Tag Archives: social media marketing

#ActionTags Let Consumers Buy Products Directly From TV Ads Using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

Chirpify's TV #ActionTagsStarting March 4th, consumers can instantly purchase products that they see on TV through Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Chirpify’s new #actiontags for TV could be a game-changer for brands, making it possible to create conversions and purchase opportunities directly from TV ads.

The hybrid of old and new media is promising. “It’s a ‘yes’ button to traditional media,” said Chirpify CEO Chris Teso in the press release. “By using hashtags as the glue to connect traditional and social media, suddenly consumers can digitally raise their hand and start a direct customer relationship with a brand they value.”

What exactly is an #actiontag? It’s a way for consumers to respond, opt-in and buy with a social post from anywhere they encounter a brand’s message; previously that included print, in-venue and online sources. With the addition of TV to the #actiontag line-up, brands now have access to prime-time audiences.

Using hashtags to purchase or sample products, enter a promotion or access premium content has already proven successful for Chirpify and participating brands, including some big names like adidas, AT&T, Forever 21, Lenovo and Sprint.

Chirpify #actiontags

Consumer responses via #actiontags can be tracked, meaning brands can see how far their reach extends.  Here are a few stats to check out:

  • in just 90 days, brands using #actiontag campaigns engaged 300,000 customers
  • in the same time period, #actiontags drove 50 million earned media impressions, and reached more than 25 million social accounts
  • during one campaign, the brand added 20,000 Twitter followers (a 10% increase) in less than a week
  • 65% of consumers who use an #actiontag go on to complete the conversion action (purchasing a product or participating in a promotion)

Mobile accounts for a huge portion of #actiontag engagement: more than 60% of #actiontag responses so far have been via mobile devices.

How will #actiontags on TV change things?  According to Chirpify, a recent brand campaign used #actiontags in a primetime TV commercial that offered consumers first-time access to a new product and saw impressive results, driving up to 5,000 tweets per hour for the #actiontag and “catapulting” the campaign to become a nationally-trending Twitter topic.

What do you think – are you ready to buy through a hashtag? Hashtags were used by 57% of brands advertising during the Super Bowl this year; how many purchases or conversions could those brands have seen using TV #actiontags?

The Big Events Law of Social Media: The More People Post, The Shorter The Message

We’re now in an age where large public events lead to a huge increase in social media activity; Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie that ‘broke’ Twitter with the most retweets ever is just the latest example. What do most messages and posts look like during these moments, as people turn to social media to have an instant, widespread conversation about what’s happening in realtime?

Social Media Law: Higher Message Volume Means Shorter Messages During Big EventsA new study from MIT’s Senseable City Lab examines social media messages during these large-scale public events, and found a consistent trend: as the volume of social media activity rises, the length of messages and posts grows shorter. According to Carlo Ratti, director of the Senseable City Lab and an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, in these moments “…the way we respond to things becomes faster and more impulsive.”

The basic data:

  • on Twitter (where messages are limited to 140 characters), the most popular length of tweets ranged from about 70 to 120 characters during times of normal traffic
  • during times of higher traffic (when messages were sent up 200x more frequently), the highest concentration of tweets was only around 25 characters in length
  • this relationship of higher message volume to shorter message length held true across other social platforms during several different events, including: the Masters Golf Tournament in April 2012, U.S. election night in November 2012 and a major snowstorm in February 2013

“We wanted to see if this was Twitter-specific or if it happens in other media as well,” said Michael Szell, a researcher at the Senseable City Lab and co-author of a recent paper about the study. “Basically we found this effect every time there was an event going on. And when there was no event, we did not find this effect.”

What are the implications of these findings? Carlos Ratti believes that understanding message length and why/when it varies could be helpful in designing social media platforms, and that more research could shed light on the behavioral mechanisms that lead people to send shorter messages. Is it simply convenient or instinctual in the moment, or is it a “herd effect” where people send shorter messages because they’re seeing shorter messages?

And the big question: what does this mean for marketers? Big public events are when the most retweets/shares are possible; remember Oreo’s great moment during the Super Bowl blackout, President Obama’s “four more years” tweet, and Ellen’s recent star-studded Oscars selfie.  In each case, it was a photo with a short and sweet caption that elicited huge engagement from the public.

Have you taken part in the social media ‘frenzy’ that tends to happen around these large public events or moments? Do you think brands need shorter messages to be successful at those times?

Doing Just Vine: How Vine Changed the Social Landscape

This is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.

Vine's growth and what it means for SMBsApproaching the one-year anniversary of its launch, Vine has proven to be the little app that could.

The seemingly-revolutionary microvideo platform has managed to make a splash in the social sphere and show that it means business. The numbers don’t lie when it comes to Vine’s success, especially when we consider:

It doesn’t stop there, as Vine only continues to grow in size and scope:

After one mere year, Vine has done plenty to change the face of social as we know it. In addition to shaking up the social landscape, Vine managed to teach marketers and businesses alike what it means to make a mark on such a volatile market.

What can we as business owners take away from Vine as it approaches its first birthday?

Taught Us Something New…

Who would have thought that six second videos could create so much buzz?

Vine’s potential as a fun app for friends was predictable; however, its marketing and viral power was a pleasant surprise. With big brands like Trident, Dunkin Donuts and Mountain Dew using the app for their television advertisements in prime time, it’s clear that such a small app has the potential for big business. As the reach of Vine continues to spread beyond its already massive user base, we can only assume that more and more big brands will latch on.

…and Affirmed What We Already Knew

The social media sphere has been buzzing about mobile and video for years on end. Vine represented the perfect storm of both, putting huge marketing power in the hands of just about anyone with a smartphone. At the same token, Vine’s appeal is no coincidence. As today’s users have shorter attention spans and want to get their content as quickly as possible, Vine delivers such content in sweet, simple six-second packages.

Revitalized Twitter

For quite some time, Facebook has been the proverbial king of the social mountain for most casual users and businesses alike. Facebook already had Instagram in its arsenal when it came to visual media; but what did Twitter have? Before Vine, not a whole lot.

While Twitter wasn’t in fear of dropping off the face of the earth altogether, there were many questions being raised last year (particularly among small business owners) concerning the viability of Twitter as a marketing tool. Twitter’s acquisition of Vine brought the blue bird back into the spotlight, and while many questions still remain for SMBs, there’s no doubt that Twitter’s still flying high.

There’s Always Room for Competition

While Instagram had worked to establish itself as the go-to for images on social, Vine seized the day when they tapped a market previously dominated by YouTube. Instagram responded quickly with its own fifteen-second videos to combat Vine’s hold on the market. The competition between Vine and Instagram shows just how fierce the Internet marketing sphere really is, while also reminding us that a bit of competition can be good for everyone.

It Pays to Think Outside the Box

The concept of Vine is incredibly simple, yet forces marketers to think outside the box. As Vine levels the playing field for marketers, microvideo has caused us to think differently about video marketing. While video used to be the elephant in the room for many business owners, SMBs have already taken advantage of microvideo and what it has to offer.

The Bottom Line

In a relatively short amount of time, Vine has both revolutionized and reaffirmed the way we think about social marketing. Who knows where this little app will go, following its first rollercoaster of a year.  Regardless, we’ll be eager to find out.

Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Megan TotkaMegan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

SlideShare Presentations From #RLTM Realtime Marketing Lab

Missed #RLTM Realtime Marketing Lab earlier this week?  Or were you so busy tweeting that you didn’t get a good look at the slides from our case studies? Either way, here’s a comprehensive list of slide decks from each of our presenters – just click on each title below to see the full presentation.

Screenshot of Betabrand presentation at #RLTM Realtime Marketing Lab

Realtime Marketing Business Use Cases:

Closing Keynote:

Realtime Tools (in order of presentation):

Note: Any presentations not listed above were live demos (no slides available).  Click here to see the full program from Realtime Marketing Lab.

Stay tuned for additional info from #RLTM Marketing Lab, including photos, tweets and more.

Chasing the Now: Small Businesses and the Social Network

This is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.

Small Businesses and social media marketingThere are countless “tips” and “guides” out there for small businesses, all designed to unlock the secrets to a successful social media strategy. Unfortunately, due to the pace of today’s information age, such pieces often become dated or obsolete before they’re even published. While the Internet may be shrinking in terms of the size of the content we digest, it’s only expanding in terms of what we’re sharing with each other (not to mention how much).

Small businesses represent a group that has traditionally struggled when it comes to the social network. Between constant economic interruptions and the fact that it seems like there’s never enough time in the day, it’s difficult for SMBs to find the proper resources and hone in on a social strategy that works. That is, a strategy that results in:

  • Engagement and response from customers, both potential and existing
  • A return on investment, either in the form of cash, traffic or simply buzz

Yet buzzwords such as “engagement” and “ROI” don’t really get us anywhere, do they? When it comes to social media and our businesses, we are constantly in search of attention.

The Chase

We work tooth and nail to chase the illustrious tweet, post or blog that will get people talking. We follow the white rabbit of topics and trends in order to pique the interest of our followers. Sometimes we succeed, yet oftentimes we find ourselves searching for the next big thing. It’s a chase that doesn’t seem to have an end and the search becomes exhausting.

Why bother? Is it worth it?

Yes, especially if we look at the statistics:

Translation?

The social network isn’t just something “for the kids” anymore. There’s something for everyone, and the numbers tell us that the audience willing to buy via social is only growing. With both B2B and B2C transactions happening on a more continuous basis, many through mobile devices, social media as a source of revenue no longer seems so farfetched. If 93% of marketers are on board, there’s most certainly a reason why, isn’t there?

The Now

The fact remains that the modern user, whether aware or not, is constantly looking for “the next big thing.” They want a story or image to pull them in and they’re constantly clicking around, ready to take it in. It’s up to us as business owners to produce or provide it to them; however, that’s easier said than done.

Finding a Pulse

The topical, ever-changing nature of today’s web and our shortened attention spans cause us to jump from one craze to the next. While a celebrity meltdown may have rocked the Twitterverse one day, we immediately move on to a political snafu or series finale the next. It takes a bit of work to find the pulse of our users, but it’s important in order to keep up with what they’re looking for and what’s on the tongues of the world at large.

Whether through newsjacking or keeping a close eye on trending topics, it’s our responsibility to be relevant and understand our audience. Oftentimes, the task in and of itself is exhausting. Finding topics that tie in to your products and services can make this even harder and more daunting. But the exercise of making such news relevant to your business is worth it if done right.

Update Often

Consider also the rate which things change. The modern marketer is pretty much forced into a position where they have to update often. History tells us that hard work pays off, so the more we update, the more opportunities we have for engagement. A dead site or blog is a major turn-off and it’s been proven time and time again that blogs that update often drive more traffic.

Facebook posts, for example, get the most traffic within the first five hours of their lifetime. Therefore, we’re tasked with bringing something new to the table almost constantly. The problem becomes when we fight a war with ourselves of spam versus content. For this reason, it’s important to stay on the pulse of our users and provide something relevant to them.

Living in the Moment

The recent finale of Breaking Bad gave us insight as to how much today’s users are utilizing the social network simultaneously. With millions of engagements happening over the course of the show, and on such a large scale, the social grip on today’s users is rather unbelievable. In short, we know for a fact that people are really hooked on social regardless of what they’re doing and therefore we become responsible for marketing in real time. Once they’ve moved on from something such as the aforementioned finale, they’re still around. Then what? They move on to the next big thing and we chase the traffic.

The Bottom Line

The pace of today’s social network is frantic to say the least; however, it’s the responsibility of businesses and marketers to be on the lookout for what their users are talking about. With engagement and activity up like never before, there’s plenty to learn and a lot more to gain when it comes small businesses and the social network.

Image: winui/Shutterstock

 About the Author

Megan TotkaMegan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

 

Mobile Marketing Tips for Companies on Facebook

This is a guest post by Kristen Gramigna, Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay.

Mobile Marketing on FacebookMillions of people interact with business pages on Facebook every day, and more than half of them are accessing these pages via a mobile device. Are you taking advantage of this trend – or are you missing out on this opportunity to fully connect with your target audience? Whether you have a mobile marketing strategy in place or have just started to create one, here are four simple mobile marketing tips for companies on Facebook.

Tip 1: Be aware of how your page looks on mobile devices

Your business’ Facebook page doesn’t appear the same on a mobile device as it does via a desktop computer. Because of the limitations created by smaller screens, Facebook automatically creates a “summary” of your page for those who are accessing it from a smartphone or tablet. Mobile users are not able to see your entire Timeline; for this reason, it’s a great idea to create a pinned post that will highlight your content and always appear at the top of the screen. For maximum exposure, update your pinned post regularly with your latest promotion or information. Make sure that the post is visually appealing and engaging for users.

The next thing that mobile users will see on your page is a list of recommendations and check-ins. The results that appear for your audience will be based upon their friends’ activity and engagement with your Facebook page. These two items can make a big difference in your sales; when recommendations from friends and family are visible, consumers are more likely to purchase.

Next, your audience will see a summary of the photos that have been taken at your location. Be aware that these photos may not necessarily be ones that you have uploaded. To take advantage of this space, make sure that you always tag your photos with your business location, and urge your customers to upload photos while they are checked in.

Finally, your summary will display your most recent post or status update. Keep in mind that with mobile users, you have less time and space to grab your audience’s attention. Photos will be scaled down, and text that is too long will be cut off. For best results, your posts should be short, punchy, and engaging.

Tip 2: Make it easy for customers to find you via mobile searches

Take measures to ensure that your target audience can find you on Facebook — approximately 91% of local searchers state that they utilize Facebook in order to find regional businesses online. Always make sure that your business page is complete and current; mobile Facebook users can search by business name, category, or their location. In order for your customers to be able to find you, your category must be correctly entered, all contact information should be accurate, business hours should be listed, and you should check “Facebook Nearby” on a mobile device to verify that the map and directions are correct.

Tip 3: Encourage check-ins

Encourage checkins to boost your brand's Facebook presenceCheck-ins can expand your mobile reach even further. Even if you’re not the closest business in proximity to a mobile user, you may be recommended first if your customer’s friends have checked in at your location, or engaged with your page in some way. Urge customers to check in while they are at your business or store, share purchases made, and tag your location in pictures in order to maximize the recommendations to your page.

Tip 4: Go mobile with page management

Facebook Pages Manager appFinally, take advantage of the “Pages Manager” app to update your Facebook page via mobile device. This free app enables a business to check up on their page’s activity, view insights, and respond to users directly from a mobile device. Not only does this increase awareness – “how does my page appear to mobile users?” — but it also enables you to stay connected with your audience and to understand which posts are inspiring the most engagement.

Don’t be intimidated by the term “mobile marketing.” Follow these mobile marketing tips for companies on Facebook to successfully reach consumers on the go.

Kristen GramignaAbout The Author

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm that provides mobile credit card reader equipment. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.

Chirpify’s New #ActionTags: Using Hashtags To #Buy, #Donate, #Subscribe or #Vote

Example of ActionTags

Image via Chirpify

We recently covered Chirpify, a medium for creating online transactions through different social media networks.  Chirpify makes it easy to buy items with a simple comment or reply on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Now, new changes make the app even more versatile.

Last week, Chirpify launched the ability to use hashtags to perform transactions online.

This new feature, called #Actiontags, means that Chirpify users can now buy – with a simple status update on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – from anywhere. #Actiontags can include #buy, #donate, #subscribe, or #vote.

Chirpify sees #actiontags as the “logical evolution of hashtags” – allowing social media to be the point of conversion for advertising or marketing campaigns. Being able to tweet or post #buy, #enter, or #donate – and having that action take place, in realtime – is almost effortless.

Chirpify #Actiontags

Chirpify’s new #Actiontags

#Actiontags can come from advertising on any channel, including live events, TV shows, social campaigns or other venues; they have to be combined with a #campaigntag in order to allow consumers to purchase.  For example, a business running a campaign for #TrueBlueSocks on TV could display an ad with instructions to post “#Buy #TrueBlueSocks” to purchase. The consumer can then tweet, or post to Facebook or Instagram “#Buy #TrueBlueSocks,” and Chirpify will process the order.

Several large brands are already using Chirpify to run promotions and sell products, including Adidas, Forever 21, Green Day, MasterCard, NPR’s Live Wire and the Portland Trailblazers.

“Hashtags are the new URL,” says Chirpify CEO Chris Teso. Marketing has evolved over the past few years, from placing URLs in ads to promoting a brand’s Twitter or Facebook page – and now to hashtags. In addition, #actiontags can provide valuable social data about a potential customer to brands.

Does this make life even more expensive for impulse buyers? You bet. But from a business perspective, things are looking good.

Buy, Sell, or Pay Using Social Media Comments with Chirpify

Quick, social transactionsWhen it comes to e-commerce transactions, it’s usually a multiple-step process. First, the buyer has to pull out their credit card. Second, they have to go through several pages confirming multiple options. Sometimes there’s a few more steps tossed into the mix.

Social e-commerce platform Chirpify lets users buy or sell directly on social media with a single comment reply. When a deal or item is put up using Chirpify, users interested in purchasing simply reply in the comments with the keyword (“buy,” for example) and the payment starts processing.

Although only available for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there are chances that Chirpify may expand to other social media networks.

Users can also send or receive payments without an item being exchanged, making the tool more versatile and allowing for quick exchanges of currency.

First-time users do have to create an account first, entering in their credit card info along with other necessary information before they can start using Chirpify’s one keyword purchasing power. After being registered, replying in the comments with “buy” should become seamless and more behind-the-scenes.

Adidas Using ChirpifyThe platform allows for brands and businesses to get their audience engaged, merging both the social aspect of their updates along with the commerce side.

Chirpify is convenient for businesses promoting quick, temporary deals, allowing prospective customers to purchase almost immediately. Businesses who have an active social media fanbase will have more luck than those who lack a socially engaged audience; this provides extra incentive for businesses to become more involved in building a social media presence.

Is your brand planning to leverage social transactions with Chirpify?

Small Business Marketing: How SMBs Can Leverage Vine and Instagram Video

This is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.

MicrovideoMastering the social media landscape has never been easy for small businesses, especially as this landscape shifts so quickly. By the time one site or application is understood, another pops up to take its place. Couple this fast-paced social environment with technology barriers and flavor-of-the-week trends, and it’s easy to understand why small businesses tend to fall behind.

Video marketing is the elephant in the room when it comes to small business social media. With its many moving pieces – (think: scripts, scenario, scenery), technological barriers to entry, and questionable ROI (both financial and time-wise) – video marketing tends to turn small businesses off before they even bother getting started.

Regardless, video is a huge component of the social landscape as we know it. YouTube alone boasts over one billion unique visitors per month and over 100 hours of video uploaded per minute. Users are watching and sharing videos left and right, and such videos constitute a large chunk of the “viral web” we’ve come to associate with modern social media.

How can small businesses get in on the action?

Small Businesses Meet Small Video

Enter the world of the microvideo, supported by platforms such as Twitter’s Vine and Instagram (partnered with Facebook). Between Vine recently reaching 13 million downloads and Instagram’s user base of over 100 million, it’s no surprise that microvideos have been taking the social sphere by storm over the past few months. The modern microvideo is short in length (6 seconds maximum for Vine, 15 seconds for Instagram), minimalist in nature and tends to favor those who aren’t afraid to think outside the box.

This new, compact video format has the potential to change the game for small businesses when it comes to video marketing. Consider the following.

Microvideo breaks down the technology barrier – Platforms such as Vine and Instagram eliminate the need for editing software or video expertise. All you really need is a smartphone.

Microvideo levels the playing field – Lacking loads of pricey video equipment? No problem. The minimalist nature of microvideo forces marketers to rely on their imagination and creativity rather than a big budget.

Microvideo eliminates the question of ROI – Microvideos are short and sweet. Due to their simplicity, they can be created, edited and uploaded almost instantly. Given such a short process, there’s little need to sweat ROI.

In short, microvideo offers something fresh in the face of a massive world of web video. The question remains; what do microvideos offer microbusinesses?

Should You Climb on the Microvideo Vine?

The short answer? Yes.

It may seem like most businesses aren’t conducive to video marketing. How can a stay-at-home software company create the next viral video? What can a local carpet cleaner possibly do to make a compelling Vine? Relax. Forget about viral sensations and overnight success stories; instead, think about the possibilities.

Consider the fact that videos are shared twelve times more than links and text posts. Furthermore, think about how quickly videos can be digested versus a blog post or article. As a modern small business, it’s your responsibility to cover your bases when it comes to social sharing. Video is a valuable piece of the puzzle and microvideo makes it simple to get on board by thinking small and outside the box.

Beating Director’s Block

So, you want to make a video. Now what?

Writer’s block (or in this case, director’s block) is only natural when it comes to ideas for video marketing. Sure, we all want to create the next viral sensation; however, viral success is something that can’t be forced. Instead of daydreaming, marketers should set realistic expectations and capitalize on their business, skills and our tendency to share. Consider the following two types of video content and how they may translate into microvideos:

Before and After – Before and after results have been a cornerstone of marketing for some time. Given the fact that you have a very, very short amount of time, a quick and easy before and after video can be done in a matter of seconds. For example, a carpet cleaning company could show depict a filthy carpet prior to their services and a spotless one after. There are plenty of possibilities with before and afters (a pet saloon shaping up a shaggy dog, a gym displaying the weight loss results of a member) and chances are your business has the potential for one as well.  

Displaying a Skill – Is there something only your business can do that’s worth sharing? Feats of strength? Special talents? Consider this viral video of a supermarket employee cutting a watermelon in 20 seconds. If there’s anything your company does out of the ordinary, feel free to share it with the world. Whether it’s complex coding or installing an air conditioner, what may seem ordinary to your business may be extraordinary to others.

If nothing else, microvideos can be used to quickly update followers on special projects, what your business is up to and simply put your face out there; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Why Bother?

As discussed, microvideos are ideal for SMBs because they don’t require the time or editing costs of traditional video. Furthermore, they level the playing field – a Vine or Instragram application is the same in your hands as it is in the hands of a Google or Apple exec.

But where’s the money?

We often obsess over ROI when it comes to social media. We want data. We want numbers. We want to know “why” and “how” when it comes to making money. At the end of the day, microvideo is less about the financial aspect of social media and more about spreading the word and embracing the sharing nature of today’s users. Videos serve as a piece of content for your business; you may create a video for your business just as you write an article or send out a tweet. The time and thought you put into creating and promoting your content is up to you.

Microvideos don’t require much in the grand scheme of things; therefore, there’s no need to obsess over the ROI. Simply create a video when the opportunity presents itself and share it accordingly. Simply put, microvideos should represent an easy, positive way for your business to put itself out there.

The Bottom Line

Video marketing can be intimidating; however, microvideo platforms such as Vine and Instagram help skeptical or hesitant marketers dive into the practice. Such platforms offer a chance for your business to spread the word and have a bit of fun in the process. If there’s ever been a time for SMBs to capitalize on video marketing, it’s now.

 

Megan TotkaAbout The Author

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

5 Social Media Marketing Tips for Effective Lead Generation

This is a guest post by Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D., Managing Partner at branding and marketing firm Hinge.

Let’s face it: plenty of firms waste plenty of time on Facebook and Twitter. Like any tool, social media is only effective when it’s used correctly, but it’s a new enough tool that the ink isn’t dry on the instruction manual.

Hinge conducted a study of 500 professional services firms in the U.S., taking a close look at the social media techniques of high growth and average growth companies. Again and again, these five social media marketing tips proved pivotal:

1. Understanding the Toolbox

photo credit: ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

photo: ponsulak via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The most successful firms understand that platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook aren’t interchangeable. They have different user bases and different strengths.

Take LinkedIn. It isn’t just a great tool for recruitment; it’s great for targeted content promotion, too. By participating in specific business groups — called, appropriately enough, LinkedIn Groups — you can build your reputation, brand awareness, and credibility in a highly targeted circle of professionals.

Twitter allows you to easily search, track, and participate in conversations across the globe. It’s particularly well suited to firms that want to promote a constant stream of content. Facebook is the largest social network and best suited for ongoing relationships; for firms looking to build trust and cultivate relationships, it may be the right tool.

2. Finding the Right Audience

Social media is like the world’s most crowded room. If you intend to accomplish any work there, you need to know who you’re looking for, how to find them, and what you intend to say. If you’re targeting executives, LinkedIn Groups may present your best opportunity to share ideas and build credibility with industry leaders. If you want to cast a wider net, Twitter’s search functionality can be a powerful tool.

Eric Majchrazak of CPA firm Freed Maxick uses Twitter to find specific groups that could benefit from his company’s expertise. Searching for terms like “recommend accountant” leads him to conversations with potential clients, and gives him an opportunity to build relationships.

3. A Foundation of Content

High-value content. Lead-generating content. This is the beating heart of your online strategy. Once you’ve identified your target demographic, you can demonstrate that you understand its problems and you know how to solve them.

Take PrimePay, a leading payroll, tax, HR, insurance, and benefits company. PrimePay creates educational content for HR professionals who need assistance. By promoting high-value, targeted, problem-solving content, PrimePay attracts qualified leads to their website. The takeaway? The better your content, the easier it is to promote.

4. Don’t Dabble

The biggest social media mistake many firms make is under-investment. To pay off, social media requires dogged effort and determination: thirty minutes to an hour with each platform every day, sharing content, finding communities, and building relationships.

Nancy Mullin, Manager of Marketing and Interactive Services at PrimePay, recalls the difficult early days.  “It’s tough in the beginning,” she said. “You’re writing all of these posts, you don’t have many subscribers, and you start to think…is this worth it? We stuck it out, and it paid off.”

5. Being Responsive

Social media marketing is social — a conversation. “Leads lose effectiveness by a factor of 6x within the first hour of not being responded to,” says Bryan Eisenberg, author of Waiting for Your Cat to Bark.

Xtivia CEO Dennis Robinson takes the same approach, personally confirming that all leads receive responses within 15 minutes. “If you think you can wait a day, you’re wrong,” says Robinson. “If you sit there and wait, they’ve already found a competitor.”

You can’t allocate five minutes every day to writing a tweet; your firm has to stand ready to continue a conversation and nurture a lead.

Unpacking the Toolbox

Let’s recap. To generate leads effectively, a firm needs to embrace these five social media marketing tips:

  • Know the strengths and uses of social media tools
  • Define the target audience for your message
  • Create great, lead-generating content
  • Commit, don’t dabble
  • Be ready to respond promptly

High growth firms are defined in part by their mastery of these strategies, and now firms like yours can learn from those success stories. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn don’t have to be wastes of time or missed opportunities. Use these social media marketing tips wisely, and they can be the sources of your next great lead.

Guest post by Lee W. FrederiksenAbout The Author

Lee is Managing Partner at Hinge, a branding and marketing firm for the professional services. He is also co-author of the book Online Marketing for Professional Services, which is available for free download.