media

Silicon Valley Uncovered: The evolution of tech, media and its impact on society

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In 2010, my dear friend Hermione Way invited me as the first-ever guest on her then new show, “Silicon Valley Uncovered” for TheNextWeb. It aired on January 18th, 2011. I share this with you because the conversation, while several years old now, is strangely better suited for today and the modern times in which we live and work.

I’m not even sure how I stumbled across this interview. To be honest, I’m taken aback by how prescient and philosophical this conversation was in explaining what’s happening now. I found myself reacting in disbelief, “Wow. Did I really say that!?”

At the time of this interview, I was in the 11th year (of 12) running a digital lab I had founded in 1999. Shortly thereafter, I would join Altimeter in 2012, which was then acquired by Prophet in 2015.

It’s not a short interview. But if you can spare 30 minutes whether via audio or video, I promise, it explains so much of what’s happening today.

To help, I break down each episode below.

Please watch and share and let me know what you think!

Part One

The evolution of media

Impact of media on our lives

Personal brand

The power of perception and mindsets

The definition of “new media”

The evolution of business: from social business to an adaptive business

The power of online relationships: the social graph vs. the interest graph

Part Two

Adding “People” to the 4Ps of Marketing

Social media and the democratization of influence

How shared experiences change relationship dynamics and influence impressions and expressions

The attention economy and the importance of relevance, context, engagement and reciprocity

Brands becoming people and people becoming brands

The human network and the new model for information distribution and influence

How social media will affect politics, social movements and global culture (WOW!)

Intention counts for everything

Part Three

The renaissance of tech and the importance of Silicon Valley

The allure of Silicon Valley for entrepreneurs and innovators

The importance of the HP garage, the birthplace of Silicon Valley (thank you Robert Scoble!)

The culture of Silicon Valley

Social media douchebags

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, the digital analyst group at Prophet, Brian is world renowned keynote speaker and 7x best-selling author. His latest book, X: Where Business Meets Designexplores the future of brand and customer engagement through experience design. Invite him to speak at your event or bring him in to inspire and change executive mindsets.

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
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The post Silicon Valley Uncovered: The evolution of tech, media and its impact on society appeared first on Brian Solis.


Brian Solis

Social Media in Healthcare: A Surgical Guide for Marketing Professionals

A few years ago, the idea of following your doctor on Facebook may have seemed flat-out ridiculous.

Fast-forward to present day and it’s clear that times have changed.

Did you know Darth Vader could help you perform proper CPR? In honor of the release of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,”…

Posted by Florida Hospital on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

According to Deloitte’s 2018 global healthcare outlook, more and more providers are making their presence known on social media.

This migration isn’t due to dollars and cents, though. Instead, the overarching purpose of social media in healthcare is to improve the patient experience and form a “customer-centric relationship” with followers.

Look: it’s no secret healthcare represents a massive, multi-trillion dollar industry and the US’ largest employer.

And just as people are researching products and services via social, they’re doing the same when searching for a doctor.

But the role of social media in healthcare isn’t as simple as attracting new patients. Providers need to not only understand the best practices of using social media, but also the challenges and responsibilities of doing so, too.

Educating the public. Creating communities for patients. Providing stellar customer care. The list goes on and on.

Hashtags provide an opportunity for health communities to come together.

In this guide to social media in healthcare, we’re going to tackle these challenges head-on. Breaking down how healthcare professionals can use social media as a force for good, we’ll highlight what a fine-tuned presence for medical providers looks like in action.

And with that, let’s dive right in!

The Role of Social Media in Healthcare

Healthcare providers are in a unique position when it comes to their social presence.

After all, you’re marketing a service that represents a human necessity rather than a potential impulse buy.

And between rising healthcare premiums and patient anxiety, winning over your target audience is easier said than done.

Social media is a key component of how your practice is perceived by current and prospective patients alike. Practices of all shapes and sizes should therefore prioritize the following to market themselves as a top-tier provider.

Educating the Public

According to a recent Pew Research study, 36% of Americans haven’t visited a doctor within the past year.

Yikes.

This stat signals the need for education among the general public when it comes to check-ups, seasonal wellness and preventative care. The good news? The same Pew study notes that 87% of people hold doctors and their opinions in high regard.

The takeaway?

Educating the public isn’t just as an expectation: it’s a duty. Healthcare marketers actors are therefore tasked with keeping current and prospective patients alike informed year-round about treatments. Topical posts like this one from Florida Hospital represent a much-needed dose of education for their followers.

Chicago White Sox pitcher, Danny Farquhar, recently returned to the mound after collapsing from a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Learn more about the causes and treatment for this type of aneurysm.

Posted by Florida Hospital on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Making Patients Feel Comfortable

Spoiler alert: not everyone is exactly jazzed about going to the doctor.

Something as seemingly simple as a check-up can be incredibly daunting on a prospective patient. In fact, white coat syndrome impacts approximately 30% of the public.

And so you can imagine the need for practices to display their empathy when it comes to patients dealing with terminal illnesses. Social media represents a great avenue to both show off the measures you take to make patients feel at home in their time of need.

Posts like this one from Northwestern Medicine prove that it’s possible to put on a smiling face regardless of the prognosis.

Signaling Yourself as a Staple in the Community

The concept of competition in the health sector is a touchy one. Even so, any given community is full of providers and it’s only natural for prospective patients to “shop around.”

It only makes sense for healthcare marketers to present their practices as the go-to for their respective communities. From showing off employees in action to local advocacy efforts, social media allows practices to be more transparent and personable to prospective patients.

Posts like this one from Massachusetts General Hospital are a shining example of the much-needed personal touch that patients want to see from their providers.

Today is National Nurses Day! We want to thank all of our nurses for providing expert, compassionate care to our patients every day. Please comment below to thank your favorite Mass General nurse.

Posted by Massachusetts General Hospital on Sunday, May 6, 2018

Understanding the big-picture goals of social media in healthcare is key to honing in on a content strategy, which leads us directly to our next point.

Which Types of Content Should Healthcare Providers Publish?

As highlighted by the examples above, healthcare content on social doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom.

Nor should it be.

A diverse content strategy is a smart move for any type of marketing and healthcare providers are no different. For the sake of diversifying your content calendar and keeping your followers happy, consider the following types of content which are fair game for healthcare marketers:

1. Educational Content

The growing phenomenon of self-diagnosis and letting Google serve as a doctor again signals the need for practices to educate the public.

Whether it’s the tips for the latest bug going around or touching on health-related news, marketers should strive to keep followers in the loop.

Health tips and “Did you know?”-style content is also popular for encouraging interactions and debate among your followers. Whether it’s busting myths or quizzing your followers, posts like Instagram Story from Cleveland Clinic are prime for healthy (pun intended) discussion.

Should you avoid carbs at all costs, or just certain ones? Click 🔗 in bio.

A post shared by Cleveland Clinic (@clevelandclinic) on

And although not related to content directly, educating potential patients about your practice is a vital piece of social customer care. If someone has a question about treatment options or what your practice can do to help, strive to respond in a timely manner.

2. Inspirational Content

Especially in the face of progressive diseases such as cancer, patients and their family members could often use a dose of inspiration and motivation.

As such, you’ll oftentimes find patient success stories sprinkled through any given practice’s feed to provide a much-needed sense of hope. These types of posts are oftentimes the ones that get shared around the most, expanding your reach and telling a compelling tale at the same time.

At 22, college athlete and elite runner Gabriele Grunewald was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Today she continues to run, not only for her health but as a way to support other patients and raise funds for research. In August 2016 — seven years after her initial diagnosis — Gabriele learned her cancer had returned. This time, it metastasized to her liver. She had another surgery, and doctors believed Gabriele was cancer-free. But in March 2017, follow-up tests revealed more tumors in her liver. That’s when doctors recommended she head to Mayo Clinic, where she now has biweekly immunotherapy infusions, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Through it all, Gabriele has continued to run, applying lessons learned on the track to her approach to treatment. “You have to take running one day at a time, and it’s not easy every single day,” she tells us. “Running has served me well in this. Gabriele believes it could serve others well, too. She recently launched a foundation, Brave Like Gabe, in part to encourage cancer survivors to incorporate physical activity into their lives. But the most important goals of the foundation, Gabriele tells us, are raising awareness of rare diseases and funds to support the research that may lead to their cures. “So many things are uncertain for me right now, but one thing I can do is work to make a difference,” Gabriele tells us. “I have been inspired by so many people and organizations, and that made me want to try to inspire others. I’m trying to do as much as I can by sharing my life story. I’m trying to make some good come out of this diagnosis.” Read the full story on https://mayocl.in/2rKVdGK. . . . #MayoClinic #MayoClinicMN #Cancer #PatientStory #BraveLikeGabe

A post shared by Mayo Clinic (@mayoclinic) on

3. Harnessing Hashtags

Despite popular belief, social media in healthcare isn’t completely divorced from the world of social marketing at large.

For example, you can totally take advantage of clever captions and Instagram hashtags while still being totally tasteful about it. This post from Northwestern Medicine for #NationalDonutDay is a prime example of how to do just that.

Additionally, there are tons of community-specific health hashtags such as #cancersucks and #cancerfree in which patients and providers alike can show their support to each other. Including such tags on your posts helps you expand your reach and likewise show off your practice in action.

4. ‘Behind the Scenes’ Content

Speaking of practices in action, highlighting the “fun” side of your team by taking followers behind the scenes is always a smart move. Posts like this one from Johns Hopkins serve as both wholesome content and the brighter side of working in healthcare.

5. User-Generated Content

Sometimes the best way to highlight your practice is by letting others do the talking. Through user-generated content, you can provide an unfiltered view of what your practice looks like from the eyes of your patients.

This is why geotagging on Instagram and allowing followers to tag your location via social is so important. People are checking in en masse to let their friends and family know what’s going on, and such tags are critical to spotting UGC in the wild.

Check-ins and geotagging are important for social media in healthcare

Don’t Forget Your Practice’s Reputation

Beyond publishing content, we need to briefly touch on reputation management and its place within social media and healthcare.

Social comments and sounding boards such as Facebook reviews provide an avenue for patients to share their experiences both good and bad.

Reputation management is an important aspect of social media in healthcare.

Since these comments are out in the open, it’s crucial that you respond in a timely manner and address any negative feedback with grace. Just as practices are expected to handle patient concerns in-person with extraordinary care, the same rings true online.

The takeaway? Prospective patients will undoubtedly check out comments and reviews prior to checking out your practice, so just keep social reputation management in the back of your mind.

Important: A Note on HIPAA Compliance

By now your head is probably swirling with ideas.

Awesome!

But also, don’t forget about the need to stay compliant with HIPAA in terms of social media and healthcare. This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of practices which often flies under the radar.

In short, you need to take special care when publishing patient content which would potentially reveal sensitive information or otherwise violate HIPAA. For example, did you know that using your patients as part of your marketing materials requires explicit written consent?

As such, we really urge you to check out our HIPAA and social media cheat sheet to ensure that what you’re doing is on the up and up.

How Does Your Practice Mix Social Media & Healthcare?

Healthcare marketers have a distinct set of challenges when it comes to social media and healthcare. That being said, there are tons of opportunities for educating the public, creating a sense of community and using your social presence as a force for good. Hopefully this guide was helpful in providing both directions in what you should do in terms of your own social media strategy.

We want to hear from you, though! What do you think is the biggest responsibility for healthcare providers via social media? What’s your biggest challenge? Let us know in the comments below.

This post Social Media in Healthcare: A Surgical Guide for Marketing Professionals originally appeared on Sprout Social.


Sprout Social

6 Free SEO Tools Social Media Marketers Can Use Too

Every marketer has their favorite set of tools that help make their job easier. When you’re looking for new tools, you probably stick to ones made specifically for your industry. For instance, email marketers might use autoresponders or coding tools. Social media marketers use social media management tools and SEOs use keyword research and analytics tools. But who says your toolset has to be limited to your specific industry?

The beauty of many tools today is they’re often multipurpose. For instance, an SEO might benefit from tools meant for social media marketers. Or in this case, a social media marketer might get use from some free SEO tools they wouldn’t normally touch. But we’re here to bridge the gap.

We’ve put together a list of six free SEO tools social media marketers can use as well.

social media analytics banner

1. Google Analytics

What it does: Google Analytics is one of the most popular web analytics tools used by SEOs and online marketers because it gives you an incredible amount of information about your website’s traffic. You can see everything from the demographics of who’s visiting your site to how they landed there in the first place. Google Analytics is easily one of the best overall marketing tools, not just limited to SEO or social.

How social media marketers can use it: Google Analytics has an entire section dedicated to social media referral traffic. You can see which platforms are driving traffic to your site as well as get an idea of the quality of that traffic.

Social media marketers can use this information to see information such as which articles social media users like the best. And you can break the data down by platform. To see this, you can go under Acquisition, then Social and Landing Pages. On this screen, click on the Secondary dimension dropdown and select Source.

Google Analytics Social Landing Pages

This will show your website’s most visited pages from social media, broken down by network. Use this report to get an idea of what type of content your audience wants to see on each network.

Google Analytics Social Landing Pages By Source

You can also combine Google Analytics with Sprout’s reporting features to get a complete view of how your social media audience engages with your content. Use our Sent Messages report to see how much engagement your posts get on social media, then use Google Analytics to see how well those visitors interact with your website. Plus, Google Analytics is integrated with Sprout so you can see everything from a single location.

Sprout Social Google Analytics Integration

Try it

2. Google Search Console

What it does: Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool that gives you insight into how your site appears in search. It also gives Google a way to get in touch with webmasters to notify them of any technical issues with their site. For instance, you’ll receive notifications if Google suspects your site might’ve been hacked or if you’ve been penalized for violating Google’s TOS. Check out Google’s help page to learn more about all the data you can get from GSC.

How social media marketers can use it: GSC is one of the most popular free SEO tools, but it also has some features social media marketers can benefit from as well like Search Analytics.

Search Analytics shows you information about the queries people enter in Google to land on your site. Not only that, but it’ll show you an estimate of the number of impressions your site gets and average click-through rate. It’s important to keep in mind that the data doesn’t include all your traffic. Due to Google’s privacy settings, it doesn’t count every query. But the information it gives you is still extremely helpful.

Google Search Console Analytics

Here’s how to use Search Analytics for your social efforts.

An important piece of the social media marketing puzzle is understanding what type of content your audience wants to see. The data from GSC solves that challenge by showing the actual terms people search to find your website.

You can also filter your results by page or keyword to get more targeted results. For instance, let’s say we wanted to get a better idea of the type of Instagram related content our audience wants to see. We’d head over to GSC, click on the queries tab and filter the results to just show queries containing “Instagram.”

filter GSC query to Instagram

When you hit filter, GSC will return a list of queries your site shows up for in Google containing the word Instagram.

GSC Query Search Results Instagram

Now that we know what people are looking for, we can share content related to any of these topics.

Try it

3. Moz Open Site Explorer

What it does: Moz Open Site Explorer (OSE) is a freemium SEO tool that lets you check the backlink data for a given page, plus see domain and page authority and other helpful data. SEOs use it to see who’s linking to them as well as their competitors. You can only see a limited amount of data for free, but it should be plenty for social media teams.

How social media marketers can use it: One of the best uses of OSE for social media marketers is for some competitive analysis. When you’re trying to promote a new piece of content, a good place to start is checking who has shared something similar. You can use OSE to check the sites linking to a specific page. Then simply reach out to those same sites and let them know you’ve just published an article they might be interested in.

You can contact them through email or Mention them on Twitter when you share a link to the article. No need to be pushy or ask for anything. You’re just building awareness.

To get started, plug in an article from one of your competitors.

Moz Open Site Explorer search

Then Moz will give you a list of all the pages linking to that site. Each result is a site you can potentially reach out to and hopefully get some social shares as a result.

Open Site Explorer Backlink Results

Try it

4. SERP Rank Checker

What it does: SERP Rank Checker is a free tool to look up your keyword rankings. The downside is you have to check rankings one keyword at a time. But if you run multiple searches, you can export them all into a CSV to keep for your records. Also, it’s a one-time search so if you want to see trends in your rankings over time, you’ll have to re-run your searches manually. But for a free SEO tool, it’s hard to complain.

How social media marketers can use it: Social and SEO don’t have to work in isolation. Your SEO team has specific keywords they’re trying to rank for, and your social team is looking for content to share on Twitter, Facebook and other networks. Using social media to promote articles that aren’t ranking well solves both issues.

Use social media to share content that targets keywords that might not be ranking as well. It can create link building opportunities and helps your social team fill out their content calendar.

Start by running a search on SERP Rank Checker for a keyword one of your articles targets.

SERP Rank Checker Search

Once your search is complete, SERP Rank Checker will show you your rankings.

SERP Rank Checker Keyword Results

If your keyword isn’t ranking within the top four or five spots, it’s usually a good choice for promotion. Advanced Web Rankings did some research a while back that showed click through rates drop dramatically if you’re not ranking in the top three positions.

Organic Search CTR By Position

After you put together a list of keywords, the next step is to promote. As you saw in the screenshot, SERP Rank Checker shows you the page that’s ranking for your keyword. This is the page you wan to promote on social media. You could do this organically using the Moz OSE tactic we mentioned above. Or you may even consider running Facebook Ads or promoted Tweets.

Your goal is to get the article in front of people that can link to it like bloggers, editors and journalists. So keep that in mind if you choose to run ads to promote it.

Try it

social media analytics banner

5. Yoast SEO Plugin

What it does: The Yoast SEO Plugin makes it easy to optimize WordPress sites for search engines. It allows you to add meta titles, descriptions, index/no-index to pages and other backend settings important for SEO.

How social media marketers can use it: In addition to all the SEO features, Yoast also has settings for social media as well. One feature in particular that social media marketers will find helpful is the social sharing settings for individual blog posts or pages.

When people share your pages or blog posts on social media, the networks extract meta data from your site to determine what shows up in the Tweet, Pin or Facebook post. By default, social networks use your page’s meta title and description. The problem is the meta title you use for SEO purposes doesn’t always translate well to social media.

Yoast’s plugin allows you to set a different title and description specifically for Facebook and Twitter that’s more tailored to social media users.

Yoast SEO Plugin Social Share Settings

In addition, you have the ability to enable site-wide features Twitter Cards, enable Facebook and Pinterest Open Graph meta data and more.

Yoast SEO Plugin Social Media Settings

You don’t have to wait for content to be published to get your social team involved. Allow them to customize the Yoast SEO plugin’s social settings when necessary.

Try it

6. FAQ Fox

What it does: FAQ Fox is a handy free SEO tool that scrapes websites for questions based on the keywords you enter.

How social media marketers can use it: SEOs use FAQ Fox to come up with ideas for content. Social media marketers can use it for the exact same purpose. Use the questions you find with FAQ Fox to create YouTube videos or Facebook Live streams that provide the answers.

Using FAQ Fox is very simple. Start by entering a keyword. Then add the site you want the tool to scrape. It’s best to stick to sites where people ask a lot of questions like forums or Quora.

faq fox search example

FAQ Fox will give you a list of questions, plus a link to the page it was found on.

FAQ Fox Search Results

Just like that, you have a huge list of questions you can create social media content for.

Try it

What’s in Your Toolbox?

Do you use any free SEO tools to help with your social media marketing efforts? Leave a comment and let us know some of your favorites below. And if you haven’t tried Sprout yet, sign up for a free 30 day trial!

This post 6 Free SEO Tools Social Media Marketers Can Use Too originally appeared on Sprout Social.


Sprout Social

Social Media RFP: A Complete Walkthrough Including a Free Template

Looking for a digital marketing agency to help with your social media marketing strategies? Or perhaps you simply need some help getting started on a new platform? Either way, a social media RFP can help you find the right agency.

As a marketing professional, you realize the importance and challenges of finding the right firm to work with. Most companies and agencies often prefer using a formal request for proposal (RFP) to get the ball rolling.

RFPs are a methodical and organized way to gather bids from the agencies you’re targeting. It’s a formal invitation to vendors asking them to provide a service demo and financial proposal. Ideally, it should mention all of the relevant details of your company, the project, and your requirements.

But too often, people leave out crucial details from their digital marketing RFPs. This makes it difficult for agencies to come up with a thorough proposal. But not anymore. With our social media RFP guidelines and free template, you’ll never need to worry about those problems.

The Purpose of This RFP Template

This marketing RFP guide is designed to make life easier for marketing and procurement teams. And as an extension, it will help marketing agencies submit better proposals for you to review and choose from.

It will help you:

  • Identify your objectives and requirements you want to achieve with your social media strategy.
  • Source accurate and detailed proposals from agencies, thereby making the selection process easier for you.
  • Provide a standardized invitation to the vendors and agencies you’re targeting. This way, the solutions you receive will be comparable and will help you narrow down your options.
  • Speed up the process. It ensures transparency and keeps the entire process very organized and streamlined.

View our free social media RFP template here and make a copy to edit it on your own!

How to Use This Template

This document and the accompanying template outline some of the key elements your digital marketing RFP should contain. While this is a fairly comprehensive outline, it is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add relevant sections and points wherever you deem necessary.

As with any template, you can simply copy paste this outline into a document and fill in the required sections. Your copy should reflect your brand’s image, your reasons for doing this, and what you’re looking for.

Do not hesitate to add any information prospective bidders will find useful in framing their proposal. Similarly, avoid unnecessary information that won’t be of much use to them. This document is only a framework for you to build upon. It is advisable that you get the RFP reviewed internally and get a sign-off from the appropriate stakeholders.

RFP Structure

This is only a framework for you to build upon. Here’s the outline with a brief overview of what each section should contain.

1. Introduction

Summarize the major points of your social media RFP here. Briefly explain what the RFP is for and each of its sections. Mention details like the due date for submission of proposals and objectives to be achieved from the social media campaign.

2. Company Profile

It’s important to let prospective agencies know about your organization and company profile. Tell them what your company does, your core values, your mission, the stakeholders, and your main business goals.

You can even redirect them to some of your existing social media campaigns. This way they will get a better feel for your company and what you’re looking to achieve. Providing them with a list of your main competitors will also help them conduct a competitive analysis for you. This will help them understand your niche better and come up with a proper plan accordingly.

3. Purpose of the Social Media Campaign

To avoid any confusions at a later stage, it’s best to get this out of the way early on. Make it evidently clear why you’re looking to bring on a consultant to help with your social media marketing.

Use this section to get your candidates excited about the prospect of working with your brand on this particular project. It also allows them to check whether it’s something in their wheelhouse and aligns with their own goals and values.

4. Current Challenges Being Faced

Briefly outline the present situation of your social media marketing efforts. Talk about the challenges that you’re presently facing which are why you’re seeking expert help.

Elaborate on your current social media presence and marketing efforts. List your pain points to make it easier for them to come up with a personalized digital marketing plan for you. Conduct a social media audit if need be to get a clear picture of the waters you’re in.

5. Project Objectives

Build upon the brief project description you provided the agencies with. If you need help setting the goals for your campaign, then your social media RFP should clearly state that. Feel free to mention the type of audience you’re looking to target.

In our 2018 Sprout Social Index, we asked marketers what their biggest challenges were, and again, like we’ve seen in other reports, ROI remains the No. 1 challenge.

sprout social 2018 index challenges

If you already know what you’re looking to get out of your campaign, then list the specific goals. These could include:

  • Growth in followers
  • Increase in engagements
  • Better lead generation
  • Conversion rate improvement
  • Higher search engine ranking

Try to add a specific number wherever possible and the metrics you’ll monitor when listing down your campaign goals in your digital marketing RFP. The more details you provide, the better equipped they will be to showcase how they intend to solve your problems.

6. Campaign Guidelines & Terms of Agreement

The scope of work is another key segment that you should always include in your social media RFP. Elaborate on the guidelines you want your agency to follow when working on your social media campaign.

Agencies should know what they are signing up for. From the what and why of what you’re asking them to do to the how you expect it to be done. You could even list the services you expect them to provide. This way, you ensure that only agencies that meet the required criteria send in a submission.

The scope of work may include details such as the strategy requirements and its implementation thereof. Touch upon the deliverables and metrics you’ll be looking at.

If your legal team requires it, you can even include the terms and clauses that will apply to the contract. You can expect agencies to include their own boilerplate clauses and conditions. Getting these details sorted out during the social media RFP process will save both parties a lot of time and effort.

7. Project Budget and Timelines

It’s crucial that you remember to mention the timelines and budget for the project in your digital marketing RFP. Talking about timelines, we don’t mean just the deadline for submission of proposals. It pertains to any key dates and deadlines you’d like to set for individual objectives or the campaign as a whole.

Your budget is the yet another important parameter that your potential bidders should be aware of. Mentioning the budget and payment structure in your social media RFP will prevent any future misunderstandings.

In case you don’t have a fixed date or number for your budget, an approximate range of both works just as well. You can figure out the specifics when sitting down with your chosen agency.

8. Bidder Qualifications & Information

In order to make your selection process easier, you need all the relevant information about the applying agencies. Always remember to include a bidder qualification component in your social media RFP.

Typically, prospective candidates will furnish you with whatever information about themselves they find relevant. There’s always a chance they may miss out on some detail you were expecting from them.

This is precisely why you should inform them about the qualifications and details you’re seeking from them in their proposals. Jot down a list of the requirements you expect each of them to meet for them to be considered.

Here are a few details you could inquire about:

  • Agency experience
  • Brief overview of services provided
  • Testimonials from previous clients
  • Sample work and results from the same
  • Details about the staff that will be working on the campaign
  • Social media training and certifications they’ve undergone
  • References
  • Strategic framework on how they will help you achieve your objectives
  • Financial Proposal
  • Terms and conditions

9. Selection Criteria

Make your selection criteria abundantly clear in your social media RFP. Let them know the systematic process on the basis of which you’ll be shortlisting who’s a good fit.

Most brands and marketers tend to rely on a scoring system to allot points for each element in the proposals. This way the applying digital marketing agencies can customize their proposals to better suit your needs.

Download our Social Media RFP Template here!

Conclusion

With a detailed social media RFP based on these guidelines, you’ll find it easier to filter through potential candidates. You’ll also be presented with a variety of unique perspectives on how to tackle your social media marketing challenges.

This digital marketing RFP template will help you attract the crème de la crème of marketing consultants for your brand. Leverage this framework and guideline to build your own RFP and we assure you, you’ll be satisfied with the end results.

This post Social Media RFP: A Complete Walkthrough Including a Free Template originally appeared on Sprout Social.


Sprout Social

The Top 10 Social Media Trends of 2018

Social media is constantly evolving.

It’s no longer just a place for your family and friends to share old and embarrassing photos of you every Thursday.

As a marketer, you need to learn how to properly leverage these platforms to your advantage. Being active on social media is huge, and it’s absolutely necessary for your survival.

But that alone won’t automatically make you successful. You also need to stay up to date with the latest marketing trends and apply them to your business.

Today, marketing and social media go hand in hand. As we near the midway point of 2018, I’ve taken the time to identify the top social trends of the year to date.

I analyzed data from previous years and determined what trends saw a steady incline. Plus, even though the year isn’t over yet, I was able to see which new developments were the most prominent in these early months.

I predict that these trends will continue in the coming year. It’s important for you and your brand to stay on top of things right now.

1. Live video continues to thrive

Live video content made big waves in 2017. In one of my previous blog posts, I explained that you should jump on the live video bandwagon.

It should come as no surprise that this continues to be a popular trend in 2018.

In fact, live video content has become so popular that roughly 95% of brand executives say it will be a crucial part of their 2018 marketing strategy, according to a recent study.

Why?

Consumers love it. Research shows that 80% of audiences prefer watching live video from brands as opposed to reading a blog. And 82% of consumers say they would rather watch live videos than read social media posts.

As a result, the most popular social media channels have implemented live streaming options. Brand marketers are taking advantage of this.

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When it comes to live streaming, Facebook leads the way, according to the 2018 state of social media report from Buffer.

In 2017, only 31% of businesses broadcasted live videos to promote their brands. I expect to see a much higher percentage by the end of this year.

Marketers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of live streams. Regular people share live videos to interact with their friends and family on social media.

The increasing popularity of live video means your company needs to get on board with this trend right now. Businesses need to recognize how this trend can help increase engagement with social media followers.

Start going live on all your distribution channels. Respond to user comments in real time.

This will help you maximize your reach and generate new leads for your company.

2. Chatbots are taking over

Internet chatbots have been around for a long time. They go all the way back to the days of AOL instant messenger.

But like everything else, they are evolving. Now chatbots are being integrated with social media platforms.

Businesses are using chatbots to communicate with their customers on social media. This trend is growing at a rapid rate.

In the first year of the new Facebook Messenger platform, we saw the number of chatbots jump from 33,000 to more than 100,000.

The possibilities here are seemingly endless. Take a look at how Pizza Hut uses chatbots to make it easy for customers to order food through social media:

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These bots recognize word phrases sent by users. Their automatic responses are based on how they are programmed.

As you can see from this Pizza Hut example, these bots can be used directly to drive more sales and increase revenue streams.

I believe we are going to see more businesses take advantage of these tools by the end of 2018. In fact, a recent survey suggests that roughly 80% of marketing executives have used or plan to use chatbots by 2020.

It’s a winning solution that’s a cost-effective alternative to paying real customer support representatives.

It’s estimated that chatbots are going to save businesses in the healthcare and banking industries a whopping $ 8 billion per year by the year 2022. That’s compared to $ 20 million in 2017.

Sure, nothing can replace the personal touch of a human response. Well, at least not yet. But these chatbots out there right now are certainly on the right track.

3. Influencer marketing is evolving

Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept either. But the way that it’s being used on social media channels is definitely changing in 2018.

More specifically, companies are starting to partner with micro influencers to increase their credibility.

What exactly is a micro influencer? They are people on social media channels who have a strong following but don’t have a celebrity status.

While there is no exact threshold, micro influencers typically have anywhere between 1,000 and 90,000 followers. Once we start to reach the hundreds of thousands of followers line, we are entering macro influencer territory. And anything higher than a macro influencer is considered to be a celebrity.

These are some of the top reasons why brands are partnering with these types of influencers:

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Research shows that micro influencers have 60% higher engagement rates than traditional celebrity influencers. You can also expect to see 22.2% increase in average weekly conversions from this marketing tactic.

Another reason why brands are so drawn to micro influencers is because they are cost-effective compared to other advertising expenses.

This is still a relatively new trend, so brands and influencers alike are unsure of how to come up with a standardized pay scale. As of now, it’s anything goes.

I’ve seen some businesses that don’t even pay their influencers. They just send them free stuff for social media posts.

But as we continue moving forward in 2018, I’m expecting micro influencers to be more business savvy and demand pay for their efforts.

They know their followers trust their opinions. So don’t be hesitant to spend money on influencer marketing as the year continues.

4. Brands are taking advantage of paid advertisements

It’s 2018, so businesses know they need to have an active presence on social media. They have profiles on multiple platforms and update them on a daily basis.

While this is definitely necessary for survival, it’s not quite enough.

Companies that want to take their social media strategies to the next level also pay for advertisements.

Facebook alone has more than six million advertisers on its platform. In September 2017, Instagram hit two million monthly paid advertisers.

That’s because it’s become very easy to set up ads to target a specific demographic. It’s hard for businesses to turn down this type of precision in targeting.

Just look at how simple these options are for marketers who want to advertise on Facebook:

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In addition to being able to reach such a precise audience, Facebook also makes it easy for you to set your budget. You can set it up on a daily or weekly basis. It’s also possible for brands to manage their budgets based on the lifetime of each ad.

There are also many different options for the type of ad you want to run.

It’s easy to experiment to find out what works best for your company based on the demographic you’re targeting.

Research shows that by the year 2020, social media advertisements will surpass newspaper ad spending.

I anticipate that more companies will allocate a larger portion of their marketing budgets to paid social media ads in 2018.

5. Social listening

Social platforms are listening to your conversations. Whether you want to believe this or not, it’s the truth.

I know you’ve seen it before. You’re talking about something with your friends and then you see an advertisement for it on social media.

Creepy? Yes. But that’s the reality of the world we live in right now.

Marketing solutions like Sprout Social offer social listening tools to help brands analyze various audiences.

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There are many ways in which businesses can take advantage of social listening.

It gives you the opportunity to see what consumers say about your company. But you can also use this tool to monitor relevant keywords or hashtags used on social media.

You can use this data to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly and make sure you’re targeting the right audience.

6. Brands are leveraging user-generated content

User-generated content is basically like free advertising. It’s one of the best ways to grow your business by doing less work.

Get customers to talk about your company.

Encourage them to use hashtags and post about your brand on social platforms. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is by posting user content to your company’s profile.

If people see you are willing to feature user photos, more people will post about you in an effort to be selected.

Look at how Thule employs this strategy on its Instagram page:

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As you can see from the comments section, the user who shared this photo even thanked Thule for posting their content.

Now more followers will be encouraged to do this as well. It will broaden the reach of their products to a wider audience.

When a customer posts about your company on their personal profile, it exposes your brand to all of their followers. Some of these people might not even know your brand exists.

Plus, people trust recommendations from their friends and family.

That’s why leveraging user-generated content is a top lead generation strategy. Social media platforms are the perfect distribution channel for this type of content.

7. Augmented reality

Augmented reality takes something that’s real and alters it using technology.

One of the best examples of augmented reality successfully applied to the consumer market was with the Pokemon Go gaming app.

The app accessed the user’s camera and added fictional elements to the screen.

But now, social media channels are implementing augmented reality on their platforms as well. I’m sure you’re familiar with Snapchat’s face filters.

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Facebook jumped on this bandwagon as well with their camera effects platform.

They are taking augmented reality to a whole new level with these features. They even built an augmented reality studio for developers to design unique animations.

These filters respond to motion and interactions in real-time, even during live streams.

Here’s an example of what this looks like during a Facebook Live broadcast:

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Since Facebook also runs Instagram, it’s safe to say these types of options will be available on that platform as well during 2018.

I’m expecting to see big changes in social media augmented reality in the near future that will be much more impressive than just a dogface filter.

8. Ephemeral content

If you haven’t heard of ephemeral content before, it doesn’t mean you’re not familiar with it.

The definition of ephemeral content is something that is short-lived, lasting for up to 24 hours before  disappearing forever.

Of course, I’m referring to things like Snapchat and Instagram stories. After Snapchat came up with this concept, Instagram quickly recognized its popularity and implemented it on its platform as well.

The reason why short-lived content is so popular is because people feel as though it is more authentic compared to a traditional sponsored advertisement.

Users love it and add such content to their personal profiles on a daily basis. But brands need to take advantage of this as well.

It’s a great alternative to live video streaming, but it has similar effects.

It’s an opportunity for you to post several times throughout a day without spamming your followers’ timelines.

For example, you may not want to post five pictures and videos per day on Instagram. Users who follow you may perceive this to be an annoyance.

In fact, posting too frequently on social media can cause people to unfollow your profile.

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But adding new content to your story isn’t as annoying because it doesn’t take up space on everyone’s timeline the same way a picture or video would.

Plus, these types of stories create the fear of missing out.

If your business starts to regularly share ephemeral content, users will make sure to check back frequently to make sure they aren’t missing out on anything.

I’d recommend using this strategy to run flash sales or other promotions to drive sales. We’re going to see more businesses as well as regular  people  add more short-lived content to their social media profiles.

9. Referral traffic and organic reach are declining

Social platforms are changing their algorithms. This is impacting what users see on their timelines.

As a result, homepages and timelines aren’t flooded with as many posts and ads from brands. Instead, posts from family and friends are being prioritized.

In previous years, these algorithm changes have caused organic reach on Facebook to drop more than 50%.

So you can’t rely on all your social media posts to drive traffic and clicks to your website.

That’s why brands need to come up with alternative social media marketing methods such as paid ads and micro influencers to increase referral traffic.

10. Small businesses are increasing their social presence

Nobody can afford to ignore social media anymore. It’s become a regular part of our everyday lives.

Ten years ago, small business owners may have thought it was unnecessary to build a presence on social media, but now they are all realizing how important it is for staying competitive.

In fact, 52% of small business owners post to social media on a daily basis.

While Facebook is still the most popular option, other social channels are seeing an increase in the number of small business users.

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With so many platforms to manage, business owners are being forced to change the way they operate.

They are hiring social media marketing managers and using time-saving tools to help manage and schedule their posts with automation.

Businesses without active social media profiles will struggle to survive in 2018.

Conclusion

Developments in social media are constantly changing.

As a marketer, you’ve got to stay up to date with the latest trends to keep your finger on the pulse and effectively reach your target audience.

Based on the research I found, I was able to narrow down the top ten social media trends to keep your eye on in 2018.

Use this list as a reference and guide for positioning your marketing strategy.

I’ll even throw in a bonus one for you. Although this isn’t necessarily a trend, it’s more of a prediction.

I think Twitter is going to make some big changes in 2018. Unlike the rest of my list, it’s more of a gut feeling as opposed to a fact-driven statement, which is why I left it out.

Use this information to your advantage moving forward in the second half of this year.

What social media trends will your company focus on to generate leads and drive conversions in 2018?


Quick Sprout

Why Social Media Is Vital To Corporate Social Responsibility

Today more than ever, companies are under pressure to be good corporate citizens. They are expected to be at the forefront of change in the world. Consumers now expect these companies to be working alongside them to make the world a better place. And the key to making all this happen is social media. Social media is vital to corporate social responsibility for several key reasons.

Social media is how dialogue happens with stakeholders

Every company has constituents and stakeholders, and it’s important to have transparent, open dialogue with these stakeholders. It’s all about creating an open community, where it’s OK to voice your opinions and make new suggestions. Some of the greatest brands today are those that make their views heard about sweatshop labor conditions, or the state of the environment and global warming, or the need for multicultural diversity. Just name a major issue, and you can find a company supporting it.

And sometimes, these stakeholders are people you might not expect. For example, consider your typical energy company – the stakeholders of that company are more than Wall Street shareholders, they also include people who want to see the world become a greener, more sustainable place. These stakeholders want to see energy companies become the champion of clean, sustainable energy.

So it’s no wonder the biggest energy companies in the world now run extensive social media campaigns, showcasing all the ways that they are trying to make the world a better place. In the past, companies might have just issued a press release about a new wind farm or solar plant they created. Now, they are maintaining an open, thriving conversation on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Social media is about influencing customers to make the right decisions

Companies need to be more than just “following the rules” – they need to be taking active steps to influence customers to make the right decisions. Just think of how many subtle reminders you get throughout the day to convert to paperless billing (it’s better for the environment!), to donate a percentage of every transaction to a charitable cause (every penny counts!), or to donate used, unwanted items for a good cause (you can make a difference!).

With a single hashtag, companies can start entire social movements. With tens of thousands of followers (if not more), corporations have the power to turn people into conscientious consumers. Thanks to social media, even the simple act of buying your daily coffee can turn into a social statement. For example, are you buying “corporate coffee” or are you buying ethically sourced coffee beans from a fair trade coffee vendor? Or think about the clothes you buy. Are you buying your clothing from a company that is pocketing all the profits, or are you buying it from a company that is sweatshop-free and using only recycled or organic materials?

Social media is about turning a company’s own employees into agents of change

Finally, it’s impossible to ignore how social media can help to activate a company’s own employees. Social media offers plenty of reminders of how a company’s employees are participating in local volunteer efforts, or leading the force for change in the local community. A simple Instagram photo of a company’s employees planting a new tree in a local community park goes a long way to demonstrating a company’s real mission statement in the world.

Final Thoughts

In short, social media is now vital to corporate responsibility. It’s more than just a new form of PR to message an audience – it’s about activating a core base of fans, customers and employees to bring real change to the world

The post Why Social Media Is Vital To Corporate Social Responsibility appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

Social Media Explorer

Seven Tips for Eye-Catching Web and Social Media Design

Psychology plays a crucial role in web design, and banking on these elements can help you win more customers over. For designing a website, the main role of psychology is on predicting how the user will react to a piece of content or a certain element.

Here are seven tips on how to improve the impact of your web design using the concepts of psychology. The goal of different websites will vary, but psychology will influence how engaging the website is to its target audience.

Build trust with the right image and colour

Which kind of images do you have on your website? Will the visitors be able to share it with their friends and family members?

Having the faces of people on your website can make visitors feel safe. The sense of familiarity also builds trust.

Colour affects people in different ways, so consider the use of colour in your website. Children love the colour yellow, but males over the age of 30 don’t like the hue.

Lead the visitor’s eye to the right place

Hierarchy has an important role in website design. Users need to know where to look, and you can aid them by using the right elements.

Using headings, subheadings, block quotes, tag lines, and other groupings can help visitors assess how important a block of text is. Use the same tactic in leading the visitor to do what you want.

Contrast, size, colour, and location are all crucial. Photos, for instance, will be the first thing people look at before they read the caption.

Use colour to influence user behaviour

As noted above, colour affects people in different ways. You need to understand the psychology behind colours when you design a website. Colours can help you achieve different goals as there is a science behind the colours we see.

Colour contrasts, for instance, can help you increase the click-through rate. On a landing page, the buttons often have to be in contrast to the colour in the background. Bright buttons also work better.

Colours can also help you create a visual path. Gradients, for instance, will lead the visitor to scroll. There’s a detailed guide to colours and how they influence people and using these guides will take out the guesswork in the web design process.

Guide visitors with repeated elements

 

The same heading format and styles are there for a reason – it allows visitors to identify items right away. By establishing a system, visitors will subconsciously know where to go or what to do which serves as their guide when navigating through the website.

Make the most of negative space

The unobstructed area around an element is what designers call negative space. If you have a big circle and you place a small dot in the middle, the space between the dot and the large circle is the negative space.

Negative space can draw the visitor’s eye especially when there is a contrast in size between the element serving as a focal point and other elements. This technique is effective when you want the visitor to focus on a button, a product, or a certain element.

Practise minimalism

Although the options and content on the website are not under the full control of the designer, it’s also effective to avoid having too many elements on the page. You don’t want your visitor to feel overwhelmed.

In the early days of the Interweb, it was acceptable to pack all the content on the page. However, that’s no longer the case, and people find it annoying to have so many things fighting for their attention on your website.

Now, you need to keep your message short and focus on what you want to say. Less is more.

To supplement the message you want to convey, you can use other elements in your web design to improve the user experience.

Do a visual tour

What do visitors experience when they visit your website? Try to do the walkthrough to see how users feel when they visit your website.

Use all the tools you want visitors to pay the most attention to. Don’t let users arrive at the footer of the page without having anywhere else to go to. This is a lost opportunity to catch their attention and have them explore your page more.

Psychology is an interesting branch of science, and it can help you improve your web design. Implementing changes while considering user psychology can help grow your business.

Related Article: Sydney Web Design Company Reveals The 9 Important Features of Every Good Web Design

 

The post Seven Tips for Eye-Catching Web and Social Media Design appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

Social Media Explorer

15 Tips to Building a Better Social Media Presence

If you’re a brand today, there’s a non-zero chance you’re on social media in some way, shape or form.

But many brands have an active, thriving social media presence?

And how much of them are just sort of there?

Reality check: you can’t expect much from social when you post random links, @mention a few folks and call it a day.

You need some structure. You need a strategy.

After all, you don’t reach the level of Wendy’s on Twitter totally by accident.

And likewise, there’s a reason why GoPro’s Instagram posts get “likes” by the tens of thousands.

And although some of these brands might have blockbuster budgets, the principles they use to create an awesome social presence can be replicated by businesses of all sizes.

Struggling for followers? Stuck on what to do with your social accounts? We’ve all been there.

That’s why we’ve broken the bite-sized tips any brand can follow to get their social media presence off the ground.

Now, let’s dive in!

1. Set SMART Goals

Pop quiz: why are you on social media in the first place?

If your answer is resounding “Uhh…” or “Everyone else is on it,” you might have a problem.

The concept of SMART goals has been around for decades, but they are so important to your social media presence today.

In short, brands should set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

An example of a good SMART goal for social media marketing would be something like “Well increase our Twitter response rate by 25% by the end of the first quarter.”

  • Specific: “We’ve specifically identified the social channel (Twitter) and a metric (response rate).”
  • Measurable: “The response rate can be measured from the Sprout Social dashboard.”
  • Achievable: “We didn’t make an outlandish goal of say, a 100% increase in 10 days.”
  • Relevant: “Our goal will have an impact on our overall social media presence, making it very relevant.”
  • Time-bound: “The goal has to be met by the end of the first quarter.”

Assigning your social media efforts a concrete purpose helps you avoid the trap of posting aimlessly.

2. Identify Your Audience

After you’ve outlined your goals, you need to outline your target audience.

Pro-tip: “everyone” is not an audience.

Maybe it’s prospective customers. Perhaps it’s industry players and influencers. Either way, breaking down your audience will help you figure out the following:

  • Which social media sites you’re active on
  • Your posting schedule
  • The type of content you publish
  • Your brand’s voice
  • The information in your profiles

Many brands spin their wheels because they don’t post content that speaks to a defined audience. Spend some time looking at your audience personas, understanding what their challenges are and what brands they already love via social. This sort of competitive analysis can help you understand how your own social media presence can stand out from the crowd.

3. Be Human

This is a big one.

One of the worst mistakes to make on social media is coming off as the faceless corporation with zero personality. In the modern age of transparency, people want to get to know your company on a more personal level.

Many brands today crack jokes and aren’t afraid to talk to their followers like they would their friends. Whereas brands were once lambasted for coming off like robots, a human social media presence has become an expectation among many followers.

Similarly, showing off the human side of your brand means showing off the faces behind your social feeds. Whether it’s office photos or snapshots of your team “in the wild,” getting personal with your followers can help you form a much-needed connection.

And hey, that leads us directly to our next point!

4. Seek Relationships, Not Just Followers

We can debate all day whether or not your follower count is a vanity metric.

That said, having 100 followers who regularly engage with you and your content are infinitely more valuable than 10,000 that ignore you.

It might be cliche to say, but don’t leave the “social” out of your social media presence. The beauty of social is that you can form relationships in an instant with followers from just about anywhere.

For example, Sprout Social’s own #SproutChat gives us the opportunity to regularly connect with our lovely followers who are likewise stoked to get in touch with us.

If you’re not exactly sure where to start when it comes to relationship-building, here are some quick ideas:

  • Always @mention people you reference in your social media posts
  • Answer questions people ask
  • Reply when people @mention you or share your content
  • Don’t just Retweet and Like other people’s content; reply with a comment to start a conversation

5. Create an Editorial Calendar

Spoiler alert: sticking to a content schedule isn’t just something “extra” that brands do.

If there’s a common thread between the biggest brands on social, it’s that they post on a consistent basis.

Chances are you’re juggling multiple social channels and are trying to make sure you tick a lot of boxes in terms of descriptions and when to post, right? Consider how a content calendar can make the process much easier by…

  • Allowing you to fine-tune each of your posts for each platform without having to jump between sites.
  • Timing your posts to maximize engagement, keeping you from having to constantly post in real-time.
  • Avoid repeating the same content over and over again, ensuring each of your articles or pictures gets the most love possible.

In short, taking the time to make a schedule does double duty of keeping your social media presence organized while also maximizing your contents’ reach.

Social scheduling helps you save time and legwork when it comes to your social media presence

6. Automate the Right Way

Automation is all the rage in marketing right now, and for good reason.

However, you can’t expect to successfully put your social presence on autopilot and walk away.

For example, mass auto-replying has gone the way of the dinosaur as it typically comes across as insincere. This now-classic tweet from Bank of America is a good example of how to turn your social followers off via improper automation.

Poor automation can make your company appear cold or uncaring

Fast-forward to present day and it’s clear that customer care is a piece of social media that should be personalized, not autmoated.

Providing personalized help is a huge aspect of any given brand's social media presence

That said, automation in the form of scheduling or curating content is totally fair game. Just avoid it when you’re dealing with actual customers or followers’ questions.

This is why brands rely on social tools to help curate pieces of content already approved by marketing leaders. Bambu by Sprout Social, is in fact, just that piece of software needed to turn your employees into brand advocates. Tap into your workforce to help build your presence!

bambu current stories feature

7. Focus on Helping Over Selling

Although social selling is indeed on the rise, rarely should your social media presence be about the “hard sell.”

Sure, if you’re in ecommerce it makes sense to push offers and deals to your followers. What’s more important, though, is answering the questions of followers whether through replies or content marketing.

If your followers ask a question, you should respond in a timely manner.

And if your followers seem to be buzzing about a particular problem, you should craft content that speaks directly to it.

By offering solutions to problems instead of just pitching your products all the time, you’re proving your company is an authority and potentially earning a lifelong customer.

8. Optimize Your Accounts for Engagement

First thing’s first: don’t let the word “optimization” freak you out.

Unlike SEO, social media optimization isn’t particularly technical. That said, profiles can be optimized through imagery, keywords and fully filling out your account information.

For example, brands can use their Instagram bio to link to promotions, advertise their hashtag and let their brand’s voice be heard.

An optimized Instagram account includes relevant links, hashtags and a taste of your brand's mission

Similarly, a well-crafted Twitter profile with the right @mentions and HD imagery can signal your authority, helping you attract more followers.

An optimized Twitter profile helps prime you for more followers

And as noted in our guide for conducting a Facebook audit, a fully optimized page with complete business info can actually help your page rank better in Google.

Marketers should make sure that their profiles are 100% filled out based on that platform's best practices

Some quick ways to optimize your social media presence across your various accounts include:

  • Adding relevant keywords in your profile (hint: but not stuffing them)
  • Sharing content related to your industry—including keywords and hashtags in your posts
  • Connecting with popular accounts in your industry to additional exposure (hint: don’t be afraid to follow others)

9. When in Doubt, Get Visual

No matter where you’re posting, photo and video content are totally killing it right now.

Instagram’s image-based platform is exploding.

Facebook notes that Live videos get six times the engagement versus any other type of content.

And for those looking for more Twitter followers, graphics and videos get way more shares than text-based posts.

The good news is that getting visual doesn’t mean you need any sort of insane equipment or a full-blown production budget. Instead, consider imagery such as:

  • Team photos or videos
  • Photos of customers
  • Photos of events
  • Behind-the-scenes photos and videos
  • Quote photos
  • Infographics

Juantastico: Break the Trend

It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, but creativity lives outside the lines. Take it from Juantastico, grab a #Sharpie and Break the Trend! #SharpieSquad

Posted by Sharpie on Friday, December 1, 2017

And with so many tools to create social images and videos already out there, it’s easier than ever to get visual with your audience.

10. Make Your Presence Known

If you’ve gone through the legwork of establishing your social media presence, you need to let the world know.

From homepage feeds to icons on your site footer or email signature, anyone who comes in contact with your brand should only be a click away from becoming a long-term follower.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram feeds can all be easily integrated into your site with little more than a copy-paste code. Check out how ThinkGeek makes their social feeds a must-see on-site.

Advertising your social media channels beyond social media is a smart move to gain more followers

Cross-promotion on your website and through other social channels is a proactive way to grow your following over time.

11. Stay Active

Inactive social feeds are a bad look for brands, plain and simple. Rather than let your Facebook or Instagram gather cobwebs, you need to “show up” day after day with fresh content.

Some quick tips to help you stay active include:

  • Incorporating social scheduling and automation to save time and energy.
  • Picking and prioritizing your social networks based on your audience location.
  • Finding ways to repurpose content so you’d not always trying to reinvent the wheel.

Staying active on social doesn’t have to be a total time-suck. Through scheduling or simply blocking out 10-15 minute chunks throughout, you can post content and respond to customer concerns without wasting time. Also, you can try to base your activity around best times to post on social media to maximize engagement.

Instead of going overboard with content, optimizing the timing of your posts is much more efficient

12. Piggyback on What’s Trending

Between breaking news, trending hashtags or whatever the latest meme might be, brands always have room to get topical with their content. This is a great opportunity not only to build off of buzz of an existing trend, but also show off your brand’s personality.

For example, understanding the in’s and out’s of hashtags can help you brainstorm time-sensitive topics you can piggyback on. Of course, tread lightly with anything overtly political or controversial that could isolate your audience.

13. Don’t Be Afraid to Pay

Like it or not, social media at large isn’t the totally “free” channel it once was. While there’s still plenty that can be done organically, Facebook’s updated algorithm and new business features being rolled out Instagram signal a clear need for businesses to experiment with ads.

It’s not just ads that deserve your attention, though. Looking at the recent boom of influencer marketing, paid relationships among social movers and shakers is becoming more and more common.

The good news is that both social ads and influencer marketing can have an insane ROI. Between laser-targeting on Facebook or tapping into hyper-engaged influencer audiences, a paid strategy certainly has its time and place depending on your business’ social goals.

14. Use Tools to Monitor Your Activity

When people complain about the lack of ROI they’re seeing from social, there’s a good chance they aren’t taking social seriously.

Just like we’re often knee-deep in Google Analytics data, marketers need to treat social with the same sort of scrutiny. There are tons of analytics tools out there to help you identify your top-performing content, performance trends and essential break down your social media presence by the numbers. These data points can help you treat social media less like a guessing game and more like a science.

By tracking your social analytics, you can better determine which content performs the best

15. Create Content People Actually Want to See

If you want to stand out on social media, you can’t just parrot the content everyone else is posting.

In short, you need to create.

Whether you’re trying to build yourself up as a thought leader or want to stand apart from your competitors, original content is exactly how you’re going to make it happen.

Perhaps it’s your original blog posts, research or infographics.

Maybe it’s an eye-popping snapshot you took during your last vacation.

Or hey, it might be an opinionated rant on the state of your industry.

Either way, you should strive to post content that forces your followers to stop in their tracks. There’s a lot of noise out here on social media: make it a goal to break through it.

What Does Your Business’ Social Media Presence Look Like?

Listen: there is no “secret” or turnkey solution for a better social media presence.

Instead, there are small tactics and strategies that can help you build toward social accounts that prime for engagement.

And yeah, fifteen tips might seem like a lot on the surface. That said, these principles are staples of brands killing it on social right now. If you can follow them yourself, you’re already way ahead of the game.

We want to hear from you, though. What’s something you struggle with when it comes to your social media presence? Any tips or tactics that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

This post 15 Tips to Building a Better Social Media Presence originally appeared on Sprout Social.


Sprout Social

Advanced Tactics to Promote Your Brand Over Social Media

Facebook’s latest algorithm changes have prioritized posts by friends and families in user news feeds. Organic reach over Facebook had already been in decline since 2014, but Facebook’s latest algorithm change comes as a near death knell to organic social media marketing.

Of course, other platforms do exist, but Twitter is primarily a young person’s platform and 70% of Pinterest users are female. Finding the right platforms to market your content is only the first step. Actually reaching those customers over said platforms is much more difficult.

The old ways of sharing your content and letting it accrue shares naturally are gone. This is why we’ve outlined five advanced tactics that are sure to yield your brand greater reach and engagement over any social media platform.

Targeted Sharing

This is by far my favorite method for curating conversation over social media and getting your content in front of a large audience. There are few ways to conduct targeted sharing:

  • Tag a thought leader/influencer in a post snippet who would find interest in your content
  • Attribute a quote in your snippet to a thought leader and then tag them
  • Post content in community forums or on thought leader posts

Using these strategies, you can add authority to your posts and even begin a conversation over a topic in your industry with somebody who is respected. It’s the easiest way to get your content visibility in front of a large audience and also increase post engagement.

Influencer Marketing

Partnering with an influencer is also a great method to get your content in front a large, loyal audience. Just be sure the reviews of your content are favorable and that you reciprocate by sharing influencer content to your audience. Together you can grow your readership and customer base to massive proportions.

Filtering for Custom Audiences

Never overlook the efficacy of advertising your content or an event your brand is promoting. Use Facebook’s ‘Audience Insights’ or Twitter’s analytics tool to segment your audience by demographics and psychographics and target them with relevant content they are likely to engage with. This is also a great method for simply coming up topics or promotional ideas for content or products.

Remarketing

Have you ever posted a piece of video content that went viral? Well, why not retarget those same users with another piece of relevant content? Why not repurpose that same piece of content into an infographic or video to make it go viral again? Remarketing is a great strategy to nurture researcher intent and maybe even capture a few easy sales by finally convincing those skeptical customers.

Leverage Video

Finally, you should honestly post every piece of content as a video. According to one report, marketers who leveraged video were able to increase their revenue 49% more than marketers who didn’t. Video receives higher engagement over every single social media platform than text content and is in high demand.

Conclusion

Social media marketing is only one piece of the pie as hiring a mobile app developer and investing in email marketing can deliver equal returns. But as social media platforms limit their reach and focus more on the personal side of their experience, brands will have to get more creative to reach their customers and deliver a high return.

 

The post Advanced Tactics to Promote Your Brand Over Social Media appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

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