” of all of your social media efforts, or to your company website or sales landing page. Don’t sell too often; that’s not why fans interact with your page.

10) Monitor and measure

Get familiar with “Facebook Insights”, Insights provide measurements on your page’s performance; demographic information about your audience and shows how people are discovering and responding to your posts.

At the start of this article I stated you should have goals. If you’re measuring awareness, review the number of fans you have and growth, if you’re aiming to improve brand consideration, you really want to work on interaction and comments, likewise for market research. Ultimately, if you’re looking for sales, you should measure traffic to your website, enquiries or conversions made through your Facebook page and via the contact number or email.

Although I’ve been consulting for various Facebook brand pages for a while and follow over a hundred pages (not all of which have updates that appear in my news feed), I’ve just started my own personal/consultantcy Facebook page, if you like what you’ve just read, please join my page for more content and posts like this and feel free to share the page.

Categories: Facebook, Social Media | Leave a comment

Tweet like a pro: How to use #Twitter for effective networking and #BusinessMarketing

How to use Twitter for Marketing

Twitter for Marketing and Networking

Twitter can be a confusing tool for new users; I’ve heard people say, “It’s annoying I can only Tweet 140 characters.” The more you use it the more your experience can potentially improve and great business benefits can be realized.

Start with your Bio:

You’re allowed up to 160 characters for your Twitter Bio, you should use an elevator pitch for your official business account, or if your using multiple Twitter accounts for your company, e.g. one for customer services another for corporate updates, you should state this on your bio.

Profiles should be more personalised for employees’ accounts and a “personality” should be painted/represented. For a business account, you can use a picture of your company logo in the profile picture, remember this image shows up for every tweet you send out and creates brand awareness or recognition on your followers’ timelines.

Company founders or employees may use accounts to tweet about business; again there should be company guidelines here to prevent damage. Employees may want to have a little more fun with their bios, introducing their job roles, but also a bit about themselves, “ humanising” their profiles!  It’s also engaging for them to use a picture of themselves, a headshot, looking directly at the camera and smiling. Keep it authentic, human, real.

The header image can also be used for additional branding or to tell a story about the personality behind the profile.

Location, location

Make sure to fill in the location field in your profile and update it as necessary. You can filter tweets by location from search.twitter.com, and there are Twitter search applications that focus specifically on local updates, such as Twuzzer and Nearby Tweets. This will help people in your location to find you.

Tell a story, what’s your calling?

Unless you’re a large company with a well-known brand and reputation and it’s already clear what you stand for, the best way to get relevant followers is to tweet information relevant to your product, industry and market, using hash tags for keywords relevant to your target market. When people search hashtags, they’re likely to find your tweet and follow your company or account.

As an employee or person tweeting, again you should stand for something, tweet messages that represent what you’re about, what you stand for again you can use hashtags, my main purpose on Twitter is to liaise with entrepreneurs, small business owners, authors, digital markets and B2b marketing professionals. My aims are to generate business partnerships, leads and to learn. My tweets are based around a theme. You can also be humorous, or use competitions to engage follower and potential followers.

As an author I also use Twitter to learn from authors, the marketing industry, to speak to journalists and to promote my book.

To increase followers and to take advantage of the wide reach of Twitter, your Tweets should not be protected, see more about that here.  Sorry to state the obvious, but what you put out on the “Twittersphere” should not be confidential to your business or potentially damaging in the long term. You may want to develop company social media guidelines if you have several people Tweeting for your brand.

Tweet frequently

Search.twitter.com and other social media search engines, such as Social Mention, sort tweets by time, with the newest information up top. If you want people to find you by conversation topic, you’ll need to use relevant keywords in your tweets, and use them often. I’ve noticed people who tweet the most, with relevant terms tend to get large amount of followers.

Be creative:

Share pictures, share videos, try Vine.  You should also add call to actions to these mediums so that you can capture data for marketing follow up e.g. an email address.

Your own hashtag:

 You can create your own hashtag. I’ve seen this done well for company events. The organiser creates a hashtag and anyone attending that event can participate in the conversation, before, during or after. During the event, it’s quite engaging to display tweets relating to a hashtag on a screen, tools like visibletweets present tweets related to a hashtag in a creative way. Before the event you need to promote the hash tag on your entire event collateral.

Followers:

My personal aim is not to get millions of followers; it’s to get relevant, quality followers who will benefit from following me and vice versa.  Building your network is the most challenging and time‐consuming part of using Twitter.

Expanding your network doesn’t happen immediately; you need to commit and take the time to use Twitter effectively.  I’ve heard of people buying followers, my question, why? Other than having a large number of followers to boast about, does it really benefit the user?  Besides, this breaks Twitter’s rules.

By tweeting messages relevant to my above audience, I’m able to attract followers who help me to achieve my goals and vice versa, we’re likely to have common goals, and so the true benefit of social media; collaboration, is realised.

I also follow people who fall within my above target audience. There are dozens of directories of Twitter users online, including Twiends, WeFollow, and Twellow. Add yourself to as many directories as you can find under the proper categories, and you will begin to see some users following you from these sites.

Follow strategy:

If you’re a company, follow those who follow you, follow your customers, prospects, thought leaders, the competition, partners, industry bodies and media contacts.

As a person, follow business thought leaders, competition, industry peers, news outlets and accounts that will help you with your line of business and objectives.

Twitter will also recommend followers based on your follower list and who they follow, there’s a smart algorithm at work.

You can also import your email lists, this may include your partners, customers and prospects.

Twitter handle everywhere:

Be sure to promote your company Twitter follow widget on your website, blog, add your handle to your business card, PowerPoint slides, adverts,  pens, notepads- you get the idea. That way you get followers who are genuinely interested in interacting with your company.

Lists:

You can cleverly segment your followers or the accounts your following by using the “list” function on Twitter this help you to organise tweets by categories, e.g. media, authors, companies, customers. By segmenting audiences, you’re able to narrow down the content you want to follow most closely, in a simplified view. Lists can be used in a number of different ways. Create one for your co-workers, event attendees or your customers etc.

Meaningful conversations/interactions:

Twitter is like a networking event you would not walk into a networking event and start screaming out sales promotions. What you would do is engage with people and update them with useful/valuable information or Tweets. As well as promoting my products, events or promotions, I like to share valuable free information with my followers. One of the  biggest mistakes of social is to make it all about you. The focus should be on being useful, inspiring or entertaining with occasional tweets that promote your own material or talk about personal things.  Saying that, Dell and other companies do have accounts purely for promotions, however, they make that known and people follow specifically to benefit from sales promotions.

Using replies or mentions are great ways to interact with followers, be it customers, potential partners or suppliers.  To truly engage with Twitter you should be doing quite a bit of this as opposed to solely tweeting, again, this is how you can really leverage the power of this networking tool to achieve your aims. Perhaps suggest a follow Friday #FF, recommend someone you follow to your followers.

Twitter enables the opportunity to speak to anyone, anywhere in the world, providing they have a Twitter account – it’s a powerful networking tool! You can also send direct messages, although sometimes people do not respond, as it’s common for users to set up automated “thanks for following” messages and so this function is sometimes perceived as spammy, what a shame. Nevertheless try your luck!

Retweet/ favourite 

When you see a tweet relevant to your business e.g. breaking news or relevant to you as a person, you can favorite it or retweet it, this is also a way to engage with others, to let them know you exist and that they can follow you! They will look at your recent tweets (another good reason to keep tweets public and relevant) your bio and make the decision whether or not to follow.

You can also request people to retweet your tweets, by simply adding, “please retweet” to your tweet this may work well, for example, if your promoting a large industry event or breaking news.

Listening, learning, searching:

You should see Twitter as an opportunity to learn. You can learn about what people are saying about your company, the industry or topics related to you as a professional. You can do this quite simply by using the Twitter search function to find information or following tweets on your timeline.

Traffic, Leads, business, follow up, engagement:

 You can link to the below from your Twitter profile:

  • Your blog
  • Company website
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Product landing page
  • Twitter landing page

This is your opportunity to do more with Twitter, to go beyond the 140-character “limitation”, to capture contact information and to develop relationships for sales or for business development/networking purposes. Don’t waste this opportunity.

You can also post links in your Tweets, which is common, taking the follower to more information, whether that’s a product update, news, a blog or anything from the above list. Twitter will automatically shorten a URL, but there are tools like bitly.com, that offer URL shortening, redirection services with real-time link tracking.

Twitter management:

Twitter’s user interface isn’t the easiest to use to manage your social interactions.  There are many popular web aps to help you to manage your twitter account, Hootsuite helps to create various streams from Twitter all in one place i.e. mentions, tweets, tweets from lists, and scheduled tweets. Yes, you can schedule tweets. If your managing multiple social media accounts, Hootsuite can be great for social media management.

So off you go, tweet like a pro! What would you add?

Categories: Social Media, Twitter | Tags: , | 1 Comment

How #SocialMedia marketing supports B2b events in #GlobalMarkets

One huge event “The Egyptian Revolution:”

Now this deserves a blog of its own, and i promise I’ll write one. This was certainly not a B2B event, but I just wanted to mention that, based in Cairo, i experienced how social media supported this huge event. Some people attributed the whole uprising to social media, namely Facebook and Twitter, others thought the mass protests could happen without them, or that at least people would eventually take to the streets. The latter is correct, the uprising was on the horizon, however; i believe social media played a huge role in orchestrating the mass protests; the decision the Government took to “shut down the Internet” demonstrated their concern.

The tactics –                                                                                                      

As a marketer I was obliged to analyse the tactics. Weeks and days before the first mass protest on 25 January 2011, i was invited to an event page, by a friend on Facebook, inviting me to participate in a mass protest.

I felt butterflies in my stomach when i realised that over 80K people were attending, bearing in mind the uprising in Tunisia had just occurred in the previous weeks.   The nature of this campaign was viral; the page was forwarded from contact to contact. Each day i monitored the page and the attendee numbers increased by thousands.

The 25th January came and people took to the streets in the masses, shortly after the government ordered all internet and mobile service providers to stop their services.

Social media landscape and usage in global markets:

The number of attendees to this event demonstrates the high usage of social networks in Egypt. Facebook is extremely popular in many emerging markets. It’s the most popular social network site world-wide, along with other social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube.

You’ve all heard if Facebook was a country it would be the, what’s it now, the third most populous? It has the user base; this makes it ideal for “reach,” for marketers for a start.  People in emerging markets enjoy using social media to communicate, learn about the latest trends, fashions, and updates in this global village. Also, people in emerging markets are better connected, as governments and service providers are investing in advanced internet connection speeds and mobile internet.

Content can be communicated in local languages and the conversations can take place in local languages, which is an advantage of many of the leading social media tools.

As  marketers, it’s vital to research the popular social media platforms used in individual countries , when i was last in Tunisia and Libya (before their uprisings), i could not access YouTube.   In China, for instance, Facebook is not the most popular social networking site, in terms of users, Renren leads. Individual emerging market countries may have their own local preferred sites and so it’s important to research and understand a country’s social media landscape before planning your strategy, engaging with a local agency can help, each country is unique.

Planning, aims and objectives:

There’s a lot of hype and confusion about social media, the plethora and growth of these platforms can be intimidating.  I’m a solid believer in marketing process e.g. CRM.  I also believe that for any medium to work for  you always start with SMART objectives or aims and in accordance plan your metrics, otherwise how do you measure success and results?

Prior to communicating you’ll need a plan messages/event timing/location and how you will integrate with mixed media e.g. email shots. The messages may be in local languages, if this is the case, whoever manages the social media communication will need to be fluent in that local language.  You can find out what languages Twitter supports here.

Pre event:

Social media can be used to drive registrations from social media sites, however; and you can do this by directing fans on your page or followers on Twitter to a customised event registration website, capturing registration data, profiling registrants and storing data for follow up.

It’s not always advised, for small, highly targeted events to seek to drive registrations through social media. Your company database and email list may be the better alternative.

You can also encourage any visitors to your event website to join your Facebook fan page, or to follow you on Twitter, or to Tweet using a customised hashtag, by promoting these channels on your event site.  A hashtag for your event enables people to search content and stay informed prior to the event.  Again this should be promoted by you on related content, i.e. emails, the event website and print.

Once people have become fans on Facebook or are following you on Twitter, you can then engage them in ongoing discussions pre-event, perhaps by using a competition (using a third party app for Facebook) or questions to encourage feedback.

Prior to the event you may want to post YouTube videos messages from your speakers or general manager to your Facebook Fan Page and to Twitter (perhaps using Vine) to educate, create hype, re-tweets, comments, shares and feedback.

During event – keep them engaged:

During physical events, you can keep people updated, in real time, by Tweeting or updating your status on Facebook.  For example you may want to advise them of any last minute changes, seminars which are about to begin or lunch.

As people may not be checking updates via their own devices, you can project all the event related content on to a screen at the main venue.  Related Tweets, which use your hash tag, for example, during the event, can be projected onto a screen through various tools such as “Visual Tweets,” this allows you to filter out related tweets using the customised hashtag, and display them in full-screen in creative ways.

The aim here is to keep people discussing your event on social media and to engage your live audience. This is quite entertaining.  As the organiser you may also Tweet your own updates in real time, for example “seminar x starts now #ThisEvent”.

You can also ask people for their feedback, live, during the events or when the day has ended, you can receive feedback in real-time and make improvements; this may help, in particular, if it’s a two day event.

For virtual events, you can remind people that they’re about to start by Tweeting or updating your fan page on Facebook and sharing the event link.  In some  countries, people can be keen to sign up/register for virtual events, but may not always attend, as these are still relatively new to some countries and so it’s good to remind.

Post event –follow up:

The aim and objectives of your event should include generating sales leads, once the event’s over you can capture lead data, via social media networking sites, by encouraging fans and followers, who attended, to get in touch via email or by completing a short form, or calling a number. The short form may use qualification questions, to filter out people who aren’t ready to buy, for example you may ask the contacts  if they have “BANT” a budget, authority to purchase, a need a and project timeframe, along with their contact and company details.

Videos of the event can also be posted to social media sites, to your YouTube account for example or on Facebook, showing highlights of the event, keeping the buzz going – you can also add a call –to- actions to capture leads as people can follow up months later.

A link to all your event presentations or videos of seminars can also be communicated on social media sites, you can also allow visitors to share your presentations, from your event site, on their own social media accounts, which can be tracked and measured by social media sharing tools, and this is also an opportunity to capture new prospects in  – again, just ensure you add call- to- actions to your presentations.

You can also request feedback. Feedback can be brutally honest, social media is an excellent tool for learning; provided we “listen” we can learn and make improvements.

Lastly it’s always fun to share pictures of the event after on your Facebook page allowing fans to comment on and share their photos.

The usages and benefits of social media for events are countless, however, a word of advice fail to plan then plan to fail, know what you’re aiming to achieve; the social media sites your audience use and the languages they use for business. Good planning comes off of the back of solid analysis.  Local agencies can assist.

To find out more about B2b Digital marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Internet-Marketing/dp/0137064411

Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Business-Online-Marketing-ebook/dp/B0045U9W96/ref=tmm_kin_title_0/279-9376293-6540405

Categories: B2b, events, Social Media | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: