Good social media is professional social media

Losing respect — and potential customers — is frighteningly easy online. Sadly unprofessional content and pages are all too common on social media.

Imagine showing up to an interview only half dressed. How inappropriate and unprofessional that would be. The same thing goes for incomplete profiles. They look very unprofessional. It appears as if the company doesn’t care enough to take the time to complete the form. It also reflects badly on the brand because if you can’t complete something as simple as a social media profile, what else don’t you have the time to do — customer service?

Another reason to complete your profile is because if you don’t complete your page, you could leave out vital information for your customers. This could range from hours of operations to sales. If this isn’t completed, visitors could become frustrated from the lack of information. This lack of information will also decrease the likelihood of the page being optimized for search engines.

Now that your profile is complete, it’s time to take a closer look at your content. Unprofessional content can be a deal breaker for potential customers. Problems can range from inappropriate language or pictures to simply having the wrong type of content on the page. One of the ways to avoid this is by having a professional, trained social media manger handle the accounts. They know what content is right for the demographic and what is appropriate for the page.

Having an unprofessional social media page could break a company. To be successful you need to make sure that the messages coming from your company are always reflecting it in a good light. The Cloud Skimmer can help you maintain your professional image online.

Want to be a better online marketer?

Unfortunately, there isn’t really one thing that you can do to be a good online marketer — there are many. You have to know your audience, you have to be watching the trends and you have to be able to problem solve. And that’s just scratching the surface. One thing you can do, however, is to look to see what your competitors are doing.

Looking at your competitor’s social media, email marketing, websites and other online marketing tools can give you an idea of what you are doing well and what you can do better. Take each one of your competitors and run a SWOT analysis on all of their sites and efforts. Then evaluate yourself and make sure you are being honest.

Compare your analysis to the competitors. What are you doing better than them? In what areas can you improve?

This analysis and these questions are topics to explore at least twice a year. Keep an eye on your competition’s online marketing and if they change something, do the analysis again! You never know what you’ll discover by running a simple analysis.

3 tips for adding video to your online marketing mix on a budget

Now that high-speed Internet is the norm, there’s no reason to leave video out of your online marketing mix. In fact, 88 percent of businesses report that video is an essential part of their marketing strategy. Here are three tips for DIYing engaging videos that’ll win you customers without wiping out your funds. 

Take viewers behind the scenes. Success online is as much about authenticity as anything else. People want to see the real you. What better way to give them a glimpse of that than by sharing behind-the-scenes video? And it doesn’t have to be fancy. Use your smartphone to record preparations for an event or your employees volunteering for a charity. This kind of video bridges the distance between your brand and your customer by helping you connect with your audience on a personal level.

Make sure your audio is good. All that authenticity will be wasted if your audio is bad. People may be tired of slick marketing materials, but they want to be able to hear what’s being said. Unpolished shouldn’t equate to unintelligible. Listen for pops, hisses or echoes in your video. Project your voice and think about investing in a USB microphone. Blue Microphone’s Yeti and Snowball models are two good options that aren’t overly expensive. Audacity is a free editing software that has an easy-to-use tutorial. Making so-so audio superb doesn’t take much, but the payoff is huge.

Master your message. Always keep in mind that your video isn’t about you. It’s about your client. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what they’d like to see, hear and learn about your company. Deliver value and make it personal.

Creating great video content isn’t as simple as just hitting ‘record’. But it doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or expensive. Even on a budget, you can produce an engaging video that builds your brand and converts viewers to clients.

The importance of WHERE in social media marketing

Marketing has come a long way. Instead of trying to be the loudest in the room and making sure you’re screeching like a carnival barker, sending one message to the whole world, you can be where your target audience is and customize your message for that location. Isn’t geo-targeting wonderful?

In case you don’t know what geo-targeting is let me explain! Geo-targeting is an Internet marketing tool that helps you target a specific audience or demographic based on their location. Wonderful!

Say you are a new business and are trying to get a social media following. You can target your post to reach people close to you in the community. Another way geo-targeting is helpful is if you have multiple audiences on one social site. You can target certain messages to just go to a segment of your followers.

It’s important to know where your audiences are on social media so you can target the post to that audience, but it is also going to be increasingly important as wearable tech becomes more popular — enter the Apple Watch.

Your consumers are going to be even easier to locate and target if they have a location device right on their wrist! While this may sound creepy as a consumer, it is a goldmine for marketers!

Including geo-targeting in your social media plan is crucial. Not only is it very important to know where your customers are, but once you know the location of your demographic, you can send the right messages to the right people. In doing so, you are able to maximize the full potential of your marketing.

Can you guess what one of the most underutilized online marketing tools is?

Can you guess what one of the most underutilized online marketing tools is? It’s email!

The most ironic thing about it, however, is that Email Marketing can be the most powerful tool to get messages to your audience. This is especially true if you are using it effectively. Using it to its full potential isn’t too complicated and there are really only three things to it!

The first is an attention-grabbing subject line. Pique their interest. Give them something they can’t resist. A good way to do this is something most marketers wouldn’t think of doing, and that’s using the reader’s name in the subject line! It makes the message feel more personable and readers will respond better when they feel a message is being sent specifically to them. Your click rates will skyrocket!

You’ve gotten them to open your email. Now what? Well, now you have to give them engaging, creative and interesting content. If they don’t like the content of the email, you can bet on them never opening another email from you again. It’s that important. Give them something worth their while, but keep it short and sweet.

The third thing every email needs to have is some sort of media. This could be a photo, a gif or a video! This will keep them in your email longer because it will catch their eye. People also connect more with visuals and hopefully, in turn, with your company!

The Cloud Skimmer can help you get started!

So which social media platform is best for your company?

Most businesses see the importance of social media but don’t have the time or the resources to conquer them all. Here’s a little cheat sheet:

Facebook

Everyone should be on Facebook, no matter what field of business you’re in. It has the most widespread demographic of any social media platform, which makes it the best place to increase your brand awareness. In addition, Facebook ad targeting allows you to attract your audience with more than just demographics.

The only real downside of Facebook is that younger generations have become more leery of it, thanks to the increase in use from older generations. Using Facebook to target younger demographics can work, but there are other platforms that may be more suitable for reaching that specific audience.

Twitter

Users are more likely to follow brands on Twitter than on any other platform. This is because Twitter provides the most up-to-date and current information. If your brand is constantly posting new updates and information, this is the platform for you.

Another benefit of Twitter is relationship building. Users are more likely to interact and tweet at brands. Just make sure you’re tweeting back! This will go a long way when it comes to building a loyal customer base.

Unfortunately, Twitter has yet to attract the majority of the US adult population. While the number of users is sure to continue increasing, it can be hard reaching as many potential customers as you’d like. Another downside is that individuals tend to follow brands only to get exclusive deals or to participate in contests.

Instagram

If you have a very visual business, it should be on Instagram. The dominant demographic is between the ages of 18 and 29, so if this is your target market it’s a great place to be.

One downside? You need to consider the time it takes to make your photos stand out. You can’t have bad quality photos, and if you rush into Instagram posting (without putting in the time) you can cause unintentional damage.

Pinterest

Pinterest’s users are mostly female, which makes it a prime place to be if women are your target audience. It also has a high percentage of users with a high income. Looking for customers that will buy your product? Pinterest is the place to be. Another fun fact: the majority of users are on Pinterest for inspiration on what to buy.

Unfortunately, Pinterest has a very unpredictable algorithm. Sometimes something you post will get tons of engagement, and other times it won’t get any at all. If you have an awesome product, idea or concept, chances are good that you’ll benefit from using this platform.

If you have questions or need some help with your social media, The Cloud Skimmer would love to help.

How to get your employees on board with your company’s social media strategy

Turning followers into sales starts at home.

If you’re not getting your staff to buy in to your social media plan, you’re missing out. Social media advocacy by employees is vital to success. When people receive messages from their friends and coworkers, they’re much more likely to pay attention and trust what they’re being told. In fact, when your staff shares content, it beats company-generated content in engagement eight times over! Even better, it’s re-shared 25 times more regularly.

So now you know why you need to bring the team into the fold, but how do you do it?

It starts with the type of environment you’ve created at the office. Forcing employees is never a good idea. Instead, you want to create an ambiance in which they want to share. Staff who are engaged and happy, and who believe in the business, will be motivated to post and tweet about all the cool stuff you’re doing.

Make sure everyone is on the same page. Has your staff been trained on the social basics? Avoid making assumptions about what employees know. Get them up to speed on the various social platforms. Then provide them with clear guidelines on what they should discuss about the company.

Even the most passionate person will lose enthusiasm – and follow-through – if the process is too complicated. So keep it simple. Take the guesswork out of sharing with suggested posts, pre-written messages or even a custom app. This also ensures your employees stay on message.

An employee who’s a social supporter multiplies your marketing efforts, far beyond your Marketing Department. With a well thought-out approach in place, every team member can expand the reach and impact of your social media messaging.

3 ways to be authentic on social media

We all know when someone’s trying to sell us something, and we usually don’t like it, especially in an informal, personal medium like social networking. Being authentic on social is key to success, but how do you do it?

Authenticity is all about being genuine, which sounds simple, and it mostly is – once you have a couple of tips under your belt.

Fries before Guys – As with any marketing project, priorities are important in social media. More than sales or brand awareness, your main goal should be offering valuable information. So before you get into the sales pitch or behind-the-scenes corporate stuff, make sure you’re providing tips and advice that’s relevant to your followers. Be a resource and promote the sharing of ideas. That – and the occasional cat video – will give your followers a reason to keep coming back.

Bye, Felicia – Don’t want your followers to dismiss your message or, worse, you? Stay away from the brand-speak. People want the real you, the person behind the company. To get them to care about you (and your business), engage like a real person would. Don’t refer to yourself as your business. Comment and ask questions. Provide valuable information just for the sake of it, rather than always asking for something in return.

Messy Hair, Don’t Care – Life isn’t perfect, and your social media shouldn’t be either. By that, we mean you don’t have to use perfect grammar or big, fancy words in your social interactions. Communicate professionally but like you would if you were chatting with a colleague at the office or networking with someone over lunch. People trust people – and want to buy from people – who are real, flaws and all.

It may be quick and easy to set up your online presence, but developing relationships takes time. Remaining consistently engaged and interacting authentically with your followers is the foundation that will build your social media success.

How to use video to boost your SEO

Every business wants to be on the first page of Google. Success depends on being able to get in front of as many potential customers as possible, so it makes sense to do everything you can to reach that sweet spot. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what gets you there.

Video is one SEO strategy you may not be using. If not, you definitely want to add it to the mix. Video is a great way to improve your SEO, and it’s only going to grow. According to Cisco, nearly 70% of consumer Internet traffic will come from video by 2017.

The first step to getting an SEO boost from your videos is posting them on YouTube. YouTube is owned by Google, so its content naturally ranks higher. YouTube is also the second-biggest search engine, behind Google.

To maximize this opportunity, make sure your YouTube videos are optimized with the appropriate title, description, keywords and tags. Use the YouTube Keyword Tool to find the keywords and topics people type into the search box, and include those keywords in your title. Incorporate them into your description, too, and include a link to your website. Instead of using the screenshot that YouTube automatically generates, customize your video’s thumbnail image so it makes the best impression.

Finally, don’t make the mistake of posting your video only on YouTube. Blog about it. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. Include it in an email blast. Video is inherently shareable. According to HubSpot, 54% of senior executives share work-related videos with colleagues on a weekly basis. And having “video” in the subject line of an email increases click-through rates by 65%.

Getting to the first page of Google is just the beginning. Keep posting quality content, including videos, to maintain your hard-earned ranking.

The economics of decluttering your social media

Social media success comes from trial and error. When you first start marketing on social media, you may not know what platforms your customers are using or which channels work best for your business.

So, you try it all.

This can lead to a hodgepodge of social media accounts that are no longer updated, have an outdated logo or worse. Don’t lose money by losing clients who’re turned off by platforms that aren’t updated or by inconsistent branding.

Develop a habit of identifying and streamlining your social media accounts at least once a year. Deactivate unused accounts and make sure those that remain are consistent with your current branding.

As you review your social media accounts, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the company name correct?
  • Is the logo correct?
  • Do you have the most current login and password information?
  • Have you changed the password as employees have left the company?
  • Do you have the right person managing your social media presence? Or do you need to outsource it to an agency?

Tidying up your social media presence improves your credibility. And because people like to buy from people they trust, it’s a big boost to your bottomline.