5 Reasons to Hire a Social Media Marketing Team 

Benefits of hiring a social media marketing team

Social media marketing has become one of the top marketing strategies for businesses today. It has opened up more opportunities to reach out and engage with targeted audiences and the chance to turn leads into paying customers.

If your business website lacks social media integration, you’re certainly losing out on the possibilities of gaining more prospects and sales. While starting on your own seems like a good idea, you need to consider that in the future when your sales and customers increase, you’ll need manpower and expertise in planning, crafting and disseminating social media content.

Here are the benefits of hiring a social media marketing team:

(1) It allows you to concentrate more on the business side while experts handle social media

With the rest of the activities involved in running your business, you may find it overwhelming to handle the technical and marketing aspects of using social media. Using the expertise of professional social media marketers who are well-versed in using and implementing this type of marketing strategy can alleviate this stress for you.

(2) Hiring a team allows you to learn the social media ropes with less pressure

On your own or with the help of your social media team, you can learn the ropes of this social media marketing in your own time. In our opinion, this is an ideal approach for you as an owner of a growing online business since you need to be present to service your customers. Learning basic tasks, such as creating accounts, posting updates based on guidelines, and engaging with followers will be easier if you have someone to guide you.

(3) You get additional prospects through social networks

Since you have a dedicated team of social media strategists, it is easier and more effective to implement techniques such as creation of social media content, posting, scheduling, and engaging with followers. With proper implementation and time, you’ll see the rise in website activity, and hopefully sales.

(4) Keep your social community up-to-date while strengthening your brand

Your dedicated social media team can handle all the needs and expectations of your social media followers - from adding short product posts and updates on Facebook, to tweeting your upcoming promos and discounts. Handling responses and keeping the interaction swift and engaged is a great way to show that you care more for your customers than the money they'll spend on your website.

(5) No need to micromanage your social media team

Hiring a social media team shouldn’t be too complicated particularly for you, the business owner. You will often encounter outsourced team of experts with their own supervisors to oversee them. If you choose this path, you'll only deal with an account manager when it comes to updates and reports. It's also possible to schedule monthly or quarterly meetings together with the rest of the team.

Social media strategies, when done right, can accelerate your online success. You don't have to be a one-man-band to accomplish the tasks; instead, consider hiring an expert team as soon as you can to see better results.

Are you pondering on using social media as a marketing strategy? Don't know how it's done? Get in touch with us and we'll help you get started.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Thursday, April 30, 2015 5:57:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C business partnership enterprise inbound marketing online marketing small business tips social media marketing

Creating Better Converting Landing Pages 

creating better converting landing pages

When designing landing pages, there are a couple key challenges that you’ll face when optimizing your pages for the highest possible conversions. First, you’ll face various visitors from difference sources, whether through paid, social or email campaigns.  Remember to use the same language used in the campaign.  Visitors see this as “message match”, and this helps to develop trust with the customer and eventually convert them.

People who visit your landing pages need to be persuaded to purchase through the use of targeted messaging.  But with all of the different visitors, campaigns and locations, how can you set up landing pages specific to all of different targets?  They key is to generally define audience ‘types’ and then create landing pages with specific messages to these targets.

The next challenge is to capture the data that you need from the site visitor in the hopes of creating a conversion.  This usually involves having some kind of form on the page.  Asking visitors to fill out a form can be challenging, so the less fields to fill, the better.  Remember that people don’t give their information easily, so designing the page with branded visuals helps in portraying trust and authority for your brand.

Why take time to optimize your landing page?

It expedites the sales process.  Capturing data from your prospects helps you to expedite your sales process.  One you have their information, you can place them in to your sales cycle and eventually turn them into customers.

It will lower your cost per lead.  When your landing pages become more successful, your cost per lead goes down.  It’s important to drive traffic to your landing pages to promote their success.  A lot of time and money goes into creating your campaigns, be sure to make them pay off as much as possible.

What do you need to include on your page?

Here is a short list of items that should be on every landing page:

  • Logo
  • Offer.  The images and text on the page should answer this one question for your visitors:  “What can you do for me”.  This should be the first thing they see when they visit the page.
  • Large, beautiful image.  The image should relate to the text and offer in some way. 
  • Call to action.  Your call to action should be clear and concise.  Be sure to make the steps obvious and easy to do.
  • No Navigation.  If possible, remove any non-essential navigation on the page.  You want page visitors to focus on your offer.
  • Form.  The length and usability of the form is crucial in getting conversions.  Remember that the lower the number of fields in your form, the greater number of leads you’ll receive.

Landing pages should be usable, readable, and persuasive and appear trustworthy. 

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Posted by Thursday, January 15, 2015 11:51:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C content development inbound marketing landing pages marketing tips SMB web trends website

How to Effectively Integrate Social Media into Your Website 

how to integrate social media into your website

 

If you’re a small business, integrating social media into your site is essential.  Integrating social media into your site can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what to do or how to do it.

Your social media channels should work with your site to help your brand gain exposure on the internet.

How do you do this?

Use visible social media buttons on your site

While this may seem obvious, double check.  Make sure that your social media buttons appear on every page of your site.  Also, so that users don’t navigate away from your site, make sure that when the user selects the button, the social media site opens in another window.  The goal is to increase the interaction the user has with your brand, not to lead them away.

On the image below, The Empress Secret has chosen to add their social media icons on the top right of the site:
 

Integrate social media posts into your home page

Google and other web search engines crawl the internet looking for updated content continually.  If the home page of your site contains a ‘feed’ of your twitter or blog content, the content is being updated every time that you blog or tweet.

Next, if there is a feed to your home page, make sure that you’re updating your social media on a consistent basis.  Showing old material or content dates on your home page does not show well for your brand.    New, relevant material on your site shows your customers that you take your business and your product seriously and you’re providing relevant, up to date material.

Below, Diginomica shows a series of recent conversations from their social media on their site:
 
Include Share Buttons

Think of Share buttons like this:  If you take the time to write and post content, why not also make sure that your followers can share it with their friends?  If you don’t, you could potentially be missing out on a ton of business.

To do this, check out apps like http://www.addthis.com/ or http://www.sharethis.com.

Internet Retailer shows the social media “share” buttons in the left column, beside this article.  When you scroll down on the site, the icons follow as you scroll.
 
Look to Google Analytics for Help

Google analytics can help you to track how people are using your social media buttons.  They suggest setting up Event Tracking in your Analytics account.  If you don’t know how to do this, Google provides a easy to use guide, just select the link above.

Allow social log ins to make it easier to connect to you.

With social log ins, users don’t have to create an account on your site.  Instead, they use their own log in information from their favorite social media site to log into your site.

Using social log ins helps to create a community for your brand quickly.  From here, engage with your followers for more sales.

There you have it.  Some quick ideas on integrating social media into your site.

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What’s a Buyer Persona and Why You Need to Understand Them 

Do you know who your customers are?  How old are they?  How much money do they make?  What kind of car do they drive?  Do they own a home?  Do they have children?  

Understanding this kind of information will help you to create a Buyer Persona.

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

This information provides great insight for you and your company.  The information can be used to guide the development of your products and services, and can help to lead your company for the future.

The more detail in the Buyer Persona, the better.  Here are some things to include:

  • Customer demographics (age, income, occupation, home ownership).  Demographics are the known facts about your customers.  
  • Psychographics (behavior patterns, motivations and goals).  Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of your target audience.

The more detailed you are, the better.

Sample Buyer Persona

Wink Online Marketing created a great basic template to assist you in creating a basic buyer persona:
buyer persona
Here is their sample completed persona from the Buyer Persona Institute:

Depending on the number of products or services that you offer, you may develop several buyer personas for your target customers.

Why Buyer Personas are Important

Developing Buyers Personas are important because it will help you to better understand your target.  Developing a better understanding of your target will help you to better define their needs, leading to more sales.

  • You can develop key words based on your buyer personas.  This will help to attract customers to your site.
  • Identify the type of content that they like best.  Your audience will gravitate toward that content — and it’s this type of content that you should focus more of your content marketing efforts on.  This includes everything - blogging, images, social media, videos – should all be created with your persona’s in mind.
  • Over time, they help you to develop a personality and style that are attractive to your target audience.

What now?

Refine.  Refine.  Refine.    Your Buyer Persona is a work in progress.  As your target audience ages and changes, your Buyer Persona will have to continually be updated to ensure that you’re providing the right product or service for your target.  

This is something that you really don’t want to lose sight of.

 

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Posted by Tuesday, December 9, 2014 1:17:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C content development inbound marketing marketing tips online marketing web trends

The Comment Sections Are Dying, So How Do You Engage Your Audience? 

customer engagement

Blogging is a fantastic way of engaging potential customers and building a relationship of trust, so that when you land your sales pitch, you’ve got more chance of converting. The comments section on blog posts and articles has long provided the environment for this engagement to occur. However, in recent years, comments haven’t managed to stimulate quite as much discussion on some sites as intended. So if readers aren’t engaging on your blog posts and articles, then how can you persuade them to get involved?

Community Involvement
There’s a term that gets bandied around in the social media sphere known as ‘community’. A group of customers, big or small, that are passionate about your brand and the things you do, so much so that they are actively involved in the development and promotion of your brand. Building an active community, and reaping the rewards of customer loyalty, free publicity and social recommendations that come with it, is likened to the Holy Grail for content marketers.

But You Need Right Kind of Brand
The sad truth is, though, not every brand can build a community in any real sense. The willingness for customers and potential customers to partake in something depends entirely on the character and personality of the brand. For example, in the UK, Kimberely Clark’s Andrex toilet paper launched the ‘scrunch or fold’ campaign, an initiative that asked customers across the internet to get involved and discuss how they prefer to wrap up their toilet experience. Needless to say, the campaign fell short of expectations and was a mere drop in the, err, ocean, given the reluctance of customers to discuss their private moments so openly.

Alternatives to Comments
So how can we foster a user base of active and enthusiastic customers?

It’s our job as marketers to work out where our customers are, what they want and how they like to be communicated with. These days, it’s no secret that social media plays a large role in people’s lives. So taking the conversation onto social media, as opposed to on your website can result in an increase in engagement for the following reasons:

  • People can be themselves on social media so you’re likely to foster a more genuine discussion
  • Comments and likes spread to the commenter’s friends and followers, amplifying your content
  • This amplification can lead to more people getting involved in the discussion

To make the most of social media as a replacement for your comments system however, there are a few realities that you must face:

  1. You’ll loose control. You can’t moderate the comments you receive on Facebook like you can on your website. People are free to say whatever they please and this can sometimes divert the point of the discussion and derail the debate.
  2. Targeting frailty. It’s a lot easier to comment on something you see on Facebook because users don’t even need to read the article or visit your website to take part in the discussion. Therefore, although you may experience an increase in engagement, it may simply be people that don’t represent you target market jumping on the bandwagon. 

There are arguments for and against comment systems. They can be a genuinely pleasant experience that enthuse readers, stimulate debate and bring people closer to your brand. Alternatively, they can be a free for all mash up of random insults and incoherence or deserted, baron wastelands. Whatever the case is on your site, if the discussion has dried up, it may be time to consider moving on. And the best place to start is the place where your customers are holding their discussions instead.

 

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Posted by Monday, November 17, 2014 3:12:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging content development inbound marketing
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