6 Tips to Help You Rise Above the Noise in Social Media

6 Tips to Help You Rise Above the Noise in Social Media

As someone that works in social media, we often hear how “noisy” it is.

Naturally what follows next is people wondering how to cut through that, how to get heard in a social media atmosphere that more people are delving into each day with their own messaging.

Personally, I don’t find social media to be noisy – if you’re analyzing your data and joining the communities you truly fit into, as well as spending the most time in the communities where you want to be heard, you won’t find it noisy at all.

But for many startup companies, the “noise” they experience can be overwhelming. Brands and people often come to social media with no concrete plan or strategy, and that’s when I recognize noise. That’s when social media turns from a WE activity, to a ME activity.

Here are some tips I’ve found to help combat some of that and work towards joining a community where you can be heard, as well as hearing others:

1. ABT (Always Be Testing)

Your analytics are a goldmine of information. Paying attention to them will teach you when your target audience is online, what posts you put out get the most attention, and what topics your community responds best to. You can use that information to then tailor your content to fit into what your audience and community wants more of, which will in turn help them see you as a key resource, garner you more attention an reputation.

2. Let Go Of The Ego

Remember, a group of like-minded goal oriented people will always accomplish more than the one person that thinks they know it all and can do it alone.

Grow your community by being the same person online as you are when you meet people offline.

You don’t walk up to potential friends and introduce yourself, then go on to pitch them on what you do for a living and how they can buy in, they’d get bored and walk away. Rather, you introduce yourself to people and ask questions about them, try to get to know them, see what they are interested in and where you have things in common.

3. Focus on the Consumer

This is a bit of a follow up to #2. When people feel that they’re important to you, they pay more attention to you.

Thank people for posts or sharing your posts. Ask questions that help you get to know people better, and when you are asked questions, answer them honestly, and as you. We all know there are faces behind each brand, let your personality come out from behind the brand as well.

Allow yourself to be the fun, engaging and relatable person you are offline, online.

4. Do More Than Just Listen

Active social listening is one of the most important items in any social media plan – but you have to do more than simply listen and place people into little persona boxes. You have to have open two-way, mutually beneficial conversations.

This is the only way to truly get to know people – find out what’s important to them and the ways you can help make their lives better.

You already know you’ve got the best product/brand/service in the market – how can you let your communities know that as well, without directly telling them?

5. Add Visuals

Look at your own timeline and take some time to scroll through. What catches your eye? The miles and miles of text, or a picture or video that pops out?

I’m willing to put my money on the visuals.

Use one-of-a-kind photos (best if you take them yourself!) that represent you or your brand and intersperse them with your text.

6. Be Consistent

Keep your core values top of mind through all content mediums and platforms. Each time someone has a touchpoint with you or your brand, they should be able to recognize it as the same from another medium, without thought.

Consistency also leads to reliability, and reliability leads to trust. And trustworthy people and brands always stand out.

When you’re able to put all or some of these items together, you can better create a top-notch user experience for your communities, consumers and potential consumers. People will begin to see you as helpful, responsive, as someone who cares about their needs.

When you speak to people as they like to be spoken to you’ll have no problem conquering the noise on social media.

Original Post

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Social Media Consultant

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Social Media Consultant

Today, more than ever, people are leaving in-house marketing jobs, choosing instead to begin their own consulting business. There are both pros and cons for small businesses looking to hire a consultant. The pro is that you can find people with years of experience and can hire them as consultants. Not bringing them in-house means you save money on their insurance, bonuses and at times, even equity.

The cons come when you realize there’s a much lower barrier to entry now – anyone with a personal Facebook Page and a large number of Twitter followers can offer their services to you.

And while they might be more affordable, it can sometime be hard to discern if they have any experience building brands, or if they’re simply any good at promoting themselves.

Once you make the decision to outsource, you’ll want to strongly vet potential consultants and/or agencies.

Here are 10 things I recommend you ask or consider:

1. Can they demonstrate a proven track record?

Ask what brands the person or agency has worked with and is currently working with (to ensure they’re not working with a competing brand).

Don’t be shy about asking for references. Ask about a brand they worked with where something didn’t work out – how did they handle that? Were they able to quickly adapt and change course? Do they have the necessary experience in your industry to properly advance your business?

The more they know about your industry, the less of a learning curve there’ll be, and the more resources they’ll bring to your brand. What are their first steps when taking on new clients?

2. Where can I find current and past examples of your work?

Anyone with experience will be readily able to show you a portfolio of work as well as links to initiatives they’ve either run or been involved in creating.

Look for campaigns that have been repeated. You know things are working when you keep doing it.

Have the campaigns led to brand exposure? Sales leads? Will this experience help your market?

3. Who will be handling my account and what background does this person come from?

The background of each person working on behalf of your brand is important. If you’re looking for marketing, PR and/or social media help, you want people that have leveraged those skills working with prior companies.

Do these people have knowledge and experience with trends in these areas?

4. How will we track ROI?

We know that not everything has immediate return that’s trackable when it comes to social media. But you can track most things.

You want to know that this consultant or agency isn’t simply looking to add likes, followers or fans, but is actually able to analyze conversion rates.

Brands that hire an outside agency will want to know that the agency or consultant is consistently monitoring results, and is being held accountable. You’ll want to know there’s a standard monitoring and reporting process in place that works for both you and the agency or consultant.

5. What is their process for reporting?

How often will you meet with them? How often will you be provided status updates or check-ins?

If the agency doesn’t have a method to suggest immediately to you on how they’ll communicate, it might be a red flag that the agency isn’t as connected with their clients as you’ll want to be (or that they haven’t even thought of this yet).

6. What will you do if something goes wrong?

How would you handle a social media crisis?

Marketing campaigns that look great on paper can go wrong in application, no matter how seasoned the consultant is.

How will they react? How do they respond to negative reviews? Tweets? Negative Facebook comments?

7. How do they come up with strategic plans?

How much does writing content figure into their experience and plan for your business? A good consultant will have a workflow that works for them and you. They’ll know how to integrate social media with PR and traditional media. They’ll want to talk to your sales team and find out what plans they have and will know how to integrate them into all they are doing.

8. How will content be developed?

And, will you have to approve all of the content written on behalf of your brand? Will it all have to be planned, or will you trust this person or agency to create on-the-fly content for you? Does this person have the experience necessary to understand the nuances of writing content specific for each platform?

Content developed for your brand needs to be likeable and shareable. A consultant or agency should be able to show you examples of previously created content for other clients, as well as their content calendar, or what their content creation process looks like.

9. What does success look like, and how will we measure it?

Brands that are investing in consultants and agencies must have clear goals in mind when starting this process. An agency should be able to help you achieve your KPIs. The consultant or agency you choose will help you establish these KPIs and will (with you) write strategies and tactics to hit those goals.

10. What will this cost?

Outside of the monthly retainer or fee you agree to with the consultant or agency, you want to know that your budget is being kept in mind in all they’re doing.

Are there going to be additional costs in monitoring brand mentions? What’s the process for getting additional budget approved, before this consultant agrees to something? Do they have a plan for ads on Facebook and Twitter? What will that cost?

By no means is this an exhaustive list. Choosing a consultant or agency is a big decision for every brand. You’re entrusting your baby to someone outside the “inner circle.” You want to know what influencers they’re friends with and for how long, what their personal social media profiles look like, how they conduct their networking…

What other questions would you ask? Are there any questions you wish you’d asked prior to hiring a previous agency or consultant?

Original Post: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/smt-influencer/10-questions-ask-hiring-social-media-consultant

4 Overlooked Social Media Tips for Improved Website Traffic

4 Overlooked Social Media Tips for Improved Website Traffic

Social media is everywhere! You can barely go one week without seeing a new update to a social media platform in the news. It’s time to harness the power of social media and drive traffic to your small business website. There are numerous platforms to choose from, and knowing which social media sites are best suited for your target audience is the first step in embracing social media marketing. There’s no need to have a presence on every platform. Remember, quality far outweighs quantity and this goes for social media accounts alike.

Once your social media profiles are live, there are four overlooked methods that take your efforts to the next level and boost your website traffic

Optimize for Each Platform

Whether you’re using Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, double check that what your posting fits the platform requirements. Twitter is known for its character limits, while using hashtags on Facebook is less effective than on other social media sites. Understanding the nuances across the platforms means you can post the best content in the most engaging and effective way.

Followers blow past images that are off-center or are too grainy, and will stop reading a post if the text is cut off. Below are general guidelines for maximizing your marketing efforts on specific social media sites:

  • Facebook – A friendly tone goes a long way. Users see Facebook as a place to connect with family and friends. Meet their expectations by using a tone that matches their other interactions on the platform. Unsure how friendly to be? Write like you’re speaking to a friend, while including links to your website, blog or article, and a high quality image.
  • Twitter – Use succinct language in your text and be sure to add 2-3 hashtags for extra reach. Shorten URL links with bitly to preserve your precious character count and drive website traffic. Images go a long way for engagement, so incorporate relevant visuals when appropriate.
  • Instagram – More than Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is all about the visual component. Stylized images are what Instagram is built upon. Choose specific filters for your business, and stick to them so you create a consistent look across your profile. From there, the best captions are conversational and intriguing, and the most successful posts have between 10-12 hashtags. There’s an excellent trick for hiding hashtags so your posts don’t seem cluttered, but still add your content to the selected hashtags. Get the full tutorial here.

By using images and text that fits each platform’s requirements, click through rates and engagement goes up. These small adjustments can yield serious impact on your website’s traffic.

Use the Right Hashtags

Hashtags are more than just clever quips on social media; they serve a real purpose in cataloging relevant content. They act as a free way for small businesses to build brand awareness, authority, and swim in the same pond as larger companies.

Do some research to find which hashtags are being used most frequently in your industry and across hashtag influencers. Incorporate consistent hashtags into your social media posts, so your content is continually added to these repositories. This way, when someone searches a hashtag, your content, both old and new, show up. When your content includes URL links to your small business website or blog, people can choose to learn more and explore your online presence.

Tag Followers

As you monitor your social profiles, search for great user generated content. Ask your followers if you can repost to your page and tag them in your posts. This creates goodwill with your fans by showcasing their picture or post, and reminds them that there is a human behind a brand.

Beyond cultivating an excellent customer experience, by tagging a follower in your post, it automatically increases the organic reach of your post. All of the tagged person’s followers can see your post. It expands your social presence without spending a cent. As we’ve mentioned before, having a URL in the post gives new prospects the opportunity to follow your social accounts, visit your website, and learn about your business.

Be a Conversationalist

When it comes down to it, people engage with businesses when they feel there is a person behind the scenes. Cultivate a social community of dialogue by posing questions to your social accounts, actively responding to comments, and having fun!

While posting product updates and service news is useful, sprinkle in some light-hearted and charming content into your social media marketing. Ask users to caption your photo or for their favorite holiday tradition. This encourages ongoing conversation and draws followers in. By establishing a trustworthy and relatable brand, people will begin to visit your website more frequently to find out more about this awesome business.

Website traffic can come from so many sources. Control as much as possible by infusing your social media marketing with these four tips. Give these tricks a try today!

Original Post: http://www.pagemodo.com/blog/4-overlooked-social-media-tips-for-improved-website-traffic/