Is your company routinely active on Twitter? If not, your business is missing out on countless leads and endless sales. You should take advantage of everything Twitter has to offer, from promoting products to reaching new customers and growing your brand. To find out how to take advantage of such a platform, please keep reading:

How to Use Twitter: Starting with the Basics

TweetThe popular social networking site Twitter boasts over 300 million active users, with 500 million users total. Unlike Facebook, where users can post paragraphs at a time, Twitter posts (called tweets) are limited to 140 characters each, except when replying to direct messages. The site is great for personal use, boasts countless celebrity users, and is an ideal way for businesses to connect and interact with potential customers. In fact, many users want to connect with companies as a way to voice their opinion, obtain behind-the-scenes information, and learn about promotions and discounts. A single tweet can reach thousands or millions of followers within an instant.

Utilizing Twitter to Promote a Product

Twitter promotionTwitter continues to develop new ways to help businesses advertise using the site. For example, according to Karissa Bell for Mashable, Twitter now allows businesses to share or promote tweets from their analytics dashboard.

Having this capability makes it easier for small businesses to promote their product and gain sales using a secondary channel. In addition to employing promotional tweets, ways to promote products on Twitter include:

  • Posting a series of tweets as part of a gradual unveiling
  • Sharing clues and having users guess the answers
  • Introducing the product, and then hosting a Q&A with users
  • Post links to product-related posters, articles, videos, and press releases
  • Retweet customer feedback about the product

Sharing an image, in particular, is an easy way to increase customer interest and engagement.

More Ways to Engage Users

Since tweets are limited to 140 characters, you may think it would be difficult to engage users. In actuality, having a short allotted space makes it easier to respond to consumer complaints, comments, or suggestions quickly and easily.

The more active your business is on Twitter, the more new followers you will gain.

Twitter hashtagFor single tweets, try posting witty one-liners or generating buzz with discount codes only found via Twitter. If it is relevant to your business, you can also utilize trending topics or hashtags to help increase visibility. You can encourage your followers to share tweets, or even run a promotion to help grow your audience.

To attract even more attention, embrace the ability to include a link within your post connecting people to a flier or video clip. Do not be afraid to share other relevant content or interesting information, as that is what will keep users coming back. Also, do not forget to review your analytics dashboard frequently. Studying data and demographics will help you determine and focus marketing on your target audience.

Building a Niche Follower Base

If you have a product that could be aimed at a particular niche, do not be afraid to follow people within the group.  For example, if you have a carpet that’s designed for children, you might want to build your following base towards teachers, libraries, and stay at home moms who would order such a product.

So you want to post a video online eh?

Are you aware of what counts as a ‘view’, or if a particular platform will allow you to autoplay your video?  Maybe you’re unsure about the maximum length of a video or if a metric dashboard is available to track your hits.

Regardless of the reason, we have provided an infographic below (via Marketing Land) providing answers to the above questions and more.

Ultimate guide to social video

When was the last time you used Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn?  Was it this morning?  An hour ago?  Maybe you’re on it now as you read this article.  Social media has essentially taken over our lives to keep up with family, friends, current news, and to meet new people.  But we have a feeling you aren’t taking full advantage of what social media has to offer.

To help you, we’ve put together an infographic (below) illustrating the top 8 benefits of using social media for marketing purposes.

8 Benefits Social Media Marketing

social media

The word “Social Media” is commonly used by many different people, but when it comes to explaining social media, it is very difficult to explain it because no one exactly know  what social media is. Here we will tell you what social media actually is.

Social media covers websites and applications that not only give you information, but also allow you to participate in social networking with others around you. Your participation may be vary from something simple, such as commenting or ‘liking’ something someone has written, to more complex websites such as Flixster which recommend movies to you based on ratings by your friends. Basically, social media allows you to communicate to others around you. Some of the most popular social media websites are:

Facebook:

Facebook is one of the most popular social channels in the world, with just over 1.3 billion users around the globe. If you haven’t already heard of it, Facebook is free social media network where you can create your own profile, upload videos and photos, share a ‘status’, and you can also send messages to your friends and family.

Twitter:

Twitter is also a very massive and popular site. Over 500 million users use twitter. Twitter is a very effective social channel as it allows its users to interact very closely. Here user can broadcasts short posts which are known as tweets.

Google+:

Google+ is another effective media tool. It is designed to reproduce the way people interact offline more closely than other social networks, and integrates closely with Google Authorship.

Wikipedia:

Wikipedia was founded back in 2001. Rather than being a website which allows you to connect with peers to share updates on your life, Wikipedia instead aims to provide you with information. It is a free encyclopaedia created by the users of Wikipedia, for users of Wikipedia. Anyone who is registered on the website can create and edit an article.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn has over 277 million users across the world, and you can connect with all these 277 million users through it. LinkedIn is specially designed for business relations – that’s why it is the best media channel to promote your content. The website aims to allow you to network between people who have similar professional interests, and it can also be used as a tool to reach out to people you may have in mind for a job, or to discuss your product/service.

Ranking In Search Engines:

search engine cycle As you may already know, search engines don’t see all links equally, in the same way search engines also don’t count all social accounts similarly. Search engines use ‘social signals’ to determine how high your website is ranked. Social media websites rise more quickly than other website that’s why search engines use social signals to display social media sites on the top.     Here are some of the main areas search engines considers about Facebook and Twitter accounts when ranking them:

Twitter:

  • How many tweets and retweets a URL has.

  • What is the authority of the person who is tweeting?

Facebook:

  • How many +1’s a URL has.

  • What are the number of Facebook likes and shares URL has?

As mentioned above, search engines often take some social signals into account when ranking a website. If the followers of the Google+ will increase its ranking will also increase and in the same manner the ranking of other social media is also increase on search engines.

With the rise of social media usage during the last decade, it would be a surprise if more companies were not utilizing their reach and potential to gain a business edge.

You’ve got Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, FourSquare, and Google+ to name a few where your business information and latest projects should be published for millions of people to see.

But, how do you properly manage the variety of social media platforms to your full potential?

One method would be to create a spreadsheet with your social media accounts and update the sheet daily for the dates you’ve posted something. Another is to set a daily Outlook or Gmail calendar reminder to post something across all accounts.

Hootsuite platform interfaceOr (pay attention here) you can sign up for a FREE Hootsuite account. Hootsuite is a social media management system that allows you link or network other social media platforms into its interface.

Hootsuite’s interface takes the form of a dashboard allowing you to see multiple streams simultaneously. This is particularly useful if you are a serial entrepreneur and want to quickly post across all accounts. Each individual stream then allows you to select the social media accounts you’d like to post to, add a photo or video, and walah, you’re done!

To recap, Hootsuite makes it easy to post across multiple social media accounts simultaneously, reaching potentially millions of followers in seconds. Having multiple streams set up allows for quick easy transition between companies which is especially useful if you are a serial entrepreneur.

Social Media: A Review

Ten years ago, if you would have mentioned the term “social media” to an Internet friend, they would have had no idea what you meant. But in the year 2014, nearly everyone with an Internet connection has heard of sites like Facebook, adding momentum and force to the social media advertising trend.

Social media is big business, and financial figures state that social media is scheduled to generate 11 billion dollars in total revenue by the year 2017! In 2013, social media made a total of 6.1 billion.

So, you can see how social media is poised to become an incredible force in online advertising in the very near years to come, and why you should seriously consider incorporating a social media marketing strategy for your business.

Social media keywords on pieces of paper all cut up on a table.

A Brief History Of The Most Popular Social Media Sites

StumbleUpon – Founded in November 2002 by Garrett Camp and a few other associates, as of April 2012, StumbleUpon now has more than 25 million registered users.

Facebook – Founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is the undisputed king of social media. As of March 2013, Facebook has a total of 1.11 billion active users, globally.

LinkedIn – Founded in December of 2002, LinkedIn boasts a total of 259 million users across more than 200 countries as of June 2013.

YouTube – Launched by three former Paypal employees in the year 2005, YouTube is now one of the most popular video sharing / social media comment sites ever. YouTube was purchased by Google for 1.65 billion dollars in 2006.

Tumblr – Founded by David Karp in the year 2007, this social media site is home to 205.9 million blogs.

Foursquare – This local search and discovery network site was launched in 2009 by Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley. As of 2014, it has 45 million registered users.

Twitter – Founded in 2006 by Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, and Biz Stone, as of 2014 Twitter now has over 500 million users. 271 million of these are “active” users.

Google+ – Launched in 2011 by Google and open to everyone, as of 2013 there are 540 million active, registered users.

Some Interesting Facts About Social Media You Might Not Know

  • 60% of Google+ users log in at least once a day to check on their accounts.
  • 23% of Facebook users check their accounts multiple times, 5+ times per day.
  • 2 new members join the LinkedIn network every second!
  • A total of 58 million tweets are sent every day!
  • The Google +1 button is used 5 billion times daily!

How The Future Of Social Media Is Shaping The Face Of Modern Business

Individuals connected throughout the world via social media.

Sharing information and what you like is what social media sites are all about. Google allows us to +1 a site, and show the world how much we appreciate a specific page. Facebook allows us to “Like” a page, and thusly increase Internet awareness of a specific page or site.

Additionally, we can leave comments on social media pages that contain helpful insight, allowing social media business owners to improve the quality of the products and services they offer.

Social media pages are also highly capable of going “viral”, which happens because of a chain reaction of events.

First, a social media page will post an original and unique piece of content.

Second, it becomes popular because of the valuable, unique, funny, or otherwise noteworthy characteristic of the content.

Third, the popularity of the unique content is shared with friends and acquaintances until many thousands of people visit and agree that the content is noteworthy enough to share. And it’s at that point, that a social media page has officially gone, “viral”.

With sites like Facebook having over a billion registered users, there’s no stopping social media and how it’s scheduled to play a part in fostering business. Social media sites are wonderful for allowing any Internet user to share pages they find valuable and to spread the word about content they find beneficial.

It’s easy to get excited watching the number of “likes” and “re-tweets” accumulate. You feel important, like someone is listening to you and agrees with your brand. But does the number of “likes” you get on a social media post translate to brand recognition and more sales?

Counting your follows and tracking the amount of “likes” or “favorites” you get is an easy way to track success but it’s missing a few key metrics like, why people liked the post and whether or not the post converted anyone from a prospect to a sale. There are a lot of reasons why someone might click the like button on your Facebook business page or post including things that have nothing to do with your business, like the fact that their friend liked it or maybe because they thought the image you used was cute or funny. You’re not really going to find out if your social media accounts are making an impact until you start engaging with your followers.

Engagement is the conversation that happens about your brand online, it could be between you and your customers or it could be between your customers and their sphere of influence. With engagement an intentional action takes place that raises awareness about your business, your article or your post. Interaction is a much better validity test to your social media endeavors.

So how is engagement measured? There are several paid services out there but you can do some research yourself for free as well. Here are three easy and cheap ways to track your engagement:

  • Track individual accounts yourself. Facebook has a tab called “Facebook Insights” that makes tracking engagement a snap. Remember you are looking for comments and shares as well as likes and post clicks. For other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram you can track the number of “@ mentions” and comments your posts generate.
  • Klout – Klout is a free web app that helps you track your posts popularity and level of engagement all in one.Klout logo.
  • Cloze – also free, this web app will not only track your engagements but also your online relationships, alerting you when you’ve been neglecting people and posts that you should be paying better attention to.Cloze logo.

It’s no secret that social media has grown to become a necessity in any online marketing strategy. Whether a brand wants to drive attention to its company, product or professional services, social media is a well-known, cost-effective way of attracting positive attention (in most cases). On the other hand, without following the specific protocol of social media branding, the careless use of these platforms can damage a business in a matter of days.

Within the past few years, social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become widely recognized as powerful tools for communication, both in the B2C and B2B industries. And whether you are aware of it or not, your prospective employers, partners, customers and competitors could be viewing your posts at any moment. With this in mind, it’s important to maintain best practices so that your social media strategy effectively supports your business goals and best showcases your brand’s personality, and on multiple channels.

On these newly crowded channels, it can be difficult for consumers and brands alike to separate the wheat from the chaff. We’ve assembled two examples of brands who have their social media game on lock. Read on to find out how you can cut through the competition and reach your fans like never before:

Old Spice Makes the Comeback of All Comebacks

old spice smell like a man social media campaign

At the end of 2009, Old Spice was an aging brand. Their customers were old; their reputation was old…and they were in danger. Obviously, a reboot was in order. And what a reboot it was!

During the Super Bowl of 2010, Old Spice launched their “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, featuring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa. Mustafa talks to the “ladies of the audience,” trying to convince them to buy Old Spice for their man while staring directly into the camera. It was a hit, racking up 26 million views on YouTube.

If Old Spice had stopped there, it would have just been a great online commercial. But what followed five months later was pure social media genius: Mr. Old Spice, as Mustafa was now called, jumped onto Twitter to answer questions from fans—in real time, via YouTube.

When selecting who to answer, the Old Spice Social Media team had a novel and crucial approach: they selected fans not only on the potential of their questions, but also selected them based on their influence on social media. Thus, when they interacted with a fan, they could be sure that his or her response would get maximum coverage.

The influence-filtering approach, combined with the real-time nature of the campaign, left fans sitting at the edge of their seats. It was a recipe for success that boosted Old Spice to its status as the number-one branded channel on YouTube. Numbers later showed that it drove sales, too: Old Spice reported that sales doubled in the month following the campaign.

The bottom line: by responding to their fans according to influence, Old Spice was able to combine high production values with spontaneity and still count on having an impact.

We All Scream for Fourth Meal!

Of all the fast food restaurants, who knew that Taco Bell would be the one to conquer social media? It’s true! The company’s flippant, irreverent, yet ultimately best-friendy tone turned out to be perfectly suited to social media marketing, particularly for speaking to that ever-elusive generation: the coveted millennials.

Using a sassy mix of English and Spanish, Taco Bell encouraged its fans, followers, and subscribers to “Live Más” and “Think outside the bun.” But that was just the beginning. What really sets Taco Bell apart from their competition is their commitment to two-way, fun, and productive communication.

Screen capture of Facebook post from lady on Taco Bell's page asking for a poster.

One 17-year-old fan posted a request to their Facebook wall: “will you send me a poster of my favorite burrito?” To her surprise, Taco Bell not only agreed, but one-upped her. They sent her a giant poster taller than she was, they liked and commented on her Instagram feed with the acronym “BFFAE,” Best Friends Forever And Ever.

Screen capture of Instagram photo and comments of girl with Taco Bell poster.

The bottom line: Taco Bell treats every interaction with a customer on social media as a chance to create a fan.

Thinking Outside the Box with Social Media

Consumers today crave honesty and authenticity from their brands. The definition of professionality is changing; it’s no longer enough to be polite and respectful. Today, brands are expected to be funny and candid as well. In their own ways, Taco Bell and Old Spice have each managed to mix humor, authenticity, and just the right amount of silliness to achieve a perfectly balance social media presence.

Managing your company’s Twitter account can quickly become a full time job when you’re successful and the desire to reduce noise in your feed might have you a bit bewildered when it comes to knowing who you should be following. There are no hard and fast rules and opinions on the subject vary but here are a few ideas to get you started in the right direction.

Following Your Followers

shutterstock_65706433-updated

This is the most intensely debated twitter following conundrum out there today. While some people feel obligated to “follow back” anyone and everyone that follows them, others are afraid to clutter up their own news feed with so many tweeters.

Think of it this way – not following users back sends a message that while you’ll accept their support you really don’t care about what they have to say as an individual. Also it limits your customer’s ability to direct message you and that could be a critical marketing mistake. You want to keep the lines of communication as open as possible.

Afraid of over-loading your own newsfeed and missing industry-critical news? Never fear, that’s what filters and lists are for! Spend a little time setting up lists on a social media management app like HootSuite and you can easily stay on top of the tweets you most want to see, no matter how many connections you have.

Following Industry Titans and Competing Companies

You need to keep up with market trends that are related to your industry and there is no easier way than keeping your finger firmly placed on the twitter-pulse of your chosen industry. Find out who the movers and shakers are in your niche and follow them all. Not only do you get their ideas, news and wisdom but you become more exposed to the people that follow them as well. Strike up conversations with individuals in your industry to add even more exposure. If you’re really savvy you can also follow their entire follower list but don’t add too many people too fast or you’ll get Twitter-Banned!

Keep a watchful eye on your competition because you can bet they’ll be watching you. You can even snag some valuable ideas to put your own spin on them. Make a list of your top 5-10 competing companies and find their Twitter accounts.

Following Local and Industry-Specific Media Outlets

Up your chances of free media exposure by following news outlets, writers, bloggers, podcasters and other presenters in your local area or industry. If you post things they like you might just be their next featured story. To find article writers to follow in your industry check out the free resource MuckRack and follow anyone that might be interested in what you have to offer. They are always looking for new story ideas!

You can also make a list of all the media outlets that have already shown you a little love and make sure to seek them out as well. They already like you so they are a warm lead. Make sure to share the wealth by re-tweeting them as well. Everyone loves to see their content shared!

Final Tips

shutterstock_110485376-updatedDon’t follow anyone silently. Make sure to reach out with a quick personal message. You can use a social media management client to automate the process somewhat but sending some personal messages to the right people can also add a touch of class.

Don’t forget to follow your own family and friends, leverage your SOI (sphere of influence) as these are the people most likely to star and re-tweet your content. People you already know will be champions for your business and help it grow.

Periodically reach out to followers by staring their content, commenting, re-tweeting or direct messaging them. These are the more hands-on nitty-gritty details of account management that can easily suck up a lot of your time. If you find it overwhelming you can hire a social media assistant or a company to manage it for you.

Don’t get too caught up in balancing your number of followers and followed accounts. Make sure to post rich content that people will find share-worthy and try to have a little fun while you build your social media account. Users like to see the lighter more human side to a business, make it personal and they will fall more easily in love with you.

Three things you need to understand about hashtags

Called a “pound sign” on your phone and a “hashtag” on social media, this one little symbol (#) has helped unify posts on the World Wide Web but if misused can also become a source of great annoyance. In order to learn how to use hashtags effectively across different social media platforms there are a few things you must understand.

A little goes a long way

Spam with red line crossed through it.

One hashtag is enough per post. Many people mistake hashtags as being the one and only search term for their post. Every word in your post is a search term no matter if it has a # sign in front of it or not. You do not need to put a hashtag in front of every keyword you use. Brands that over use hashtags are seen as spam and in fact the abuse of hashtags in your post makes it very easy to identify and skip over leading to far less views than you intended.

Hashtags are not just for searching

#AmericanIdol search results.

So if hashtags are not the way to identify keywords for searching then what are they for? Hashtags are just another way of grouping posts on the same topic within a social media platform. One of the most popular tag lines for Twitter is “Join the conversation.” If you are watching a TV show, sporting event or even the news you can use a hashtag to jump into a community conversation. Posting, “I can’t believe this show is still on the air. #AmericanIdol” will help share your thoughts with everyone else posting about #AmericanIdol. Hashtags on Twitter are clickable links that will take you to a stream of posts about the same topic.

You can use hashtags for your brand to collect posts and images related to your company or you can even use them to host contests. Have users include your promotional hashtag in their posts for a chance to win a prize. Starbucks does this, encouraging people to post photos of their red Starbucks cups around the holidays.

Not all platforms use hashtags in the same way

LinkedIn logo.

Social network, LinkedIn does not support hashtags.

If you use multiple social media platforms it is important to understand that not all websites use hashtags in the same way. Twitter started the hashtag movement; people expect the tags and know how to use them. Facebook, on the other hand, only recently enabled hashtags and people use the tags more for inserting sarcasm into their posts than they do for grouping like-posts. In fact, some studies have shown that hashtag use on Facebook can actually result in fewer views per post. Make sure to keep the platform you are using and your audience in mind when coming up with a strategy for hashtags.