Social Media Management

Having active social media accounts across all popular platforms is critical in 2018. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others offer business owners a powerful edge when leveraged properly.

You can distribute content and special offers, communicate with your customers, drive traffic to your website, and even run targeted advertisements for your best demographics.

TimeBut Who Has the Time?

The kicker is, what business owner has enough time to manage all those profiles? How do you post on multiple platforms several times per week while ensuring they stay on-message? Throw managing ad campaigns into the mix, and there’s just no way. That’s where we come in.

We offer fully-managed social media campaigns that will help your website rank in Google while giving your customers a way to interact directly with your brand. With our team of copywriters, advertising specialists, and social media managers, we can ensure that every single post is tailor-made to provide value to your specific audience.

Social MediaIs Social Media That Important?

Yes! Think of it this way:

Companies spend millions of dollars every year on social media advertising. With over 70% of people in the US having a profile on at least one platform, it’s not very surprising.

The more followers you gain just by actively participating on the platform is free traffic and free brand awareness. Something the biggest names are willing to pay a premium for.

By distributing relevant information and high-quality content, you also help establish your company as a thought-leader in your industry. A company that is knowledgeable, invested in their own success, and always on top of the latest developments.

Rising RankingsSocial Media as a Ranking Factor

If your goal is to rank your website higher in Google Search Results (and it should be), social media activity is a critical piece of the puzzle. Google ultimately wants to show its users websites that are relevant to their search query. Active social media accounts are just one of the ways you can show Google that you are a relevant, active business who can meet the needs of the searcher.

Businesses with social media accounts that are inactive or rarely updated give the opposite signal to Google. Just by making a few high-quality posts a week, you can show Google that you can be trusted to meet the needs of their users.

Not to mention, your search profiles themselves can rank in Google. If that’s the case, you don’t want a potential customer to see a profile that hasn’t made a post this calendar year.

Over time, the elements of social media that will help you in Google search become more powerful. The more content you create and distribute, the more likely you are to get authoritative links to that content.

Consumers value active tweets and posts from local businesses as traditional forms of advertising from large corporations are becoming impersonal, and thus obsolete. Personalized social communication gives consumers a more “humanized” perspective on your business. People enjoy doing business with other people, not large “robotic” corporations where you have to call a 1-800 number in hopes of getting a real human on the phone.

Direction TeamSave Time and Money with Professional Social Media Management

Our social media management services allow business owners of all sizes take advantage of social media with a minimal time commitment. With a team of social media experts, writers, and marketers overseeing your accounts and actively growing your following, you’ll get all the benefits without any of the drawbacks.

Give us a call today and ask us how we can make your social profiles powerful tools for your businesses growth.

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How Your Business Should Adapt to the Facebook Algorithm Update

The recent social media privacy breach has overshadowed Facebook’s algorithm change earlier this year. Here’s what brands need to know if they plan on sticking it out.

Facebook, the social media giant, is no stranger to having its name in the news. Most recently, there’s the privacy breach scandal, but it wasn’t that long ago that businesses using the platform to build their brand had something completely different on their minds –the Facebook algorithm update.

In a direct quote, Mark Zuckerberg states his hopes for Facebook in 2018.

“Our focus in 2018 is making sure Facebook isn’t just fun, but also good for people’s well-being and society. We’re doing this by creating meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content.”

Sounds great, but there’s more…

“Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced the time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.” – Source

Wait, did he say that time spent on Facebook was reduced by 50 million hours EVERY DAY? This wasn’t great news to shareholders, but there’s another population out there that are left wondering how the algorithm change is going to affect them personally in both the short and long term –the 5 million businesses that advertise on the social network.

These changes bring up some very important questions. For example, what does this mean for the future of social media advertising?

Currently, there’s a lot being said. The effects on paid advertising could be minor, major, or somewhere in between. Smart businesses are looking at how they can adapt and create the type of organic, meaningful connections that are now more important than ever.

Original ContentAvoiding Clickbait at All Costs

Who hasn’t been a victim of an alluring piece of clickbait? Clickbait is defined as a headline that is meant to grab attention but leaves out crucial details, forcing people to click to discover the answer. Rarely does the content match up to the hype, and the user has played the part of a pawn in the whole scheme.

A major motive behind the new algorithm updates is to eliminate this type of meaningless content that detracts from the overall Facebook experience. This means that Facebook takes anything that even resembles clickbait very seriously, and if you want to reach your audience, it needs to be avoided at all costs.

With the algorithm change, it can be tempting to do whatever you can to increase your visibility on the network, but clickbait isn’t going to do the job. Facebook has a way of recognizing clickbait, primarily by measuring bounce rates, and will unprioritized content that doesn’t measure up.

The solution? Honesty.

Be honest and forthcoming with titles that reflect the value and meaning of your content. Titles should tell your audience the real reason why they’ll find value in it. Not only will avoiding clickbait keep you in good status with Facebook, but it also builds authenticity and trust for your brand.

Influencer BusinessThe Influencer Connection

Influencer marketing is a strategy that had its spotlight and then seemed to fade away into the background. Maybe it was because smaller businesses felt ill-prepared on how to optimize influencer relationships, and it was just easier to try strategies that didn’t require so much legwork.

Well, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and become reacquainted with influencers. The reasons why this is going to be an even more valuable strategy for small and medium-sized businesses is that influencers are people, just like you, and that means that they’re less affected by the shift in the algorithm.

It’s important to remember that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to influencers, especially for smaller or local niche industries.

Local businesses are smart to develop influencer relationships with other companies, organizations, and personalities that are respected in their communities. For example, a restaurant that focuses on local, healthy foods could partner with a respected pediatrician or school to promote the value of healthy lunches and snacks for school-aged children.

The right influencer helps to bring valuable awareness to your brand without the need to invest in an ad strategy that might go unnoticed.

Data and AnalyticsRethinking Analytics and Data

Facebook data has always provided valuable information to advertisers about their audience. For years, brands have been using this information to learn how to better engage with their markets and create successful social media campaigns with paid ads.

However, the nature of the algorithm change means that Facebook might have no choice but to look at the type of data it’s collecting and what value it provides to businesses establishing themselves on social media. These are significant considerations, and any changes won’t occur overnight, but that doesn’t mean that your business can’t start adapting by looking at current analytics and data in a new way.

It’s becoming more important to learn about the behaviors of your audience on social media. For example, the very fact that you paid for an ad meant that your content was going to make its way to your audience at the right time. Now, with an increased reliance on the organic content, it’s up to you to make sure that it reaches them at exactly the right moment.

This means really digging into social media behaviors and asking questions like “When is my audience on social media?” and “How many times a day/week should I be posting to optimize my brand’s presence?”.

BrainpowerBeing Proactive Is Key to Survival

In the wake of something with this magnitude, smart brands know that proactive response is key. It isn’t just Facebook’s reputation that’s at stake here, but that of every business that advertises on the platform. Businesses advertising on Facebook have been put in the position of playing defense, and with the right approach, this isn’t such a bad thing.

Just like you want to be proactive in addressing customer issues or negative reviews, it’s important to get ahead of the game in building an authentic brand image on Facebook. Now is the perfect time for brands to start building trust and relationships with their audience outside of paid ads. For most businesses, the approach to this is surprisingly simple.

For example, let’s look at content. Quality content is a tactic for promoting brand awareness and engaging with your audience that never goes out of style. A great piece of content, be it a blog, video or even a meme, can provide so much more value than a paid ad will ever be able to do.

Plus, making an effort to connect with your market outside of advertisements provides respectability to your brand, and generates more interest in the products or service you provide.

Taking it slow, resisting the urge to overreact and adapting to a changing consumer mindset on social media are the things all businesses should be keeping in mind as they’re working through the challenges of a new perspective on social marketing.

Don’t Let It Overwhelm You

Facebook advertising is important to businesses, but it shouldn’t be the core of a marketing strategy. Other digital marketing strengths, like responsive web design, SEO, and other avenues for advertising can’t be ignored. If you’d like to know more about surviving in the changing world of social media ads, we’d love to talk with you. Connect with Direction, Inc. today to learn more. 7 / 7

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How To Utilize Social Media to Gain Conversions in 2018

If you’re a business active on social media and you aren’t seeing conversions from it, that needs to be fixed. Today. And here’s how.

While social media is fun on a personal level, it’s also a useful tool on a professional level for businesses of any size, in any industry.

Whether you’re a one-person show working out of your car, you operate a mom-and-pop retail location, or you’re the CEO of a national brand, social media marketing might be just what you need to reach the next level of growth and success.

That is, a well thought out, flawlessly executed social media marketing strategy may be your key to achieving even greater success in 2018 and beyond.

The Relevance of Social Media in 2018

With nearly one-third of small businesses lacking a website, and great marketing campaigns, some entrepreneurs may fail to understand how social media is relevant to their bottom line.

If you’re skeptical about the ability of social media to boost your conversions, consider the following statistics about Facebook:

  • As of late September 2017, Facebook had 1.37 billion daily users and 2.07 billion monthly users
  • Facebook is responsible for 53.1 percent of social logins performed by shoppers to access the apps and websites of both brands and publishers
  • Approximately five million advertisers are active on Facebook
  • More than 65 million businesses have a Facebook page

While the statistics provided above are eye-opening, they only demonstrate the influence of one social media giant.

When you think about Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and the countless other social networks available for both personal and professional use, the potential that social media has to increase awareness of your organization, goods, and services is limitless.

Using social media to win over your market, and ultimately – conversions.

If you want to tap into the potential that social media has to help you win conversions in 2018, the first thing you have to do is choose the social platforms that you want to use.

If you don’t have the resources to conduct a study of your target market to determine the popular social media sites your audience uses regularly, don’t worry.

You can still get a pretty good idea of the platforms you should utilize by asking your friends, family, and even existing clients about how they spend their time when they’re on the internet.

If you don’t have a retail location where you see a broad swath of customers regularly, send an email to your client base.

Ask your customers to share insights on the social media sites they use most often.

Ask them what types of posts grab their attention. What types of photos or copy do they typically respond to?

What are the actions usually taken when they actively reply to a post?

You’ll also want to know if they primarily use social networking websites on a mobile device or desktop.

These questions will enable you to figure out which platforms you should use and help you create content your typical social media follower will respond to.

Creating a content-focused social media marketing strategy

Just posting away won’t do it.

And just seeing awesome social stats such as follower growth and engagement rate wont do it.

So, what will?

Understanding your target market, and engaging with them (not just them engaging with what you post.)

Maintain a blog that is useful, share it on social – even tweet it to people who you think could use the information inside of it. If you’re just starting out and haven’t attracted a loyal base of customers yet, you should still attempt to engage prospects on social media for lead generation. It can be done organically or through paid social media marketing.

There are many channels that have historically been effective for businesses of all kinds. Below are just a few of the top platforms every business should be active on:

Facebook

LinkedIn

YouTube

Instagram

Twitter

Pinterest

Once you identify the social media channels you’re going to use to gain conversions, it’s time to develop and implement a social media marketing strategy. Below are some tips that will help:

Creating a schedule: Write it down

If you want to win conversions (and who doesn’t), it’s vital for you to create content. Begin by documenting and planning your marketing strategy, including your processes and specific goals.

According to CoSchedule, people who write out their marketing strategies are nearly 540 percent more likely to be successful.

There are many softwares/programs/etc. to help you. I’ve tested a good bit of them, and my favorite marketing calendar – also the only one I’ve stuck with is the SEMRush Marketing Calendar.

The same source reports that marketers who document their processes are 466 percent more likely to achieve success and 88 percent of the individuals who record their goals will reach them.

I don’t know about you, but I like those numbers.

Tie Social Posts in with your other marketing campaigns

While you may post almost anything on your personal social pages, the posts you share on your business pages should have a purpose. You can better ensure your posts will have a defined goal if you tie the social posts you create for your business to a specific campaign or marketing effort.

The introduction of a new product or service, a special event or promotion that’s available for a limited time are some of the specific things you can promote on social media to drive conversions.

Use Videos and Infographics

 

Even if you’re an adept writer capable of drafting posts that flow and have expertly worded calls to action, it’s quite likely that you’ll gain significantly more conversions by using videos and infographics on your organization’s social pages. According to the Aberdeen Group, businesses that use video marketing generate 66 percent more qualified leads and 54 percent more brand awareness than organizations that don’t incorporate videos into their marketing pushes.

While it’s clear that using videos on your social media pages can help attract attention to your business, infographics are another essential tool you can use to win conversions. With an average engagement rate of 41.5 percent, infographics have the second highest return on investment behind videos.

Work with a Digital Marketing Agency

If you’re concerned about your ability to put together and implement a highly effective social media marketing strategy, you should work with an experienced digital marketing agency. Direction Inc. has been helping small, and medium-sized businesses gain conversions through social media for years, and we can help you, too.

Contact Direction Inc. to get started today!

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Social Media Study

Utilizing Social Media For Your Business in 2018

Ads on Twitter.

Use them. First of all, Twitter allows you to use targeted keywords to find your audience. Then, if you pay to promote those tweets, even slightly, you have a much higher chance of interacting with said audience and being featured. Facebook does not allow you to be this specific with your topics.

Similarly, with social marketing ads, you can target every user who follows an individual account. Using analytics, you can download a list of everyone who follows a Twitter account and create your list to target with your ads.

social media marketing

It’s 2018, and social media platforms are growing faster than ever. But which ones are worth your time? Social media is a cornerstone of modern marketing.

“Even though social platforms have a significant impact on the personal lives of many people, when professionally done presents a highly profitable opportunity for businesses.” Says the manager of Fort Lauderdale Social Media Marketing at C & I studios.

As a business owner, you want to become successful in the long run…right?

Success meaning sales, expansion, and the amount of revenue being generated. But, how’s that going to happen if nobody knows you are or what services you provide?

To make sure you survive in this competitive marketplace, you always need to be on the lookout for new ways to expand your business. Social Media Marketing is the most efficient way. Especially in 2018.

The current generation is growing rapidly, in turn growing social media platforms to numbers never seen before. I’ll be blunt, not having an active presence on social media is detrimental for your business.

Not being on social media first off keeps you in the dark of all the latest trends making the rounds. And second off – your competitors are using it. So if you aren’t – you are not able to see what your competitors are actively doing to promote themselves.

Not only does social media help you develop your brand and interact with your customers, but it also drives traffic to your site, benefiting your overall SEO.

Here are some facts about social media you should be aware of right now:

Pinterest can be a vital part of your strategy.

It’s time to diversify beyond the standard Facebook and Twitter approach.

Pinterest is regularly updating and adapting to its users. Last year, we saw additions aimed at online shoppers that boosted sales and helped brands reach their target audience.

Pins continue to generate traffic to your site long after Facebook posts and Tweets are long gone. This is because pins have an average half-life of 151,200 minutes as opposed to Facebook and Twitter’s 90 and 24 minutes, respectively.

Stand out on Instagram.

Stay on message and engage with your audience.

Odds are, your business is superb at one thing, and that’s the message you should be sending on Instagram – visually.

If you’re a bakery, this does not mean you can only show pictures of perfectly completed cakes every day.  Sure, showcase your favorite work, but give consumers a glimpse of your process, the stirring, the decorating, etc. Do you make an effort to use locally sourced ingredients? – show that, and engage with other brands in the process.

Speaking of engaging, make it a two-way conversation with your audience. Give them a hashtag, and ask them to tag pictures of your cakes and where they appear on those special days – weddings, birthdays, what have you.

FedEx and Starbucks are two big names who succeed at this.

The big Facebook Live… craze?

One of the simpler and more useful features recently added to Facebook Live is the ability to “pin” favorite comments to the bottom of your live broadcast.

Pretty self-explanatory, but it’s interesting to see how various live broadcasters use this feature.

It was only a matter of time before this came about:  Facebook Pages (usually public figures) with more than 5,000 followers will now have access to metrics regarding their live (and uploaded) videos. Metrics will include:

-Total number of views

-Total minutes watched

-Overall engagement (reactions, comments, shares)

Now that everyone will be able to go live via the web browser on their desktop or laptop, instead of strictly via the mobile app – the opportunity to get your businesses name, promotions and more is here – should you take it?

Yes and no. From what I’ve seen, the only people pushing Facebook Live are marketers trying to make money. I’ve been slammed with “Learn how to use Facebook Live and make tons of money” ads.

Yes, businesses who use it usually see an ROI. But you have to consider the following:

  1. Most people won’t watch a video unless they’re looking for that video specifically
  2. Most people on Facebook are on their phones, checking in between work breaks and such.

So, in my opinion – grabbing someone’s attention in 2 seconds with an awesome picture and ad copy providing real value is invaluable. If you’re going to utilize Facebook Live, don’t ignore everything else. As it’s still new – a lot is still developing with statistics.

One new thing that is pretty neat is the role of Live Contributors.  This has been added/created in response to an issue that pages were running into when only page admins were able to use Facebook Live. Therefore users were forced to add admins (somewhat) unnecessarily so they could contribute. Now, a Page Admin can just assign people as a Live Contributor so they can broadcast on the pages behalf.

Vine is …dead?  Sort of.

Shortly after being acquired by Twitter, Vine began succumbing to competition and facing the challenge of trying to add new users consistently.

As of January 17th, 2016, the social network of Vine no longer exists. Instead, Vine is now strictly a camera app.  It will still allow users to record the same looping videos as before, but now the options will be to post directly to Twitter or save to camera roll. This way, the diehard Vine community won’t lose their ability to make their viral worthy videos but will have to share them differently.

Now we’re going to delve into a few significant benefits in using these social media platforms:

Drive targeted traffic to your business

In the world of digital marketing, one of the most important things is driving traffic to your website. With new developments such as Facebook pixels, you’re now able to target people who are interested in your products or services, cool huh? So, with the proper set of targeting techniques and appropriate research conducted, it’s possible to drive highly targeted traffic and conversions, or more money for your business. Social media also allows re-targeting of customers. If someone clicks on your Facebook post, there are methods to have more of your posts show up for them on a regular basis, opposed to people who just scroll by. If someone needs your service a week from now, Facebook will ensure they don’t forget to use you.

Boost your site’s SEO

SEO and the aspects entailed are considered to be the most useful techniques for increasing income for almost any business. With the help of a killer content strategy for SEO, you’ll be able to win some of the top spots in the search engine rankings. Social media drives traffic to your website and boosts brand awareness. Also, when you use social media, search engines read it as social signals – which is one of the largest growing factors in the ranking of a website in 2017.

Build real relationships

Social media builds your reputation and brand loyalty. Every opportunity to increase your visibility is crucial. It gives people the opportunity to communicate with your business and create trust. This leads to the creation of lifetime clients. Increased client communication with and about your business shows others that clients are happy with your services; therefore leading more people to choose you. Social media marketing also allows your business to build quality relationships with the customers. Thus increasing word-of-mouth, referrals, repeat customers and more.

Become the Authority

Having an active social media presence relays to consumers that you are the expert in your field, especially if you are more active on social media than your competition.

Boost Awareness

Social media is the best way to advertise any specials you have going on. People will share the post or re-tweet the post to help others. This also helps your ranking in search engines. There was a study which showed that businesses using Facebook ads receive on average 70% more clients than those who don’t.

Small tips & tricks you might not already know:

You can reorder the sections on your business page. To do this, hover your mouse over the section header until a small pencil appears, and click “Manage Sections.” Take control over the order your customers see information about your business and help direct them to the best ways to interact with you.

Hashtag research tools like Hashtangify.me and Twazzup allow you to research Twitter hashtags, which influencers are using it, and even see which accounts that you already follow are using it.

The Tweet activity dashboard – free access for (almost) everyone to analytics and data about your activity, followers, engagement and more.

Turn on post notifications for specific Instagram users. Easily keep up to date with what and when a top profile is posting. Important for staying on top of what your partners, collaborators, and even competition are up to.

While you’re at it, set up Google Alerts for top influencers and hashtags that relate to your field, and you will always be caught up on any breaking news in the industry. (We recommend getting these alerts once a day.)

See which specific Pinterest users are pinning for your website. Paste this link into your address bar: http://www.pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com/ and change “yourwebsite.com” to your website’s address.

So, why aren’t all businesses taking advantage of this opportunity?

Business owners are already busy running their business! Social Media Marketing is a full-time job, especially if you aren’t familiar with one or all of the platforms available. The good news is that it can all be done for you, with a significant return on investment.

So no need to stress about this – if you don’t like social media, aren’t familiar with it, or are just too busy already running your company, we have headache-free social media packages for whatever your budget may be.

Overall, remember that social media is made for people to connect. You want to build a following through engaging with your audience and providing value. Don’t be that company that just throws around ads. Stand out by being a real person. Instead of your company logo on your profile picture – have that of your team, you and your employees. Look, act and be real, friendly, funny and anything else that makes people feel good.

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The 7 Secrets to Social Media Management

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing (sometimes abbreviated as SMM) refers to the utilizing of social media platforms to drive a community to action and increases traffic to a business. Anyone can blast information online, but a quality and effective social media marketing campaign will involve adapting to the ever-evolving trends in the community. Your goal in social media marketing should be the creation of powerful engagement!

The Utility of Social Media Platforms

Social media is just that – social! We can communicate in a variety ways to spread a message! Rather than just posting blocks of text, take advantage of the diverse capabilities of the different social media platforms. Every platform has a set of unique features that should be exploited to match the target audience. Get to know every social media platform to master their various tools! The right posting for your audience needs the right platform to reach them! For example:

Artistic

Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest are among the more art centered platforms. Still, every platform has exciting features that lend to a creative mind for photos and videos. Play around and test the limits of the platform! You could use these to post inspiring and colorful quotes, infographics, and beautiful company photos. Make posts interactive, colorful, and shareable! Remember: most people online hate reading! Keep words to a minimum! Let images and other media do the talking!

Business

Modern corporations use every social media to take advantage of the SEO linking. However, for strict business to business broadcasting, you’ll probably prefer Linkedin and Twitter. Essentially, social media platforms can act as virtual resumes, company billboards, and a listing of training resources.

“Live” Postings

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube all allow you to stream video content live to your company page. This feature lets your followers have direct interaction with you by posting live comments! Everyone loves being the center of attention, so use these as opportunities to give the audience control! Try using live videos for Q&A’s, shoutouts, tours of your facilities, and event teasers!

Humor

We tend to associate social media with sarcasm and quick-witted humor. Be careful about being too edgy and controversial, but why not add an occasional joke on Facebook or Twitter? Let your audience know you can relate to them! Humor and smiles are universals in everyone! Your audience might be very diverse, but everyone can connect through laughter! Learn to laugh at yourself most of all! You don’t want to appear as some stoic, ivory tower business.

Ever hear of memes? Though they vary in format, generally they are iconic photos with brief captions. The Internet loves memes! They are trendy and quickly appear to poke fun at current events and pop culture. You can steal meme across the web, but it’s more fun to create your own. I personally like to use Meme Generator because it updates with the most popular image templates. Memetic is one of the best for mobile devices. If you’re savvy enough, you can create GIFs (multiple images animated together) using Giphy. Adding memes and other fun images to create an enjoyable atmosphere that will increase engagement!

Free Link Building

For SEO purposes, social media provides you the chance to have free links back to your business’ main website! Viral posts can reach millions just by using the organic power of shares! Google ranks websites through thousands of factors, including their “social presence”. If more people talk about and mention your site, it should rank higher in search results. Social media is part of a new phase of Internet “Web 2.0s” that offer free, hassle-free venues to promote content! Take advantage of the easy publicity! However, you should be careful not to post too often on social media and appear spammy!

Seven Principles of Effective Social Media

Okay, so we’ve established that social media is useful for any business or cause. But, how do you effectively manage professional social media accounts? There’s no secret formula to success as every market is different, yet you should strive to adhere to some basic principals.

Here are 7 principles of an effective social media campaign:

1 – Scheduling

Schedule your posts to release on a predictable pattern at optimal times. This process might require some research of your market, but there are general peak hours for each platform. You can easily schedule hundreds of posts on Facebook and Twitter using the free program Buffer, which every social media manager should master! You might want to try creating themed posts for each day, like “Throwback Thursday” and “TGIF”. Maybe you could release a featured YouTube video series every Monday or a podcast every Saturday! Have some fun exploring official holidays and more silly days of the year. Whatever you choose, make it predictable! Every follower should know what to expect when they see your posts! You might want to mix things up as your business grows, but keep themes relevant and cohesive.

Time is everything in posting! Posting awesome content at 2 AM might not get viewed much and will get lost in everyone’s feed by the time they wake up in the morning. Then again, you might have a broad international audience, and so you could consider customizing the content you release at certain times.

It’s important not to post too often and spam followers with an overload of information! Also, you’ll lose people posting too infrequently, like once a month! How frequently is too frequent? There’s no clear-cut answer, and this largely depends on the platform you’re using. 1 Facebook and Instagram post a day and 3-5 Tweets should be a reasonable goal.

2 – Responsive Engagement

Regardless of your established scheduling, don’t leave someone hanging if they’ve tagged, replied to, or private messaged you! Your physical business has operational hours, but your web presence never takes a breather. Eventually, you’ll receive lots of comments from customers offering advice, asking honest questions, or leaving the occasional angry complaint. You should reasonably reply within an hour, even with just a standard response. Be courteous and to the point. Don’t be afraid admit mistakes and give someone credit for pointing out an error.

Remember the number one rule of the internet: don’t feed trolls! A “troll” is anyone intentionally baiting a fight with offensive comments. Lively discussion around a post gives it more attention and possibility of being shared, but you have to exercise some policing power. Not all follower engagement is constructive. Also, bots might spam phishing link in comments. Delete these and any others that may harm your business presence.

On the flip side, retweet/reply to as many positive comments as you can! Show them some gratitude and tell them how awesome they are!

There are a lot of ways to invite positive community engagement. For example, some of my personal favorite posts on Facebook are those cheesy “tag your friends” posts. Be creative with variations and graphics to fit your business theme. Not every post needs to sell a product directly. Social media marketing is simply driving, motivating, and moderating a community of like-minded people. It might be appropriate to post things like, “It’s Almost Summer! Tag a Friend Who Needs Some Cool AC!” or something more casual like “Happy Mother’s Day! Tag Your Mom and Let Her Know How Much You Love Her!”

On Facebook and Twitter, you can create posts with embedded polls. While not strictly scientific, these polls can be a great way to gauge follower demographics and interests. Try posting a question to spark some friendly debate and see what happens! Maybe you’re an ice cream shop and want to settle the age-old question: chocolate or vanilla? Perhaps for a pet shelter, cats or dogs? For horror book clubs, vampires or werewolves? You should use these quick polls as a disguise for informal research on your niche’s trends. Try not to take sides yourself or step on anyone’s toes!

Again, be creative with your live posts! Why not take live questions from your audience? That’s way more engaging and interactive than just posting an FAQ page. You could also give them a live “backstage” access to your office space! Show them your secret base of operations and things that would seem “exclusive” to followers! Did you recently upgrade your company’s computer hardware? Live “unwrapping” videos are popular among younger audiences.

Give your fans some power to direct the content! Try hosting a contest through your social media! You could make it something as goofy and fun as “1000 Likes by 5 PM and Chris Will Post a Picture Wearing a Funny Hat!”. You could make it more business specific, like “Comment a Picture of Your Kitten to Be Eligible for Drawing of a Year’s Supply of Cat Litter!” The more valuable and wild the prize, the more engagement you’ll create!

3 – Relevant Content

Post content that makes sense with your business goals and philosophy. Just because something is trendy and popular, doesn’t mean it fits your company’s social media. Stick to content to has a defined purpose.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the post clearly communicate your business message?
  • Does the post sell your product or service?
  • Does the content powerfully engage the community?
  • Does it drive people to share it on their profiles?

If you answered no to any of those questions, the post probably has little relevance being on your social media page. Keep postings centered around a consistent theme that aligns to the company overall.

Remember that your posts are tied to your company name in Google and thus play into your SEO! An air conditioning service company that has a lot of furniture posting will confuse Google crawls and adversely affect their ranking.

Careful who you reposts/retweet from online! Take some time to vet their profile and other postings. You don’t want to show support for a page with offensive and mostly toxic content.

4 – Diverse and Creative Formats

You should post a variety of different kinds of posts that communicate the same theme. Unless they are exceptionally insightful, blocks of text will bore followers! Try to throw in a picture or video in every posting! Better yet, include the copy in the image itself. Make the image faded or with colors that don’t distract from the copy.

Facebook has very specific guidelines for text in ad images for promoted posts. Be mindful of the “20% Rule”.

Your schedule of postings should include a set of different ways to drive engagement, shares, and clicks! Be mindful of basic copywriting foundations to sell your posts. Make them personal, with happy human faces that relate to your audience! Keep the message simple, brief, and clickable!

5 – Short and Snappy Call to Actions!

Just as in any web advertising, social media postings should include powerful CTAs that are short and snappy! Be brief in your wording, only using, at most, 40 words. Add some witty hook line to draw the reader into a click. Here’s are just some ideas:

  • Pick a fight! Challenge a widely held assumption! Be a good sport about it though! – “Is it me or are Crocs back in style?”
  • Paint a picture by using a hypothetical!“Imagine the world without animal abuse…”
  • Revive some memories (good ones!)“Missing those skinny jeans? Get the body you deserve with a gym membership today!”
  • Use a popular quote!“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself… and a world without deep dish pizza!”
  • Confess something! “I hate to admit it, but the new Spider-Man is awesome!”
  • Ask for feedback! “What do you think of this dining room set? It’s on sale now for just $499!”

6 – Always Link Something!

Your primary goal in any social media post should be a viewer’s click! So, naturally, you need a link! Give your followers something to interact with on the post, whether it’s a video, hashtag, or linked image! All of your company social media platforms should connect and draw the reader back to one central hub – which will probably be your business’ main website where they will buy, donate, subscribe, etc.…

7 – Play it Safe

Finally, avoid extremes and play it safe to ensure the least number of people could take offense at your posts. Using some common sense and PC language, you can avoid embarrassing yourself to the general public! Avoid any mention of religion or politics. Copy such as “The Gospel of the Vegan Lifestyle” or “The Republican Approved Dry Cleaner” will turn a few heads and cause you to lose followers.

If you must reference a current event, you should try to use a local news publication or non-partisan NGO link. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how a corrupt or “fake news” media controls the world. Don’t feed into their hand!

Your job as a marketer is simply to provide positive, engaging information. Have fun being creative, but maintain professionalism and remember you represent the company to potentially millions of people online!

Struggling to get your social media campaign up and running? Direction INC offers social media management services at a competitive rate! We have a proven track record of success with a completely in-house team of marketers! Contact us directly for a free quote today!

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Red Bull Through the Lens of Instagram

Creative Marketing: Red Bull Through the Lens of Instagram

Red Bull is hands-down one of the most inspiring companies in terms of content marketing. Let’s dive into why that is, starting with their utilization of social media.

Instagram Background

Instagram is a social media platform that provides a service for a community of more than 800 million to capture and share the world’s moments (Balakrishnan, 2017). Its users engage in photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking through their either public or private profiles.

Instagram allows users to share on the app as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Kevin Systrom is the CEO and co-founder of Instagram and is responsible for the company’s overall vision and strategy. He works alongside Mike Krieger, the CTO, and co-founder, to build this global community that shares more than 95 million photos every day (Lister, 2018).

How Consumers use Instagram

Consumers sign up for Instagram, most likely through Facebook, as Facebook owns Instagram. Instagram is a social media platform where users post pictures and videos for followers to see. Once a user has chosen a photo/video to upload, they can then choose from over 20 filters, add captions, hashtags, geotags, and tag their friends. When one posts a picture, followers can like, comment, or even share the post.

Taking and posting pictures is easy and can be done through the application where users can either take a new photo or video or use an existing one. Users can follow many different types of accounts, such as friends, family, celebrities, political figures, companies, etc. Instagram provides enjoyment to all consumers due to being fun and easy to use.

How Businesses Use Instagram

Since the recent introduction of Instagram Business Tool, including Dynamic Ads and Promoted Posts, the social media platform has seen a surge in advertising expenditures. In the first year, Instagram yielded $595 million. By 2019, Instagram is expected to bring in $10 billion in mobile ad revenues (Lister, 2018).

With the introduction of Instagram Business Tools in 2016, firms now have an arsenal of tools and features to target their customers on Instagram more effectively.

Brands can now create free business profiles that include access to follower insight statistics and the ability to promote posts. The insights feature allows businesses to access demographic and behavioral information about their followers, monitor Instagram trends, measure audience engagement and identify influencers.

By understanding their followers and measuring post effectiveness, businesses can create more targeted, relevant and compelling content to appeal to Instagram users.

Another significant feature introduced with Instagram Business Tools is the ability to create Dynamic Ads and promote well-performing ads. Dynamic Ads allow advertisers to market products and brands based on Instagram user’s internet behavior.

Similarly, promoted posts enable businesses to turn pre-existing posts into ads by adding a call to action button and selecting a target audience to promote to. By utilizing the Dynamic Ads and Promote tools, businesses can reach a broader audience on Instagram and use the social media app to drive online sales.

In addition to utilizing Instagram Business Tools, brands can use the social media platform to increase reach and engagement through a number of different techniques. Sprout Social, a social media management software company, suggests posting content that is a mix of “promotional and inspiring content,” to better engage with your audience and give them the content that they want.

Some ways to get your audience to participate include holding contests or giveaways, create a trending hashtag, regularly engage with users that engage on your content, produce content for Instagram stories, promote user-generated content, ask questions and post from unique locations (Olenski, 2018).  Sprout Social also suggests posting regularly and during optimal times (Mondays and Thursdays tend to drive the most engagement).

One way businesses can use Instagram to complement existing traditional advertising and promotions is through campaign hashtags. Hashtags are an excellent way for companies to get discovered by potential consumers and connect with their existing followers. For example, in 2015, Red Bull introduced the #PutACanOnIt campaign.

This campaign began when Red Bull discovered a photo on Twitter of a user holding a Red Bull can on top of a Mini Cooper. Red Bull loved the picture, created the hashtag and ran the campaign began. It only took a few short months for this hashtag to take off and over 10,000 #PutACanOnIt photos were uploaded with the hashtag giving Red Bull original user-generated content completely for free. (Shorty Awards, 2018).

Red Bulls Background

Red Bull was founded in Australia in 1987 (Forbes, 2017). Today, the company is worth $8.7 billion, and as of May 2017, Red Bull has sold 6.06 billion cans (Forbes, 2017). Red Bull focuses on content marketing, rather than advertising the product itself. They spend 2 million dollars annually on marketing to expose their products to different marketing platforms. The purpose of the Red Bull energy drink is to give consumers energy while enjoying the beverage’s taste.

Red Bull is a member of Advertising Material Distribution Services industry, with the NAICS code being 541870. This NAICS category focuses on direct distribution or delivery of advertisements. Red Bull is known for having representatives distributing free samples of their product at bars, restaurants, college campuses, etc.

Red Bull’s product is an energy drink that is targeted to consumers between the ages of 15-34 who enjoy the outdoors, extreme sports, taking risks, and having fun.

The Red Bull energy drink was a landmark item that targets the extreme sports athletes and the everyday grind athlete. With its strong social media presence to complement the massive events they do, Red Bull positions itself as the energy drink to help athletes achieve extreme goals.

Red Bull on Instagram

Red Bull utilizes Instagram to promote its products and spread its brand image across the world. The brand that gives you wings was listed on Forbes magazine’s “The World’s Most Valuable Brands” and was estimated to have a net worth of $8.7 Billion (Forbes, 2017). Australian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz founded Red Bull in the mid-1980s after being inspired by functional drinks from the Far East. He created the formula of Red Bull Energy Drink to suit the tastes of Westerners.

Mateschitz then partnered with Chaleo to develop the unique marketing concept of Red Bull. On April 1 of 1987, Red Bull Energy Drink was sold for the very first time in its home market of Austria (GmbH, 2016). The launch not only introduced an entirely new product but a new product category as well. Today, Red Bull is available in more than 171 countries, and 6.06 billion cans of Red Bull have been consumed so far (Forbes, 2017).

Red Bull is continuously making efforts to expand its business in new and exciting ways. The company is rolling out new flavors for the upcoming year including, acai and lime, as well as rolling out Tangerine, Orange Edition, in the on-premise market. The company has created partnership agreements with bars and restaurants across the globe which involves cutting them a quarterly check for a case rebate price, an opportunity for a bonus if they hit their volume goal, a marketing bank which can be spent on events such as industry parties or impromptus to support drink features.

Red Bull emphasizes product experience and having their consumers identify with the brand through the attraction of bizarre sponsored events. Red Bull is not focused on acquiring any new companies, they focus their time on the product experience and keeping their loyal customers through the use of RB sponsored events such as Flying Bach, Amaphiko, RB Music Academy (Red Bull, 2016).

Red Bull’s effects are known throughout the world by a variety of people such as top athletes, busy professionals, college students and travelers on long journeys. The company achieves this reach through partnering with athletes as they are a good way to express the brand’s image and that active lifestyle Red Bull identifies with; Universities to have programs for students such as brand ambassadors and the wings team; as well as several music festivals including, Coachella and Ultra.

These internal promotions of sponsored events are unique to the company and serve to identify with consumers with the brand itself and encourage consumers to live the active lifestyle that Red Bull supports. These events generate massive brand recognition and have often been covered in the news. PR Newswire wrote an article covering Red Bull’s event “Distance Between Dreams” where an icon surfer, Ian Walsh, faces the world’s biggest waves (Newswire, 2016).

The social media strategy surrounds the use of extreme sports in exotic places with captions that are almost daring you to be a part of the fun, as seen in Figure 1. They provide crystal clear images along with captions such as, “Tag your wingman” in a picture of athletes wingsuit gliding, pictured in Figure 2, and, “Light up the weekend” with a picture of an extreme BMX rider going over a fire pit.

This is an enticing and effective strategy to use because many fans of the energy drink may never go to the extremes that they feature but they will be given the confidence and “swagger” when drinking Red Bull to perform at their best. Company goals surround the number of cans sold and exposure to different cultures and countries. They pride themselves on having sold 6.06 billion cans across 171 countries in 2017.

 

Figure 1. Typical Red Bull Instagram Posts

 

red bull instagram

 

Figure 2. Red Bull Instagram Post of Athletes Wingsuit Gliding

 

red bull marketing

Red Bull’s social media presence on Instagram consistently draws attention to the new heights it is reaching in the form of countries traveled to and extreme sports that the company endorses. Also, they have an incredible presence of professional athletes who endorse the company as well which is a secure way to broaden the sports fans that they are targeting. They use the combination of top-tier professional athletes and large-scale events to keep the company exciting and continuously expanding.

 

Metrics to Gauge Success

 

Red Bull is very competitive on Instagram, especially when compared to its lead competitor, Monster. Red Bull has a large audience on Instagram, with a total of 8.3 million followers, compared to Monster, who has 4.4 million followers.

Between March 1st and March 8th of this year, Red Bull posted 30 videos on their Instagram account. Those 30 posts each have between 100,000 and 600,00 views and comments.

Red Bull is a successful company through Instagram, sales, and market share. They generate billions in revenue annually while dominating their industries.

Red Bull also has been successful in utilizing Instagram as a marketing platform. Their audience growth has increased significantly while generating a remarkable average of engagements per post.

 

References

Balakrishnan, A., & Boorstin, J. (2017, September 25). Instagram says it now has 800 million

users, up 100 million since April. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/25/how-many-users-does-instagram-have-now-800-million.html

GmbH, R. B. The Company Behind The Can. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from Red Bull, http://energydrink-us.redbull.com/en/company

How 5 Of The World’s Best Brands Are Using Instagram Stories. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2018, from http://mediakix.com/2016/08/5-brands-using-instagram-stories-to-market/.

Instagram. (2016, August 02). Instagram Blog. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from http://blog.instagram.com/post/148348940287/160802-stories.

Instagram. (2016). Resources for Interested Advertisers. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from https://business.instagram.com/advertising

Instagram. (2016). Selling More Than Team Jerseys. Success Stories. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t39.2365 6/15164648_342059956159479_2820661368682708992_n.pdf.

Instagram Business. (2016). A Contemporary Campaign. Success Stories. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t39.2365-6/15119776_1239018996121446_861906490703740928_n.pdf.

Lister, M. (2018, January 18). 33 Mind-Boggling Instagram Stats & Facts for 2018. Retrieved

March 8, 2018, from https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/04/20/instagram-statistics

Newswire, P. (2016, November 17). Catch Surfer Ian Walsh In “Distance Between Dreams”

Starting December 2. March 8, 2018, from Factiva, https://global-factiva-com.proxy-tu.researchport.umd.edu/ha/default.aspx#./!?&_suid=148150541436304225067841048997

Olenski, S. (2018, January 17). 50 Ways Brands Can Increase Their Instagram Followers.

Retrieved March 8, 2018, from

https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2018/01/17/50-ways-brands-can-increase-their

-instagram-followers/3/#6735a2d41686

Shorty Awards. (2018). Retrieved March 8, 2018, from http://shortyawards.com/7th/putacanonit

Shrivastava, T. (2016, October 18). Why Instagram Is Red Bull’s #1 Social Channel. Retrieved

December 12, 2016, from

http://simplymeasured.com/blog/why-instagram-is-red-bulls-1-social-channel/#sm.00004

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The World’s Most Valuable Brands. (2017, May). Retrieved March 8, 2018, from

https://www.forbes.com/companies/red-bull/

Tiwari, R. (2016, June 28). What the Top 25 Brands on Instagram are Posting [With Free

Templates]. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from https://designschool.canva.com/blog/top-25-brands-instagram/.

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