Communication within social networks have increased significantly during the pandemic. Facebook saw a 50% increase in messaging within countries hit hardest by the virus, with voice and video calling doubling over Messenger and WhatsApp. So what does that mean for small businesses fighting to survive during this unprecedented event in our history? Simple: If you want to stay relevant, increase brand awareness, gain new customers, and stay profitable, you need to use social media marketing.
Social media marketing utilizes social media platforms to connect with consumers to build brands, drive website traffic, and garnish sales. To achieve this, you need to publish great content, listen to and engage with your followers, run social media ads, and analyze your results.
At the moment, the major social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.
Choosing which platform to use depends on various factors such as your target market, what you have to offer, and your marketing goals. Having a social media content strategy and sticking to your plan will help you pick which platform or platforms are worth the time and effort.
For many small businesses owners, managing their social media can be overwhelming with everything else that they need to get done. If this sounds like you, I would highly recommend enlisting the help of someone for just a few hours a week to drive your social media. This can either be an existing employee, a freelance writer, marketing agency, or even a student. In this day-and-age, it should be pretty easy to find someone adept at social media for business.
In addition to creating great content, you should consider using a social media management tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Zoho. These tools enable you to automate, analyze, better control, and dive deeper into your social media accounts. These apps can post the same updates on all your social accounts, schedule future updates, and help you find the most appropriate and effective content to post and times to post it.
Not all social media management apps are the same. However, all of them offer a free trial period and some performance analytics. Several go further and let you analyze your followers and other details from your social media accounts.
In addition to using a social media management app, you should create a social media plan for optimum success. This plan should include your messaging, goals, and when you plan to post. To save time, you can and should schedule future posts and updates to provide your followers with consistent content. If your content is far and few between, you will lose followers quickly.
Last but not least, when using social media you need to create content that is useful as well as visually appealing. While nearly 90% of all companies engage in content marketing on some level, few manage to produce “share-worthy” content. The reason is simple. Most people who post on social media do so without thinking or creating a plan.
To learn how to create killer social media content, please click here to read our previous blog. As always, we welcome your comments and questions regarding this blog post.
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Content creation is a vital part of any strategic marketing plan. Whether you are using social media to attract new customers or build on existing relationships, you need to create content that is useful as well as visually appealing. While nearly 90% of all companies engage in content marketing on some level, few manage to produce “share-worthy” content. The reason is simple. Most people who post on social media do so without thinking or creating a plan.
Fortunately, there are many ways to create great social media content if you set your mind to it. The most effective is to include the "right" image. Studies show that 93% of all human communication is visual. This means that consumers decide whether to read a post based on the visual elements.
How To Increase Engagements
According to research, there are several psychological factors to why people engage in online activities. Among them are: the desire for social approval; they want to show support, and they want to be entertained. While it is extremely challenging to achieve a high level of engagements on every post, the following 10 tips should help you gain social media followers and increase engagements.
1. Write Useful Content.
Internet users have a big appetite for news and are more likely to share a post if it offers new information or a fresh perspective. Creating this type of content may require research and extra time, but the dividends are worth it.
If you decide that writing your own social media content is too time consuming, I highly recommend that you outsource it.
2. Make Posts Easy To Read.
You have only a second or two to grab an internet user’s attention. Be sure to format your content in such a way that the information is easy to read quickly. Write succinctly. Use numbered lists or bullet points when appropriate, and bold type or color to highlight key points.
3. Know Your Audience
Before creating or sharing content, ask yourself if it's something that your audience would like to see and share with their friends. If you are not sure about the demographics of your audience, use your social media posts to gain that information simply survey your followers. When you ask people about themselves, this not only creates engagement but gives you special insight into what they want.
4. Pull at Heartstrings
Some of the most successful marketing campaigns went viral because they sparked strong emotional reactions among followers. If you can make someone feel happiness, anger, or sorrow, they are more likely to comment or share a post.
5. Get Nostalgic
Depending on the age of your audience, everyone loves to recall old memories. If you know the average age of your audience, you can easily find images and subject matters to appeal to them. Similar to the emotional strategy, consumers generally comment on memories.
6. Share Your Blog
Social media is a great place to let your followers know when you have posted a new blog. Remember, internet users are looking for information, so if your blog is worth writing, it’s worth sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
7. Offer Incentives
Everyone loves free stuff. Think about posting a drawing for a free gift. If you do this, make sure your prize is something that either brings someone to your business or they can easily associate with your brand.
8. Find Your Funny Bone
When it comes to social media, you don’t always have to take your business so seriously. Infact, funny posts, images, and videos attract attention and increase the shareability of posts.
9. Post Videos
Video marketing remains the best performing digital content type, driving more views, more engagement and more response than any other social posting option. That’s what social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn have added the ability for users to post videos.
10. Use Hashtags
Hashtags (#) are specific and unique keywords that make your content more discoverable on social media platforms and help you to engage with other social media users based on a common theme or interest.
Final Thought: The best way to create social media content is to build a complete campaign. Oftentimes, businesses struggle to keep up with their social posting schedule because they are being reactive versus proactive. This makes it difficult to reap the benefits of social media. Plus, it’s tough to always be writing posts on the fly without much thought ahead of time.
The rapid increase of social media channels is a great way for small business owners to tell their story in their own words. However, despite the rise in social media marketing, public relations is still one of the best ways to elevate one's brand.
For those not familiar with public relations (PR), it is the practice of managing and distributing information about an individual or organization to the public through free media coverage instead of paid advertising.
The old saying “Advertising is what you pay for; publicity is what you pray for” is still true today but the opportunity to generate free press is substantially greater thanks to the internet.
Back in 1997, when I began my career in PR, getting free media coverage for an organization came with the potential for backlash. This was back when journalists were known for leaping out from behind the bushes to capture a stunned executive’s reaction to intimidating questions. If the executive was ill-prepared, any news coverage did more harm than good.
Unfortunately, being old school isn’t always advantageous since people now have more control over where, when, and how they consume information. As a result, public relations is no longer about feeding into a traditional news cycle. Instead, it is about providing relevant content when, where, and how your prospects, influencers, and customers will consume it.
Over a decade ago, people still relied on traditional newspapers and broadcast journalists for local, regional, and national news. Today, the vast majority of consumers scan headlines on the internet and use social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, to see what’s happening around the world. A recent survey of journalists by Atlanta PR firm Arketi Group found press releases are still the best resource for generating story ideas.
About Press Releases
A press release is an official announcement (written or recorded) issued by an organization to the news media and beyond. Whether you call it a "press release," a "press statement," a "news release," or a "media release," we're talking about the same thing. That's why large corporations and marketing agencies still write and distribute press releases as part of their PR campaigns.
Whether written for traditional news media or online, a release should include: a heading, two to three paragraphs of content, a quote, and contact information of the organization submitting the release.
When writing a press release it is important to format it based on whether you are targeting traditional or digital media. Social media releases are generally formatted to help journalists to identify and access key content quickly with bullets, lists of ready-made quotes, and hyperlinks if distributing the release electronically.
Both traditional and digital media reporters rely on the headline of the release to determine whether they will read it or trash it. The headline should contain the subject matter along with a hook. The hook is a way of presenting your news to stimulate interest from the media audience.
The hook can come in many formats, including an image, an amazing statistic, or a thought-provoking question, says Kate Logan of Active Press. Some businesses rely on PR stunts to create a hook designed to gain news media attention.
Press Release Content
The first paragraph of your release should answer the "who," "what," "why," and "where." While subsequent paragraphs should provide enough information so a reporter or news outlet can publish your story without having to contact anyone.
Press releases should be succinct and limited to one page -- two pages, tops. And while it may be tempting to include colorful adjectives to make a story sound more intriguing, remember the job of a reporter is to report facts, only.
With the barrage of media releases facing news outlets daily, editors and reporters have a set of standards to which they judge whether a story is “newsworthy” or not. Your press release may not contain “breaking news,” but if you can demonstrate that your story is relevant, timely, and useful to their audience(s), you increase your odds of obtaining PR coverage.
Sometimes it’s difficult to dream up the perfect PR idea. Before you invest your time and money into a PR campaign, here are some tips to help you should ask yourself these three questions:
1. Is it interesting?
2, Is it relevant to what we do?
3. Does it serve our purpose?
Finally, here are some basic types of announcements to help you carve out your PR campaign.
Mergers and acquisitions
New product launches
Receiving an award
Hosting an event
Opening a new office
Introducing a new partnership
New Hires and employee promotions