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How to drive more leads using social media

  
  
  
  
  
  

Social media is without a doubt one of the most effective tools marketers have at their disposal. In fact, the right social media strategy will produce almost double the inbound leads that trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC will, according to Hubspot's inbound marketing annual report. But producing such successful results takes practice and expertise, and it's easy to get stuck in a rut of lackluster strategies. That said, here are a just a few tips on how marketers can use social media to generate inbound leads for their business.

Facebook

Unsurprisingly, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest rank as the primary places to generate leads via social media, according to research by Wishpond. Of these social media giants, Facebook is the number one site to garner leads for B2C marketers, as 77 percent report that they've successfully acquired a customer through the popular social media site. The number of marketers who say Facebook is “critical” or “important” has also grown 83 percent in two years. 

Facebook advertising

Advertising via Facebook is a great way to generate leads from an audience. Promoted posts highlight content in the audience's newsfeed, allowing companies to engage in direct, one-on-one communication with customers. Marketers should use this high-visibility opportunity to not only promote their company, but also to share high-quality, useful content such as ebooks, whitepapers, instructional videos, or blog posts. By providing content with value, marketers have a better chance of not only gaining leads, but also converting those leads to customers. As part of the offer, marketers should include a requisite sign-up form to gain more demographic information about users, and to better enable future personalization. 

Contests and promotions

Also, marketers should take full advantage of Facebook's newly-loosened rules on contests and promotions. These relaxed rules make it easier than ever to launch a new promotion – Now marketers simply need to post a status update. Also, fans are now able to 'like' a company's status update without 'liking' the entire page or company, giving marketers greater visibility and more access to potential leads.

Twitter

In comparison to Facebook, 34 percent of marketers have generated leads – and 20 percent have closed deals – using Twitter. Although that number may pale in comparison to Facebook, keep in mind that Twitter is the fastest-growing social media site in the world. In fact, the number of active users grew approximately 40 percent in 2012. 

Twitter chats

A Twitter chat is a public conversation built around a unique hashtag on Twitter. These discussions can center on specific topics or special events. Marketers can engage their followers, grow their community, and generate leads by hosting a Twitter chat. Joining in on already-existing Twitter chats within an industry can also help gain visibility with the right people. Here are a few examples of particularly successful – and useful – Twitter chats.

Lead generation cards

In addition to Twitter chats, marketers should also take full advantage of Twitter's lead generation cards. This newly-available feature will allow companies to generate leads directly from a promoted tweet, enabling a simpler and easier way for customers and advertisers to connect.

So far, these cards have proved highly useful in generating leads for companies. Experts are attributing these early signs of success to the fact that consumers don't have to open a new window or leave Twitter to engage with brands. In fact, users don't even have to fill out a form – When a user hits “submit” on a brand's call-to-action, their full name and email address are automatically imported.

Use Hubspot's highly useful, step-by-step guide to get started with Twitter's lead generation cards. 

LinkedIn

According to the research, LinkedIn is more effective than either Facebook or Twitter when it comes to B2B transactions. In fact, 77 percent of B2B marketers using LinkedIn say they've acquired a customer or client through the site, matching Facebook's effectiveness among B2C professionals.

LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups bring together professionals interested in a specific topic or industry. Marketers can find leads by creating their own LinkedIn group or joining an existing one. Next, marketers should begin or participate in a conversation with the group's members. Answering questions from members looking for help, posting relevant content to generate more conversation, and providing useful resources for members will all build credibility, relationships, and – eventually – leads. 

The bottom line

Interestingly, the number of B2B marketers actually utilizing LinkedIn doesn't correlate to its level of effectiveness – In fact, only 47 percent of B2B marketers report using LinkedIn, while 90 percent report using Facebook.

This discrepancy underscores the fact that social media research should not be approached from a one-size-fits-all perspective. Rather, different sites are effective for different business niches. When developing a comprehensive social media strategy, a company's consumer demographic and their preferences should be taken into account above all else. Also, once a strategy is underway, marketers should always track the results and learn from their mistakes.

“Marketing is a science. You have to know which social media sites are overperforming and which ones are underperforming. Facebook might not have been your first choice, but it might surprise you. With more than 1 billion users, Facebook advertising is excellent at making personal connections with prospects. On the other hand, Pinterest, Twitter or YouTube might be better for connecting with your target prospects,” says Michael Lieberman, co-founder and president of Square 2 Marketing. “If you don’t track it, you will never know. Once you find out which sites work the best, double down on those and leave the underperforming sites behind.”

… How does your company get leads via social media? Which site(s) do you find to be the most effective? Let us know at @AccoladesPR! 

Also, to find even more ways to make social media work for your company, check out these highly useful cheat sheets for social marketing success from Marketo.

Using Social Media For Lead Generation Infographic

 

IMAGE COURTESY OF WISHPOND

Twitter rolls out new lead generation cards

  
  
  
  
  
  

In the marketing world, few activities are as important to a company's growth as lead generation. Ultimately, this acquisition process drives purchases and helps build a brand's database of quality customers. That's why Twitter's recent rollout of new lead generation cards is big news for marketers and advertisers – Essentially, this newly-available feature will allow companies to generate leads directly from a promoted tweet, enabling a simpler and easier way for customers and advertisers to connect. 

So far, participating companies report that the results from lead generation card usage have been positive. As Mashable noted from a case study published on Twitter's blog, “...outdoor gear and apparel company Rock/Creek saw a 4.6 percent engagement rate and generated more than 1,700 new email contacts in one week by using a Card within a Promoted Tweet. The company had offered a drawing to win a free pair of Chaco sandals to consumers who shared their email addresses.”

Although a 4.6 percent engagement rate may not sound overly impressive, when framed in the context of most online marketing campaigns, it is. For instance, promoted tweets on desktop devices typically only have a 1 to 3 percent clickthrough rate. Experts are attributing these early signs of success to the fact that consumers don't have to open a new window or leave Twitter to engage with brands. In fact, users don't even have to fill out a form – When the user hits submit on a brand's call-to-action, their full name and email address are automatically imported. For a more detailed example of how the lead generation feature will appear on Twitter, check out this promoted tweet:

LeadGenCard 520 1

In turn, brands are reaping the benefits of this simple way to engage. An analytics tool also allows companies to track their success rate and ROI, so they stay continually apprised of their progress. 

“I was thrilled with the cost per new email we saw,” Mark McKnight from Rock Creek told Twitter. “Because we’re able to precisely target interests and @usernames, we also know that these people are highly likely to be interested in our products.”

So just how do brands register for lead generation cards? Here's a list, generated from HubSpot, on how to get started on finding more leads with this useful new feature:

(For a more in-depth tutorial, you can also view HubSpot's useful how-to guide here

  1. If you haven't already done so, register your business with a Twitter ad account.

  2. Choose from a list of CRM's that Twitter integrates with so you can keep track of – and nurture – the leads you generate.

  3. Log in to Twitter. Access the lead generation cards feature by clicking on the “Twitter ads” tab, located in the right corner of the homepage screen under the wheel icon.

  4. Locate the advertising tab on the top left corner and then select the “cards” tab from the drop down menu.

  5. Hit “create a new card,” and then fill out the subsequent information, including the card image, your offer, and a call-to-action.

  6. Lastly, include URLs to your website and relevant landing pages so those that engage with you online can find more information.

And now you're ready to start a campaign using Twitter's lead generation cards!

… Has your company signed up for Twitter's new lead generation cards yet? How do you think this new feature will contribute to the growth of your business? Let us know at @AccoladesPR!

Stats on the biggest social media networks today

  
  
  
  
  
  

 As social media continues to grow by leaps and bounds, marketers are sitting up and taking note. In fact, 86 percent of marketing professionals say social media is important for their business. That's why it's also increasingly important for these pros – like you – to understand the broader trends and patterns within the social media world, such as which networks are the fastest growing and most-used. How these networks are being used (mobile vs. desktop) is a key point to address as well – By doing so, you can better understand where to focus your marketing efforts, and which networks will yield the most profitable results for your business. 

The most-used social media sites

GlobalWebIndex’s latest study, “Stream Social: Quarterly Social Platforms Update,” published on eMarketer, offers insightful data that addresses these very questions. According to the study, Facebook remains in the number one slot for the most-used social media networking sites worldwide, with 51 percent of Internet users aged 16-64 who log on to the site at least once a month. In second place is Google+, with 26 percent. However, the second-place site may gain even more ground worldwide with the launch of 41 new features – Read more about what Google+'s features mean for marketers in our last blog post. Lastly, a close third in the data race is YouTube, with 25 percent.

Where is Twitter? … The fastest-growing social media site

With just 22 percent of Internet users logging on to the site at least every month, Twitter didn't win any prizes in the “most-used social media sites” category – But it is the fastest-growing social media site in the world. In fact, the number of active users grew approximately 40 percent in 2012, beating both Facebook and Google+. Interestingly, users over the age of 55 are the fastest growing demographic on the site.

Graph depicting the fastest-growing social media sites

Changes in social media user activities

How Twitter is used is also changing in a few key ways. For instance, only 51 percent of Twitter users reported posting a tweet in the last month, meaning the other half of the user base is utilizing the site primarily as a source of discovery. In fact, as the following chart from GlobalWebIndex illustrates, the lowest-ranked activities among both PC and mobile users are “commenting on my daily activities,” and “commenting on a friend's post,” while activities such as “posted a positive comment about a company or product,” and “bought a product or service” received higher marks among users. This feedback suggests that Twitter is becoming increasingly commercial, which is great news for marketers looking to promote their brands via social media. 

So what does this mean for marketers? Essentially, mobile marketing personalization is now more important than ever before. Mobile and tablet users crave targeted, relevant information – Which is why marketers must cater to consumers' newfound expectations by creating personalized mobile search experiences. Read more about the importance of mobile personalization in our recent blog post.Furthermore, social media growth, both on Twitter and elsewhere, is increasingly linked to mobile and tablet use. Activities such as watching video clips, sharing links to articles, and following a group or page created by a brand all saw the biggest jump among mobile and tablet users. In fact, much of Twitter's burgeoning success is likely due to its deep integration into iOS.

Graph depicting changes in online behavior

The top countries for social media growth

Much of Twitter's growth is happening in Asian and European countries, with participation rising substantially in Hong Kong, Russia, China, Italy, and South Korea. This finding underscores another emerging trend throughout the social media landscape, summarized by Bianca Consunji in Mashable:

A study by Burson-Marsteller showed that social media usage in the Asia-Pacific region went through the roof in the past years, showing growth rates ranging from 107% (South Korea) to 12,305% (Vietnam). More than half of the region's population is active online, with Facebook the most popular social network. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan and South Korea all have larger online populations than Australia. In China, more than half a billion people surf the web.”

Of course, growth has anything but stagnated in the U.S., which boasts of 33.8 million active Twitter users, putting it just behind Hong Kong.

The takeaway

Essentially, these social media growth spurts and changes make it easier than ever to connect with your consumers, engage your audience, and create increased exposure for your brand across multiple devices. By understanding of your business's specific consumer demographic, and studying how it overlaps with the broader social trends detailed in this post, you'll be on your way to creating a better social media strategy.

…How do you think staying well-informed on social media trends has helped shape your marketing strategy in the past? Let us know at @AccoladesPR!  

Tips and tricks to stay on top of social media and marketing trends

  
  
  
  
  
  

Last week, we wrote about how challenging it can be to stay on top of social media and marketing trends. The relentless need to keep up with ever-changing trendy technology and social site updates may mean you end up spending more time than you'd like hunched over a screen. But knowing where to look can minimize this search time, freeing you up to focus on the bigger picture of your marketing strategy … or just pursuing your interests outside of social media. That's why we've mined the advice of ad agency pros and social media aficionados to compile a list of the best websites and ways in which you can find the information you need in less time.

The best ways to stay on top of social media and marketing trends:

RSS: RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, can make your life a little more … Well, simple. While checking dozens of websites every day would be time-consuming and tedious, RSS functions as an aggregator that allows you to scan large numbers of headlines from a multitude of websites. All you have to do is sign up for a free RSS reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines, and subscribe to your favorite blogs or websites.

Out-of-office networking: Join a Meetup or Tweetup group in your area and see what you can learn from the experts in your area. On any given night, there should be several events or networking opportunities available. 

Word-of-mouth: Get together with friends from other industries and co-marketing contacts to keep your perspective fresh by learning how other businesses utilize social media and marketing strategies. Who knows? You may have a lightbulb moment that could lead to a reinvention of your own strategy. 

The best websites to stay on top of social media and marketing trends:

Social Media Marketing Trends

Mashable: As an award-winning, leading site for social media news, Mashable is an entertaining, easy-to-digest way to find out need-to-know information. In fact, Time rated the site as one of the 25 best blogs in 2009. And currently it brags of over 3,200,000 Twitter followers and over 1,000,000 fans on Facebook. Add this site to your RSS reader and you'll understand the reason for its success.

TechCrunch: Another great site to add to your reader, TechCrunch focuses on breaking technology news, reviewing Internet products, and profiling startups. If you really want to get in-depth, be sure to also check out CrunchBase, TechCrunch's open database about start-up companies, people and investors.                                          

Ad Age: Ad Age (or Advertising Age) an 82-year old magazine focused on media and marketing, is a roadmap for new trends. Judging by its longevity, it knows how to roll with change, and provides well thought-out analysis and context to the fluctuating digital landscape.

… And a few useful social media sites:

Yammer: Yammer is a workplace social networking system used for private communication within organizations or between an organization's members – Kind of like Facebook for work. So instead of sending a mass email, co-workers can Yammer a message on the latest trends or updates. Yammer can be an integral part of your workplace's learning culture if everyone makes a commitment to post relevant information on the latest technology, marketing, and social media trends.

Twitter: Follow key social media and marketing influencers on Twitter, and you'll have breaking news at your fingertips. Often this is one of the first places to mine for new information, while more in-depth analysis of breaking news follows on sites such as Mashable, TechCrunch, or AdAge.

Tumblr: A blogging platform and social networking site, Tumblr allows users to post multimedia and text to short-form blogs, and to follow other users and potential influencers. Like other social media sites, it's a great source for new, interesting developments, breaking information, and fresh perspectives. 

What are some of the best ways you stay on top of social media and marketing trends that aren't on this list? As always, let us know below or on Twitter at @AccoladesPR!  

*GRAPH COURTESY OF THE PIVOT CONFERENCE*

Staying in-the-know: The latest marketing and social media news

  
  
  
  
  
  

Just when you think you're on top of marketing and social media world, another must-use social media site pops up, demanding mastery. Or a trendy new feature demands your attention. Or an algorithm update requires more research and a tweak to your strategy… Basically, the list is endless, and the changes are constant. In this fast-paced, technology-centered culture, the only way to stay relevant in the marketing world is by continuing to learn. That's why this week, we're going to foster that all-essential learning process by spotlighting a few of those brand new social media features and updates.

Here are the latest social media attention-grabbers:

Facebook and Foursquare re-design business pages

In case you haven't noticed yet, Facebook recently introduced a new mobile pages layout. Businesses don't actually need to change anything, as the pages will automatically be converted to the new mobile-friendly format. The changes include improvements to functionality and ease of use, such as listing more relevant information (especially location and contact information) first; posting most-used interaction functions such as like, call, message, and share at the top of the page; featuring recent posts in the center of the screen; and providing an interface that switches between public and admin views with greater ease. 

Less talked-about are Foursquare's newly re-designed business profile pages. Although they're not designed with mobile users in mind, Foursquare has the same motivation as Facebook: To provide more useful information in less time. As such, the new features include prominently displaying important information such as the business's address, contact information, hours of operation, menu, and upcoming events; showcasing photos, ratings, and tips from the Foursquare community; providing personalized insights from friends; and suggesting similar places to those you've searched, as well as places you may like to check out afterwards.

Both of these site's changes are great news for marketers, as users will be able to find, learn, and share information about businesses. While Facebook's updates are automatic, don't forget to update your Foursquare account to take full advantage!

LinkedIn launches a new contacts tool for relationship management

Maintaining and nurturing professional relationships is tricky. If you're like many marketers, you probably have a myriad of people to keep track of, including key co-marketing colleagues, journalists, media and PR contacts, salespeople, outsourced contributors, promising new talent you hope to recruit, and new contacts you've met at industry events or conferences.

LinkedIn Contacts is designed to make your life a little easier by helping you organize and stay in touch with these important people in three simple ways: Keeping everything you need to know in one centralized location by pulling information from your address book, email, and calendar; sending you notifications when you've been lax in communicating with one of your contacts, or when they have a birthday or get a new job; and by giving you access to these tools via an app on your mobile device in addition to desktop.

Although it's not available to the public yet, LinkedIn will begin sending invitations to members within the next few weeks. If you're not one to wait around, you can sign up to be on the waiting list here.

Twitter amps up its advertising features

Twitter recently announced that it will be introducing keyword targeting to its platform, meaning brands can target and tailor their advertising efforts based on users' tweets.

“It lets marketers reach users at the right moment, in the right context,” the company stated in a blog post.“Let’s say a user tweets about enjoying the latest album from their favorite band, and it so happens that band is due to play a concert at a local venue. That venue could now run a geotargeted campaign using keywords for that band with a Tweet containing a link to buy the tickets. That way, the user who tweeted about the new album may soon see that Promoted Tweet in their timeline letting them know tickets are for sale in their area.”

This update will take place on both mobile and desktop in 15 languages. Learn more here from TechCrunch.

In other news, Twitter also recently announced that it will begin open advertising, meaning advertisers no longer need to be invited to use Twitter ads or spend a minimum investment per quarter as they had to in the past. This is great news for small business owners and marketers, who can now give their organic Twitter presence a boost through the self-service platform.

What do you think of these new features? How will they make your life as a marketer or business owner easier and better? … Also, stay tuned next week for a blog post on tips and tricks to stay on top of social media and marketing trends!  

Getting social at South By Southwest: Companies in the spotlight

  
  
  
  
  
  

South By Southwest (SXSW), one of the world's biggest film, music, and interactive conferences gathers some of the most innovative thinkers, creators, and performers for ten days a year in Austin, Texas. The social media industry is no exception – In fact, SXSW is a veritable magnifying glass for social-based companies, start-ups, and apps, the best of which provide new opportunities and ways for conference-goers to connect and converse during the chaotic global scene.

SXSW is "always going to be a launching pad," Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley says. "What better place to test your app in front of thousands of early-adopter beta testers?"

To illustrate just how much visibility companies receive at SXSW, look no further than Twitter, which arguably owes the growth spurt that catapulted it into a household name to the conference. Six years ago, the company upped the traffic to its site – from 20,000 to 60,000 tweets a day – by broadcasting tweets to SXSW attendees on big-screen TVs during the conference. Now the site has more than 500 tweets per day.

In addition to Twitter, last year major brands such as Foursquare, Glancee, and Highlight were under the spotlight for their innovative connecting potential and ability to merge social technology with location. And this year, in the well-stated words of Inc.com reporter Eric Markowitz, “... Expect social apps to continue to dominate the zeitgeist of South by Southwest, but expect the conversation to focus less on the technology's capabilities, and more on the ability for the user to control his or her data.”

The team here at Accolades PR is always interested in innovation, whether in social media, business, or technology – That's why this week we're ready to celebrate innovation in all forms, starting with a few of the biggest up-and-coming social companies that will take the spotlight at 2013's SXSW, including...

Present.me

describe the image

“People talk about ‘sending a presentation,’ and then just send the slides. But the slides are only half the story. We need to see and hear the presenter as well, and at the same time. Present.me is the next best thing to being in a room with the people you want to communicate with.”

Essentially, Present.me is a web service that allows you to deliver presentations as you would in person: One half of the screen is the presentation, and the other half is you explaining the presentation. Unlike services such as Skype, WebeX, and Google Hangouts, Present.me does not operate on real-time – So users can access and share the presentation hours, days, or weeks after its creation. 

Nextdoor

describe the image

In their words: “Nextdoor's mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood, one of the most important communities in each of our lives.”

A free, private social network, Nextdoor can enable people to get the word out about a break-in, hire a new babysitter, help find a lost dog, trade household items, put names to the faces you see on a regular basis, or organize a neighborhood watch group.

Click With Me Now

describe the image

In their words: “Click With Me Now was created out of this marketplace deficiency: the need for people in different places to share a single web experience.” 

Click With Me Now allows users to simultaneously share screens and browsing experiences. In 2010, the start-ups founders, Brian Handrigan and Mark Comiso, were launching an online-only Seniors Health Insurance plan. In the midst of this, they realized there was no way for senior citizens and their adult children to review a web page together, coordinate a purchase, or communicate in a timely fashion online. Enter Click With Me Now.

Although it started as a way to bridge gaps in online health care, this tool can also be extended to a variety of industries, specifically online retail outlets.

"Whether someone is buying a personal computer, a dress, or a new car, consumers often bring a friend to get a second opinion and have someone to interact with during the trip," Handrigan said."When shopping online, however, consumers are left alone and lose this entire social aspect, leading to anxiety and shopping cart abandonment." 

Koozoo

describe the image

In their words: “Have you ever realized that we have all the world’s data at our fingertips, but we don’t know simple things about the real world around us like, “how long is the line at the coffee shop?” or “are there many people hanging out in the park today?” Koozoo asks.

Koozoo is a realtime database of visual content to which members can record and share snippets of things that may be relevant to the public, such as an empty cafe, a long restaurant line, traffic jams on the highway, or a parking space. Koozoo can also be used as a way to connect share a remarkable view with family, friends, and strangers alike.

So even if you can't physically be a part of SXSW this year, check out Koozoo – Perhaps a few innovation-embracing conference goers will have already uploaded footage of the event.

… What do you think of these up-and-coming sites? Tweet your social SXSW experiences (real or virtual) to @AccoladesPR!  

Poised for Social Media?

  
  
  
  
  
  

As companies continue to incorporate social media into their marketing strategy, they also unearth challenges coupled with keeping a strong presence in the online community. Many companies still lack the training and resources needed to efficiently facilitate and manage conversations via social media. Those that are successful in this task are so because they treat social media as a tool for collaboration within and outside the organization. A report conducted by Forrester Research entitled “Accelerating Your Social Maturity” effectively describes the developmental stages companies go through in social media and how it becomes a part of the workflow and ultimately, the culture.

Just as companies set legal and HR guidelines, a social media policy must also be implemented to help drive home the value of a cohesive social media strategy. This policy could serve as a blueprint for representing the company brand in both B2B and B2C online communication. Nevertheless, companies just venturing into social media may have big ideas but must start small, showing careful deliberation in messaging. Be social, with P.O.I.S.E.

 Prioritize

  • Develop a content schedule or task-oriented calendar focusing on key metrics of the business
  • Work with respective departments in the company to develop and ensure timely, effective communication
  • Set a policy in place that helps employees grasp underlying company goals for social media

Organize

  • Set a standard for the kind of content that will be posted on company social sites, but be open to useful user-generated content
  • Determine the desired audience for every type of content (employee, partner, customer?)
  • Locate experienced social media users within the company and work with them to help encourage usage of the platform in their coworkers. Their experience may be able to assist in integrating social media into the company culture.

Identify

  • Key Players: Find out who in your industry is using social media and how they are using it
  • Research trending industry terms and topics. Follow them and the people who use them most. Hashtags are a great way to start.
  • Take advantage of industry lists and groups in social media. Watch the discussion and join when appropriate. 

Share

  • Don’t just crash servers with your content. Bring ideas to the table by sharing pertinent and constructive material that prompts conversation.
  • Listen. Sharing is caring, but caring means being a good listener.
  • Quality Control. Leave room for dialogue, but remember to carefully monitor the conversation for any unexpected criticism

Evaluate

  • Was the message clear enough? Did it get people talking? If so, what specific things were they talking about? What drove the conversation?
  • If not, what was the message lacking? How can it be modified to build a conversation?
  • Does the audience need to be re-evaluated? Are you hitting the right targets?
 

Is your company active in social media? If so, how are you managing your efforts and what sort of results are you seeing? What might you need to do differently?

Study: How Corporations Use Social Media

  
  
  
  
  
  

Recently, Primary Research Group published an extensive report on corporate usage of popular social media sites. Specifically, the report focused on how corporations take advantage of microblogging sites such as Twitter and the tools provided to make their social media interaction more efficient.

Based on data from a survey conducted on 100 public relations directors, the report found such items as:

  • Slightly more than half of those surveyed said they use applications which are designed to simultaneously submit content to multiple microblogging sites

  • -Less than 20% said they actively use the microblogging website known as Tumblr.

  • Almost one third of the respondents said they only use Twitter as opposed to other microblogging sites.

  • More than 30% felt that microblogging sites like Twitter were more effective than traditional blogging sites like BlogSpot, while 35% felt traditional blogging was as effective.

  • Almost half of the companies sampled regularly develop a statistical analysis that shows how the company and its products appear on microblogging services.

Does your company use social media sites? How often do you use them and in what capacity?

Like, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

  
  
  
  
  
  

Every business has competitors whom they would like to outshine. A great way to do this with social media is to engage customers but it isn’t just about keeping up with the conversation. It’s about using the social platform in a way that inspires and creates a community built for a brand, by a brand and its loyal public. A good strategy integrates the latest apps and digital tools that allow users to develop a personal connection with the brand.

If The Shoe Fits…Share It!

  • Nike is doing a fantastic job of this with the Nike+Fuelband #MakeItCount campaign. It encourages people to be more physically active while using a wristband accelerometer to track the amount of physical activity. Not only can users can tweet or post their goals and progress on Facebook, but Nike set up a giant LED screen in downtown Austin for South by Southwest 2012 showcasing user-submitted photos via Instagram using the #counts hashtag.

  • Conversely, Reebok’s current social media strategy is not as dynamic. Their Facebook wall mainly consists of ‘Workout of the Day’ posts, deals on merchandise, and photos of their footwear. Interesting, but hardly inspirational. For that sort of thing Reebok is currently using the hashtag #GetAfterIt in order to generate inspirational user-generated content, but it feels like it’s lacking a specific call-to-action.

  • Both Nike and Reebok have a steady stream of conversations flowing on Twitter and do a decent job of responding in a timely manner. Both also have more than one account representing various targeted audiences.

 Not to step on anyone’s toes but, in this instance Nike is one step ahead and gaining speed.

Where’s the Proof?

The day this post was written:

  • Nike’s Facebook fan page shows 530, 416 people talking about the brand and they have just under 300k followers on Twitter.

  • Reebok’s fan page has 45, 595 people talking about them and 53, 761 Twitter followers.

    Nike Facebook resized 600

Optimizing Social Media Content For Maximum Results (part 2)

  
  
  
  
  
  
Here is the second portion of our previous blog entry on creating effective content that is optimized for social media...

Picture This
  • Uploading photos to Facebook is very simple. Facebook users love photos so have fun with it and be sure the photos are at their highest quality and include a brief caption.

  • Twitter users need to click on a link to view a photo so make sure it is worth the click. A tweet that reads, “Check out our newest pie, fresh out the oven!” with a link to a photo would get more clicks than a link with a tweet that reads, “Take a look at this," or one with no caption at all. That seems ambiguous and unenticing.
  • Most importantly, whether on Facebook or Twitter, give prudence with the photos shared because once it’s out there, it’s out there.
The Proper Response
  • Twitter is all about conversation. A strong following comes from genuine personal interactions and recognition of other users.
  • Try following relevant conversations with other users and repost their content when applicable. Remember that anytime someone is @mentioned on Twitter only followers of that user and the user who mentioned them can view that post.
  • Use private messages sparingly. They’re only really necessary for confidential material.
  • Facebook updates can start in-depth discussions with a simple statement or open question. If it’s compelling enough, users will join the thread. This helps a particular update and company gain highlighted status in the ‘Top Stories’ section on the wall of users who follow that page. (See our post: Reaching Your Audience with the Best Facebook Content)
Conclusion

Social media in business is about a call-to-action through inclusion. Successful social media content, however, delivers that call-to-action through exclusivity. Users want to feel like they are a part of an elite group. They usually follow a business on social media to get something out of it whether it is a free gift, a chance to share their thoughts on a product, or just a brief mention of their name. People like to be recognized, and good social media conduct is the epitome of ‘Quid Pro Quo.’

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