Christmas is the season of giving. Most people are looking for the perfect gift for their family, friends and loved ones. Many of them turn to social media for gift ideas. This provides a great opportunity for you to promote your products and grow your business.

You need to have strong social media marketing campaign in place if you want to generate more sales. Remember, social media can have a significant influence on a consumer’s purchasing decision.

Use these tips to boost your holiday sales.

Schedule posts in advance

To capitalize on this growing opportunity, you need to start your preparations early. At this point, you should have written your blogs, social media posts and planned your social media calendar. If you haven’t already done so, then you’re too late.

Take time to schedule your posts in advance. Not only will it help you save time, it also gives you enough room to handle real-time engagement when the rush of the holiday is upon you. Stay ahead of the game by planning your social media campaign early.

Create stand out content

Time spent on social media starts to increase by October. It reaches its peak by New Year’s Eve.  Because of this, social media is aflutter with holiday buying cheer during this time of the year.

With so many businesses vying for the attention of consumers, you need to find a way to stand out. One of the best ways of doing this is by creating interesting, unique, and informative content. It is also a good idea to create content that activates a high-arousal emotion as it has the potential to go viral.

Feature user-generated content

Instead of bombarding your audience with ads, why not encourage them to share how they like to use your products. Or better yet, ask them to create a story on Snapchat or Instagram showing how they like to celebrate the holidays. Starbucks seem to have mastered the art of user-generated content. They even hold the red cup contest every year.

Encouraging your audience to get creative with your products can be beneficial for your business. Not only will it help boost your social media engagement, your brand will come across as real and personable. Remember, feeling connected is a huge part of what drives social media success.

Get reviews

Most people would read reviews or get recommendations from friends before buying something. If you want to boost your sales this holiday season, encourage your customers to write reviews.

Customer reviews are very influential. In fact, they are more effective than a paid marketing ad in increasing your sales. Having legitimate product reviews can mean the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart.  They can persuade new or casual browsers to take action and make their own purchase.

Fun and Festival Holiday Marketing Ideas

Christmas is just around the corner. With the competition getting tougher than ever, most businesses are already plotting their first move. If you haven’t started your holiday marketing yet, then you’re already too late. But don’t worry. We’re here to help.

It’s time for you to start pulling together some marketing ideas and get stocked and ready for the holiday rush. Here are some fun and festive marketing ideas you should implement this holiday season.

Send holiday emails

You have probably heard that email marketing is on the verge of death, and sending emails to your target audience is just a waste of time and effort. That’s not true. In fact, email marketing is alive and well. It’s very beneficial for businesses, big or small.

Email marketing provides a very personalized and intimate way to communicate with your audience. It allows you to build better relationship with them. This holiday season, make sure that you keep in touch with your audience and let them know about your upcoming deals. This will give them a sense of exclusivity.

Send a unique gift catalog to loyal customers

People have crazy schedules these days. Many of them are looking to buy their presents online because it is the most convenient option.

Everyone is in shopping mode during this time of the year. Make it easier for your loyal customers to shop for their Christmas presents by sending them a gift catalog. Now that you have provided them with a convenient way to shop and gift suggestions, they will no longer have to look elsewhere.

Feature upcoming deals in social media

Most people visit social media sites a few times a day. Use this as an opportunity to reach as much peole as possible and let them know about your upcoming deals.

By now, you probably know which social media platform your target audience frequent. If most of your audience are using Instagram, then focus your marketing efforts there. But don’t forget to promote across different platforms as well.

Create limited offers

Any company or retailer with a product or service to sell can benefit from creating limited offers. Adding urgency to your offer will help generate interest and compel people to buy right away.

For this to work, you need to define your offer dates and let people know about it. The whole point of limited-time offers is to get people to act fast. If they know that they can still avail the product or service for the same price next week or next month, they may not even show interest. Call to actions such as today only, last day, and ends at midnight creates a higher level of urgency and pushes your audience to buy now.

When you are managing your own social media it can get a little overwhelming, right? One thing we have found as a business that works great for us and our clients is creating a content calendar. Creating a content calendar keeps you on track and organized.

Today, we will talk about 4 tips for creating the perfect content calendar:

1. What content does your tribe want?

It is important to know what your audience is looking for before you just start posting. What do they like? What are they engaging on, sharing, talking about? Look at your past social media posts if you have them or your competitor’s posts and see what is working. One way to do this is looking at your social media analytics to get a good idea of what posts people have engaged in. What if you are just starting out and you don’t know what your audience is looking for yet? This is where your competition comes in, take a look at a good competitor and see what are they talking about, what type of posts are getting the most engagement?

Be sure to mix up your content, have posts with just text, articles, blogs, images, videos, gifs, to make sure you are grabbing their attention. Once you have a good idea of what type of content your tribe/audience likes then you can start creating!

2. How often should you be posting to each platform?

This is a question we get asked all the time! Each platform is different. As a business owner, you will have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and maybe even more than that. It is important to keep your audience in mind when posting. Meaning, how often should you post and what times should you post. When you were doing your research in step one, also check out the times that people were engaging.

You do not want to bombard your audience by posting too much and you don’t want to post too little so they forget about you. It’s kinda like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, you don’t want your porridge to be too hot, too cold, but just perfect!  

Here is the common rule of thumb for posting to the social media platforms:

  • Facebook: 1 time per day and 3 on the high-end
  • Twitter: 3 times a day on the low-end and 30 on the high-end
  • LinkedIn: 2-5 times per week
  • Google+: 3-5 times per week
  • Pinterest: 5-10 times per day
  • Instagram: at least once per day

Each platform is going to be different for you, some you will have more engagement so you can post more and some you will have less engagement so you may need to only post a few times per week.

Remember to use the analytics to look at the numbers and see what they are reflecting so you can stay top of mind to your tribe/audience!

3. Time to Create Your Content

Once you know what your tribe/audience is looking for and how often you should be posting, it is then time to create!

Remember to keep it fresh and mix it up. Here are a few different content ideas for you:

  • Create a custom image through Canva, WordSwag, Typorama, Prisma, etc.
  • Create a video through Ripl, iMovie, Videorama, Animoto
  • Post your blog post from your website to social media
  • Find outside sources, articles, other blogs and videos you like, that align with your brand to share
  • Gifs to increase engagement

Here are a few tools we use to help keep our outside sources organized:

Feedly

The content you need to accelerate your research, marketing, and sales.  Stay ahead of the curve. The content you need to accelerate your research, marketing, and sales.

Stumbleupon

Discover the best of the web, one click at a time.

4. Time to fill in your calendar

Now that you have put your plan together and figured out the type of content you are going to write, where you are posting it and how often, you can fill out your calendar.

We have found that there are a few tools to help you with that content calendar. Everyone is different, some people like more of a visual calendar and others like more of an excel type of calendar. We love creating the content calendar in Google Sheets then using Trello to write the content and copy from there to our platforms. Others like to use Google Calendar for their topics and then put the posts directly into Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule them at one time to the correct social media networks.

You have to explore each option to see which one resonates with you the best! So we wanted to give you some to choose from:

Trello

Trello is a project management tool that’s very popular with bloggers, marketers and social media managers. It’s a good way to keep track of your content ideas and even has an additional calendar add-on you can use to get a monthly view of your planned content.

Google Calendar

If you want to keep it simple, you could always just create a new Google calendar for the process and invite everyone on the team to view it. Those teammates could also add all of their own posts and ideas to the same calendar.

Google Sheets

We have created our clients content calendars into here for topics and it will look like this:

Or this is how our Social Speak Content Calendar looks, you can be as general or as detailed as you want:

Buffer

Buffer is a new and smarter way to share what you want to share on Social Media. People have called it great names before, like your Social Media Assistant or the Siri of Social Media.

What it does is simple. Posts in your queue will be sent out automatically by Buffer, according to the posting schedule that you put in place.

Select the social account you’d like to customize the posting schedule for, select the Settings tab at the top, and then select Posting Schedule. From here, you can choose which timezone is best for this account and customize the days and times your posts should go out. Select the days you’d like to include and add the individual times you’d like your content to be shared.

Hootsuite

Manage all your social media in one place. From finding prospects to serving customers, Hootsuite helps you do more with your social media. Save time by scheduling your social posts. Keep your social presence active 24/7 by automatically scheduling hundreds of social media posts at once, across your social accounts.

Have your social media channels hit a plateau?  Does it seem like people aren’t engaging as much as they used to?  PSSST!  It could be your content.  If you are posting the same type of content day after day, it may become a little, well…boring to your followers.  

A good, diverse social media channel includes a variety of posts.  Some of the more popular social media accounts do a good job of mixing up their content.  There tends to be a good blend of:

  • Clean, clear, crisp images
  • Quotables
  • Micro video posts – short “snackable” videos that are easy to consume
  • Live video content
  • Continuously looped video
  • Time-lapsed video
  • Episodic video

Including a mixture of all of the posts listed above helps to:

  • Keep your news feed fresh and exciting
  • Encourage engagement and increase likes, shares, and comments
  • Give your followers a reason to come back to your social accounts day after day

Take the time to learn and discover how to create exciting and engaging posts for your social accounts.  

One final thought…Did you see a trend in the types of content you should be posting?  For the most part, they were all about different types of video.  That speaks volumes about what we can expect to see as social media trends in 2018.

It goes without saying that apps are a Social Media Manager’s BFF!  They help us plan, analyze, stay creative, efficient, productive, curate content and SO MUCH MORE!  One thing is for sure, we couldn’t survive without them!

When challenged to share our favorite 5, it was tough to choose!  There are so many quality apps available today and new ones are emerging every day!  Below are 5 of our favorite go-to apps that you will want to get your hands on right away!  To grab these apps, head over to your devices app store to snag them.

Get Creative with These Apps

As a Social Media Manager or anyone who manages a brand’s social content, you need to be creative.  One of the goals of the content you post is to “Stop The Scroll”.  This requires interesting and engaging posts.

  1.  Adobe Spark Post!

Why We Love It:  

This app is great for creating anything from a social media post graphic to posters, and custom sizes.  Not only does this app have loads of size options available, its library of free stock photos is HUGE!  Not only does Adobe Spark Post make amazing images, it also animates images.  Fun Alert!  Once you start with Spark, you may not be able to stop!

  1.  Animoto

Do you have a bunch of pictures that tell a story about your brand, service or product?  Let’s face it, sometimes static images just won’t do the job.  Our solution…Animoto!  Animoto is a great resource for turning images into animated video.  Not only does it create a great video but it also has amazing stock music to help you hit the right vibe.

  1. Typorama

A good Social Media Manager knows that you can’t just have one resource for creating social media graphics.  If you only use one tool, your posts become predictable, and, well…boring.  To create a wide variety of post types, you need to have a wide variety of apps.  We love Typorama because it has a large selection of font styles you can use for your graphic posts.  

Pro Tip:  Check you Typorama’s sister app, Videorama.  This is a super cool app that has a large selection of stock video for you to use.  Get creative with Videorama by adding text overlays, music, and filters to your videos.

 

Get efficient and save time with these apps.

4 & 5.  Yes, we said “these”.  

There are two time-saving apps we adore which wouldn’t allow us to choose just one.  Here’s why…Social Media Managers are a busy lot!  We are always creating content, posting and tracking the engagement of our posts.  In order to be effective at all of those things simultaneously, we need a tool to help us.  

So, numbers 4 & 5 on our list are Buffer and Hootsuite.  Both of these apps have web-based and mobile device platforms which are designed to help you schedule the posts you create.  

We love Buffer for its ease of use when it comes to scheduling posts on multiple accounts.  Hootsuite rocks when it comes to monitoring the social conversation surrounding your posts.  Both have similar functions.  We encourage you to dive into each to decide which is the best fit for you or maybe it is a combination of the two!

Honorable Mentions

Yup!  It was hard to pick just 5 favorites.  We couldn’t leave these out because they help to keep your posts and feeds uber interesting!  Make sure you check out:

  • Boomerang for repetitive, looped animation.  Try it once and you’ll be hooked!
  • Ripl – Great for animated video
  • Hyperlapse – Speed up a long video using this time-lapsed video app. Great for instructional type videos
  • Vont – Edit and trim videos right on your smartphone with this easy to use video editor

Pro Tip:  One of the best things you can do for your social media accounts is to keep them fresh and exciting.  Take the time to get to know new and different apps to help you achieve this.

Have fun and stay social!

 

Canva is a great tool for business owners to use, to create those eye-grabbing images for social media. It is an easy to use platform, that allows you to be super creative and make amazing images without being a graphic designer and having to pay a fortune for images. Canva is great for creating your branded images, marketing materials, presentations, menus and so much more! Sometimes you will see an image as you scroll through social media and say WOW that is an awesome image! You may think to yourself “how did they do that?” Now you know! Create images that STOP THE SCROLL as we say! Enjoy!

Social media has tremendous power, especially for businesses. It allows you to build a relationship with your audience and generate leads. While it provides an easy and convenient way to connect with your audience, this connectivity carries risks.

In order to ensure that your business creates respectful, valuable, and welcomed presence on social media, it is important to adhere to the etiquette. Keep in mind that social media is a public forum. One small mistake can have a negative effect on your brand’s reputation. A careless Facebook post or tweet can spiral into a full-blown crisis.

Here is the list of the top 4 social media etiquette tips for business.

Avoid over-sharing

Consistency is the key to social media success. You need to have a posting schedule and stick to it. Your audience will forget that you exist if you don’t post regularly. However, posting too often can annoy your fans and followers.

According to studies, one or two posts a day is enough to maintain an active presence on social media. This will help keep you relevant without becoming a nuisance. You are likely to see a 50% drop in engagement per post if you post 3 times or more per day.

Be self-centered in small doses

Most businesses use social media to provide their audience with updates about their business. Often, they use it to advertise their products and services. Although it’s fine to use social to promote your business, make sure that you encourage two-way communication. Don’t just bombard people with promotions, updates and advertisements, communicate with them.

Use social media to engage your audience. If you want people to buy your products, you need to gain their trust. To do that, you first need to build a relationship with them. Encourage people to comment on your posts and join in on the discussion.

Tame your hashtags

Hashtags can be quite beneficial to your social media marketing plan. They can help put your content in front of people and expand your reach. But if you use too much of them, they can be distracting. It can also make you look desperate.

Limit your hashtags to 1-2 per post. To make sure that you get more engagement, choose hashtags that are relevant to your business. For best results, create a unique hashtag for your business.

Don’t badmouth your competition

Some businesses badmouth their competitors in the hopes of discrediting them. However, this can do more harm than good to your business. You probably already hate your competitors, but bashing them makes you look silly and childish.

Focus on the great things about your business and keep the conversations positive. As the old adage goes, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

Golden Rules for Posting on Business Accounts | Social Media Etiquette | #SocialMedia #SMM | #BusinessAdvice

2018 Social Media Marketing Guide

Plan for Social Success in 2018

[This guide was originally published by Simple Measured]

Like the feeling of pulling your “ugly but hilarious” holiday sweater from storage, the arrival of our 2018 Social Planning Guide signals a new year is on its way. Planning next year’s social strategy across teams can feel daunting, but our guide and editable worksheets will have everyone working together.

The Simply Measured planning guide helps you to:

  • Identify and incorporate trends that will keep your messaging current in 2018
  • Outline and capture the social metrics that reflect success for your business
  • Map your social strategy clearly and concisely using our editable worksheets

Download your Social Media Marketing Guide Here

boosted posts vs. facebook ads

Scratching your head about whether to ‘boost’ a post on Facebook or to utilize the power of Facebook ads?  Boosting a post is sometimes ‘simple’ but not always the best answer to get to the folks that really matter to your brand!  Remember, Facebook is not a spray and pray proposition. Getting into the newsfeeds is getting harder and harder for ranking capability.  Soooo…get ready to dig into your pocketbook, whether boosting or using Facebook ads.

Boosting a post on Facebook, let’s face it, is easy-peasy, as opposed to going behind the scenes and utilizing the awesome tools on Facebook Manager. All you have to do is hit the ‘boost post’ button and off you go, right?  WRONG. Hang on ‘pardner…

In the past, boosting did not have many of the attributes that Facebook Ads Manager had, but now the Boost post button might not be such a bad strategy after all.  You can now actually re-target and optimize your boosts to actually drive traffic for developing your brand followers!  

There are some key factors that come into play when boosting your posts.  You must consider:

  1. What is the goal for the boost?
  2. DO NOT boost a post that does not benefit you, such as a resource post that does not lead back to your website, as an example.
  3. Again, boosting is not a ‘spray and pray’ proposition.  Make sure that you are targeting your demographic for the post.
  4. It’s all about the Facebook Pixel!!!!  In order to get the best traction, make sure that you have installed the Facebook Pixel (it’s FREE) on your website so you can get your tracking enabled.

So why is Facebook Manager a greater preference for ads?  Let’s be frank, candid and honest…Facebook Ads Manager does have a learning curve…no doubt…but it does have the ability for in-depth targeting, which is a HUGE coup! AND AND AND…if you are an organizational freak, the only way to keep completely organized with your ad spend is to create campaigns within Facebook Ads Manager.  You don’t have that ability with boosting posts.

For example, if you want to stay organized on Ads Manager for ‘campaigns,’ you can organize your campaigns strategically:

  • App installs
  • Engagement
  • Brand Awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • Video Views
  • LeadGen
  • Messages
  • Conversions
  • Product Catalog Sales
  • Store Visits

If you are merely ‘boosting’ a post, you do not have the ability to categorize your ‘boosted posts’ into strategic campaigns on Facebook to examine analytics per campaign goals.

So, to wrap it up quick and easy…boosted posts will help you develop a fan base and reach, and ads can actually help you transition your brand’s presence into tangible brand outcomes!

Stay tuned for more info…lots to share!