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Using Social Media To Your Advantage

Getting the word out about your website can be a rather difficult task, especially when there are tons of similar websites out there. Of course, having unique, quality content will help you immensely, but sometimes to really separate yourself from the pack, you need more. That’s where social media comes in. Why? Having a strong presence on social media will improve the chances of your content being seen.

How Do You Best Use Social Media To Enhance Your Site’s Content?
To understand how social media can aid you in your quest of improving your website, you must first understand how it works. Social media is, essentially, the gathering place for millions of people from all over the world. Basically, your website has the potential to attract a huge audience if you create a strong social media presence.

Just look at statistics from 2016. Almost 20% of the total time people spend online is on social networks. And, these statistics are just for the US! It’s no wonder then that most successful brands are using social media to further strengthen their online presence and gain a larger audience for their content. We’re talking giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Coca-Cola and Walmart. They all have a significant presence.

Generally, making social media posts directly related to your website is important. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling something, writing tutorials or anything else, if you combine the social media content with the rest of your online presentation, there’s a high possibility of gaining more traffic than you can even imagine.

The Approach Matters
When approaching social media, you should have everything planned out. That includes everything from the very structure of your social media posts to the content those posts will have. You might think this would be easy, but it isn’t. In fact, driving home the social media content can be one of the hardest things to do, so you should go about it with great care, especially since it’s quite easy to mess things up.

For example, there are countless examples of companies trying to use viral things on social media and ending up with the entire Internet laughing at them, just as there are numerous examples of it working for them in an unbelievably successful manner. So, how does one achieve the latter?

Be Strategic
By creating a uniform editorial strategy for both your online and social media content, you give yourself the best chance at success. Having an editorial strategy that reflects your brand goals for your content across all of the available platforms will most certainly help you enhance your brand and further engage your audience.

Planning things to attract your audience to your online content is key. Companies from all over the world pour countless dollars into their social media marketing departments for that specific reason. And, they don’t intend to stop. One study predicts an increase in spending on social ads. They all want their brands to be instantly recognizable and their companies to be even more successful with the use of the social media. So, why should you be any different?

The Big Picture
Of course, not everyone has a big budget to spend on social media. Nevertheless, there’s a simple affordable thing you can do to actually develop an editorial strategy and enhance your online content even further. What is it? Leave it to an experienced professional.

You might have hired a writer in the past to help you create online content. If so, that’s an excellent first step. With that said, there are also professionals who could create great social media content that complements your current online efforts. They’re trained to understand Internet trends, SEO and countless other things that can take your brand to the next level when it comes to online presence. So, it’s very important to find a provider that can deliver a comprehensive strategy for your content across every available platform.

In the end, it all comes down to making things work together in order to achieve success because only having great online content won’t cut it. You really need to make use of all the other outlets available to you – particularly social media – if you want to engage your audience in every way possible.

How To Create A Social Media Calendar

Initially, creating and managing a successful social media account for a business or otherwise seems like a relatively simple task. The reality is that it’s a much bigger mountain to climb than you might think. And, managing multiple social media accounts can be a beast. How do you ensure likes, followers and comments to your account? Well, just like with most things: Plan it out! Creating a social media calendar can save you time, energy and money.

Before You Create A Calendar
The trick to social media is treating it like a personal account. In order to create a calendar, you first need to have a few steps solidified. Primarily, what’s your brand? And, what’s this account about? After you’ve thoroughly answered those questions, you can create a calendar. The question is: How do you fully answer those questions? Let’s take a more in-depth look.

Pinpointing Your Brand
The number one mistake people and companies tend to make when they plan a social media strategy is not identifying, classifying and pinpointing their brand. Social media is the place to execute marketing on a relatable level. The smartest and most successful social media accounts focus on relating their brand to their audience. Treating social media like a platform for commercials and ads is an enormous faux pas that will cause you to struggle in your attempt to gain followers.

Pinpointing your brand is really about deciding on a particular lifestyle. This process starts with asking the question: Who is your audience or who do you want to be your audience to be? It’s crucial that you know whom you’re speaking to. This will greatly affect how you advertise. Being precise about your audience requires that you be specific on what it is that makes them like whatever you’re offering.

For example, if we labeled the audiences that the following three companies want to cater to in the most broad, unspecified manner, they would be:

Brandy Melville – wants their audience to be girls who like fashion.
Walmart – wants their audience to be people who shop on a budget.
Starbucks – wants their audience to be coffee drinkers.

If we became more specific about the audiences from a lifestyle vantage point, it’d look more like this:

Brandy Melville – wants their audience to be women ranging from their early teens to their mid and even late twenties. These women like a hip style in a too-cool-for-school way and semi-casual, affordable fashion.
Walmart – wants their audience to be middle to lower income families or people who shop on a budget.
Starbucks – wants their audience to be people who enjoy the luxury of pricey coffees and teas that come in a variety of options and consumed in a place with the atmosphere of a coffee shop.

It’s important to know what your audience likes so you know what to give them. This still applies even if you aren’t offering something tangible. Let’s say you have a consulting firm. One likely scenario would be that your audience, or your clients, are mostly high-income people who own businesses and enjoy the luxuries of life that come with their career. Your social media accounts should cater to what this audience wants, needs and enjoys in life. So you could pinpoint your brand to be the consulting firm that catapults businesses to their greatest heights.

This step may not be easy. It can take some real consideration and strategizing to elicit the best branding option.

Deciding What Your Social Media Account Is About
The next major question is: What is your social media account about? Say you own a clothes store. In that case, the answer is simple – this social media account is about your clothes store. But then you need to ask, what’s the lifestyle of the people who wear clothes from your store? What lifestyle do you want to portray on this social media account?

One of the best examples of a successful Instagram account for a clothes store is Brandy Melville. This Instagram account focuses on portraying the lifestyle of people who wear these clothes. It’s not a place for advertising directly, but rather, advertising via being relatable to their customers. All of the photos fit seamlessly in an Instagram feed without seeming like ads. At the same time, it also makes the audience think, “That’s so cute. I want that shirt.”

An important thing to consider in this step is recognizing what each social media platform is primarily used for. Many companies tend to connect Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They’ll post on one platform and share the same post on the other two platforms. This isn’t recommended or ideal for your audience. Why? There’s a reason these different platforms simultaneously exist – users get something different out of each one. Examine what’s most popular on each platform and focus your social media for that platform to that style.

For example, Instagram is about pictures. It’s a place to visually showcase whatever you’re offering with the ability to include a tidbit in the caption and a link in the bio if people want to see more than a picture. Twitter is a little more word-heavy, but with limited characters – it focuses on the highlight of information. Facebook is a combination thereof. Research shows that visual media is most popular on Facebook compared to mere text, but, unlike Instagram, it allows for more explanation and people do more reading on this platform.

Take all of that into consideration when determining what you are making that social media account about and when writing your posts!

Crafting Your Calendar
Now that you’ve pinpointed your brand and you have decided what your social media account is about for each platform it’s time to start planning. The next step is creating actual content ahead of time. You can’t have a calendar without content.

Create A Ton Of Content
Start with the basics. You already know what your brand is about and you’ve already decided on a lifestyle. Write down all the content you can create related to the brand and lifestyle.

How much you plan to post and how complicated your strategy is will affect how early you need to have your content already completed. It’s more stressful and difficult to create the content the day of or even the week of. Create as much content as you can in advance! And take serious care in every word choice, every character space and every picture you choose.

Create A Calendar
Now you can start your basic calendar. There have been studies done trying to pinpoint when the best times to post are and they always differ with each social media platform. The chart below details posting data for Twitter and Facebook:

++ Click Image to Enlarge ++
The Science of Social Timing Part 1: Social Networks
Source: The Science of Social Timing Part 1: Social Networks

When it comes to Instagram, the Huffington Post shared the details of a study conducted by Latergramme. In it, they found that posting at 2 am and 5 pm EST gave the best attention from followers, with Wednesday being the best day to post. Check out the full article for a drop down menu detailing the best results for every day of the week (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/25/get-instagram-likes_n_6751614.html).

Based on whatever research you listen to, decide how many times per day, week, month and year you want to post. From there, categorize the different content you’ve come up with and lay it out in your calendar however you strategize it’ll be most popularly received.

Once your basic calendar for posts is up and running, you need to ensure those posts are ready by their deadline. If your strategy is complex, you may want to create a separate calendar with deadlines for content set in advance of their posting date.

Fill In Your Calendar
Post on Trending Topics
It’s important to have that solid base calendar with content that is forever related to your brand. But you’ll additionally need to post on trending information and topics to make your account more popular. Don’t rely solely on trending topics or your account will merely be chasing trends for all of its posts. However, keep up with the trends and add those topics to your calendar as they arise. Be ready. You’ll need to come up with a spontaneous post related to something newsworthy.

Post About Holidays and Events
Another way to fill in your calendar is to post about popular holidays, events and celebrations. This connects your account to another topic, garnering more views, and also keeps your media relevant to what’s going on in the world and not just with your brand. But, be careful not to steer away from your brand. Make sure all of your posts consistently uphold the lifestyle you’ve been portraying.

Post About Causes
Supporting causes is also an excellent way to give a humanitarian edge to your account that reminds your audience actual people are posting all of these things. A great example of this would be decorating something related to your company in pink and posting it for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Post About Your Personnel
Showing personnel is another way companies make their social media relatable. Posting pictures from the office reminds your audience that real people work at this place and makes them feel like they’re getting an inside look by following your account.

Post Contests and Giveaways
These are tricky, but can be a great way to engage with your followers and the fans of your brand. The last thing you want is for your account to feel like spam or in any way gimmicky so be sure to create contests and giveaways with as much good taste as possible. Stick with the lifestyle brand you’ve showcased throughout your posts.

Your Calendar Is Ready
Fortunately, many social media platforms allow you to time posts. This means you can insert all of this content you’ve already created for your calendar and plan to release it at a certain day and time. That saves time and keeps you organized.

Having a social media calendar will allow you to breathe through the messy tangle of posts, likes, stats and follows. And, as your content is released, keep track of what does well and what doesn’t so you can adjust your calendar accordingly. Pinpoint your brand and get planning on your social media calendar today!

How To Make the Best News or Lifestyle Video on Your Phone

Photos and videos are crucial to garnering attention on the Internet today. Many have firsthand experience taking thousands of pictures on our smartphones to post on social media, but videos are another beast entirely. Do you need fancy equipment to make a good video? What exactly makes a video good?

First off, with today’s smartphones you don’t need fancy equipment. You can record a stellar video and edit it all in the palm of your hands. You can even buy extra lenses to attach to your iPhones on Amazon. It’s pretty amazing how small and portable everything is getting.

Secondly, there are some common ways to make a great video. You don’t just want to record it, you want to record it well so people want to watch it and share it. What follows are five essential components to making the best video on your phone!

1. Planning and Choosing Content
Write down the plan and plan good content. The worst thing you can do is press record, sit in front of the camera, and repetitively say “uh..um…and…” It looks unprofessional and it appears as if you aren’t taking it seriously, so neither will your audience.

If you’re planning to do something unplanned on purpose, such as taking a video of someone’s reaction to something, then you should still plan the steps. What happens before the reaction and after? How will you record the reaction? Where will you stand? Videos become much easier to make when you’ve got a real plan.

An important component of planning is choosing your content. If you plan to talk about something, have a general script (be careful not to memorize lines though, as non-actors tend to look stiff and unrealistic when they do this). Pick your content wisely, considering audience reactions and ensuring that your message is clear.

2. Visual Aesthetic
A few quick tips on creating a great visual aesthetic are to:
· Hold the camera landscape – this looks the most professional. Although, with Instagram and Snapchat that doesn’t work so well. But if you’re doing a regular video for YouTube or something similar, go landscape. Don’t shoot video vertically. Turn your smartphone sideways. In other words, when filming, position your smartphone to mimic the look of a television.
· Keep the camera steady – even with handheld, try your best to keep it steady. No need to nauseate your audience.
· Use your best settings – If possible, always use a 60 frames per second (60 fps) setting, especially when filming anything with significant movement. Anything less than 60 fps produces a film-like look, which can be very unnatural and off-putting to many viewers. And, in the off chance that you need to, you can always very easily convert 60 fps to a lesser frame rate while the reverse isn’t true. Filming with a higher frame rate is also an excellent way to ensure your content stays relevant as more and more places, most notably YouTube, are now offering video uploading at 60 fps and viewers are increasingly expecting and appreciating the stunning visual difference. Remember: The types of videos you’ll be producing will likely have a dated look with anything less than 60 fps and you want your efforts to have long-lasting value.
· Ensure you have ample lighting – people often undervalue lighting, but with a phone camera you definitely have to prioritize it. The better lighting you have, the more pixels your phone will pick up. Essentially, more lighting means better video quality. So filming in a dark room with one lamp is not going to show up very well, but filming outdoors in direct sunlight will give you a crisp and clear image. It’s important to keep the subject’s face well lit. When it comes to recording on your phone, you want all the light facing the subject so stand at an angle where the light is shining down on the front of whatever you’re recording. Do not have your subject standing with the light shining behind them. This happens a lot on places like balconies because you’re facing a certain direction to get the best background shot. But if you’re recording on a balcony, you have to determine when the sun is in the best location prior to deciding what time to shoot. Essentially, as the person holding the camera, the sun should be on your back. And if you’re indoors, you’ll need more lighting than is probably naturally found in the room. Grab some extra lamps from around the house and set them up around the subject. The more light, the better!
· Frame the content wisely – use well-liked photos on Instagram as a miniature guide to framing aesthetics. Attempt to frame your videos with just as much finesse. Framing is all about what is inside the frame of the video (as if it were a picture frame). What can the audience see and what angle do they see it from? This subtlety takes practice to envision, but take note of what makes pictures look more artistic. Think about what you’re cutting out of the shot. For example, if you’re taking a picture of a pier jetting out into the ocean. How much of the pier will you show? Just the portion over the water? Or will you also show some of the beach? Will you stand far away from the pier or close to the pier? Will you include those palm trees on the far right? If you decide to show half of the pier, what point will you cut off exactly? Perhaps you’ll cut off right before a post, or maybe you’ll use a post to line the side of your frame. There are dozens more choices to make in framing than people realize and it’s those purposeful choices that make a photo more or less visually pleasing. All of these rules apply to videos, but there’s even more choices to make. Will you keep the camera in the same place and just let it record as people walk by? Or will you walk towards the subject, giving an immersive feel to the audience? When you’re recording a subject, will you just show them from the waist up? Or will you show their whole body? All of these questions are about framing the camera and you should consider them carefully!

When it comes to news and lifestyle videos, the visual aesthetic is often forgotten. The camera is set on a tripod or table and the person merely sits in front spouting out information. But before you press record, turn on the timer and take some pictures! Change the angle and record the entire piece from those different angles. Take some videos far away and some close-up.

You should also always take what the industry calls B-Roll footage. These are any extra shots. It could be close-ups of items that you’re discussing or camera pans of the area you’re in (which is a great idea if you’re in a pretty place). When you take videos of people, ensure they have enough “head room” (don’t frame the camera so that the top of their head is too close to the top of the frame) and ensure there’s enough light on their face (find the light!).

3. Sound
The biggest rookie move in the film industry is giving zero attention to sound quality. When you’re recording on your phone, the mic will pick up all the noise around you. So if you’re speaking to the camera, you’re best choice is to record in a secluded area with the least amount of background noise. You’ll also get the best sound the closer the camera is to the person speaking.

If you have video that’s mostly visual and you plan to record a voiceover, then make sure you record that voiceover in a completely quiet area with your mouth relatively close to the mic. You can record audio tracks on your phone and then lay them on top of the video.

4. Editing
You may hear a joke on set that “we’ll fix it in editing” because editing can honestly do a lot for you. It can help you cut out anything unnecessary. It’s important to keep your videos as short as possible because nobody likes to sit through unnecessary silence or repetitive talking.

A good window for your video length is the one-minute to three-minute mark. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to micro videos you’d see on Instagram. In that case, you’re stuck with 15 seconds and you really have to stick with what’s most important. Videos that go past three and a half minutes tend to have audiences fast-forwarding and either waiting too long or losing interest. Remember to start your video off strong – give the audience a great visual or topic to make them want to keep watching.

Text overlays look impressive when they’re placed well and not overdone. Also, if you can figure out how to do this, put your logo, website or handle in the bottom corner of your videos – branding 101. Editing can give you several ways to share your brand besides your logo. Opening title sequences or closing sequences of even three seconds can help give you a continuous look throughout your videos.

Of course, if you want to step up your editing game you should download your video file to your computer and edit from there. iMovie on a laptop or desktop offers more than on your phone and the more industry standard programs would be Final Cut and Adobe Premiere.

5. Consistency
When you’re making more than one video, they all need to follow the same style. Consistency makes a brand, even if you’re making news videos. CNN and FOX both keep a certain style to all of their TV material. You’ll want to keep a consistent camera style, editing style and color scheme at the very least. You should also consider adding something to your videos to make them unique, something you can put in all of the videos. This really helps your brand, as people will recognize it as your own.

To ensure consistency, you’ll need to go back to essential component #1: Planning and Choosing Content. Before you embark on making videos, plan your style. Do some test shots and practice editing just to get a feel for your options. Whatever you do for your first video, you’ll need to follow the same style for your second – so be sure you like it!

Ultimately, anyone can make a video. Just take out your smartphone and press record. But making a great video takes true intention and finesse. People respond to careful selections, visual aesthetics and well-chosen content. So make sure you’ve covered all your bases and go above and beyond. Don’t just make a video – make a great video!

The five essential components summed up: Plan and choose your content wisely, create an appealing visual aesthetic, be serious about sound, go for exceptional editing and consistency makes a brand. Also, don’t forget to charge your phone and bring your charger with you!

Five Dangers to Content Marketing

The time has come for companies to face the true effectiveness of their content marketing campaigns. At this point, the general population is absolutely inundated with content of all forms, with the ability to grab people’s attention becoming the foremost concern of every proactive marketer. The question then becomes, how does a brand cut through the noise and reach their target audience?

The shortening of people’s attention spans, the proliferation of available content and the diversification of mobile devices all do no favors to strategists when it comes to putting together a reliable content marketing strategy. Don’t worry – this list is not meant to scare you away from investing in a solid content marketing strategy. If anything, it is intended to encourage you to go full-force and to treat new industry developments as exciting challenges. The following are several such challenges of which to make yourself aware of when developing your content marketing strategy.

1. Poorly Written Content
We will start out with a painfully obvious yet integral hurdle that has always existed in the content marketing game, and that will only continue to prove essential when reaching your target audience. Listen up: No SEO tricks, no fancy GIFs and no distribution plan can redeem poorly written content.

The quality of your posts is the foundation that your content strategy builds upon, and if it is not rock-solid, your entire structure will crumble to the ground. If your content creators are inexperienced, unmotivated, uninspired or have been stretched too thin, it will, without a doubt, display itself in their writing. Unfortunately, what shreds of good content you have will undoubtedly get swept into the corners along with the bad, resulting in diminished returns from your content marketing initiatives.

Once you have built yourself a strong team of content writers, make sure they are all on the same page (yours) when it comes to how they address your prospective clients. Ensure that your content is written to speak to your target audience and avoid using language that alienates them.

Content sprinkled with five-dollar words and abstract language may do a solid job at inflating a writer’s ego, but in the end all it really does is distract your audience from your brand’s true message. On the other hand, content that is full of grammatical or factual errors will lower a prospective customer’s opinion of your reliability, and they may look elsewhere.

2. Inadequate Distribution
With a dizzying array of social media platforms and websites, it may seem intimidating to even begin thinking about tapping into the potential powers of each one. But the hard truth is that if you are not distributing your content widely, then it will simply not reach your target audience.

The types of media that you can take advantage of in 2016 include owned media such as websites, social media pages and blogs, earned media such as guest posts and product reviews, and paid media such as display ads. According to an article on Forbes, only 26% of marketers invest in content distribution. Wouldn’t it be great to be ahead of that curve?

In 2016, strategic distribution will set businesses apart in the hyper-competitive landscape of content marketing. This includes but is not limited to mobile search optimization, building relationships with publications and networking with influencers and thought-leaders in your niche. The next point addresses a particular aspect of distribution that will gain considerable importance in 2016.

3. Importance of Social Media Distribution
According to ABC News, more and more consumers are relying on social media as go-to sources for information and news, with less people visiting homepages. This change has been progressively facilitated by the increased presence of mobile platforms, with more and more people getting their information and news on their phones.

As we are all aware, websites don’t perform as optimally on phones as they do on laptops or desktops. For this reason, it becomes easier to access information on platforms that are inherently designed to perform optimally on mobile devices, such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

Consumers are visiting homepages less and less for news. Instead, they follow eye-catching links that people post on social media that then lead them to specific articles. As a result, most sites will depend on a strong social media presence for increased site traffic in 2016. Companies will have to continue keeping up with the changing tide and adapting their content for mobile viewing, in addition to maintaining a consistent presence across all social media channels.

4. High Demand for Visual Content
As consumers’ attention spans continue to wane, desensitized by the omnipresence of digital information, visual content has stepped into the spotlight, as it is more easily digestible than lengthy articles. Pictures, infographics, videos and GIFs are slowly beginning to dominate the content marketing scene, and, according to The Guardian, by 2017 video alone will account for 69% of consumer Internet traffic. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words, but a video is worth a million.

More content will have the appearance of being user-generated even when it isn’t, lending a feeling of authenticity to a brand’s campaign. This is a tactic borrowed from written content marketing strategies, which aims to garner a sense of trust in the reader by addressing consumer-specific concerns.

Faster Internet and wireless connections additionally will allow people to seamlessly view images and videos any time of day, even when they are on the go. To combat this trend, brands who still wish to focus their energy on written content will need to continually produce engaging, educational and entertaining content that can compete with video.

To pack a punch and reach the consumer in a concise yet intriguing way, brands will need to cut down on wordiness, break up the text so that it is easy to read and weave image and video throughout the article to maintain the viewer’s attention.

5. The Rise of Wearable Technology
Just when marketers thought they had mobile optimization down pat, along came the advent of wearable technology. Wearables are pieces of clothing that also have technological capabilities, such as Google Glass or the Apple Watch. According to Business Insider, the use of wearables is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 35% between 2014 and 2019.

Companies now have to find innovative ways to adapt content to these new technologies and microscreens, shortening their articles and making them increasingly readable on these particular devices. This new listicle format will be increasingly favored over the traditional article format.

If someone can’t even be bothered to pull their smartphone out of their pocket to look something up because they are wearing an Apple Watch, the new challenge becomes keeping your content sharp and engaging on this new, minimalistic device. Brands will need to readapt their content for on-the-go readability, and will also need to look into making their articles more searchable via voice commands. Marketing teams will need to adapt new ways to make the transition from mobile to wearables content seamless and consistent if they hope to keep up with the competition.

Marketers have a whole host of new challenges. Technology is developing more rapidly than ever, consumers are becoming more proactive and aware of their involvement in the marketing process and the demand for quality content has never been more pressing. For your content to succeed, it must be constantly attended to and adapted for the changing tides of consumer and market demands. Invest in a solid content marketing strategy, starting with strong written content and finishing with a healthy distribution plan and platform optimization strategies.

Include Influencers in Your Content Strategy

Utilizing influencers to promote your stuff is a huge part of any content strategy, but it certainly isn’t the only thing you should be using them for. It is however going to be crucial to know when and what steps during the way you should be reaching out to them. The Moz Blog offered some tips about how to stay organized and know when to bring the influencers into the process.

Measure an Influencers True Value

To know who is going to help give your company a boost by promoting your company to their wide variety of followers, you should know what makes someone an influencer and what role this information will play. To get traffic of your own or build awareness you should know that it’s not necessarily the number of followers an inlfuencer has, but how many of them are engaged followers. Using an analytics tool on sites like Twitter will show you how many of the people on there are actually reading and engaging in the Tweets that they’re posting. Getting a lot of shares is extremely important to spread content. Also think about why this person became an influencer in the first place, if they have good ideas maybe ask them for their opinions about your content.

Lead With Strategy

You need to know which platforms your audience interacts with and who they trust to know what sort of campaign goals to set. Different influencers use different platforms as well, so you might need to slightly alter your campaign depending on which one they use the most. You want everything to make sense so that you can not only get new clients but keep the trust and interest of the ones that you have. Everything should seem organic and seamless between both you and the influencer’s message. Be careful not to ask too much of an influencer at the beginning. You should work on building relationships with them so that you can create a lasting bond, not just inundating them with requests they might not want to do.

Find Influencers

When you really understand the role that influencers should be playing in your strategy then you work on trying to find the right ones. There are a variety of different tools and databases you can use to try and find the type of person you’re looking for. For example, ClearVoice organizes expert writers based on their topic of choice, which makes it easier for you to find the people you need for your own business content.

Have you used inlfuencers on social media to boost your own content? Would any of these ideas have been helpful to your choosing the right ones? Let us know your thoughts!

Top Social Media Marketing Trends This Year

Social media has become one of the most important marketing vessels that there is for business large and small alike. Forbes has made a list of the top trends dominating in the field this year.

Social Media Investment is a Necessity

Social media used to be a luxury for business, but it is now turning the corner into necessity territory. This includes purposefully reallocating funds from traditional marketing methods into investing in their social media accounts. This also might require a change in the education and training of work personnel, since many people are still new to the social media game.

Google+ Will Become More Important

Half of markets are currently using the social media platform, but many business wonder if it’s the right tool for them. Google announced that its program does not use social signals in it’s algorithm, so that confused a lot of people. What it is certainly good for is connecting to a wide variety of people but also to establish their business Google rank on the internet.

Image-centric Networks Will Grow

Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat will not be able to compete directly with Facebook at this time, but they are still huge contenders. They draw very loyal databases of users that might be the key ingredient that makes them so important for marketing. These products are habit forming so people stay on them longer and therefore are more likely to connect to product. Interestingly it appears that men have a faster tap out on Pinterest but that the longer women stay on it the more pinning activity they engage in. That is huge information for companies that focus on a woman centered market.

The Rise of Micro Video

Vine and Instagram are becoming popular ways for companies to share a message quickly and effectively, sort of like a mini commercial without pushing it in anyone’s face. It can create a behind the scenes personal feeling that customers and clients really respond well too. Instagram is currently way ahead of Vine as far as business is concerned.

Foursquare Will Change

The makers behind Foursquare recently shifted the app into two separate apps in an attempt to stay relevant. One half called Swarm allows neighborhood sharing and manual checkins, while the original Foursquare app will stop allowing check ins and move into more of a Yelp type platform.

MySpace Will Grow

Although many people ditched their MySpace accounts years ago, they’re still there and the company has been trying to entice users back by emailing an assortment of the photos they left behind. It has seen an increase in users but it’s still far behind more popular sites like Facebook.

The Power of LinkedIn Will Grow For B2B

LinkedIn is still the primary social media platform for businesses, especially the B2B marketers. It’s actually ahead of Facebook and Twitter in the B2B markets. It’s page usage jumped from 24% to 57% in a year.

Have you noticed any of these changes in social media taking place this year? Do you agree with the predictions of what will come next? Let us know!

 

 

Tips From the Woman Behind Cadbury’s Social Media Success

Besides learning through action, there’s no better way to learn about business options than to listen to advice from the experts who have been in your position. Forbes sat down with Sonia Carter, the woman behind all of Cadbury’s social media success and got some insight into her success as the Head of Digital and Social Media Marketing for Mondelez Europe. Here are some of the chosen insights.

Cast A Wider Net

Cadbury was lucky enough to became a sponsor of the 2012 Olympics, which was a great opportunity for the brand to latch onto digital efforts and connect with a wide group of people. This ended up being a much wider group of people than they anticipated. They used their social media accounts to connect to people in a personal way and ended up adding 2.5 million fans and followers to their social media accounts in the days leading up to the games. Being flexible is the key thing, while staying true to your overall business objective.

Do Whatever You Need to Do to Reach as Many People As Possible

Sonia admits to using paid media to garner a lot of their successes. One of their bigger campaigns focused on a younger audience went from a 100K reach to 5M in the U.S. When surveyed after 18% of people said that social media directly related their purchase, and 21% were influenced by TV ads. This is an example of a small investment getting huge return.

Execution Might Change, But Brand Stays the Same

A successful business will have a sound business theory that holds true across a variety of markets even in different companies. How you approach different clients and customers will have to change based on where you are, but the mission statement and theme of the company should remain the same. Your content should always represent what the brand stands for. Have clear business goals but also make sure that all of the content you put there is high quality and specific.

This includes learning from both successes and failures as you go along, and always be willing to change and grow and adapt to the ways the world changes with you.

Have you had the experience of having to be flexible yes authentic in your marketing goals? Let us know!