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Why We’re All Still Talking About Social Media

Marketing Podcast with Rebekah Radice
Podcast Transcript

Rebekah Radice

Social media didn’t go away – it just moved. It moved to become another strategic element of marketing where it belongs.

The fact is, if you plan to benefit from social behavior, you must alter your thinking around the proper use of social media for each stage of the customer journey.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Rebekah Radice. She is a marketer and founder of RadiantLA, a training and development company helping business professionals use online marketing strategically. Radice is also the author of Social Media Mastery: A Comprehensive Guide to Strategic Growth. She and I discuss why social media needs to be a part of your strategic approach to marketing.

Radice is an award winning marketer whose entrepreneurial roots, instincts and unstoppable energy create a powerful force for strategic business growth. She has been blogging since 2004 on one of the top social media blogs, rebekahradice.com – voted a “2015 and 2016 Top 10 Social Media Blog” by Social Media Examiner.

As a recognized leader and influencer, Radice has been featured on CBS, at the NATO Leadership Summit, and was recently listed as a Top Marketing Influencer by Brand24, and as one of the Top Ten Social Media Marketers and Top 40 Content Marketers by Onalytica.

Questions I ask Rebekah Radice:

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Where social media fits into the customer journey
  • How to use social media to get clients
  • How to use social media to drive offline conversations

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Rebekah Radice:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Are you an independent marketing consultant or an agency owner? If so, you may want to check out the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. It is a growing group of independent marketing consultants and agencies that are partnering and collaborating using the Duct Tape Marketing tools, and really scaling their businesses. Check it out at ducttapemarketingconsultant.com.

10 Must Have Tools to Monitor, Analyze and Respond to Brand Mention

10 Must Have Tools to Monitor, Analyze and Respond to Brand Mention

What are people saying about your brand? I am not speaking about those paid advertisements or reviews on popular blogs that you have been orchestrating. I mean real, organic brand mentions from your user base. Chances are you have no idea, not unless it has been a major complaint that has come directly through your customer service office. Or you may be missing social media interaction under the surface, leaving your reputation vulnerable.

We all know that social reputation management is a critical part of running any business in the digital world of today. So how do we make sure we are really taking advantage of it? By having the right tools in our corner to monitor, analyze and respond to every single relevant brand mention on the web.

The Importance Of Managing Sentiment

It isn’t enough that people are talking about your brand, they have to be saying good things. And if they are saying bad things you have to be able to quickly respond. “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner it takes 12 positive experiences for a customer to feel better about a single negative experience. And an American Express Survey also found that 78% of customers will back out of a purchase because of a bad service experience with a company.

All of this leads us to one conclusion: keeping customers happy is a major part of success and profitability, and part of doing that is making sure you catch problems early. That is what makes sentiment management such a big part of social media interaction and marketing today.

The Ultimate Tool Kit

1. Mention: Best for Facebook Monitoring

Mention is an awesome tool in the way it operates using a four-goal system: sentiment monitoring, crisis management, competitive analysis, and finding influencers. Using these metrics you can cover every side of your social reputation management plan, all from a single dashboard. They also have brand and media tracking, social media monitoring, and more.

mention

All of this is customized for different clients, such as businesses, educational resources, and agencies. In spite of that they have three pricing plans that make it easy to get what you need.

A valuable thing about Mention is that it’s very good at finding Facebook conversations other tools are usually missing

Price: I would recommend their Starter plan, which comes with a dashboard, sentiment analysis, and influencers tracking along with five alerts, 5,000 mentions, and a few other goodies for $99 per month. Anything more than that requires a customized plan and pricing on request.

2. Twitter Advanced Search Tool

It is true that you get what you pay for, so generally speaking you don’t want to rely on free tools for much. But if you are looking for one to help back up more advanced monitoring software you can’t go wrong with Twitter Advanced Search Tool.

Like any search engine, you can get results based on keywords placed anywhere in the tweets, About Me bio, or content. And exactly as Google, you can play with the well-defined boolean operators that are normally supported from search engine to search engine.

With Twitter, the search operators you should be using a lot are:

  • [“search phrase”] to define the exact match
  • [“search phrase1”“search phrase2”] to exclude any word or any phrase from the search results (notice there is no space after -)
  • [“search phrase1” OR “search phrase2”] to search for either of the words

You can search by keywords, without certain keywords, by account, by brand mention, and a whole lot more. It has the benefit of being proprietary, and no one is better at creating an in-house search than a social website. It gets past a lot of the blocks and noise that come from third party apps, so at the very least it can help you narrow down your direction to use on the others.

There’s a variety of options and opportunities for Twitter user search:

  • [to @username]: Search for tweets addressing that user
  • [from:@username]: Search for tweets published by the user
  • [@username]: All of the above (basically, any mention of the username when the user is tagged in a tweet)

Tip: You can mix these options with boolean operators to find lots of missed reputation management opportunities. Example: This is the actual search phrase I am using to monitor my name mentioned on Twitter:

[“ann smarty” OR seosmarty OR seosmarty.com -from:@seosmarty [email protected]]

Where:

  • “ann smarty” -> mentions of my full name
  • seosmarty -> mentions of my moniker whenever it happens to be untagged
  • seosmarty.com -> mentions of my personal blog (whether it was shortened in a tweet or not)
  • OR -> ANY of the above should be included in the search results
  • -from:@seosmarty -> excluding my own tweets
  • [email protected] -> excluding tweets tagging me because Twitter does a good job notifying me of these already using “Notifications” feature

Twitter Search Username Reputation

Price: FREE

Bonus: FREE download! Click here to download my own clickable PDF guide that will help you and your team to find and monitor all kinds of brand mentions.

Twitter Search

Fun tip: Track your competitors’ social media sentiment to discover more potential risks. Search Twitter for [competitor name 🙁 ] and monitor these search results to be alerted when your competitors’ customers are unhappy (and avoid similar issues):

Negative Sentiment Search

3. Cyfe: Monitor & Archive Brand Mentions on Twitter

Cyfe is not just for brand alerts: It can be set up to monitor almost anything under the sun, including your expenses, sales and customer support teams and more. Cyfe is rather one of those business productivity tools than an exclusively marketing or reputation management solution.

For social media, I am using to monitor and archive Twitter mentions using a separate dashboard.

Simply set up multiple widgets monitoring all kinds of Twitter search results (see the “Advanced Twitter search” options above) and login once in a while to see archives mentions and decide if there are any you missed. The archive is a great option to have because you are able to find your promoters over time and identify most active ones.

cyfe

Price: Unlimited number of widgets for just $19 per month ($14 per month if paid annually).

4. Tweetdeck: Engage with Brand Mentions on Twitter

Tweetdeck is one of the oldest tools I am still using a lot. The beauty of the tool is that you don’t need to login anywhere daily to see the mentions. It will deliver them as they happen right to your desktop, based on your notification settings.

You can set up multiple columns to monitor all kinds of keyword and domain mentions and only get notified of those updates you choose.

Tweetdeck

[Tip: Set up most important mentions to send “desktop alerts” for you or your social media manager to engage with them as soon as they come. Be the first to respond to your brand mentions on Twitter]

Price: FREE

5. Buzzsumo Alerts: Get Email Digest of in-Content Mentions

Not exactly a reputation management tool, Buzzsumo has a great “Content Alerts” feature that sends you email digests every day notifying you where your brand name has been mentioned. You can use it to monitor your brand name or your company author names.

Buzzsumo

Price: You can set up 5 alerts for $79 a month. You can monitor multiple things within one alert, for example, I am monitoring at least two names (and different combinations of how you can spell them, including [First Last Name] and [firstlastname] as one word)

6. Serpstat: Dig into Brand Mentions in Search Results

While most of these tools help monitoring and managing social media mentions, search engine sentiment is essential, too. It changes slower than on social media but it still needs your attention.

I have previously talked about monitoring search queries that include your brand name and how you need to make sure that you are ranking for all of those long queries that include your name.

Google Suggest Reputation

Serpstat is a great tool allowing to research and monitor search queries that contain your brand name. Set up a project, identify those search phrases and add your digital assets to monitor how they rank for those keywords.

Serpstat

Price: Serpstat minimum package is $19 a month and it allows you to monitor 200 keywords which will most likely be enough for your site unless you have a really huge brand to manage (they also offer the most affordable API on the market)

7. Semantria: Visualize and Organize Your Mentions

Surveys, social media accounts, and reviews are all covered under this awesome Excel add-on from Lexalytics. Semantria has an emphasis on getting balanced data for more thorough, helpful reports. Importing is super simple, and the results are clean and easy to read. They even sell in multi-seat packages, so managing multiple projects, accounts or data sources is simple and budget friendly.

Excel Visualization

Of all of the tools on this list, I would say this is one of the very best. You can try it for free to see for yourself. Be sure to check out some of their other cool toys on their site.

Price: There’s a free trial after which you’ll need to schedule a demo to see how much it will cost for your specific needs

8. Talkwalker: Reputation Management Solution for Large Businesses

Talkwalker is a larger scale social media marketing tool that covers a lot of different corners. But if you want global data (and a lot of it) it is a great option. It has image recognition features that take your mentions to a new level… even if they don’t say your brand in the description you can find mentions via images featuring your logo. That is on top of more traditional social listening and monitoring tools that catch a lot more than most monitoring software does.

Talkwalker

Price: They are a pretty steep product, admittedly… prices start at $8,400 per year for small brands, and go up to $36,000 per year for enterprise customers. But on the plus side they are a more thorough product than you are usually going to find, and they allow for customized demos that show you the features that work best for your company.

9. Meltwater: Analyze Long-Term Impact of Social Media Over Time

Meltwater is a simpler tool than those above, but it is still very helpful. It works by filtering through the conversations on social media to find harder to see mentions of your brand. It then creates a report that helps you not just to track what is being said, but actually engage in conversation with those users.

In the meantime you can also see the larger picture and get a good grasp of patterns in mentions, so you can start to put together a more personalized game plan. They help you to put that data into context, rather than just leaving you to trudge through it alone.

Meltwater

You may have come across this tool in the past under its old name, IceRocket. Since then they have made some real improvements that have made this a much more useful, intuitive app.

Price: Meltwater offers service and pricing packages to match your specific needs. You’ll need to request demo to find out your price.

10. Hootsuite: Monitor and Engage

I have always felt Hootsuite was a mixed bag. On one hand it is one of the most celebrated analytics and social tools on the web. On the other, the tools have a very sharp learning curve that is aimed more towards those who are already adept at highly technical tools than average marketers.

But it is hard to argue with results, and Hootsuite always provides them.

Hootsuite

Price: $19 per month if you can do with one user. If you need your team there, you’ll need to pay $99

To Sum up:

Download the below comparison as PDF to hand to your reputation manager or CEO.

Tool Best for… Monthly price
Mention Facebook monitoring $99
Twitter Advanced Search Tool Twitter mentions FREE
Cyfe Creating archive of Twitter conversations around your brand $19 ($14 if you pay annually)
Tweetdeck (desktop) Responding to Twitter mentions in real time Free
Buzzsumo Content mentions (blogs, magazines, etc.) $79
Serpstat Monitor your brand name Google Suggest and search N/A
Semantria Analysis and visualization of your data $19
Talkwalker Brand monitoring for huge corporations, TV shows, celebrities, etc. $700
Meltwater Analyzing mentions over time to determine patterns N/A
Hootsuite Monitoring and managing mentions across many channels $19 for 1 user

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Social Media.


Ann SmartyAbout the Author

Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com as well as the founder of MyBlogU.com. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for 10 years, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable.

The State of Social Media Usage in America Today

I recently partnered with The Dash to find out how America’s most popular social networks compare, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat. I’m not going to lie, there are a few surprises that you might find interesting. Below are some of the insights, but I encourage you to check out the full dashboard here.

Facebook continues to dominate

Facebook’s penetration among global populations across demographics is just extraordinary, as is its enduring domination of other social media. That’s nothing new—but it really resonates through the visuals within the dashboard (example below). Not only does the platform have the highest number of users, it has the highest engagement of the other platforms within the dashboard with 76% of its users logging in daily (compared to Instagram with the next highest engagement of 51% of its user logging on daily – it should be mentioned for perspective that Instagram is also owned by Facebook). Let’s just say Facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Facebook Monthly Active UsersThe international landscape

I was surprised by the portion of international vs. U.S. users. The numbers below represent the percentage of users that are outside of the U.S. for each platform:

  • 85% for Facebook
  • 80% for Instagram
  • 79% for Twitter
  • 70% for LinkedIn
  • 53% for Pinterest

On an international scale, the usage between men and women on the majority of the social channels is about 50/50, aside from LinkedIn which is more heavily skewed towards men, and Pinterest with 2/3 of its users being women.

A look at usage within the United States

Within the United States, the most popular social media platform for adults by far is Facebook with 68% of the population using the platform. The average of the other platforms hovers around 25%, reiterating my point earlier that Facebook continues to dominate.

Another finding with U.S. users is that generally speaking, the wealthier and more educated you are, the more likely you are to use social media.

The rise of Pinterest

Pinterest is a force quietly rising, now matching or exceeding other platforms (except Facebook) in a number of statistical categories. And from a marketing perspective, the platform is far more female and American than its counterparts.

Pinterest has some new advertising options that are getting more and more appealing for businesses. This form of advertising, called Promoted Pins, are just like regular Pins, only you pay to have them seen by more people. The benefits of this type of advertising include:

  • The ads look and feel natural. According to Pinterest, 75% of Pins saved to Pinterest come from businesses, showing they are genuinely helpful for users.
  • The audience is receptive, meaning by sharing your brand’s ideas, you can actually receive, big, measurable results.
  • Ads continue to perform. When a person saves a Promoted Pin, other people see that Pin in their feeds, which can drive additional sales.

This form of advertising is proving to be an effective method for getting your message in front of the right audience. Moral of the story: If you aren’t currently using Pinterest as part of your marketing efforts, it’s worth reconsidering.

Social media usage continues to increase

No matter how you look at it, whether it be age, gender, education, or income, social media adoption continues to expand, and it’s not just in the United States. In fact, the United States is ranked 8th for its portion of adults who use social media.

Social media adoption

Mobile is taking over

Social media users are accessing social media on their mobile devices at a growing rate as desktop use declines, meaning people are constantly connected to these platforms as they’re on the go. This is not only an interesting fact as it relates to social media, but marketers need to take note of this trend and brainstorm ways to get in front of their audiences at the right time when they’re out and about.

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that social media is here to stay and continues to change at a rapid rate. Do any of the stats above surprise you? If you took a look at the complete dashboard, what information did you find most interesting and how do you plan on applying it to your marketing strategy?

Tapping into Your Franchise’s Local Audience via Social Media

Tapping into Your Franchise's Local Audience via Social Media - Duct Tape MarketingFor many people looking to get into the world of business ownership, purchasing a franchise is the ideal situation. You’re able to get behind an established brand, and you have access to proven marketing materials that will give you an advantage over starting a business from scratch.

Of course, the lifeblood of any great franchise is the local audience that will act as its customers. Different areas may have different nuances, beliefs, and experiences that make an “across the board” marketing message ineffective. What works for customers in one part of a country or region may fall flat in another.

Franchisors know that using a range of different marketing mediums is key. Radio and newspaper ads, bus bench ads, direct mail and vehicle wraps all have merit, but when it comes to really tapping into what your local audience wants, social media may be the best option.

Entering a Brave New World

Any reputable franchise’s corporate office will have some sort of social media strategy in place, but franchisees must also get into the act and nurture their local fan base. Many older brands created their franchisee rulebook before the internet was such a force, but if franchisors want to keep up with the competition, a concise set of guidelines is crucial. Setting inexperienced franchisees loose on social media has the potential to be an unmitigated disaster, without the proper guidance.

Generally, there are three franchise social media management styles, as noted in our Franchisor’s Guide to Social Media. They include a controlled style, where corporate controls all the posting, a limited style where franchisees can post but only with corporate approval, and an open style where franchisees can post as they see fit.

Each style has its pros and cons, and different franchisors will have their own beliefs about which is best. However, it is always a good idea to let franchisees help create a unique voice for their own local audience since they are the ones immersed in the community. Tapping into that audience via social media requires some insider’s knowledge and specific steps to follow.

Creating the Plan

Like any marketing endeavor, creating a sound local social media strategy begins with a great plan. Whether the franchise is a restaurant, a hardware store or a gas station, planning is key, and it begins with defining your target audience. If you don’t know who you are speaking to, the message will never be as clear as you’d like. Things like age, gender, marital status, occupation, income, and education all play a role.

The planning process should also include a social media schedule. Often, what works best is a combination of franchise-wide promotions sent from head office and local news, events and promotions. In order to keep all of the information organized and stay on schedule, utilizing an effective social media management tool is key.

Avenues of Engagement

When it comes to reaching your local audience, it’s important for a franchise to choose which platforms make the most sense. These days, you have Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and even Snap Chat and Pinterest have been used successfully to keep in touch. You must determine where your local audience likes to hang out online and then be there when they are.

Naturally, if you are a franchisee for a teen beauty accessory store, your audience will be found in different places online than the local audience for an upscale steak house franchise. You must figure out where they congregate and how they prefer to be engaged, in order to be successful.

Can I Have Your Attention Please?

Quite often, the “how” is almost as important as the “where” in terms of engaging with your local audience. In some cases, standard tweets might do the trick, while others may prefer videos, memes, infographics or Facebook posts. It’s also important to create local profiles for each social media platform, so each audience feels as though you are speaking directly to them, and the messages are always relevant. Franchisors should make sure this is happening, but if it isn’t every franchisee should speak up.

Consistency Is Key

Once the level of corporate office / franchisee social media participation has been established, you have an overall plan in place, you know which platforms make the most sense and what kind of messages produce results, it’s all about consistency. This concept seems simple, but it’s not unusual for franchisees to have no online experience, or to get caught up running the franchise and forget about their social media responsibilities.

It is important for franchisees to take their local social media duties seriously, and delegate or outsource if necessary. For franchisors, supporting franchisees with a plan designed to help them reach their local audiences via social media will benefit everyone involved. To learn more about dominating the world social media for your franchise, check out our Franchisor’s Guide to Social Media.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Social Media.

Juliette SchmerlerJuliette Schmerler is the founder and creative director of Sparktank Franchise Marketing, a boutique marketing agency that focuses on helping franchisors build their brand, find new franchisees and grow sales with local marketing. Juliette keeps her finger on the pulse of the latest reds of projects marketing and online trends through ongoing training as a certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant.

How Wedding Planning Taught Me How to Nurture Social Media Leads

As a marketer, sometimes it ‘s hard to stop thinking about marketing and remind myself that I am also a customer. I’ll find myself during commercial breaks on TV analyzing the scripts and how I would change the copy. I hear ads on the radio offering free content, and I immediately think about the strategy and commend them for using content to market their business. It is hard to turn it off.

Lately, I’ve gotten a nice little reminder of what it is like being a customer with not enough information. It has come during one of the most daunting events of many people’s lives: Wedding planning.

Table set for an event party or wedding reception

#AdventuresInWeddingPlanning

For those who have been here in the past, you can probably attest to the daunting nature of wedding planning. Not only is getting married a major step in life, but there are also plenty of venues and options to choose from. Each has their own rules, regulations and offerings and sometimes it is difficult to grasp all of those options. To me, this can make the decision scary. What if I miss something? To make it even more terrifying, this is probably the first decision you must make.

That’s why one morning while answering emails and scheduling venue tours, I tweeted about my planning. To my pleasant surprise, a venue I hadn’t even found replied.

 

This got me thinking about how businesses should be using social media. I’ve written about listening posts in the past, and how you can use social media to identify potential customers. But it takes effort to reach out to potential customers, effort that is easily recognized by your customers.

Seeking out Social Media Leads

To identify me as a promising social lead, the venue had to search for people tweeting about wedding venues, and had to narrow the search to only those in the Kansas City area using the “Near Me” tag. Luckily, there aren’t that many people tweeting looking for wedding planning advice at any one time. These select few are your prime candidates and are deliberately looking for someone to trust. Why not reach out? If it takes 5 minutes to identify and reach out to these customers, all it takes is one conversion to make this worth your time.

I may not rent out this potential venue, but I wouldn’t have even known about them if they hadn’t have reached out. With a simple 140-character tweet, they took me through several steps of the customer journey. They introduced their venue to me while getting me to like and trust them just because of the effort they gave to reach me. Now, I have scheduled a venue tour, bringing me up to the try level of the customer journey.

What you can learn

More importantly, they have some insight about my frustrations searching for a wedding venue long before the tour. As any salesperson can attest, the more you know about your potential buyers, the easier it is to relate to them and prove your product will solve their problems, and the easier it is to make the sale.

Social media is not meant to be a place to broadcast your message. You’re not going to convert people or gain followers and influence by simply sending out un-engaging messages. What makes social media special is that it offers a direct channel your customers and potential customers. If you want the most from your social media marketing, you must take advantage of this, reach out to your customers and nurture those social media leads.

Have you ever searched for or reached out to potential customers individually on social media? Or has someone sought you out to any success? Let me know in the comments below.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

5 The 20 Minute Social Media Routine for Haters

Haters Guide

Created with Canva

I love social media, but I acknowledge it can be time-consuming. Sometimes I find myself losing hours reading great content and keeping up on the latest news 140 characters at a time. If you’re a small business owner, you probably feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to grow your business let alone tweet, post, like, share and pin on social media. You may even hate social media entirely.

At Duct Tape Marketing, we’re all about creating systems that help you execute your marketing tasks quickly and get back to running your business. John created a robust system that hit all of the important aspects of social media some time ago, but it does require some love and attention. For all you haters out there, it may be too much.

But, with a few handy tools, you can develop a quick social media routine that will help you reach your goals. Here are three steps that even the biggest hater can use to rock social media in less than 20 minutes a day.

Automatically Share Your Content

Your # 1 focus for your social media routine should be to drive traffic to your blog. You should make it a part of your posting routine to share your new content on social media. You can save a little time by installing a WordPress plugin like Jetpack Publicize to share directly from your WordPress dashboard. You can even adjust your settings, so the post is shared automatically as soon as you publish.

Est. Time Per Day: If installed as part of your content posting routine, less than 2 Minutes.

Schedule Updates

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook live in the moment, so to speak. Posts don’t last long in your customers’ timelines, and they don’t often go searching for past posts. That’s why your social media success relies upon your ability to post and share frequently when your customers are most active.

That would require multiple posts at peak times throughout the day but that’s far too time-consuming.

Luckily there are several social media tools you can use to pre-write and schedule your posts, including Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Buffer.

These tools will also give you the opportunity to schedule several posts promoting your new content posts throughout the day. Social media is more popular in the afternoons after work, so take advantage of that knowledge and make sure you promote your blog posts then, regardless of when you publish.

Don’t even want to write the posts? Use Emphatic and you’ll get a number of social posts handwritten for you, and can approve and schedule them directly from their dashboard. They’ll even collect content from a list of blogs of your choosing, and create posts to share that content. It’s almost as if you don’t have to do social media at all.

Est. Time Per Day: 8 minutes for plenty of social posts. Less if you use post creation services like Emphatic.

Share Content

One of the best ways to spread your social influence is to share content from other influencers. Take a few moments a day to read a blog post or two from influencers in your industry and share what you read on social media.

To save time finding posts to share, you can set up Twitter lists of your favorite blogs. Want to collect content to share outside of social media platforms? Use Feedly or any other RSS reader to collect all of your favorite blogs in one place, and take some time to read every day. Then you can collect the links, schedule your posts in Buffer, and you’ll never have to visit the actual social media site.

Est. Time Per Day: 10 minutes, most of which is spent reading. The sharing itself takes just minutes.

Hate it or not, social media is where a lot of your customers get their moment-to-moment news. Every day that you aren’t leveraging social media to reach them is another day that you and your business are forgotten. Installing a social media routine with these three easy steps can maximize your impact, without taking too much time out of your already busy schedule. Just 20 minutes a day is all it takes to rock social media.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443

Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

4 The Most Excellent Qualities of Shareable Content

Today’s post is by Duct Tape Marketing’s Kala Linck – Enjoy!

You posted a picture of your new shoes on Facebook, and now the whole world is debating whether they are pink and green or red and yellow. 50 thousand shares, and umpteen million interactions. People are going to your Facebook page; most are even liking the page for updates on the real color of your new shoes… The alarm clock buzzes. Time to face reality.

Does this sound like a social media dream you’ve had? Ok, maybe not shoes, but having a piece of your content go viral? For this to happen, you’ve got to create shareable content. Your followers are looking for certain qualities in the content they share. If you’re not ensuring that your tweets, updates, blogs, etc. have those qualities, you’re ensuring that no one beyond your followers will ever see that information. Here are three qualities to consider including if you want to make that viral dream a reality:

Relatable

You’ve seen the tweets that say something along the lines of “I’m at Applebees,” or “I take good pictures.” While this sort of content might get some shares because of it’s comic undertones, many people cannot relate to this content, and some might even wonder why you’re sharing these updates.

With your content, instead provide something that people will relate to or use to help their daily routines, their business grow, etc. For example, “5 Ways to Make Your Instagram Photos Stand Out,” makes me want to share this information that I find valuable and think other might as well.

Refutable

If you haven’t noticed, people love to argue on social media. The most famous thing this year is a black and blue dress or was it gold and white? If you can get people passionate about something, and keep them talking – they will enlist the help of their followers, and the process will repeat.

Now, this might not be the kind of shareable content that you want. There is an art to having a debate happen and it being beneficial for the poster.

For example, you need your content to be less like this, “Why I Think Wisconsin Will Win the National Championship,” and more like, “We are thinking of offering training on-line in addition to our in-person training, what are your thoughts?” The comments that you get are likely to support a business decision, and this also gets people talking about your organization.

Relevant

This word comes up quite a bit when we’re creating content, and can seem like a buzzword at times. What does “stay relevant” really mean? By definition, it means “closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.” A good starting point.

Photo courtesy of delightfuldisney.tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of delightfuldisney.tumblr.com

What is important here is to figure out what exactly is the “matter at hand,” and then provide information pertaining to, or providing value for it. For example, on LinkedIn, a post that says, “2015 PowerPoint Presentations are now available on the website from those presenters who granted us permission to post their slides,” might be relevant if your following went on LinkedIn to find your PowerPoint presentation, but is that what they are looking for?

It would be my thinking that the first thing people would do when looking for said PowerPoint presentation would be to check on your website, or send an email to your organization.

A more relevant post for LinkedIn would look something like this: “Meet the VP that could be hiring YOU.” People get on LinkedIn to look up connections and jobs, and to find encouraging workplace content. Think about your audience and what they are really seeking on each social media platform, and that will help you create more relevant content.

There are lots of reasons that things go viral. Maybe they contain a cute baby or a puppy, or maybe they make you laugh or bring you to tears. More often than not, viral content pulls an emotion out of the reader or viewer. Making sure your content is relevant, refutable and/or relatable is a good way to start inviting those emotions that will make people want to share your content. And who knows, maybe your dreams of viral shoes will come true. What aspects of content make you want to share it?

Kala LinckKala Linck is the Community and Content Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find her blogging her travels, praying for summer or tweeting about coffee and cats @tadasunshine.

Where Does Social Media Fit into the Customer Journey?

Businesses know that they must have a presence on social media, but they don’t know how to use it. The wonderful thing about social media is that there are multiple platforms and countless ways to use them. It can also be overwhelming for some business owners who begin social media marketing without a plan.

To understand how to use social media marketing, you first have to understand how your customers think. We’ve posted a lot about this idea customer journey a lot in the past, but it is critical to your customers. The bottom line is that there are seven behaviors that all of your customers exhibit as they interact with your company: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. It is your job to guide them through those behaviors.

You can use social media to assist in guiding several of these behaviors, particularly know, like, trust, repeat and refer. If you go into your social media marketing campaign with the mindset of achieving these behaviors with customers and potential customers, social media suddenly becomes much clearer.

But each of these behaviors requires specific tactics to achieve. Here’s how to use social media to guide your customers through their journey.

Know

Social media is incredibly helpful in first introducing your customers to your business or product. Being active on social media, especially Google+, and engaging with your local community can help your SEO ranks. Often, social media channels will show up high on any local search. Frequently use keywords for which you want to show up in searches, and you can improve your search engine rankings in those keywords.

In addition, social media advertising has become more robust and effective over the years. You can target potential customers based on interest, who they follow or like, even location getting your brand/product or service in front of more of your ideal clients.

Like

Because social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook give businesses unlimited opportunities to interact with their fans, you have a chance to get them to like you and your business beyond your product. Be active and present in local social events, even cheer on local sports teams during big games. Enjoy the moment with your community, and your community will respond.

Trust

The longer a person is engaged and likes a business on social media, the more likely they are to trust that business. Share customer testimonials and ask your customers why they like and use your product, prospective customers can see what value your product provides.

In addition, if you use social media as a customer service tool, (I’ll explain how later) potential clients can see and know that they will be taken care of after they buy.

Repeat

At Duct Tape Marketing, we know that if you hold a customer’s hand for 90 days, you’ve kept them for life. Maybe the customer doesn’t need as much hand-holding. You can interact with them using social media to increase brand loyalty. If they post something related to the use of your product, respond and reach out. They’ll feel important to your business and want to continue to work with you.

Refer

Finally, you can use social media to not only get your customers to refer your business, but share those referrals with other potential clients. Ask your customers to tweet with a photo using your product, or post a picture of the completed service on Facebook. If you share and retweet those referrals and endorsements, you can reach an even larger audience than the individual networks of your customers.

Social media platforms are powerful tools to help you market your business. Knowing which behaviors your customers exhibit, and how to tap into those behaviors on social media are critical to having a successful social media plan.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Social Media.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

4 How to Maintain a Consistent Brand Identity Across Social Networks

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing – enjoy this post from Xavier Davis

When social media marketing first began it was rather easy to maintain a consistent brand identity. This was due in large part to the fact that there were only a few social networks. Oh, how things have changed! Today it is common, if not necessary, for business to be active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Youtube — just to name a few. Each one of these networks provides businesses access to a unique demographic of current and potential customers.

The strategies required to excel on each of these networks is very different, which creates a dilemma. How can a business maintain a consistent brand identity while active on several, very different, social networks? We are going to dive into this dilemma and figure out how to master a consistent brand identity on social media!

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.28.27 PM

Understanding your business’s audience is the most important aspect of social media marketing success. It is nearly impossible to have any success if you are blindly posting without first understanding who your audience is, why they are following you and how your business can bring value to them. Imagine putting on an amazing heavy metal rock concert only to find out the audience was hoping to hear classical music. It is also important to keep in mind the audiences for each social network are different. For example, LinkedIn users will expect content to be more professional than Twitter users. Sharing the same content, but in a form that is appropriate for the specific network is crucial for success.

Create a Familiar Look

Before you even worry about posting, make sure your business looks the same on your different social networks. Each social network has a different layout, but make sure items such as your profile image and bio are consistent. If possible, your social accounts should be consistent with your company website as well.

Choose a Brand Voice

How will your business interact? Will you use a lot of humor? Respond using we or I? There is not a right or wrong way to approach brand voice, other than it should be consistent. Your brand’s voice should also reflect your business as a whole. Social media is about showing off who your business is, so try to embody it in your voice. Understanding your audience should also make it easier to decide what type of voice your brand should have. Do you have a favorite business you follow on social media? Study their brand voice and see if you can apply aspects of it to your brand’s social media presence.

Post Consistently

Creating a consistent brand identity requires consistent posting habits. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Nothing hurts a business more than creating social media accounts and then not posting to them. If a potential customer searches for your business on Facebook and sees that you have not posted in a month, they could easily assume you went out of business. Terrible, right? Investing in a social media management tool will help you to plan out posts ahead of time and make sure that your brand is posting consistently.

Repurpose Content 

Time is such a crucial asset for small businesses. Repurposing content WILL save you time! Repurposing content is taking existing content and putting a spin on it. Most of the time required for creating content is spent researching facts, finding relevant pictures, etc. Why put in all that work and then only use it once? Review some of the content you have already created and see if you can repurpose it! One example would be turning a text-based blog post into an infographic. You can use all the same statistics, but visual content will resonate with a new audience. Another example would be turning that epic “List of Amazing Facts About…” blog post you wrote into smaller, more in-depth posts.

Final Thoughts

Being consistent at anything in life requires proper preparation, active experimentation and commitment by everyone that is involved. Make sure anyone that will be a part of your social media efforts is trained to understand how to maintain your business’s identity. When a business is noticeably consistent, customers begin to trust them and want to buy from them!

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.31.48 PMXavier Davis is the Social Media Superhero at eClincher, a single platform which allows businesses to efficiently manage and track social media and website activities with insightful, actionable, and meaningful real-time reports. Companies can view, plan, manage and analyze social media activity and online advertising campaigns and, crucially, understand the impact of that activity on the business website. When Xavier takes off the cape, he can be found watching basketball, playing Xbox or enjoying the outdoors.

17 How to Set Social Media Up from Scratch

We just started working with a mid-size software company and, in digging in to build their marketing system, it quickly became clear they had no real social media integration.

social media set up

photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc

Sure, they had several Twitter accounts, many of their top folks were on LinkedIn and there was a Facebook page, but nothing was connected, no routine was established and certainly no strategy existed for taking advantage of the fact that their clients were increasing social.

In order to get them taking advantage of the strategy we were to recommend we first had to get social more deeply integrated into their daily work processes.

My experience is that this scenario is still quite commonplace – even as the buzz and hype around social has died down a bit.

So, since we needed to basically start from scratch to help them employ a routine for listening and sharing internally and externally, I thought I would document a bit of the process we put them through as it could be a good starting place for many organizations.

1) Created a list of industry related blogs that included publications, influencers, journalist, clients and competitors and set up subscriptions in Feedly RSS reader. (Used IFTTT recipe to make it easy to tag content to Salesforce Chatter)

2) Created list of alerts for key terms, brand names, clients and topics in Talkwalker and Mention. (I like to use both as they seem to pick up different things)

3) Set up Hootsuite for marketing team with Saleforce app integration. Used TacticsCloud tool to create and upload Twitter list of clients, journalists and influencers

4) Created Buffer account and added Buffer bookmarklet for scheduled sharing of content from Feedly or the web to all social networks.

5) Located and Liked Facebook pages of clients, prospects, publications and journalists.

6) Located and joined a number of active and relevant LinkedIn Groups and followed several industry related channels in Pulse.

7) Added mobile apps for Feedly, Hootsuite, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

8) Created Cyfe dashboard for single reporting interface to monitor and measure ongoing social media impact. (Also created some custom segments in Google Analytics and integrated it with Cyfe)

This basic set-up doesn’t get into the daily and weekly amplification, sharing and posting routine that we are also working to install, and there certainly are other more sophisticated ways to set this up, but this is a fairly simple and repeatable plan to work from.