Digital Marketing

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Build Your Social Media Following versus Buying Reach and Followers

by Joanne Dolezal on 28th September 2018

It’s never a bad time to look at how you attract people to your social media profiles and build your social media following.

There are two sides to the audience building argument.

One side will tell you to focus on quality, build your following slowly based on quality of connections and a real affinity.

The other side will tell you to focus on quantity, building your following quickly with paid social media campaigns, buying likes and followers and creating sensational content to ‘go viral’.

You will know what works for your organisation…

You will need to gauge what feels right, how much time and money you want to spend on achieving the ‘numbers’ – how many page likes you have on Facebook page, followers on Twitter or your Linked In company page.  You may prefer to focus on building your audience slowly and look at the ‘quality’ metrics: engagement – comments, retweets, shares – instead.

But you should know that these options exist, i.e. through paid advertising or ‘likes’ campaigns, if only to analyse others’ social media following more dispassionately.

Remember, though, that anyone promising you instant success is trying to sell you something…

You want to go for quality and build your following ‘organically’

It is still possible to build your audience on social media through content marketing and organic growth, by regularly posting a variety of content that is relevant and appealing to your target audience (or customers). Bear in mind that what you post on social media will depend on what type of business you run.  There are many different types of content for business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) companies, and most of it will be familiar to you.

The diagram below charts the most common formats for content marketing.

The best content is user-focussed, non-selling, informative and engaging.

Content marketing uses many different formats to deliver quality content.

Think ‘person to person’, not ‘business to business’.

What you’ll find, even when you are selling to another business person (as opposed to a consumer) is that it’s ‘B2B’ for the first five minutes only. It soon becomes you speaking to another person, another human being, and seeing them as an individual.  Everyone in business knows that this is what relationships are based on, and you’ll be on first name terms within the hour.

On the B2C side, with consumer marketing, the people who follow brands on social media want to be rewarded in some way. They want offers, deals and coupons or to know when the ‘flash sale’ is going to be. There’s very little brand loyalty these days, so think about different types of content which could be appropriate for your audience.

This quote is about Twitter, but I like it because it’s relevant to any social media platform:

“…humanize it.” Talk like a human, treat your readers like a human and empathise -this is how you get people’s attention and start to build trust with them. Be real!

Pam Moore

You want to go for quantity and grow your following quickly

All the major social media platforms have launched advertising tools in the last few years.  These are not to be underestimated, either in terms of their targeting capabilities or the potential reach they offer you, regardless of geography.  If you are familiar with the principles of display advertising (picture or video adverts) and pay-per-click (PPC) you will understand the advertising tools immediately.

For successful content marketing, you need to build your inbound marketing funnel.

The Inbound Marketing Funnel

For those who are new to paying to reach new ‘customers’, both operate on an auction model.

With paid ads, the most exposure (impressions or reach) goes to the highest bidder for that target audience.  It’s a fair system, in as far as you know either how much (the maximum) you are prepared to bid for either a click (through to your website or product page) or impressions, the number of people the ad will be presented to (sold per mille/’000).

When you are buying ad campaigns on each platform, you’ll be asked to choose your goals, based on the stage in the inbound funnel (see at right) / customer journey you want to reach your customer at.

Basically, you will be looking for Awareness, Consideration or Conversion.

Paid ads can help you reach target customers beyond your networks, sector, industry, location or language.

Some ads will present your picture ad, others may have a few lines of copy and Call to Action.  The success rate on all social platforms is low: typically the click-through-rate (CTR) will be lower that 0.5% or the people you are targeting.  You then have to follow up in some way to convert them.

Targeting can be based on the common characteristics of you target customer (or buyer personas) or you can create ‘look-alike’ target audiences based on the custom tools within the platform.  For more information about the paid ad tools on each platform, please see our blogs about each platform.

Buying followers can be done in a couple of ways.

The first option is to respond to a direct approach, normally on social media, offering to sell you followers.  These are normally sold per thousand.  Buy followers at your peril.  They won’t engage with your content (posts) and may distort your page analytics (metrics) significantly.

Accessing a pre-existing ‘community’ that has been pre-built by an agency can produce an impressive number of page (and post) likes.  Some will have millions of members who are, evidently, very obedient and do as they are asked.  This is a tactic if you need to demonstrate interest in your brand or products, perhaps to an investor, but it is not cheap.  Or particularly sustainable.

Am I against ‘paid’ social media?  No.  I think the targeting and advertising tools have the potential to put you in front of people you’d never reach otherwise.  I think the best combination is paid + organic, still delivering as much quality content as you can to your social media following.

But I would avoid buying followers, in the same way that I’d avoid buying contact data.  It is poor quality and unlikely to convert.

Whether you want to build a social media audience that delivers ‘quantity’ or ‘quality’, we recommend you:

1. Identify your target market – you may already have some information, but the more you know about who you’re trying to target, the better the social media platforms will support you. They have targeting tools built within them based upon the data they gather from users, and in the paid versions these are really sophisticated.

2. Know what they’re looking for – once you start to interact with them you’ll know what questions they ask and also what kinds of things they interact with.  Taking time to understand what your target customers care about helps you talk about topics they are interested in.

3. Attract and engage them – by being interesting, engaging and relevant, you’ll start to attract people to your profiles and pages.  Use the language they understand and use themselves and your posts will be relevant to them.

4. Build trust and earn leads – doing so will encourage people to visit your website, subscribe to your mailing list and download the lead magnet you’ve created in exchange for an email address. They WILL ring you or send you a direct message, because it happens all the time.

5. Measure and improve. Think about what you’re going to measure, because big numbers don’t always mean anything. The quality of interactions is what matters for a social media following who will ultimately buy from you, or recommend you to others.

Social media is great for weak links, so don’t feel too disheartened when things don’t go your own way immediately and don’t expect too much of people.  After all, you’re not face-to-face, so you can’t rely on non-verbal cues or the opportunity to have a proper conversation to build rapport.

At the bottom of the inbound funnel, once somebody has become a customer, it’s a great way to keep in touch with them.

Turn them into an advocate and they will make sure your posts, comments and shares ‘move’.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the The Three Rs of Social Media Success.

Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

  1. The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success
  2. Know the Right Place for Social Media Success
  3. How do You Know the Right Time for Your Customers on Social Media
  4. Get the Right Message: Get their Attention
  5. Build Your Social Media Following versus Buying Reach and Followers
  6. Are your Goals ‘SMART’ Enough for Social Media Success?
  7. Mobile First and Live Streaming Video Help You Succeed in Social Media

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

For more Content Marketing tips and tricks, grab your free eBook here.

 

Photo by Fleur Treurniet on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalBuild Your Social Media Following versus Buying Reach and Followers

The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success

by Joanne Dolezal on 30th June 2018

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in, social media success hangs on the choices you make. Whether you’re selling to other businesses or to consumers, whether you’re a tiny company or giant corporation: your choice of social media  platforms, type of content and timing will be specific to you and your target customers.

But, there are some basic principles that will help you to get it right…

Right Time. Right Place. Right Message.

We often have high expectations of social media and of the staff who are managing it on our behalf. It’s wise to be realistic about how much it can do for us, and where the limits lie.

Your customer journey has changed.

Today, your customers are looking for a lot more information before they pick up the phone, send you an email or fill in that enquiry form on your website. About 70% of their decision-making is done before they first make contact with you.

So, where are your customers looking? Their journey may take them all over the internet, online searches, looking at social media to see what you talk about, how you behave and how you respond to customers. They’ll also be looking for any comments, testimonials and favourable reviews from clients.

Potential customers are trying to build a picture of you to see if they can trust you and if you can deliver – are you the real deal?

Authenticity is important on social media, as it helps us to build trust. It’s one of the biggest downsides to outsourcing social media management, because it’s difficult to get your true voice and personality across.

Depending on your sector and who your customers are, they will be looking for information about you in different places. They may be on Facebook, looking at the videos or images you’ve uploaded and they are quite likely on Twitter, which works for B2B, B2C and business to government.

They may be searching on YouTube, particularly if they want to learn and educate themselves, see how you do something or how your products and services are applied. If you offer business development, they could be using LinkedIn to find out more about you.

Potential customers will expect to find lots of information about you to build a picture and build trust. Think about where you appear online and on social media at the moment.

 How does Social Media help with marketing?

People often assume that if they publish a couple of posts on Facebook the phone will ring and they’ll make loads of money. If you’re really lucky, that’s what happens, but more generally it works in two key stages in the marketing sales funnel.

Social media works at the beginning of the funnel (or journey) to attract visitors to your website.

You may be inviting them to read a blog article, watch a video or download a report or white paper.

This is what we consider as ‘weak links’, because these aren’t your ‘friends’, they are digital connections to your business and your online profile.

BUT, it could be the beginning of a relationship.

One of the pluses of social media is that it can quickly create a conversation between you and another individual, and works brilliantly at the top of the funnel.

It can also work superbly at the very bottom of the funnel, post conversion. Once somebody becomes your customer, they begin to like you and in time may think what you do is great. These can become your Promoters as they’re more likely to engage with your social media posts, commenting and sharing them.

These are your advocates.

The other stages – conversion and closing leads – need a good website with good content, a strong email funnel and the ability to close leads. Don’t expect too much of your social media at these points.

Either way, you will need to be in the right place, at the right time with the right message.

To find out more about the Three Rs of Social Media Success check out our video:

We hope you’ve enjoyed the The Three Rs of Social Media Success.

Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

  1. The Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success
  2. Know the Right Place for Social Media Success
  3. How You Will Know the Right Time for Your Customers on Social Media
  4. Get the Right Message: Get their Attention
  5. Build Your Social Media Following versus Buyer Reach and Followers
  6. Are your Goals ‘SMART’ Enough for Social Media Success?
  7. Mobile First and Live Streaming Video Help You Succeed in Social Media

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

For more Content Marketing tips and tricks, grab your free eBook here.

 

Photo by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalThe Three ‘Rs’ of Social Media Success

Dominate Your Niche With Content Marketing

by Joanne Dolezal on 9th February 2018

Once you find your niche, ideally the smaller the better, you will find some surprising benefits. You cannot be all things to all men or women. You are probably really good at just a few things. We are most successful when we do those few things really well for people who really appreciate what we can do – your niche market.

Why finding your niche is a good thing

It’s important to find your niche because there’s so much competition when you are a ‘Jack of all trades’ and your target customers just become confused. It’s pretty exhausting as well.

With the volume of ‘me too’ content being published online every second, of every minute you will struggle to build a following.  But if you are a specialist (or even an expert) in one or two areas, you may find that it’s easier to focus in and create content for a fairly tight target customer.

How big a market do you want? How many customers can you serve at one time? It may be fewer than you think. Especially if you can price your products and services in line with their rarity.

As Heather Townsend writes in her excellent book “The Go To Expert” this doesn’t mean you have to drop all your other products and services, but you focus on one or two clearly defined areas of expertise that would appeal to a small number of potential customers.

The benefits when you niche down include the increased fees you can charge as a specialist; more time for content marketing about the niche you want to dominate; greater confidence and raised profile in your specialism/s; invitations to speak on others’ podcasts or at their events; write for their publications or guest on their blog; collaborate on bigger projects where your skill set is valued and in short supply.

Where to find your niche audience

There are hundreds of social media channels, but you need to work out what you’re good at and find your community. Maybe you only need to be on Pinterest or on LinkedIn, or there’s an online forum in your sector or target industry, and that’s where everyone hangs out.

Create a presence in just a few places, but make it strong; people will value you and trust what you have to say, you’ll get much further than by trying to be everywhere and reach every demographic on every platform.

What’s interesting is when you ask people which bloggers they follow and where they get their information from, you’ve never heard of them, and they’ve never heard of any of the people you rave about.

New media creates new niche market opportunities

The proliferation of digital media and the different ways of marketing mean that you have a whole new range of celebrities, competing for your customers attention.  They could be a blogger or a vlogger like:

  • Zoella – fashion vlogger beloved of teenage girls – with 12million and 8million YouTube subscribers on her two channels
  • Stampyonghead – the unofficial king of Minecraft – with 9million YouTube subscribers
  • Miranda Sings – with lipstick on – with 8.5 million YouTube subscribers
  • Dude Perfect – 5 guys who do trick shots and sporting challenges – with 26million YouTube subscribers
  • Pewdiepie – king of the online gamers (despite his ill-judged recent antics) – with 60million YouTube subscribers

I could rattle off a long list of names. I bet you could to if you have a hobby, niche interest or kids who are old enough to be online.

You might have heard of some of them; your kids have probably heard of more – full disclosure: I consulted my teenager!

How about business and marketing podcasts?

I have been a podcast listener and online conference attendee of Social Media Examiner since about 2011. The founder Michael Stelzners weekly podcast on social media is my tried and tested source of all that’s new and how to apply it.  Yet when I’m working with clients, speaking at events or delivering workshops I see blank faces. Their annual conference now draws over 3,000 people yet their reputation has not reached mainstream marketers.

My other ”go to’ bloggers and podcasters will likely mean nothing to you either but for the record they are, in no particular order:

  • Mark Schaefer – blogger, podcaster and author
  • Michael Zipursky – blogger, podcaster, author and king of consulting success
  • Chris Brogan – blogger, author, membership platform: Owner Media
  • Marcus Sheridan – king of social media ‘how to’ blog, podcast and conference
  • Marie Forleo – YouTuber, membership platform: BSchool
  • Chris Marr – blogger, speaker, conference and memberships platform: Content Marketing Academy (and closer to home, in Scotland)

Even when I mention Tony Robbins, many people look a bit blank (despite his brief cameo in “Shallow Hal”).

What you’ll find is that each of these content marketers has a ‘small’ (relatively speaking) but very passionate audience for whom they are like celebrities or thought leaders. This passionate audience is prepared to part with money on a regular basis.

Where will you develop your niche?

It’s not like the old days, where you had three TV channels and a few media to broadcast the same message to everybody in the hope that someone out there was listening.

Now, you can find your niche and focus.  You can become very clear about who you are and who you can serve. Once they find you, they will stick with you, because they love what you have to say; it doesn’t matter how often they’ve heard it before.  The way you say it makes the most sense. And once you connect with them you discover that you’ve changed their life in some way.

So, this niche thing. How do you find it?

Chances are you already have an idea but if you are still unsure how to identify your hidden talents there are some tips in this blog:  Unleash Your Talents and Achieve Greater Success

There is also a wealth of wisdom and ‘how to’ in the “Go To Expert” and “why to” on Michael Zipursky’s Consulting Success podcast. There may be thought leaders in your own industry who you turn to for this kind of inspiration.

Alternatively, why not let us help you. We’ve helped many, many clients find what makes them special, different, niche over the years and then develop digital and content marketing strategies to reach your target customers efficiently.

What are the “Seven Habits of Successful Content Marketers”?

Tips and real examples from people who’ve inspired me over the last five years. They demonstrate, by using Content Marketing, how it has worked for the businesses they run.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 7 Habits of Successful Content Marketers. Why not check out the other blogs in the series:

  1.  Tell them what they want to know – often
  2.   Follow the plan and pick the right tools
  3.   Be efficient – reduce, re-use, recycle
  4.   Master social media, especially TWITTER
  5.   The 80:20 rule: 80% theirs: 20% yours
  6.   Earn Active Passive Income with RITE content
  7.   Find your niche… the smaller, the better
  8.   Measure your content marketing, often

If you like video, check out our recording of this fascinating topic and learn from these amazing thoughtleaders.

Our new online programme Content Marketing Conquered is designed with you in mind. Based on our successful workshop programme and latest strategies, we guide you to the top in 6 easy steps.

Don’t leave without grabbing your free eBook.

 

Photo by Vladimir Kudinov on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalDominate Your Niche With Content Marketing

Social Media – To Pay or Not to Pay Video

by Joanne Dolezal on 7th April 2017

Every day there are more and more social media channels… and more ways to reach your customers with paid and unpaid social media tools.

The days of free social media reach will soon be over, BUT where and when to pay for ‘reach’ is the question. Facebook, Linked In and Twitter all offer sophisticated targeting tools and you can potentially reach out to millions of people at a time. YouTube taps in to the Google advertising platform so has a powerful search marketing function.

You can achieve a lot without spending money but at some point, you may want to tap into the potential the paid features to achieve your goals:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Lead Generation
  • Customer Engagement
  • Customer Retention

In this video we take you through the pros and cons of social media advertising. We will share our experience of when it can be worth it… and when to stick with the free tools.

We want to be able to help business owners and marketers like you who are looking for a digital marketing consultant or sound advice, anywhere in the world.

In this video we take you through:

  • Should you ever pay for Social Media?
  • To Pay or Not to Pay for Facebook Advertising – Part 1 & Part 2
  • The Pros and Cons of Twitter Advertising
  • Linked In Paid Features and When to Use Them
  • The Power of YouTube Adverts versus Free SEO Tools
  • Top Tips for Creating Social Media Adverts

Check out the blog series that accompanies this video.

Questions answered included:

  1. Why do you have to set objectives in ad campaigns?
  2. How effective are paid Ads on Facebook?
  3. How do Twitter Cards work?
  4. Which platforms allow you to target by location?
  5. Are ‘one-off’ ads ever worth it?
  6. Are Linked In ads value for money?

If you enjoy our video, why not download our free guide:

“Quick Links to Ad Tools”

Look our for our online courses, starting Spring 2018. 

Sign up to our newsletter and be the first to know.

 

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

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Joanne DolezalSocial Media – To Pay or Not to Pay Video