Social Media Marketing
Marketing used to be much simpler when people drove to your business to make a purchase. Maybe they made a phone call beforehand to check inventory or pick your brain, but buying was usually done face to face. Society’s migration to predominantly online communication has made the marketing game considerably more complicated, with the addition of tools like retargeting, data mining, consumer profiling and social media marketing.
A company’s communication arsenal is more powerful than ever, but one of the valuable tools that marketers have lost in this new, online world is human credibility. When consumers only know you from the advertising they see on and off the web, they get an incomplete picture of the people behind your brand, but they still care very much about the people who work at your company when they consider buying from you. Social media marketing has brought our online world back together by creating platforms where interhuman relationships can be cultivated with great efficiency.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest people in the world because humans love social networks. We live in a time of instant information at every level, spending huge amounts of time online, and platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube allow us to continue our human-to-human relationships at the speed to which we have grown accustomed. Social media marketing is a way of meaningfully connecting with your customers at a meta-social level to give them a more personal connection to your company. Facebook also provides tools that allow you to place advertising in front of very precise demographic groups, which makes it some of the best-targeted marketing available. Both the personal and advertising sides of social media marketing give you new opportunities to increase traffic to your website and your front door, and both should be employed.
Social media is the new “business handshake.” It’s how most consumers build a more complete picture of the people inside a company before making a purchase, and you need to be there; on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter at a minimum. Other useful platforms that can help your website’s SEO are Google Plus and Pinterest, and we’ll talk about these below.
How Will Social Media Marketing Benefit Your Business?
Most consumers have had bad experiences with businesses that made them feel dehumanized. American business in general is too often seen in a light of greed and impersonalization, but social networking provides a place to show that your company is human, sympathetic—and responsive to customers. They need to know this, and social networks give them a more complete picture of the people behind your brand.
If most of your customers are in Wichita, KS, Facebook in particular has the added benefit of rounding out your local audience because people tend to predominantly be Facebook friends with other people in their area. When your Facebook fans make positive comments about your company or its people, you become visible to their friends in Wichita, further deepening your local brand presence.
Social marketing is different than advertising, which uses specific and recognizable formulas to communicate with consumers. People know advertising when they see it and hear it, and they assume it will:
- Portray your company and products in the best possible light
- Be impersonal
- Leave out important information about your ethics and world views, that, like it or not, are going to affect their purchase decisions.
Make no mistake: advertising is very important, and interestingly, 21st century consumers don’t mind being advertised to—they expect it; it’s part of the fabric of our online world. But while advertising does a great job of painting a picture of your brand, explaining product features and sharing special promotions, it does very little to humanize your company. Social networking gives you an opportunity to fill in these blanks in a mass media setting—powerful stuff when you use it well. But you have to remember, social media posts should not look like advertising most of the time.
Using Facebook for Business
Creating a Business Account
Facebook makes it easy to set up your business account. Start here, and they’ll guide you through steps. Unlike your personal Facebook page, your business page has some very specific goals:
- To clearly identify what your business does as quickly as possible. If your company name is abstract or esoteric in nature, consider adding a short descriptor to your Facebook business page name. For example, an essential oils manufacturer named “Heaven Scent” might use the “Heaven Scent Essential Oils” as a Facebook page name. The About section of your page should expand on this information, explaining not only what you do, but what sets you apart from competitors.
- To represent your company in a positive light, especially behind the “Green Curtain” of your advertising.
- To give page visitors a clear call to action. Facebook gives a button to do this with, and your call to action button can take people to your website, online store, contact information or an overview video.
Optimizing Your Business Account
Optimizing a Facebook business account isn’t much different than optimizing a website or Youtube video. Search engines show results based on the keywords users type into the search bar, so when you consider a name for your account/page, try to include keywords that will put your page in search engine results when people look for your product or service.
Create a vanity URL for your page rather than the gobblety-gook letters and numbers that Facebook automatically assigns to helps web searchers find you. And it looks more deliberate in the URL bar of people’s browsers.
Choose your profile picture and cover photo well. Your cover photo is the first thing people will see when they visit your page, so it should clearly and positively represent your brand. Your profile picture will appear in search results when consumers search for your product, so it, too, should look sharp and give a sense of what you have to offer.
Use the About section to share useful information such as your web domain, phone number, address, other social media handles, and hours of operation.
Link to your Facebook page whenever possible, on your website, in your Youtube video descriptions and on blogs. Every backlink pointing toward your Facebook page boosts its SEO power, making it more findable in search engines.
You can use Facebook apps to do even more with your page, like adding tabs, running contests and promotions integrating with email campaigns. Hootesuite has an excellent article on Facebook apps for business. Check it out!
Using Facebook Page Insights
Page Insights is Facebook’s version of user analytics, and it’s rich with information about the demographics of people engaging with your page and posts. It will show you how many people you’re reaching, the demographics of those people (gender, geographic location, age and what devices they’re using) and which posts are receiving the most comments and reactions so you can adjust the content of future posts to better appeal to your target audience.
Contact US Logo for help with this.
Creating and Boosting Posts
Creating a post is exactly the same process you use for your personal Facebook account. Try to make posts as brief and dynamic as possible. Include images and video whenever possible; they’re much more eye-catching than text. Facebook recently added a colored background option for posts, which makes text-only posts stand out more.
Facebook also allows you boost posts, which amounts to turning a post into an ad, which will live longer on feeds than a normal post. You can use this affordable advertising medium to highlight posts touting special promotions, new industry information, community awards and recognition you’re received—anything that furthers your brand. You’ll find very rich tools in this part of Facebook to focus on the audience you’re trying to reach.
Using Facebook Ads
Old-school advertising media like newspaper and radio were like loading your message into a confetti cannon and firing it into a random crowd. Sure, some of the confetti lands on qualified prospects who stand a snowball’s chance of buying something from you, but most of the confetti is wasted on unqualified prospects who simply don’t need what you offer. By comparison, Facebook ads are like laser beams that target a much higher percentage of the people you’re looking for.
When placing your ad, you can select the age, location, gender and interests of your desired target audience. You can also set daily budgets and spend as much or as little as you want on a campaign. We highly recommend using these for most local businesses.
Contact US Logo for help with this.
Using Your Personal Facebook Account for Branding
You can’t turn your personal Facebook page into a constant extension of your business page or people will stop engaging with you. That’s not what Facebook is for, in the eyes of consumers. But you can share carefully crafted messages that show your personal pride in your company, its products and people. When you post to your personal page, make it personal. Let your ego out, sometimes, with posts like, “I’ve spent many a sleepless night working on this new product, and it’s finally ready to share!” Show your community consciousness with posts like, “So proud to work with these school kids on a community garden! They’re the greatest!”
On the other hand, repeated personal posts like “Stop by the store today for $5 off!” will turn Facebookers off. Again, keep it personal.
Yes, You Need to be on Youtube
Youtube is in a class all its own among social networks. People watch more video now than ever, and the numbers rise every year. We’re becoming a society of viewers rather than readers, and Youtube makes it possible to carry on specialized conversations with your target audience that don’t fit well into advertising. Youtube gives you a platform to demonstrate products, showcase life in the workplace, share your special industry knowledge and generally put a face and personality with your brand.
Youtube is free, easy to use, and a great place to pump up your SEO because Google tends to favor video when it sends its bots out to crawl around the web and see what looks interesting and relevant.
US Logo can help you set up your channel, produce professional looking videos, and optimize them to direct traffic back to your website. Youtube is slightly more difficult to work with than a Facebook page, but not much. Here are the basics:
How to Set up a Youtube Channel
Go to Youtube.com and sign in in the top right corner of the page, then log in under the Google account you want your channel to be associated with. Click on your profile picture in the upper right corner and then click on the gear button to access your settings. Click on Create a Channel and select the option to “Use a business or other name” at the bottom of the popup window, then name your business in the next window. Done! You now have a basic Youtube Channel.
Customize Your Channel Art
You can customize your channel icon and banner to make your brand instantly recognizable on the channel. Let’s start with the banner:
- Sign into your account.
- Click on My Channel in the top right menu.
- Click on new channel art, then add channel art.
- Hover over the default banner, then click on the pencil icon and select Edit channel art.
- Upload the image you want to use for your banner. This image should be 2560 x 1440 pixels.
- Make any needed adjustments to the cropping of the image.
- Click Select.
Your channel icon will need to be set up in Google+, which is connected to your Youtube channel. If you didn’t already have a Google+ account, you do now; it’s automatic when you set up a Youtube channel. Here’s how to customize it:
- Sign into Youtube.
- Click your default icon at the upper right of the page.
- Click Creator Studio.
- Click VIEW CHANNEL under your channel name at the top.
- Hover over your default icon, then click the pencil button.
- Click Edit. This will take you to your Google+ page, where you’ll be prompted to:
- Upload a photo from your computer.
- Crop the photo as needed. (Your photo should be square.)
- Click Done, and there you are: channel art.
• Once you’re signed in, pretty much every Youtube page you go to will have an upload button in the upper right, a fat, upward arrow with a line under it. Click it!
• You’ll see a huge window that says Select files to upload. You can either drag your video into this area from your hard drive or click inside it to pull up a navigation window for your drive. Choose your video there and click Open.
• You’ll see a window that allows you to change the name and video thumbnail, and to add tags, a description and playlist assignments.
• Click Publish. Congratulations. You’re on the air!
Cheap Video or Hollywood Production?
Youtube has not only moved the bar downward in terms of the quality of video production; it has entirely validated poor production values for most people. That’s what happens when any little boy or girl can grow up to be a Youtube star. Should you use low quality video to represent your company? No. The commercial bar hasn’t moved so much; people still expect your brand to have a certain sparkle and clarity before they trust it.
Your videos don’t have to be Star Wars quality, either, but you should give some attention to lighting, framing and sound when you use video to represent your company. Place your subject in well-lit spot, and move lights, if necessary, to get more light on the subject than the background. For sound, try to reduce background noise, and turn noisy equipment off when shooting, especially if you’re using a smartphone camera. Shoot in a quiet office or other location if you can. For framing, place your subjects slightly off center. If your subject is a person, place them a third of the way across the frame. These simple tricks will go a long way in making your production look professional.
If you have the budget, hire a professional. Again, it doesn’t have to be costly. US Logo’s RocketCinema, low-cost video production gives you access to movie-quality production tools and crew for a couple hundred dollars per video. If you’re within driving distance of US Logo in South Central Kansas, this option can really put you ahead of competitors.
Optimizing Your Youtube Channel
Youtube channel and video optimization centers around the use of keywords. As smart as Google search algorithms are, they can’t “read” what’s in a video, so you have to add your keywords (the same keywords you use on your website) to your channel description. This is editable by hovering over the default description below your channel banner and clicking on the pencil. Use a couple of sentences or a paragraph to describe your company and the content you’ll be featuring on your channel. Use your keywords in this description.
To add your website link to your channel, click on the gear button at the top right of your channel and click on CHANNEL in the vertical menu at the left, then click the Advanced button at the bottom of the dropdown menu. Scroll down in the popup window and select Associate website. Type in the URL for your website and click Add. Now you need to verify that this is your site by clicking on verify. Click on Alternate methods, select your Domain name provider and follow the instructions.
Contact US Logo for help with this.
Optimizing Your Individual Youtube Videos
When you upload a video, as covered above, use the form fields provided to describe your video, and do some mild promotion of your company. Add a link to a page on your website related to the video topic in the description, and be sure to use that page’s main keyword in the video’s title and description.
Add tags, beginning with the same, main keyword, then add more general keywords for your business, including geographic information like “Wichita KS,” “South Central Kansas,” etc.
These words will attract Google’s bots, then they will follow the link you placed back to the landing page on your site, boosting its SEO mojo.
Google Plus, Twitter and Pinterest
By now you have a sense of the importance of social media marketing and how, generally, to sign in and take advantage of social platforms, so we’ll leave tutorials for Google+, Twitter and Pinterest to them:
- Getting Started on Google Plus
- Getting Started on Twitter
- Getting Started on Pinterest
All these platforms have unique advantages that make them worthwhile when it comes to sharing the vision and people behind your brand with potential customers. Use them and learn how to use them well. If you need help with social media marketing, that’s what we’re here for. Contact us for professional help that’s effective and affordable at (316) 264-1321 or email email@example.com. Let’s put your social networks to work!
Social media advertising are everything in today’s SEO marketing world. Give us a call 316-264-1321 or visit us at 520 N. West St. Wichita, KS. 67203 and we’ll be happy to help you with your social media needs.