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social media marketing

Does your company have an editor-in-chief? It doesn’t matter if you don’t work in the media industry—whether you’re running a home decorating store or a magazine, you need someone in your business to play that editor-in-chief role.

The reason I say this is because content has become the cornerstone of online marketing. Approximately 92% of marketers report that they now use content marketing, and at the end of 2013, 58% of B2B marketers and 60% of B2C marketers said they planned to increase their content marketing budget in the coming months.

What this means is that we’re going to be seeing more unique content online than ever before, and when developed correctly, it can help drive traffic to your website and convert those visitors into sales.

social media content marketingQualities of an Editor-in-Chief

In the publishing industry, a large part of an editor-in-chief’s job is choosing the content that’s going to sell the most copies of magazines, books, or newspapers. They are marketers who sell to consumers by determining what stories will best connect with their readers.

In your case, you want content to connect with your customers’ needs. He or she should take into account your target demographic, popular search terms, your company’s unique selling propositions (USPs), and, above all, your business goals.

Your “editor-in-chief” should:

Be creative. This point should be obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing. You want someone who can learn about your industry, and then translate this into high quality, useful, and valuable content. They should have an eye for reusing content in order to achieve the highest ROI for your investment.

Promote a consistent brand story. If you were writing a novel in which the protagonist’s behavior is incredibly inconsistent, you’d most likely confuse your readers and cause many of them to put your book down. An inconsistent brand can provoke similar reactions: consumers want to know what to expect from companies, and if you keep changing your message, you’ll lose their trust. Your content editor needs to know how to create a storytelling arc through your marketing and maintain the specific tone of your brand.

Tie together social media channels. That consistent brand story applies to social media networks as well. Your content editor should be able to market your brand across social media channels and, in some cases, identify the niche social media sites that appeal to your target customers. Content marketing is about creating quality content, but it’s also about knowing where to share that material.

Identify storytellers within the organization. Everybody has a story to tell, and there are probably quite a few people within your company who could share fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes or inspirational tales about why they wanted to work for this organization. Your content editor should be able to find these people and ask the right questions to get the types of stories your audience wants to hear.

Get customers involved in marketing. Content marketing efforts don’t just have to come from within your company’s walls. A good editor can connect with loyal customers and solicit content from them, whether it’s in the form of a testimonial, a blog post, or even just a social media update. Your editor should be able to identify influencers who like your products and develop your following.

Communicate well with the content marketing team. As a small business, you may not have the budget for a full in-house marketing team. You may choose to work with freelancers, graphic designers, or marketing agencies to produce your content. You need an individual who can help keep everyone on the same page, working toward the same goals.

Posted: 4/22/2014 11:44:14 AM by Shep Morrow


Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing used to mean simply crafting quality updates and scheduling them to post regularly. Then you’d monitor as followers saw and interacted with your content – or not.

Today that model is a thing of the past. Yes, many brands still rely heavily on it, but it simply is not very effective, particularly on Facebook. In large part, this is true because of the recent Facebook algorithm update, but it’s a trend that’s been in the works for a while now.  If you’re wondering why your audience suddenly seems less engaged, it’s likely because your content has become significantly less visible to them. Without paying to boost your Facebook updates, your audience is not receiving them.


The most recent change to Facebook’s algorithm, which happened in late August, altered the way the Facebook newsfeed displays content. It now favors more “timely” content – content that people are currently engaging in conversations about.  

Here’s what Facebook has to say: “Our goal is to show the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them.”

If your page isn’t showing the “right” content to the “right” people at the “right” time, it likely won’t get displayed on their newsfeed at all. Not surprisingly, this is causing those standard scheduled posts to plummet in terms of views and engagement.

But this isn’t a new trend, nor just impacting Facebook. Organic reach for businesses has been plummeting for years. In April, Entrepreneur reported that many larger companies saw their reach fall from 16% to 2% in the past two years. Those are pretty abysmal numbers, and I can’t even imagine how low that 2% dropped on Facebook after their latest algorithm update. I’ve experienced this drop in effectiveness for my mid- to small-sized business clients as well. What worked well just a few years ago isn’t even making a dent today.

Across the social media landscape, you see signs that all networks will move to this model, relying more heavily on a ranking model for content that is a hybrid publishing model of both organic and advertising content with the common traits of timeliness and relativity for a specific audience.

Here is the upside: Businesses have access to more powerful targeting tools. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, they’re all allowing us access to the wealth of data they’ve collected about their users, which means you can get very granular when targeting ads: location, interests, marital status, number of kids, job title, homeownership, and so much more. You can ensure you are only talking to the people you want to reach.

But it begs the question: what’s the next step for social media marketing? How do you effectively show the “right” content to the “right” people at the “right” time in order to engage in a conversation? Even if you’re relying on ads to help close your engagement gap, the effectiveness is likely to be significantly higher if you can post content that’s relevant to conversations as they happen.


The Current State of Social Media Marketing: It’s the Wild, Wild West - Again


TSocial Media Publishinghere’s no question that this shift is being recognized as an opportunity by investors and entrepreneurs. The number of social media analytics tools and platforms available is astronomical. It’s a highly saturated field with a large number of start-ups, companies still in Beta, and those seeking venture funding (or their second round of venture funding).

Each social media tool is using that social data to accomplish different things – from Geofencing, "listening", "engagement", publishing, applying predictive analytics to determine intent, to social TV at live events – though there’s still a large amount of overlap between the functionality these platforms are providing. It’s a field where there is a huge shake-out coming in the future, and I haven’t seen anything like this since the 90s when everyone was jumping into the internet game by building a website.

Every platform wants to take that new data being provided by Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, aggregate it, and become the dashboard. Like many, I’ve been on a quest to find the most forward-thinking tool, researching dozens of them and receiving demos from more than 30 platforms.
Here is the biggest issue I’ve seen so far: most platform developers are not as focused on the use case scenario as they should be. They’re trying to figure out what people will pay for, not how to make it most effective for them. Instead, most platforms simply process that data, put it into an interface, and provide reports.

Social networks by their very nature are organic, and the conversations that ebb and flow within them are organic. To have an effective organic social media campaign, you can no longer simply send a message out there and hope someone latches onto it. Reports are great to help you react, but in this game, you need to be proactive. You need to participate in conversations with your target group as they are emerging, in "almost real time".

Most platforms are not yet providing actionable advice. What’s creating engagement at a given moment for "sporting goods" or "real estate" with 35-50 year olds in the northeastern USA? How can we effectively harness that engagement at the time that it happens and intelligently build branded relationships? From my viewpoint:

"the winners will go the next step to identify qualified leads using sentiment and intent through predictive analytics and then automate the publishing process."

Some open questions, but here are a few of the tools that I think are the most interesting right now:

Social Flow

This is the best tool I’ve seen for smart publishing. The platform has developed an algorithm that uses historical information in smart ways to determine early trends and emerging content topics. There are two main ways to ensure the social media content you publish is at its most effective.

The first: you can create multiple updates and load them into the system. Social Flow will track current conversations, and when it sees that a conversation is emerging related to one of those updates you’ve already crafted, it will immediately inject it into the conversation. You can see in real time how your updates are constantly being rescored accordingly to the changing social media landscape.

And the second way is that you can click on a current topic that’s trending and use it to create an ad in real time that leverages the topic while it’s still on-going.

In effect, it’s doing what the newest Facebook algorithm aims to do: share the “right” content to the “right” people at the “right” time.

The major drawback, for many, is cost. At $2,000 per month and up, it simply isn’t cost-effective for many small to mid-sized businesses, though one way to bring that cost down is to work with an internet marketing consultant who can manage multiple client accounts at that rate.  http://www.socialflow.com

NUVI

Want to stay on top of your brand’s reputation? What’s going on in your industry? This is a good tool with a slick interface, perhaps the slickest. It tracks all mentions of a particular keyword or keywords that you provide.

You can track consumer sentiment as it emerges. Instead of working with outdated information, you have access to up-to-the-minute data that’s so crucial in the fast-paced world of social media.

It also helps you track trending URLs, hashtags, keywords, concepts, and comments. You’re provided with a snapshot of what people are saying about your business or your industry right now, as well as data on individual users who made particular comments. It makes it much easier to notice and jump into a conversation as it is occurring.

The charge is by mention, making it a more affordable solution for small to mid-sized companies who can track the limited area around their business. But the downside is that it requires more active monitoring for businesses, and it also involves more guesswork. This tool costs about $500 per month and up. http://www.nuvi.com/

IFTTT

This tool is a powerful way to take immediate action when a consumer interacts with you or starts a conversation. It’s also a powerful tool for general productivity, although I won’t get into that too much here.

IFTTT (pronounced like “gift” but without the “g”) stands for “If this… then this.” It’s a simple “recipe” that allows you to connect two tools you already use. So for example, you can set up the following recipe, “If you are mentioned in a tweet, then you receive an email.” This provides you with another way to stay on top of conversations even when you might not be connected to Twitter. Another example: you can set a recipe to post your Instagram photos as native Twitter photos.

Those are very simple examples, but IFTTT allows you to connect 160 different channels, including all the major social networks. This helps you to take immediate action automatically in response to interactions and conversations on social media using the channel that makes the most sense for your business. The key is finding the right strategy for your target audience. https://ifttt.com/


Viralheat

This is my favorite tool for listening. Viralheat’s comprehensive monitoring tool lets you run competitive analysis, reputation management, and brand management. The analytics offered by Viralheat are robust, empowering you to both measure and also assign meaning to your social metrics.

Not only can you set up your own custom keyword searches to track what’s being said about your brand, products, or services, but Viralheat takes it a step further, allowing you to compare, combine, and analyze sentiment trends. These searches can also be used to stay on top of trends related to your industry and your competition.

Viralheat also offers content intelligence, providing guidance on when to deliver content across social channels to amplify its reach. Enterprise pricing. https://www.viralheat.com/

Little Bird

The key to any social media strategy is getting your content in front of influencers and brand advocates. But how do you effectively identify and engage with these individuals? That’s where Little Bird comes in.

Many products claim to do this, but I’ve found that the results are often way off target. Little Bird gets your input to ensure it’s on the right track, providing you with three examples of Insiders it’s identified. Then it uses its algorithm to extrapolate from that information a much larger network that you can tap into.

One of my favorite features of the tool is the daily mission. When turned on, you’ll receive an email every day with advice on action to take to help expand your reach, such as users to follow, content to share, or conversations to join. http://www.getlittlebird.com/

Swayy

This low-cost discover tool is highly effective for content curation strategies. You input your terms or select from their suggestions, and you’ll receive a dashboard of suggested content.

What makes the dashboard unique is how that content is labeled for you. Most content discovery tools are limited to sharing content based on the keywords you provide, but Swayy also shares content based on your community and what’s already trending in your circle. This can help you identify content that’s relevant in your area – powerful for location-based businesses – as well as jump more quickly into conversations as they are occurring. http://app.swayy.co

The Future: Social Media and Content Distribution

We’re not there yet, but I suspect it will be predictive analytics with content selection and content distribution based on artificial intelligence. If we know the specific areas of interest of a target audience, and can determine through smart presence detection who is online and/or their historical response patterns, we can use natural language processing to proactively assign social interactions to optimize response rates, engagement, and reach.

The current tools for social media are extensive – and they’re continually changing and improving. At Location Traffic, we consider ourselves tool agnostic. Instead we’re remaining aware of the trends and staying on top of the latest advances, so our clients can take advantage of the best ways to generate leads using social media at any given time.



Posted: 2/2/2015 12:14:30 PM by Shep Morrow


Social Media: Facebook Places

How the Facebook Places Overhaul Impacts Your Local Business

It’s official: Facebook is challenging the likes of Yelp, FourSquare, and TripAdvisor, and it has major implications for local businesses.

With the recent overhaul to Facebook Places, it’s now easier than ever to use the social network to discover restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes, public attractions, arts & entertainment, and more in your area, as well as reviews and recommendations. That means local businesses without a presence – and engagement from their customers – are at a disadvantage.

  • The results are customized.
  • The focus is local.
  • It rewards businesses with engagement.
  • Updated business pages will benefit the most.
  • Facebook Places is only going to grow more relevant.

Are You Set Up for Facebook Places?

Before you say ‘yes’, are you sure? Having a Facebook business page isn’t necessarily the same thing as being listed on Facebook places. Your page must be categorized under ‘local businesses’ or ‘companies and organizations’, and your address must be up-to-date in the ‘About’ section. If both of these things are done, then you are set. Otherwise, here’s a how-to.

How to Create and Claim a Facebook Place

  1. Go to your business’s physical location with your smartphone. Click the “check-in” button on the Facebook app and look for your business. If it does appear, that means someone else has already created it for you by checking in. If it doesn’t appear, then click the ‘add’ button and create it.Now you’ll appear, but are you optimized for the current and future state of Facebook Places? Taking the time to build a strategy now can help you stay ahead of the competition.
  2. Head back to your computer to claim the Place. Search for your Facebook place and select it. Click on the gear icon in the upper right, and then select “Is this your business?” Follow the on-screen instructions from here. Be aware that it can take up to a week for your claim to be reviewed, and you may need to show proof of ownership.
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Posted: 2/15/2015 1:31:07 PM by Shep Morrow