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Social Media

Have you ever Googled your business name? Try it. Like what you see? If not, you’re not alone. Every year millions of dollars are spent on online reputation management to combat bad reviews, false claims, upset customers and the like. Once negative comments are posted to the web, they are often difficult to overcome or replace and can impact future business.

Yelp, which was founded in 2004, collects millions of reviews each year. Users will search for a specific type of local store or service, and receive a list of results like the ones shown below As you can see, ratings and reviews are front and center. For many of your potential customers, these reviews are critical decision-making factors. Good reviews are gold, bad reviews are costly.

Yelp Reviews

Fortunately, you aren’t entirely at the mercy of your customers when it comes to garnering positives reviews. You can take an active roll in encouraging reviews – but monitoring and managing reviews on the web takes time and budget.

In a lengthy article on Forbes.com, Cheryl Lock outlined three steps to managing reputations online. They are:

Be Vigilant

Monitor what people are saying. Set up alerts and get notified when mentions are made. “Don’t let negative reviews and blog comments linger without a response.”  The longer these comments sit without a response, the more difficult it can be to address the situation.

Be Proactive

“Unashamedly embrace self-promotion.” Promote and solicit customer reviews and success stories. Saturate social media and the web with positive comments about your company. Doing so will provide an alternate narrative for potential customers to read.

Be Honest

“Admit when you’ve messed up or failed to live up to expectations.” Transparency is refreshing and will carry weight with customers. Never expect to satisfy every everyone.

 

Red Robin is an example of a company doing it right. (Side note, when visiting Red Robin go for the Banzai burger!)

Typically we have great experiences here, but on one occasion it wasn’t quite up to our expectations so we did what many people do, we Tweeted about it. Within a half hour of posting the tweet, we received a response. Without placing blame, either way, their reaction team had reached out, established a rapport, set some expectations and turned a negative comment into a positive.

Red Robin Tweet 1Red Robin DM

Red Robin Reponse Team

When it comes to reputation management keep to the three basic steps.

  • Monitor
  • Response with honesty and Integrity
  • Be Proactive

 

Not sure where to start? Simply Google your name or business name – or better yet let us do the legwork for you. Give us a call and we’ll walk through this process with you.

Sanctuary Marketing group specializes in Digital Marketing and can assist you with your online reputation management needs.

Combating The Negative Review
jason brueckner social media

jason-brueckner-social-media-crop2

The presentation shares successful, trending Social Marketing Strategies to reach new customers, keep an eye on competitors trending events, and keep existing fans around much longer! The presentation was done in conjunction with The Akron Canton AMA, The Taylor Institute and Kanga Communications of The University of Akron as well as Sanctuary Marketing Group.

Listen to the Audio or Download the Presentation

More About Jason:

Jason-InsetJason Brueckner loves the way technology simplifies life and brings people together. As far as marketing and brand awareness goes, he has years of hands-on experience in leveraging the nebulous world of Social Media Marketing to grow the exposure of businesses and their audience’s engagement.

Not only are the majority of Internet users on Social Networks but there has been a massive shift in the way that businesses can reach people — Rather than yelling at people through billboards and TV ads, you can meet people where they’re at as they relax with their friends.

Social Media 101

  1. Date: February 25, 2016 – Prepared by: Jason Brueckner Phone: 330-266-1188 ext 301 – Email: [email protected]
  2. Tonight’s Agenda ● Why Social Media Marketing? ● An Overview of Major Platforms ● How Can a Business Leverage Social Media ● Q&A
  3. Who’s this guy, anyways?
  4. Why Social Media?
  5. An Overview of Major Channels Pop Quiz! Who can describe popular channels to a business CEO and say why it is worth investing in?
  6. How to Leverage Social Media? Integrate!
  7. Q & A Now what questions do you have? twitter.com/jasonbrueckner fb.com/jabrueckner instagram.com/jbrueckner
Social Media 101
Pinterest Buy It Now Button

For those of you that might not be aware of Pinterest, we think it’s time to get pinning on your board. In a snapshot, Pinterest is a place where ideas, pictures, and DIY (Do it Yourself) come together in a beautiful, customizable display. An important note to keep in mind, Pinterest is more than just a collection of amazing cat photos, it’s both a marketing tool and strong contender in the Social Media marketing world.

There is value in Pinterest for a business. The visual impact of Pinterest can expose new brands, products or services to an entirely new customer base. Like Twitter or Facebook, members can have followers who may also share things they like. From photos and images to quotes or recipes, one person pins it and others can share. Members share, followers can re-share and all of these pinned items have the potential to be viewed by a lar

Let’s take a look of how Pinterest is changing the game in which we connect with our audience, from a digital standpoint. First and foremost, Pinterest advertising is referred to as Promoted Pins. Promoted Pins allows you to pick your most viewed and/or repinned pins and send them to a larger, more relevant audience. Promoted Pins helps to bring in more engagement and larger Pinterest Buy It Now Buttonexposure for your brand or company. Like any advertising, you’ll need to set a budget, determine relevant keywords, and decide upon your campaign’s duration. The great thing about Promoted Pins is your able to track your results in real time and change your campaign accordingly.

The next big thing that has hit Pinterest recently is Buyable Pins. Have you ever seen a product on Pinterest and wanted to buy that product right then and there? Well, now you can with Buyable Pins. Pins tagged with a new ‘Buy It’ call-to-action is a brand new approach to how companies and consumers interact with one another. How does Buyable Pins work? Buyable Pins work by setting up your digital inventory through Shopify (or whichever third party storefront you use), your products become verified and transactions take place right on Pinterest. It is important to note that once when your products are verified through your third-party e-store, a blue ‘Buy It’ button will appear on that pin.Pinterest Messages

Lastly, Pinterest gets conversational with new Messages. Messages is a great feature on Pinterest that allows you to connect with friends, customers, and others in a whole new way. Using Messages for the first time can be tricky. Here’s how to get messages to work: If you are on a desktop computer, place your mouse over the image and you’ll see an option to send the image (Click on the paper airplane icon). If using a mobile device, hold your finger down on the image and three icons appear, use the paper airplane icon there as well. Using the messages feature is completely up to you but it could be a strong tool to reach your audience.

 

Pinterest & North Canton Business

Those are just a few noteworthy Pinterest updates. Like any company they are constantly growing and improving, and always a good idea to check the Pinterest blog regularly. Pinterest is much more than another sharing platform, it is growing into a more effective marketing tool. Sanctuary Marketing Group can help a North Canton business get started using Pinterest. Give us a call 330-266-1188 or contact us with questions. Find out if Pinterest is the right fit for your company.

Pinterest – What’s Pin Going On
Inside Scoop on Social Media

This is the fifth and final post in our series of understanding how Social Media works and how to tie it into a Digital Marketing Strategy. The first post Into to Digital Marketing and Social Media addressed the subject of Should my local, small business be on social media? The second post started us on the path of Social Media Research. The third post explored testing social media tactics and our fourth discussed how to build an effective Social Media Strategy.

social spoonsIf you have been following along you are now ready for the inside scoop on Social Media. Here are some  little things that can help your campaigns take off along with a summary of our series.

This was a lot of information, believe me. I get it. As a business owner, taking on the role of social media manager means that you have to know yourself, know your audience, know your tools, be well-planned with your content calendar yet be spontaneous, flexible and ever-present all so that you’re discovered in somebody’s newsfeed. Sounds tiring, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tricks, tips and tools to help your online reputation and digital marketing in the social world.

  1. Social Media Schema and Meta Tags. This is a fancy way of saying “have text and images in place to automatically fill your post out.” Websites can communicate with Facebook and other social channels. Hidden code on websites can tell social media channels what images to pull and what title and description to add to a post. Moz offers a super in-depth look at what this means and how to make it happen. Do you have a website and want a quick fix? Look for a plugin that will add meta descriptions and social media schema markup to your website automatically. Are you a WordPress user? I’d suggest WordPress SEO by Yoast. This will completely transform your social media presence.
  2. logosSocial Media Tools: There are literally hundreds of tools available to us as marketers. The important thing to remember is to find a tool that fits your needs. What good is a tool if you don’t know how to use it and can’t get the information out of it you want. I like tools that have an easy interface and give me information I can use to make actionable decisions. Here are a few of my favorites:
    1. Hootsuite
    2. Facebook Scheduling
    3. Sumall
    4. Reminders
    5. Feedly
    6. Buffer
    7. Sprout Soical
    8. Google Trends
  3. Research: Doing proper research can make or break your efforts, whether SEO or social media management specifically. You can always start with Google Trends to see how your topic is going as a whole! Once you dig in there, I suggest visiting the different channels themselves and using their search features. With Twitter and Instagram, you may want to experiment with a few different hashtags (Unfortunately, Facebook’s search features are less than par).
  4. Editorial Calendar: There are hundreds of editorial calendars out there for you to use for Social Media marketing. I would suggest building one that (1.) works from you and (2.) is easily reproducible. Like I mentioned above, Google Docs makes it simple. There are templated monthly calendars that you can adjust to your own needs (Here is one that we use for our monthly calendar). As for the weekly calendar, I gave an example of that above! I suggest adding the following columns: your post’s date, title, copy, image, specific channel, and any additional notes that are needed for the post.
  5. Content Curation: Wait, we failed to talk about how to feature other’s content on your social feeds? The general rule for posting to social media is sharing content that is 80% catered toward OTHERS and 20% about yourself or your product. That being said, you need to easily discover and share new content — so how do we do that? I suggest Feedly. Easily subscribe to any blog, discover new content, and quickly share (right from there) to scheduling tools or social channels directly. Check it out!
  6. Scheduling: There are handfuls of ways to schedule a posts, most popular may be Buffer. Other popular channels are Sprout Social (our weapon of choice), Hootsuite and, of course, the built-in scheduling tools per platform. For example, Facebook lets you build out, schedule, preview and edit posts. Scheduling out your posts allows you the freedom of taking one to two hours a week to set it and forget it! WordPress buffs, I would encourage you to subscribe and become pros with CoSchedule. This is an unbeatable platform to write and schedule blog posts and social media updates across platforms — I wrote about it in detail here!
  7. Reporting: As we discussed above, reporting is crucial for multiple aspects of your Social Media Marketing efforts. If it is not to keep accountable it is at least a reminder to stay active with your efforts! Some of the most beautiful of reports that we have come across is SumAll Reports. While this is not as holistic as Hootsuite, what it does report it reports remarkably well! We tipped our hands a minute ago and admitted to using Sprout Social in house. Sprout Social allows you to automate your social reports so that you do not have to worry about digging in later!
  8. Reminders: This is just a small trick of the trade. Be sure to make use of one specific reminders app so that you can keep track of all that you do! One example that comes to mind is when that client asks you to send next week’s social posts every Friday so that they can be reviewed before the next week starts. You reply with an assuring, “Of course! I’ll send it your way.” Only to let it slip through the cracks. The same goes with reporting and scheduling upcoming posts. Create for yourself a dependable system for managing reminders.

 

We have reached the bittersweet end of this lengthy journey. This is by no means the end. We still have a long way to go in cracking the code to social media and its ever changing nature. Please share your experiences and thoughts. In case you are just now joining us, be sure to explore our other articles in this Social Media Marketing series:

  1. Digital Marketing and Social Media – Intro
  2. Social Media Research – Know Thyself
  3. Social Media Research – Know What Works
  4. Determining a Social Media Strategy
  5. Inside Scoop

 

Sanctuary Marketing Group has a dedicated team of Social Media professionals who are ready to help you with the advice, research, testing, development and implementation of a social media strategy. Contact us today and request a quote or call (330) 266-1188.

 

Social Media: The Inside Scoop
Social Media Calendar

Determining a Social Media Strategy

This is the fourth post in our series of understanding how Social Media works and how to tie it into a Digital Marketing Strategy. The first post Into to Digital Marketing and Social Media addressed the subject of Should my local, small business be on social media? The second post started us on the path of Social Media Research. The third post explored testing social media tactics.

Our fourth post deals with creating a Social Media strategy. Why it is important and what makes up an effective, doable SoMe Strategy.

Plan to Work

Ask any and every marketer, or anybody who manages a business, the age-old saying Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail is tried and true. By this point, you have already mapped out who you are and where your audience is. You have tested channels and gained an understanding of what works and what is a complete waste of time. You have determined your identity, your audience, your budget, your social media platforms, and how this all fits into the grand scheme of your marketing efforts … so now it is time to put this all into a plan. With all of these spinning wheels and social media channels, the most critical next step is to create a social media editorial calendar. While your editorial calendar may differ based on your client, your posting consistency and the detail of your postings, you must have a shell to keep your efforts in control and on pace. Here is how we do things at Sanctuary (and for a number of our clients):

  1. Monthly Editorial Calendar: A thousand foot view of your social media efforts provides you the opportunity to keep things in check. In the same way that the CEO of a business does not need every intricate detail displayed for day to day work, the overview portion of your calendar lets you look at what you have in store for the month. In an effort to tip my hand a bit and show you how Sanctuary Marketing Group does things at this higher level, here is a screenshot of Sanctuary Marketing Group social media efforts for January 2015 (Note: Most all documentation in house is done within Google Docs so that we can easily share and collaborate). At the monthly view, not much is listed aside from the date, the topic, and the channel. We color-code the days to show what went live (green), what is scheduled (yellow) and what we failed to go live (red, oops). In addition to this information, we will add particular initiatives (i.e., a monthly theme or a social channel to push) and ad spend to the monthly calendar.
  2. Social Media Calendar Day to Day Editorial Calendar: While the monthly keeps our overall identity and initiatives running smoothly, a day to day calendar is an absolute must. Each daily entry on the post editorial calendar includes the date, the topic (copied and pasted from the monthly editorial calendar), the copy for the post, the URL that will be added to the post, the specific social media channel, and any important additional notes for the post. Some daily social media editorial calendars include channel specific copy (i.e., Twitter only allows for 140 characters) or links to dropbox images that need added to the post. The day to day editorial calendar allows for ample planning ahead as well as client review of the posts if necessary. Here is a screenshot of what our daily editorial calendar looks like (again, color coded based on completion):

While it may seem overkill to schedule out the posts and review the copy in this much detail, these two editorial calendars provide the framework for organized longevity in your social media digital marketing efforts. Failure to plan is the #1 reason why ongoing marketing efforts are unsuccessful or inconsistent.

 

Work the Plan

What is the #2 reason why Social Media Marketing does not continue to work with a business’ digital marketing efforts? The beautiful plan does not ever get put into action or, more likely, the plan gets off the ground at roaring speeds before ever so slowly grinding to a sad hault. What does it mean to work the plan? Here are some points to make sure that it happens!

Places Everyone! Have you ever been on a play or movie set right before the scene is about to go live? Everything from the props to the well-rehearsed performers scramble to their predetermined spots. Once curtains rise, it’s show time! You have a commitment to fulfill and the entire scene rests on your shoulders (no wonder stage fright is such a big issue). Much the same, the script has been written (the editorial calendars) and the cast has been chosen (the social media channels); now time to execute. It’s showtime! Make sure that each person understands their roles, from the manager, the communications director, the business’ intern, and so on.SoMe Calendar

Execution: Whether it is the required posting or routine checks to whatever social media channel you decided to move forward with, have a very specific, precise plan to execute your editorial calendar. At Sanctuary Marketing Group, we check our clients Facebook and Twitter channels every morning, noon and right before we leave for the day. Additionally, posting is done daily. While many agencies and businesses will schedule posts to go live so that they do not have to visit their feeds daily, a lot changes and needs to be monitored daily. For that reason, we manually add posts from editorial calendars daily. Channels beyond Facebook and Twitter, like Pinterest and Instagram, we check periodically and update whenever noted by the editorial calendars.

Reporting: Having a regular system in place for reporting adds multiple levels to your digital marketing social media campaign. Primarily, scheduled reporting provides accountability to your efforts. Is it wasted time and money? You’ll know by looking at your results! Reporting also keeps your head on the ground instead of in the clouds. While social media requires quick replies and flexible management, there must also be a rhythm to your work that encourages you to reflect on your efforts. At Sanctuary Marketing Group, we have manual reporting that is done for social media but we always have our numbers backed up. We can check our numbers by visiting Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, Sprout Social Reporting, and SumAll.

 

TWEET

Kissmetrics shares about Facebook Insights. Social media #digitalmarketing ROI.

 

Remember “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Come up with a plan, execute and report. Next up, the final installment in our Digital Marketing and Social Media series The Inside Scoop on Social Media.

 

Sanctuary Marketing Group has a dedicated team of Social Media professionals who are ready to help you with the advice, research, testing, development and implementation of a social media strategy. Contact us today and request a quote or call (330) 266-1188.

Determining a Social Media Strategy

Social Media Research: Know What Works

social question2-cropThis is the third post in our series of understanding how Social Media works and how to tie it into a Digital Marketing Strategy. The first post Into to Digital Marketing and Social Media addressed the subject of Should my local, small business be on social media? The second post started us on the path of Social Media Research. We continue on with the subject of research.

Knowing what works saves you time, money and increases the chance of success of any social media strategy. Emulating what others have done is a great place to start. Copying successful strategies is just plain smart. We all want to be creative and come up with an original idea and this is a wonderful way to approach things, but it’s not always practical. There is nothing wrong with taking what others have done and applying to your business. Does this mean you will have the same success that they’ve had? Absolutely not. That is why it is important to try and test different approaches.

Test Then Invest

Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of each channel that I have mentioned, there is something that needs to be said. Before we get into the details of properly tagging and organizing your websiteaccept-47587_1280to be more sharable, the necessity of having all of the correct image sizes on your pages, and the utter need to embed code so that your information is shared correctly — before we do all of that — you have to understand that you cannot possibly do it all (and don’t have to). At least, you cannot do it all across every channel available. As noted above, each social media channel is different. Each channel brings its own “particular set of skills” (to quote Bryan Mills from Taken). For a business or individual to sit in a conference room and brainstorm the best channels for their business and then take the next five years on those channels alone would be a complete catastrophe.

Rather, use the TEST THEN INVEST model.

Maybe you have had great success with a channel or two already. If you know for a fact that Facebook is your bread and butter then stick with it to avoid getting toasted by the competition. Stick with what works but be ready to try out new platforms before you map out your Social Media Marketing campaign hard and fast. Testing a platform simply means get familiar with it. Get into the social channel, create an account (even a faux user if that works for you), and begin engaging with the community that is already there. You’ll learn more about what works and what does not work once you’re on the inside. You will discover things like how well tweets with visuals, videos or pictures, perform versus those without imagery. You’ll get a better idea of what acquiring a shallow, spammy community can do to your page’s engagement levels. You’ll also find out how fun and exciting it is when reputable brands or local businesses seek you out or mention you in posts. Test, test, test! Create profiles for SnapChat, Path and Vine to see firsthand just how different the channels are and what makes them tick. All of the testing that was just mentioned was what the industry calls free promotion and earned promotions; You and your profile gain exposure just by being active and earning your spot in the ranks.

You should also take time to test paid promotions. Create a few ads in Facebook to get a glimpse of how you can very specifically target your ads, even down to a five-mile radius around your storefront. Get into the Pinterest Ads community and try your hand at putting your business in front of the millions of users! You can read up on how to use these Social Media Marketing ad platforms until your eyes ache, but nothing teaches somebody like getting into the trenches, investing a few dollars (I would suggest around $25-50 per platform to see any real results), and analyzing the results. Test both earned and paid techniques across all available channels to see what platforms may be most effective for your own brand or business — then map out how to dominate your niche! Speaking of planning ahead, let’s talk about that now.

 

Pouring time and money into one approach only to find out later that it was a failure can be disheartening and cost you your job. Find out what really works by testing.

Next up in our series is Determining a Social Media Strategy

Sanctuary Marketing Group has a dedicated team of Social Media professionals who are ready to help you with the advice, research, testing, development and implementation of a social media strategy. Contact us today and request a quote or call (330) 266-1188.

 

 

 

Social Media Research: Know What Works
Know Your Social Media

This is the second post in our series of understanding how Social Media works and how to tie it into a Digital Marketing Strategy. The first post Into to Digital Marketing and Social Media addressed the subject of Should my local, small business be on social media?

In this post we are covering the subject of Research and why it is the critical first step in developing a social media strategy.

Social Media Research: Know Thyself

Know Thyself, Know Your Business: Right, right … You have read enough business How-To and How-Not-To books to understand that knowing yourself is crucial. But in the world of digital marketing, knowing how you stack up in comparison to your competitors is vital. What’s more, your strengths (and weaknesses) are what are going to make (or break) you. In a polished and professional way, you will want to be able to translate your business’ identity (i.e., all that you do and say) into your social media outlets. We will talk more about channels, tools, and social media posting content later, until then — know what makes your business tick.

Know Your Social MediaWatch Your Competitors

While you shouldn’t spend too much time on this, you will certainly want to spend some time on it. Create a running list of similar businesses and keep an eye on their social media efforts. Because Facebook recognizes the importance of keeping an eye on your competition, the business end of Facebook has even created means to watch other businesses in your industry. Other than seeing how many page likes a business has, which is arguably tangential to any worthwhile marketing results, you can see what type of exposure your competitors are getting as well as what is and isn’t working socially for your industry. Let their mistakes be your gain!

Know Your Audience

Wait a second. Did you get that? Let me repeat. Know your audience. This is the hingepoint to be social and to be engaging. This right here is the social media marketers stumbling block. This step of knowing your audience leaves people scratching their heads. How are you going to connect with your followers if you don’t know them? Even before that, how are you going to garner potential buyers and the right social following if you do not know who you want to follow you? Remember that shift we talked about at the beginning of this article? What is unique to Social Media Marketing is that, to an extent, you have power over who your audience is (especially in paid promotions, which we’ll discuss later). No, you do not own your audience, but unlike old school ads in the printed Yellow Pages, you can build exposure to your brand and it can be done to a certain demographic. Do you know what audience best converts for you? You should stop and figure that out before you go any further.

Know Available Channels

Find your SoMe ChannelSo far, we have stood at the shore of the massive ocean that is Social Media Marketing. Getting a better understanding of who we are and who we want to reach is important, but that is only half of the battle. Imagine, for a second, wanting to climb a mountain or bike across country. These are lofty goals, I know, but they are goals nonetheless. In those scenarios, you have the person (you) and the goal (reach the finish line). Do you know the best equipment to get you to the goal most effectively? You likely wouldn’t tune up your mountain bike or unicycle to pedal from sea to shining sea. And, while it is beneficial if you were descending into the ocean, you wouldn’t secure your scuba mask to help you reach the mountain’s peak. What’s the point here?

There are specific tools for specific tasks. Begin to see each social media channel for what they were created for and then ride that vessel to the finish line. Most business owners haven’t got a clue what to do with the messy world of social media, and that is likely because they see each platform as the same. Before we discuss how to get started with your business’ Social Media Marketing campaign, here are a few distinguishing points for channels to get you started:

      1. Facebook: Facebook has nearly 890 million daily users (ahem, the United States has 319 million people at present). The platform of Facebook is flexible and can handle pictures, videos, lengthy text posts, hashtags, business pages, unique interest group communities and much more. While all age groups are represented, the typical user is 40+ and spends time connecting with family or getting lost in viral news and video posts. Facebook has the most robust advertising system available for social media marketers, enabling businesses to specifically target their ads by hundreds of categories.
      2. Instagram: Since Facebook acquired Instagram, the network has been refined but has held true to its mainstay. Instagram is a visual network that focuses on filtered pictures and short looping videos. The ability to search collections of images by #hashtags makes Instagram a powerful resource for marketers. Typical Instagram users are teens through young adults and power users upload images as often as 3x a day!
      3. Google+: Many deem Google+ the Search Engine Optimizer’s Social Media Network, and that is whether or not Google+ is here to stay. While it often feels as though you are shooting into the dark, Google prioritizes their own community over that of others and it is important that you are established and active here in some form or fashion. Most users are deep in their professional niche and are not on Google+ simply because they are love with the channel. The network is built primarily around Google Hangouts (on Air), a digital hub for chatting online and being a part of incredible interviews.
      4. YouTube: Touted as the second largest search engine available (second to Google and ahead of Bing), YouTube is part social media, part blogging (Thanks to “vlogging”), and part search engine optimization. All that to say, it is an incredibly powerful channel that has the ability to both grow a massive audience and be easily discovered from search engines, especially its parent, Google.com. As far as what works and what doesn’t, if you could crack the code you may rightly end up a millionaire. Video genres range from How To’s to how not to (“epic fail” videos appear to have that special sauce causing them to go viral) and everything in between. Of course, if you can aptly splice a screaming goat with Miley Cyrus, you have a shot at raking in the views as well. YouTube is a special niche that has a lot of opportunity.
      5. Twitter: Who knew that a social network that requires updates 140 characters or less would be such a hit? With Twitter’s recent addition of video and adding multiple images to a single post, not to mention the introduction of Periscope, the Twittersphere has only grown bigger and better. This audience demands consistent, quality content if you’d like them to turn an ear your way.
      6. And the list goes on and on. Vimeo, FourSquare, Tumblr, LinkedIn and many others … but what platform would you like insight on? Contact me directly and let’s chat!

 

Remember knowing is half the battle. Do the research up front and save yourself time down the road. Next up: Social Media Research: Know what Works.

Sanctuary Marketing Group has a dedicated team of Social Media professionals who are ready to help you with the advice, research, testing, development and implementation of a social media strategy. Contact us today and request a quote or call (330) 266-1188.

Social Media Research: Know Thyself
Social Media Marketing

Digital Marketing and Social Media

Social Media Marketing The world of Social Media has changed over the years. What has its roots in simply befriending someone or following a brand has turned into a multifaceted and ever-evolving, incredibly powerful marketing tool. This entire article is dedicated to Social Media and its place in digital marketing.

Before we dig into the nitty-gritty details of Social Media Marketing and Social Media Management, let me first give you some context. There are hundreds of small, local businesses in North Canton and the surrounding area. And for every business that calls North Canton home, there are tons of digital marketing solutions. One of the many digital marketing solutions, often misunderstood and underestimated, is Social Media Marketing.

In this article series, I want to help answer the question that most any business owner asks at one point in time:Should my local, small business be on social media? And believe us when we say that we completely understand the hesitancy in leaning into a Social Media Marketing campaign. To be real, we resonate with the fact that some days it is difficult enough to sort through your inbox entirely, let alone worry about what somebody Tweeted at you (Wait, you don’t know what a Tweet is? That’s okay. I’ll get to that). Not only that, but why would a business owner wish to give unhappy customers a public platform to openly bash his or her business? We will be discussing these questions and many more throughout this massive piece on Digital Marketing and Social Media.

  1. Gather Research
    1. Know Your Business
    2. Know Your Competitors
    3. Know Your Audience
    4. Know Available Channels
    5. Know What Works
  2. Determine Strategy
    1. Plan to Work
    2. Work the Plan
  3. Now The Inside Scoop
    1. Social Media Schema
    2. Social Media Tools

 

The Changing of the Tide

A number of people have commented recently on the huge shift that has taken place in the world of marketing. And marketing broadly, not digital marketing or social media alone. What’s the change I’m speaking of? Go back about 40 or even 30 years. Billboards and television commercials used to spout off clever product highlights in hopes to draw buyers in. You, the seller, would attempt to shout louder than others in hopes that they, the buyer, would open their wallets and buy. Things have changed, have you noticed that? What do you think the purpose behind the whacky Old Spice and Progressive Insurance commercials are? These massive companies have discovered that rather than showing potential customers a 30 second reel on product features, connecting with people is more important — even for conversions. This is a fraction of the work behind what is termed “relational marketing.”

SoMe Share How does this convert to sales? Well … you won’t know how Old Spice keeps you dry and smelling good during your workouts, but you have laughed at their commercials – and that formed a relationship. That relationship is likely strong enough that you will at least give their product a sniff when you spot it in the shopping aisle … and getting the product in your hands is half the battle.

Come & See -vs- Go & Tell

Engaging TV spots are only one example. Channels across the board have made the marketing shift to connecting with their audience emotionally and relationally. Another swing on the marketing pendulum, particularly with the introduction to Social Media Marketing, is Come & See versus Go & Tell. In years past, marketers stood their ground, be it in brochures, billboards, newspaper ads, TV commercials, or what have you, all in hopes that the right person will see the right message for the right product at the right moment. Business owners would pay for these efforts and sit with their fingers crossed waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for someone to come and see the great products that they have to offer.

Businesses now have the ability to reach their target audience right where they are at, whether they are in their bedroom on their smartphone or passing time in the library while they wait for class to start. Thanks to digital marketing as a whole, but especially mediums like Facebook and Twitter, somebody who manages a business can uniquely target the most relevant audience to them and only pay for impressions that are worthwhile. Those connections with their highly targeted audience can be social, shareable, engaging and connecting. Plus it takes the legwork out of their audience because the business is going to them rather than having their potential buyers seek them out.

We’re already starting to get a clearer picture of what potential Social Media Marketing has in the evolving work of Digital Marketing — and we are only scratching the surface. The article before you will continue to discuss the importance — or, the necessity — of being socially discoverable. What is more, this inside look into the world of Social Media Marketing will take your business beyond being found and enable you, the busy business owner, to then find potential buyers with targeted Social Media Marketing efforts. Enjoy the ride, lets begin! Update next: Social Media Research

 

Sanctuary Marketing Group has a dedicated team of Social Media professionals who are ready to help you with the advice, research, testing, development and implementation of a social media strategy. Contact us today and request a quote or call (330) 266-1188.

 

Digital Marketing & Social Media Series
write content for customers

write content for customersThe places we spend our time on the internet these days (ahem, Facebook) are rife with junk to keep us entertained while we should be doing something else. “She Did This and You’ll Never Believe What Happened Next” and “Top 10 Weirdest Celebrity Couples” spread like wildfire and get way too many views for the zero service they actually provide. Marketers call these (annoying yet irresistible) types of content and headlines “click bait” – a term that does not have nice connotations.

As a small business, you do actually have beneficial services and products to provide to the public – but how do you even get noticed amidst all that voluminous junk?

People are online in exponentially increasing amounts, especially from their mobile phones. But they probably aren’t spending hours playing on your website. That’s one reason amplifying your content is critical – to get your quality content to the online spaces where people are spending their time.

Yes, you could write shallow blog posts with click bait titles that might get thousands of likes, shares, and views. But how does that contribute to your business’s growth? A few hundred highly-qualified visitors who engage with your content and then become subscribers, leads, or  sales are much more valuable than the millions of people fighting over a blue and black dress.

So what is the secret to developing content to amplify that isn’t just click bait?

Write content your customers care about.

Catch that? The operative word is customers.

[Tweet “Value is measured in sales, not clicks. Secret to amplifying content that isn’t just click bait: #contentmarketing”]

Focus On Customers, Not On Clicks

It’s easy to get excited when a post gets more shares, retweets, and +1s than usual, and when it brings an influx of visitors to your website. Clicks are exciting. They are easy to measure. They are a nice pat on the back. But clicks that don’t grow your business are time wasted – for the people who read and the time you spent creating.

Alternatively, you can write a great article, full of wisdom and education and your brand position and put it out there in all the channels. But if potential customers don’t care about it, they won’t read it or share it or like it – and they sure won’t come buy whatever it is you are trying to sell.

Determining and getting to know your target audience – intimately – is a critical element of Phase 1 (planning your campaign) in the 7 Phases of content amplification.

Identify Your Customers and Develop Content for Them

Pretend you are a local coffee shop. Your audience isn’t all people on Facebook (too many pre-teens and grandparents in other states). Or all people within your local geographical area (they don’t all drink coffee). Or even all locals who drink coffee (some only drink Folgers they keep in their freezer). Your audience is the unique demographics, needs, and concerns of the people who ultimately buy your product or service and then continue on to become loyal customers and promoters.

You probably already know who these customers are, and had a few names come to mind as you read that. Think about these people and consider these questions (or even better – ask!):

  • What are their demographics? (age, location, income level, job position, family status, education, etc)
  • What needs did they have that created interest in your business?
  • How did they hear about your business?
  • Why did they choose you?
  • What have been the results of doing business with you?
  • Why do they keep coming back and what do they tell others about you?

On the other hand, it’s also helpful to have an idea of why people with similar demographics and needs did not choose your business.

This information will help you narrow your target and better understand why people become customers. That understanding in turn drives marketing strategy and creative content that appeals to the people most likely to do business with your company.

How to Find Content Topics Your Customers Care About

The best way to find topics that your potential customers care about is to talk to them and get their ideas. Something that is obvious to you might be the most commonly held misconception among your customers.

Fortunately, the internet is a gold mine of information when you know where to look. You can do market research, focus groups, and surveys to learn more (and we do highly recommend these), but a few hours of online research can also reveal some great ideas – without the time or cost.

Here are a few places/people to mine for content ideas that your customers will care about:

  • Reviews (on your website, on retailer sites, on Google, Yelp, and other places your business is listed or customers spend time)
  • Forums
  • Emails and phone calls
  • Sales people
  • Staff experts
  • Existing customers
  • Online surveys to your email list, followers, and website visitors
  • Competitor websites
  • Industry and customer blogs
  • Search results (for your brand, products, service, needs, industry terms)

Look for commonly asked questions, misconceptions, needs, benefits, thoughts about your brand/product/service. Listen to what they are saying – especially when you find it in multiple places. Turn that into content that then answers these questions, dispels myths, explains how you meet these needs, and drives perceptions in a new direction.

The best part about quality content that truly matters to your potential customers? Push it out there so it’s easy to find and they will do the amplification work for you.

Get Help Identifying Your Customers Online & Developing Targeted Content

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information, time, and research needed to identify and target and write for your potential customers online? Sanctuary can help guide you through every facet of your online marketing strategy, including defining audiences and developing and amplifying quality content that drives new business. Contact us today for a free assessment and quote.

Photo by 10ch licensed via CC2.0.

The Secret to Ensuring Your Amplified Content Isn’t Just Click Bait
google-plus

Why Google+ is Worth Your Time

I recently led an in-house “lunch and learn” about Google+.

I know what you’re saying, “Wait a minute … Google+ is still around? And marketers actually give attention to it?” Well, yes and no. Or, no and yes. Let me explain.

Social Media Marketing Tangent

First and foremost, let me say that I am an incredible advocate for not using particular social media networks. Most business owners (and even some marketers) have this twisted notion that they must be registered with and active on any and every social network that exists. “MySpace to Facebook and YouTube to Vine, if it exists than I have got to have my place in their digital network.” Wrong answer. The first rule of marketing, and this goes hand-in-hand when we discuss social media marketing, email, and content marketing, is that you discover your audience.

Who is your audience?

Where is your audience?

What does your audience “Like” and “Follow”?

Bonus points if you know what they dislike!

How does your audience communicate?

These questions and more have to be answered before you decide on what social networks are best for you. A great blog that I follow recently posted about this very topic, How to Know Which Social Channels Are Right for Your Business, and would be an excellent read for anyone in the world of Social Media Marketing (that should be you!).

Google+: The Quiet Victor

Contrary to what I just stated above, the whole “know your audience and know where they hangout” thing, I implore you to be both present and active on Google+ and here’s why:

Google is King: In the world of search, Google is king. Nobody even compares. At present, Google completes over 40,000 search queries every single second. Every. Single. Second. As a business owner, you are going to want to leverage any means you can to capitalize on their every expanding search engine. In this same breath, I would like to add that Google prioritizes their own social network over that of others when populating search results. They even place Google+ information right in line with page links — keep reading to learn about this. Play by their rules and nobody gets hurt.

Google+ SEO: I will not go too detailed here, but in a recent MozCon lecture Mark Traphagen pointed to the fact that, unlike many other social media profiles pages, your Google+ page actually has meta attributes (i.e., Meta Title, Meta Description). Your Google+ page is indexed by Google crawls. And your Google+ page acquires its own pages authority in some form. What am I getting at? The more relationships that you build and the more authority that your page has should directly impact the website(s) that your profile is linked to. All that to result in higher rankings.

Google+ in Search Results: Speaking of SEO and being discovered when your potential shoppers are searching on Google, it is important to make note that your Google+ profile and Google+ posts will show up in search results. Maybe you recall using Google to search for a local business or service. The normal list is populated down the left of the page but to the right is displayed images, a map, hours, reviews and much more — This is referre dto as a Knowledge Graph. That knowledge graph to the right works hand-in-hand with Google+. What is more, the Google search results that populates to the left will add Google+ page information alongside the website URL.

Examples:

In this screenshot, I used the term “North Canton” as my search. Not seeking a particular business or service, here are the results that I was served by Google. Notice that a recent Sanctuary Marketing Group post from Google+ is included right under local schools, a Wikipedia entry, and the North Canton Chamber of Commerce. This is a great place to be!

Google+ Search Result Example 1(1)

As a second example, I decided that I need to look for a new kitchen table. I want to shop local to save on shipping costs and I search Google for “north canton furniture.” A simple, straight forward inquiry that should display local stores. In reviewing the screenshot, why might I choose to shop at Value City Furniture over Levin Furniture? Remember: Shoppers make decisions on the fly based on the information that they are given. In this case, as with the case of other local stores, Google has pulled reviews from their Google+ page and shares those views in their search results. A positively reviewed store stands a much better chance in search results!

Google+ Search Results Example 2

Google+ +1: Much like Facebook has begun to do, if you “+1” something that your friend has shared than it is likely that a rippling effect will occur and that item will be shared within your circles. Like the old saying concerning the butterfly effect, the wind created by a butterfly flying creates a storm on the other side of the world. Your activity stirs motion in other parts of the Web. “Jason has just +1’d this kitten image.” Mark Traphagen discusses this point in detail over at Social Media Today.

But Jason, Google+ is Lonely! I hear it all of the time. People aren’t active on Google+ like they are on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I am not naive. I understand that more time is spent on other channels. I understand that at times it feels as though you are sharing Google+ status updates with an empty room. That room that appears empty is being searched around the world more than 40,000 times a second. The fact that others have not yet capitalized on Google+ is all the more reason to do so yourself. Move in. Set up shop. Grow your following. And then consistently post quality content.

Experts do not foresee Google+ going anywhere anytime soon, especially since it is being integrated across the board (Google Search, Hangouts, Calendar, Inbox and so much more). Why don’t you start by adding me to your community? I would love to connect on Google+!

Google+ the Silent Victor

My digital marketing education and engagement ritual

In the world of internet marketing, you’ve got to relentlessly keep your finger on the pulse of the digital marketing industry. It’s essential to spend a little time every day reading, listening or otherwise engaging with new information, or you’ll quickly fall behind. Things in our world simply change too fast.

But consuming information is only half of the picture; it’s just as important to contribute by sharing what you know and learn. For this, social media is a powerful force in the world if you know how to use it properly.

Here’s why it matters:

With ongoing education …

  • I might have a chance of keeping up
  • I’ll be more educated and learn something new
  • I’ll continue to be a trusted advisor for my clients
  • I’ll be able to stir the pot in our office and help others think outside the box and learn new things (One person can’t know everything about everything!)

With knowledge sharing via social media …

  • I’ll brand myself professionally as someone who’s knowledgeable and trustworthy and as a thought leader
  • I’ll amplify the content, thoughts and opinions that I have, the content that my company creates, and other people in my company, my clients and trusted industry friends
  • I’ll be able to engage with more like minded people in my industry all over the world, with existing clients, and with new potential clients
  • I’ll create good signals around my business that the search engines like (Liking, favoriting, retweeting, Google +1ing, etc.)
  • I’ll indirectly help create links back to my company website
  • I’ll raise the overall visibility of my company and myself online

How to Develop Your Daily Ritual

Making time to learn on a daily basis can be difficult. It’s a huge hurdle that I face on a daily basis, and I’ve had a hard time sticking with it over the years.

I’ve learned that I need to form habits to make sure things stick. Decide on what to do, how to do it, what order to do it in, and remove hurdles and roadblocks – instead of hoping that my random stabs during the day will make some dent. (Which it never does).

So, without further ado, here is my daily process and the tools that I use for learning and engaging online on a daily basis.

Step 1: Form Habits

First, set aside a specific time during the day to work through your ritual.

For many it’s just a matter of getting out of bed an hour earlier. It’s amazing what you can do if you get up a little earlier and you’ll be surprised that you don’t feel any worse after about a week. For others it might mean taking a long lunch and working through things while you eat. Or maybe you’re a night owl and like to read for an hour or so just before you go to bed.

The point is that you have to designate a time and stick with it.

Step 2: Decide What To Read

There are a million blogs. Some are great, many are not. I continually try to follow new blogs, but I’m cold and heartless if they don’t provide consistently great information. I’ll cut them off at the knees without a second thought.

Focus on quality over quantity. Narrow down the sites you follow so that you have laser focus on your industry or niche.

Step 3: Decide How To Read

Using a feed reader is a must. Feed Readers are a great tool for selectively choosing which sites you want to follow, and collecting just those posts. When you open up your account on a daily basis, all of the new posts will be highlighted and you can scan through everything at a glance.

My recommended Feed Reader is Feedly. It has a very nice, clean interface, it works on all platforms, it’s free and it has a nice Google Chrome extension. This is my tool of choice, but there are also many other options.

The point is that you need one central place to go and digest what you have to read and review on a daily basis.

Step 4: Decide How You’ll Collect Random Articles and Information

Many times as you’re reading you’ll discover more articles and information that you need to consume. If you stop and read that article right at that moment, then you’ve lost the battle for the day. You’ll get sidetracked and your daily ritual will be interrupted.

My solution is an app called Pocket. Reviewing the articles in your Pocket account on a daily basis is the second key step in the ritual. Pocket allows you to VERY easily save articles and information from anywhere and access it in a VERY nice interface for reading later.

So after you scan through and do some reading in your feed reader, move over to your saved articles in Pocket. Consider even saving some of the articles from your feed into Pocket just in case there is a heavy flow of articles that day.

Pocket allows you to remove the pressure of digesting all the good content all at once and know that it’s saved for later in a trusted place.

Step 5: Share Valuable Information

As you come across valuable information, share it. Right then. You should always be considering great content, tidbits of information, stats, advice, infographics, photos and links to others for sharing on social media. This is a key part of the process. If you don’t do it right away, you’re likely to forget or be unable to find it later.

Get in the habit of thinking ‘wow, that’s a good nugget of advice’ and take 20 seconds to share it with others.

Step 6: Decide How You’ll Share Information

Now that you have it drilled into your head that you need to share, you need to consider how you’ll share stuff.

You can always open up Twitter or Facebook and create posts individually, but there are great tools that allow you to post to multiple sites all at once. My favorite is Buffer. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s integrated as a Chrome extension, and it does one thing well. It allows you to post a bunch of valuable stuff at once but space it out over time so you don’t irritate your followers.

You can spend an hour a day working through your ritual and know that you’ll have many posts going out throughout the next day or weeks depending on how you schedule your posts.

Step 7: Honestly ENGAGE on Social Media

This is one of the hardest parts of this process – but but engaging honestly on social media is essential to success.

Choose 1 or 2 platforms that are your favorites (trying to keep up with too many will just derail and distract you).

To engage honestly with others in your chosen medium:

  • Share their articles.
  • Message them directly.
  • Tag your posts and give them credit.
  • Hashtag articles so others can discover their great content.

Promote what other people are doing, encourage them, call bullshit if they’re off base and do your best to be authentic and endearing.

Social media is about sharing the love so I would suggest that your strategy be about 90% engagement and sharing others’ content and just 10% promotional – and only when it’s really good stuff.

Step 8: Create Amazing Content

I shouldn’t have to even mention this one, but after you’ve done all this, consider creating your own unique and valuable content. It’s hard, it’s time consuming, but the rewards are incalculable. Start now, keep going and never stop.

When you have great content, share it. Post it on Twitter, create images and graphics that you can share on Tumblr, put a nugget of advice out on Google+ and consider authentically sharing your advice and information on niche forums and in the comments of the websites that you follow.

Again, it’s hard, but nothing worth getting is ever easy. Creating content is a cornerstone of successful digital marketing and a necessity. You might not be able to do it on a daily or weekly basis. But the point is that you make a little time for it. If you took 30 minutes a day and chipped away at writing an article, you’d have at least one article a week – and that’s better than 99% of people out there.

In Summary

So in a nutshell I’ve provided you with my daily ritual. This is what works for me.

  1. Decide what you’re going to read and read on a daily basis.
  2. Establish a trusted place to save articles and read them daily.
  3. Establish social accounts and get in the mindset of consistently sharing other people’s ‘stuff’.
  4. Honestly engage with your followers and people in your niche.
  5. Create your own valuable content.

Next, in part two of this article I’ll discuss in detail why you should care about making this ritual a part of your day and how it can help you and your digital marketing:

Education and Engagement — How to grow your digital footprint online

 

How to Establish the Habit of Reading, Sharing and Creating Great Content

what_is_kloutKlout uses information from multiple social media forums to determine your Klout Score, a figure that estimates how well your company connects with desirable customers in its online advertising and promotional efforts. Unlike traditional advertising, which is rapidly becoming ineffective at targeting modern consumers, digital promotions have become interactive, customer-service oriented and strategically essential for engaging modern audiences. Social media forums offer the most effective ways for companies to attune their advertising strategies to today’s digital and connected consumer.

What Determines a Company’s Klout Score?
Klout uses the major social media forums to determine your influence and assigns a number from 1–100 as your company’s Klout score. Influence is the ability to generate action from people such as sharing content, sending Tweets or comments and liking a site. Social networks that determine Klout scores include Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Klout, Tumbler, Wikipedia, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Blogger, Flickr and WordPress. Scores are cumulative instead of averages, so building links and adding networks increase your score.

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What is Klout?