Over the past few years, to say social media has exploded would be an understatement. Members of social media sites have discovered it’s the easiest way to find, learn about, and share information that directly influences their purchasing decisions. It is this reason alone that every business should be on multiple social media sites in an effort to reach as many people as possible.

Below are the top 11 reasons to use social media in business:

1. Build relationships – personal and professional; connect with all types of people – past and present coworkers, current clients, prospects, vendors, competitors, and marketing professionals to build your network

2. Share information – share your blog posts; share interesting and useful articles, other blogs, webinars, podcasts, presentations, and poll/survey results with your fan base

3.Gather valuable information – research similar products/services, competitors, prospects, marketing tips, blog ideas, create your own poll/survey – the amount of information available is endless

4. Join a social network of like-minded individuals or start a new interest group where you can further brand your product/service, build relationships, and share ideas and information

5. Stay current with the latest trends – write a blog or join a discussion on a trending topic; become aware of new social media sites that might fit the needs of your business

6. Land a great new job – using your new connections on various social media sites, you can get the inside scoop on companies that are hiring, as well as resume and interview tips

7.Discover a new passion in life, become a volunteer, or start a fundraising event

8. Get found by prospects by using inbound marketing tactics – spread the word about your product/service through social media sites; to form a complete marketing plan, combine this with outbound techniques (interruptive marketing)

9. Build business reputation and brand – constantly add value to all your posts and become a trustworthy leader in your industry; to quote Bob Burg, “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust.”

10. Build a marketing department inexpensively – for start-ups, employing inbound marketing tactics is a cheap way to start marketing your product/service; most social media sites are free to join, while others have a minimal monthly or yearly fee

11. Help increase conversion rates – use social media and inbound marketing to steer more organic traffic to your website and convert more leads into sales; the average

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7108746

 

 

 

 

Businesses everywhere are finding new opportunities to engage with consumers through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It’s known that Twitter gets about 460,000 users to sign up per day, and Facebook is expected to reach 1 billion users by August, so it’s easy for businesses to realize that each and every one of these users have the potential to be a customer.

But social media marketing is more than just making an account and adding friends and followers. It is critical to have a well-established strategy and to do your research so you can develop the best social media plan for your company.

Follow these tips before you hit the social media highway.

1. Have A Plan

Too often Facebook becomes littered with inactive company pages. These pages are the result of marketers making a company page without a goal in mind.

It’s important to understand your objectives. State what it is you want to accomplish. This might be to create brand awareness, to provide a platform for consumers to give input and ask questions, or to build customer loyalty with promotions and specials.

Also, you’ll want to make a plan for measuring your ROI. It’s very helpful to be able to tell if your efforts are paying off. If your efforts aren’t getting results, then you can have a plan set to help you modify your marketing tactics.

It’s also wise to know you’re target audience. Define the demographics of who would be most interested in your products and services so you can send your brand message to those specific people.

Finally, make sure you have the time necessary to run your social media marketing plan. If you can’t make the time needed for your social media marketing, your attempts will not get very far. Consider hiring someone to help you so you can have the time to make a successful social media marketing campaign.

2. Keep It Simple

After you’ve got a basic plan set up, don’t go overboard and try to join every social network site out there. That will only end up fragmenting your efforts. What you should do is focus on creating one or two accounts on social media sites and grow your audience there.

3. Don’t Spam

With social media, it can be tempting to start promoting your products and services like crazy, but advertising should not be the main focus of social media marketing. Facebook users don’t go on the site to just look for something to purchase, so make sure you’re engaging with followers and fans on a level beyond advertising and promoting.

4. Communicate

Silence is not golden in the social media world. Communication is a must for any business, especially social media marketing. If you are not able to maintain ongoing communication with your customers, you will lose the value of having a social media presence. So be “social” and make contacts and boost your reputation.

5. Build Your Fan Base

It’s easy to gain customers by building your fan base. If you communicate well through your social media sites, your fan base will grow, and the potential for more customers will grow as well. Be sure to post interesting and unique information often, and follow people who are relevant to your brand, and they might just follow you back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A recent report from Facebook and comScore looked at how using Facebook Pages effects consumer behavior and social media marketing. The report closely examined the impact of paid media exposure on Facebook Fans. Here are some of its key findings.

1. The Facebook Page has become the brand’s new website.

For several companies, Brand Facebook Pages are turning into the hub of the company. For example, the popular candy brand Skittles had 23,000 visitors in May on their website, versus 320,000 visitors on the Skittles Facebook Page during the same month!

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Brand Pages are the main source of brand engagement on Facebook, however. It’s known that Facebook users spend the most time on the News Feed, so the amount of brand exposure on the News Feed is greater.

Also, this does not mean that you should abandon your company site and focus solely on your Facebook page. Websites are important for focusing on lead capture and transactions. The popularity of the Facebook Pages is just a shift in consumer behavior, which should be understood by companies.

2. The number of Facebook Fans is not a major measurement of performance.

Many companies are still too focused on taking their number of Fans as the main indicator of their performance with social media marketing on Facebook. The more important measurement however, is how brands are delivering their message to make the most out of their consumer reach and engagement.

In order to increase reach, companies should optimize their posts so they will be more likely seen in all of the News Feeds of Fans. Additionally, the ad platform is another way to help brands increase their reach. By promoting a post, it is more likely that it will reach a greater percentage of the brand’s fan base.

3. Facebook Fans and Friends of Fans are spending more.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether purchasing decisions of Facebook Fans and Friends of Fans are truly influenced by earned media exposure because they are “substantially more valuable” consumers based on actual purchase behavior, according to the report.

The report found that Fans of Amazon’s Page spent over twice as much when shopping on Amazon compared to the average consumer. And Friends of Fans spent about 8% more in purchases.

4. In-store purchasing behavior is influenced by Facebook earned media exposure.

When looking at Starbucks, researchers examined the behavior of Fans and Friends of Fans during a 4 week period and found that on the fourth week after exposure, a test group had purchase incidences that were .58 percentage points greater than the purchase incidences in the control group. Furthermore, the fact that the normal lift in purchases rose with each week following exposure, which shows the effects exposure has in increasing purchase behavior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter is one of the most important sites to use in any Internet marketing campaign. To strengthen your Internet marketing, it is crucial to understand the latest and greatest strategies to use in your marketing campaigns, especially those that work for Twitter. To stay ahead of the Internet marketing game, use these tips on your Twitter account regularly.

1. Focus On What’s Important

A major problem social media marketers might run into is not being focused and precise. You must keep in mind that your followers like your brand and want to read your updates because they are in your target market and are interested in the topics you tweet about.

Don’t tweet mindlessly; tweet about the things you know your consumers are interested in and the things that complement what your brand represents. Having targeted, precise tweets will keep your brand focused on reaching those who are most interested in what you have to offer.

2. Be A Professional

On Twitter, being able to write snappy headlines is key. You only get 140 characters to tweet, so it better be meaningful and interesting in order to excite followers. Your content should be quality and attention grabbing, so that traffic to your site will continue to grow.

Don’t worry about how many followers you have. It’s better to have a fewer number of followers that are followers who are clearly in your target market. Your tweets should address those real customers who enjoy visiting your site and are likely to retweet your posts, which will then lead to new consumers who also share the same interests.

3. Communicate With Your Followers

Remember, Twitter is a SOCIAL media; therefore you must be social for it to work for your company. Twitter is about connecting, sharing and communicating. If you interact with your followers, you will get to know them better and as a result, you will be able to create tweets that you know your followers will be interested in and appreciate.

Start commenting and asking questions to your followers about things that are relevant to your brand, and that you know they’re interested in. Then take it a step further and try interacting with your followers’ followers as well, so you give your brand more exposure to others who could become potential customers.

These tips are easy ways to help make the most out of your Twitter account. They must be part of your Internet marketing campaign in order to see results. Twitter is hugely important in increasing traffic, so use it efficiently and your campaign will be successful!

 

 

 

 

It’s now a well-known fact that online marketing is an important part of any business plan. Online marketing offers a wide variety of tools and tactics to use in order to expand your business and connect with new consumers. While managing all of the various aspects of online marketing can be difficult, it’s a responsibility that must be handled carefully in order to see results!

With that said, take a look at these five major online marketing mistakes and steer clear of them so you can carry out successful marketing practices!

1. Not Optimizing Your Landing Page For Conversions

A major goal of online marketing is to get people to land on a specific page on their website. However, even with all their efforts to direct people to that page, the business may be missing out on a lot of prospective consumers if it is not optimized for conversions.

Think about making your contact information prominently displayed at the top of your page, or make sure that there’s a clear call to action that will direct visitors to do want you’d like them do to, such as call your business or fill out an informational form. Also, you should have the most important information clearly made available at the top of your website, so visitors don’t have to scroll down or spend time searching for what they’re looking for.

2. Not Targeting Your Online Marketing Locally

Small businesses tend to be made up of mainly local customers. Therefore, if you are investing in online marketing without targeting it locally, you’ll end up paying more to target national keywords and ultimately miss out on reaching customers who are searching for local business.

If you locally target with your online marketing strategy, you’ll see a greater ROI and be able to reach those consumers who are looking for local businesses more effectively.

3. Failing To Train Staff On Lead Handling

A major mistake many businesses make in their marketing efforts is focusing mostly on the front end of the marketing funnel. As a result, they miss out on the most vital component of the marketing process: deciding what happens to a lead after they show an interest in your business.

A costly element in marketing is figuring out how your staff handles the leads you get. Keep in mind that every lead counts! After all, you are investing a lot into generating leads, so you should properly train your staff on how they should respond to a consumer request and how they should answer phone calls.

4. Neglecting to Track Your Online Advertising

The main benefit of online advertising is the ability to track it! You should be tracking the clicks you get to your landing page or website, and also monitoring what happens after the click. Look at whether customers respond by calling, filling out a form, or leaving your page after they’ve clicked. There are lots of great online marketing tools that allow you to track this and more so you are able to see how effective your campaigns are and optimize them based on what seems to be working the best.

5. Not Claiming Your Google Place Page

A Google Place Page is a great tool that allows your business to show up in desktop and mobile searches to local customers searching for a business. For no charge at all, you can claim your Google Place Page so you have better control over what gets listed about your business. You will also get a valuable space on Google for important business keywords in organic searches.

While there are other mistakes that can be made with online marketing, by making sure your online marketing efforts don’t commit any of these five online marketing sins, your business will nail some of the most important concepts of online marketing!

 

 

 

 

 

New research from the National Restaurant Association found that restaurants are increasingly using online and email marketing to give customers personalized offers. This electronic use of marketing channels has been proven to complement traditional marketing techniques, resulting in a hugely successful marketing mix.

The daily deal site, LivingSocial funded this research, which evaluated current practices in the marketing world used by restaurant operators and the consumer perceptions of a variety of marketing tools.

According to Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of the National Restaurant Association, James Balda, “Finding the right marketing mix is crucial to success in the restaurant industry. Our new research outlines the challenges and opportunities o both offline and online marketing to help restaurant operators find the ‘sweet spot’ for promotions by identifying what consumers respond to and how various messaging vehicles are perceived.”

Some of the major findings from this research include:

-Restaurants using online marketing tools tend to be viewed as more popular and modern to consumers. In return, restaurant operators feel that websites, TV ads, social media, emails, and daily deals to be very effective in gaining new consumers.

-Restaurant operators and consumers agree that savings provided through customized messages are very important for business.

-95% of restaurant operators find savings offers to be a crucial marketing tool.

-78% of restaurant operators perceive daily deals as an effective way to increase revenue for their restaurants. And 69% of customers claimed that emails from daily deal providers motivate them to check out that featured restaurant from that daily deal.

-40% of restaurant operators claimed they plan to partner with a daily deal provider within the next year.

-87% of consumers would order from or go to a restaurant if given a savings offer.

-Consumers are likely to go to a restaurant if they received personalized marketing messages that referenced previous restaurant patronage, permitted reservations, and identified them by name.

-84% of restaurant operators feel that restaurant-specific marketing emails are an effective way to increase revenue for their restaurant, and 78% of consumers feel that an email from a restaurant would entice them to go to that restaurant.

-Online marketing can boost a restaurant’s brand image and bring in new customers.

With this interesting information, it is clear that the use of LivingSocial and other daily deal sites, or simple email offers, may be a great way for your business to take online marketing to the next level and see an increase in revenue and customers!

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Human-to-human contact is original social marketing. When it comes to marketing, this is one of the most important connections to make. However, human-to-human contact through social media is not a one step process. Making connections with your consumers can take time and money.

Luckily, social media, email marketing and PR are great resources to use for businesses trying to humanize their company and connect personally with their consumers to increase engagement.

Here are six digital marketing tools to start using today to make real, valuable connections with customers.

1. Blogging
Blogging is not a one-way communication tool. Blog posts should create new conversations and debates which will assist in discovering the next “hot lead” to tackle. In addition to being a great resource for social media and email marketing, blogs are the perfect SEO tool. Blogs can also be used to increase social media engagement and drive email by adding subscription forms, as well as social media buttons to every page.

2. Live Events
While events can be a very expensive way to market to current and potential consumers, there is no doubt that the live environment of an exciting event creates lots of buzz around a brand. Some ways to lower the cost of hosting an event could be to run it at a local library, college or university. These types of venues offer facilities that are similar in resemblance to traditional venues, such as hotels, which are much more pricey.

3. Webinars
Webinars can be a great solution when trying to reach a large amount of prospects without even having to leave the office. Webinars are an opportunity for potential consumers to listen in and learn from others’ questions. Push your attendees to discuss your business’s insight in the webinar by promoting a Twitter #hashtag throughout slides in the presentation. Afterwards, encourage guests to reach out if they would like further information.

4. Social Sharing
By including social media sharing buttons within email marketing campaigns, subscribers will have much more of an incentive to share information. These buttons couldn’t make it any easier to spread quality content with others. This is an extremely simple way to see an increase in consumer engagement.

5. Different Levels of Email Subscription
While marketers strive to increase leads into a business, sales managers often want fewer leads with a better insight into the quality of potential consumers. The solution to these different goals is to provide multiple levels of subscription. Offer subscription forms for newsletters that are short and sweet; just a name and email address. Then use these addresses to re-market more detailed campaigns and promote events, webinars, white papers, and more. By offering highly perceived value, you can then get more details, like company names, positions and turnovers. By using sites like LinkedIn, it is not hard to reach potential consumers.

6. SEO With PR
Try using services like PRWeb to compose a strong press release and get the message out to thousands, and maybe millions, of viewers. This will also increase social media engagement and conversions. Additionally, it’s an efficient way to promote new product launches, upcoming events, webinars or announcements to prospects who may not be well aware of your company.


With consumers spending more of their time on social media sites, companies everywhere are trying to reach them by social networking. There’s now a common expectation that a strong online marketing strategy is necessary for any company trying to see an increase in their marketing efforts. Lately, those companies in the hospitality market have been really utilizing social media to see an increase in sales.

Why hospitality? It’s an industry driven by recommendations and reviews. People make purchasing decisions with different criteria in mind, yet peer reviews and recommendations are among the most popular ways to persuade. With the popularity of social media and the growth of the Internet in recent years, consumers jump online to give their positive or negative reviews of brands.

Hospitality is an industry where customer service is crucial, so it makes sense that the industry would want to develop the greatest customer service experience possible. Social networking is being viewed as a new and improved customer service platform for a variety of companies. Social media provides online visibility and lets companies market their products and services online to people everywhere, increasing their reach and exposure to potential consumers.

If you’re in the hospitality industry, there are some things to keep in mind when developing a social media strategy.

Consider what your goals and objectives are with social media. This will assist you in choosing the perfect social media platform to start with. If your company is new to social media, start with setting up just a single platform. Once you get more comfortable using this platform, record how much time it takes you on a daily and weekly business to manage the site then consider making other presences on different social media sites.

Also, have a content strategy. Think about what you want to put out on your social media sites and how often you’ll put it out there. Keep your customers in mind at all times when choosing content. Think about if your consumers want to view constant promotional messages, or if they would prefer to view interesting articles you found and shared.

To make social media work for your business, you must use it regularly and be constantly engaging in conversations with your consumers!

Carefully choosing the right social media platform to start with is very important. In considering Twitter, know that it lets companies connect with consumers, and other companies on both a local and a global scale. If it is important for your company to have fast customer service, Twitter can be used to respond quickly to questions, comments or complaints consumers might have.
Immediate, real time customer service is marketing in itself. It should generate positive emotions from your fans and followers and lead to influential word of mouth recommendations for your company.

With Facebook, your brand’s page acts as the online “headquarters” of your company. It’s like a marketing hub for consumers to come and see what your brand has to offer. You should give your Facebook fans exclusive information about your latest specials and deals, as part of your online marketing strategy. Also, think about making Facebook check in deals to reward consumers for checking into your business by giving them coupons or discounts.

Blogging can also be used in your marketing strategy. You could set up a company blog on your website, and also find influential bloggers who can review your products and services then direct readers to your site. A business blog lets you position your company as an expert in the industry. Blogs are also good to use for sharing company milestones which consumers would be interested in knowing, like if your company has changed locations, or opened a new office.

YouTube is another great site to consider. It’s a great platform to show off important and fun events happening in your company. It gives consumers insights into your company and promotes curiosity, which can lead to an emotional connection with your brand. You can increase the effectiveness of your videos by posting them on any other social media platforms you might have.

There’s also Pinterest. It’s the latest trend in social media, allowing users to “pin” their interests onto boards that they create. For your marketing strategy, you could create a board to show off your products, or pictures from company events to catch the interest of users. A great benefit of Pinterest is providing consumers a visual appeal to your brand.

While there are many options available to develop your marketing strategy, remember to start small, then become comfortable with how your strategy is working, then build your social media presence gradually to provide quality customer service to all of your consumers!


It’s no surprise that social media is here to stay, as the world has watched sites like Twitter and Facebook continually grow. Furthermore, new social media sites like Pinterest pop up constantly and consumers become immediately drawn to them.

With this increased consumer engagement in social media, there is now more pressure for companies to step there game up, differentiate themselves, and cater to their consumers’ needs with their social media marketing campaigns.

Based on these trends in social media, Wildfire Social Media Marketing developed an interesting report at the end of 2011, called, “2012 and Social Media: What’s Next?” This report gave major predictions about how companies would utilize social media in their marketing efforts this year.

The main claim of Wildfire’s report was that 2012 would be, “the year of understanding how to engage an audience and learning how to monetize it through better analytics and a focus on results.” Now, three months into the year, it is evident that the prediction was exactly right.

However, a more recent study done by the CMO Council and Lithium discovered that several companies’ social media marketing campaigns aren’t effectively addressing the needs and wants of consumers through their social media.

An article published by Steve Olenski, contributor to Forbes.com, analyzed this study and claimed that there is a clear, “divide between what marketers think consumers want vs. what consumers really want when it comes to social media.”

Olenski discovered that the most main issue involving what marketers think their consumers want and what their consumers actually want, involved the category of incentives. It was reported that about 65% of social media users connected with brands on their social platforms through the use of, “games, contests and promotions,” while just 33% of companies felt that consumers were really “looking for incentives or rewards for engaging with the brand.”

So, it seems that it’s not so much about how consumers are using social media sites to connect to brands, but it’s more about the fact that consumers want to engage with companies through social media because they are hoping for something in return.

The good news: social media marketing is a newer area that is still growing and changing, so marketers still have time to examine their social media marketing campaigns and modify them to really connect with consumers.

Ultimately, success in any companies’ social media marketing comes down to two main issues: first, clearly identifying and addressing the needs and wants of consumers, and then offering incentives to those target consumers, regardless of consumers’ social media habits.

 

 

 

 

By posting and sharing information the right way through various social media platforms, followers will post and share your information with their friends and followers on more social media sites, and you will ultimately become a stronger brand. You want to get people buzzing about your brand in a positive way with word of mouth marketing.

With social media sites, you must be careful about choosing what to post and share with your audience. If stated correctly, your posts have the power to engage and inspire your customers and they will automatically want to share what your brand has to offer with others.

Word of mouth marketing is as social as it gets. It allows your fans and followers to become your advertisers. Furthermore, they advertise your brand to new audiences and demographics, allowing you to reach more potential customers.

However, if you word of mouth marketing strategy isn’t done right, it can backfire and give your brand a bad rep. So, be careful with your campaign and use these tips to help you along the way!

1. Offer Quality Products

Without taking the time to develop the quality of your content, no consumer will give a second thought about your brand or product. Or worse, they may feel the need to spread negative opinions of your brand.

Millennials especially are affected by word of mouth marketing when making purchases. This generation, aged 18-34, uses and makes recommendations online to help their favorite brands, and will also give criticism online to help others’ purchasing decisions.

Invest in perfecting your products and services in order to get positive feedback from your fans and followers. Otherwise, you will see a wildfire of negative reviews about your brand!

2. Gain Consumer Trust

In order to carry out word of mouth marketing successfully, trust is essential. Hiding and/or laying low in the social media world will only cause customers to easily look over your brand or question your brand identity.

With 76% of consumers already feeling that companies lie in their advertising, it is key to building trust with your audience to keep loyal consumers for life. By getting your consumers to advertise for you with positive word of mouth marketing, others will see truth and the “realness” to your brand. People are more likely to trust their friends and followers on social media sites than a brand they are unfamiliar with.

3. Get Some Recommendations

As long as you use your manners and say your please and thank yous to your customers, asking them for recommendations can strengthen your word of mouth marketing.

Through social networking, you can stand out among other brands by highlighting recommendations and creating forums to build conversations with your consumers.

In fact, 93% of customers have noted word of mouth as the best and most reliable source for information on brands, products and services. This means recommendations could be the golden ticket for your word of mouth marketing.

If you can gain happy consumers who enjoy following and promoting your content, you will see long-term benefits in building a strong brand image.

Use these three ideas to help build your brand and gain consumer loyalty with the power of word of mouth marketing!