Social Media Marketing: 3 Overlooked Mistakes 

By Steve Hoag

social media marketing mistakes

Social media needs to be on every marketer’s radar. It also needs to be done the right way. It’s one of the easiest ways to boost your brand presence, as long as you properly manage it. There are many ‘how to’ articles on social media, but it’s also worth noting what NOT to do. Instead of mentioning the obvious pitfalls, this article will focus on some overlooked ones that can also derail your marketing program.

Not being active when your target segment is.

This really depends on what sort of business you are. If you operate only in the local market, by all means post entirely during standard business hours. If you are an internet business though, paying attention to your target segment’s hours of activity is trickier. Possible leads and sales can come at any time of the day. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of social media platforms like HootSuite or TweetDeck that allow you to schedule tweets ahead of time. Make sure your business has a steady stream of tweets throughout the day so that it is always in front of the right eyes, regardless of where they are in the world.

Not taking advantage of free analytics to track engagement.

A lot of people think the most important metrics on social media are follower counts. While these are important, they don’t give an accurate picture of what kind of engagement you are getting. There are many free tools out there that can track important metrics like engagement, influence, and clickthrough rates. For example, Klout measures your social media influence and what you are most influential in. Services like bit.ly not only shorten your URLS, but also track when and where people are clicking through on your links. Using services like these in conjunction with the standard metrics social media networks give you will help to paint a much more accurate picture. You don’t need a fancy analytics solution right off the bat to help give you insight!

Abusing hashtags.

#Don’t #Use #Hashtags #For #Every #Word. Hashtags used to only be used for Twitter, but they have since expanded to services like Facebook and Instagram. Instagram is notorious for people abusing hashtags like #nofilter etc. Don’t treat your business accounts like a teenage girl’s. Only use hashtags for appropriate phrases that reach out to your target segment. For example, #webdesign if you are in the web design business. Don’t use too many hashtags even if they are relevant in every post. That can turn people away from engaging with your posts. Finally, please avoid using hashtags in networks that can’t leverage them. There are many people on LinkedIn who post things that use hashtags even though they don’t serve any discernable business purpose. Use them when they’re appropriate and crucial to reaching your audience.

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, February 21, 2014 8:06:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise inbound marketing SEO social media social media marketing

Inbound Marketing: Why It's Here to Stay 

By Steve Hoag

inbound marketing strategies

Inbound marketing is taking off in a huge way. And it’s in it for the long haul. Digital marketers and users alike are falling head over heels for this approach. So why is it here to stay, and not another passing fad? Read on!

Low costs and high incentives for users create high engagement for marketers.

People love free things. Inbound marketing is all about providing free, high quality content to empower users. The user is only spending a few minutes of their time to acquire great information. The biggest hurdle for most users is filling out a simple opt in form on a landing page. Thanks to the very low end-user cost and the fact that users WANT this content, inbound marketing campaigns can generate a great deal of engagement. There are also extra incentives that can be added in like coupons or free sample for sharing/liking etc. Consumers aren’t dumb. They know a good deal when they see one, which is why inbound marketing is exploding in popularity right now.

Data friendly.

There’s one thing that every marketing team wants: actionable data. Inbound marketing is great for this thanks to the use of forms and analytics that help provide actionable data. Marketers can quickly gain access to a variety of KPI’s, and in some cases using only free tools.

Synergizes with other (free) technologies like social media.

Marketers love free things just as much as consumers. As I pointed out earlier, there are a ton of free tools and technologies that inbound marketing synergizes with. You don’t have to purchase a fancy analytics package right off the bat. You can use tools like MailChimp, bit.ly, Google Analytics, and more to start a bootstrap marketing campaign. Not to mention that social media is absolutely free, and is arguably the most important inbound marketing tool there is. Inbound marketing is one of the most cost-effective business decisions you will ever make. This sort of marketing strategy is not just for the big brands. ANY business can take advantage of it thanks to its high budget flexibility and synergistic qualities.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, February 14, 2014 6:44:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise inbound marketing landing pages SEO SMB social media social media marketing web trends

Big Brand Social Media Lessons for Small Businesses 

By Steve Hoag

social media for small business

 

Big brands are often idolized on social media. They have thousands of followers, everything they post gets shared, and they seem to grow without even trying. Well I have news for you! They do have to try very hard to break through the clutter. In fact, big brands can be highly innovative on social media. Here are some social media lessons small businesses can learn from their larger brethren:

Create a lifestyle, story, or personality.

One of the biggest hurdles of a big brand is to overcome the stigma that comes with being a business giant. Consumers tend to think of you as a faceless giant. Many big brands have overcome this stigma using social media to create stories and a unique personality. Starbucks uses Instagram to post casual pictures of customers, its coffee shops, and products. IBM created a network of blogs to give consumers an inside look into life as an IBM employee.The Weather Channel makes Vine videos to peek into its radio station shows. These are all different tactics that serve the same purpose – namely, to give a big brand a face and personality.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

There are two camps of thought when it comes to big brands when it comes to outside the box thinking. Some people say: ‘They have the budget, resources, and brand recognition to try crazy things and make them go viral.’ Others think: ‘Just because they have the resources doesn’t mean they will be successful. If they fail it will blow up in their faces because of how popular their brand is.’ Both are true. Thinking outside the box is a huge risk for big brands. They will either be celebrated or chastised. Pepsi has created soda machines that give out free samples in exchange for Facebook likes. Chipotle has even fake hacked its own Twitter account to create buzz. The point is, if big brands aren’t shying away from risk, why should you? There’s much more room for error with small businesses!

Pay attention to individual customers. Make them feel valued.

Big brands have thousands, if not millions of customers. It’s hard to keep track of all of their needs and concerns! Big brands have actually done really well at connecting with individual customers to make everyone feel valued. There are dozens of dedicated support accounts for products like Xbox, Comcast Digital Cable, and much more. Other brands like Zappos share cool customer stories like orders from Antarctica. Big brands are constantly monitoring social media, looking for mentions, analyzing sentiment, and then reaching out to those users. The point of social media is to connect people with people. You’ve won social media if you can make another person feel like they’re talking with another human being, rather than a brand. Reach out to people that mention you! Making people feel valued goes a long way.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:27:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SMB social media social media marketing

The Top 3 Landing Page Mistakes To Avoid 

By Steve Hoag

inbound marketing tips

 

Landing pages are a critical component of inbound marketing. They need to be done well, or your campaigns won’t be as successful as you would like. A standard landing page is made up of a few components like a headline, sign up form, and a call to action. These are fairly straightforward, but it’s easy to make an easy mistake if you aren’t careful. Avoid the following at all costs!

Lack of a compelling headline.

A headline is the hook that you lure users with. A great headline can secure many leads, while lackluster ones will only drive bounce rates. Make sure your headline is concise, compelling, and straight to the point. The point of the headline is to keep users on the page, and drive them to the forms below. Try A/B testing to see which types of headlines resonate the best with your audience.

No clear call to action.

A landing page isn’t complete without a clear call to action. The point of a landing page is to acquire leads, and a clear call to action facilitates this. It’s important to ensure that the user knows what he/she is supposed to do on the landing page. Don’t confuse them with tons of links to click on, or a variety of call to actions. Keep the decision tree as simple as possible so your users can get from A to B without having to visit C and D first. More choices equals more confusion. If a child can’t figure out what to do your call to action isn’t clear enough.

Too complicated of a sign up form.

A user’s worst nightmare are long, complicated, tedious forms. Users love great content, but will decide to forego that content if they are greeted with an enormous form. It’s crucial to keep your opt-in forms as simple as possible. Focus on the bare necessities. If you can live with just an email address, use that as the only field on the form. Again, A/B testing with different versions of contact forms is a great way of finding out the perfect number of fields to use. This will help to balance consumer insight while minimizing bounce and form abandonment rates.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, February 11, 2014 7:53:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise inbound marketing landing pages social media social media marketing web design

The Top 3 Mistakes Made in Content Marketing 

content marketing mistakes

Content marketing can be a huge asset to any business that uses it. It drives traffic, brand awareness, SEO, and lead generation. The trick is to avoid some common pitfalls that can really inhibit the success of your online marketing and implement best practices. So what should you be careful to avoid?

Not having a clear plan and appropriate metrics established.

Every marketing tool needs to have a solid plan and strategy behind it. Otherwise, it’s like having a ship with no compass. You have a great tool but no direction. It’s important to build a content calendar to know when/where to post. Also, be sure to clearly define metrics to measure your success. Depending on your budget, there are a lot of great free and premium tools out there that you can use. For instance, bit.ly is a URL shortener that you can utilize to measure clickthroughs. Metrics and analytics are crucial for building on previous success, and continually optimizing your marketing.

Not clearly defining your audience.

Another common mistake businesses make is not clearly defining or understanding their target audience. Understanding your target audience is one of the most critical success factors in content marketing. Create an audience profile so that you have a clear direction to go in for every piece of content. Not knowing your audience means a lot of your content can be hit or miss, and that’s not a recipe for long term success.

Not making content easy to digest.

Online marketing content should not be like reading a college textbook. It needs to be concise, informative, and compelling. Don’t write something in two paragraphs that can be done in one. Use pictures or infographics where appropriate to quickly convey information. Also, make use of sub-headings that allow users to skim content, and still have the same basic takeaways as someone who read every word. Internet content marketing is about turning a whole meal’s worth of info into bite-sized chunks.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, February 4, 2014 8:25:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise SEO SMB social media marketing website
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