Archive for Social Media

Is It Sad That I Had A Dream For A Better Hootsuite

hootsuite worksWhen I woke up this morning I was very sad, because Hootsuite had not created the updates I envisioned in my sleep last night. It almost feels like I was robbed. Stripped of my humanity. The last shreds of dignity flailing in the wind.

Eh! Maybe a bit too melodramatic, but once you see what I dreamed about, you will agree with me that Hootsuite needs an update. As a pro user, I get a number of features from the site, but it can still be better.  Who knows! Maybe this is a germ of  a business idea? Ooh! Watch out Hootsuite!

The HootSuite Of My Mind

First, HootSuite needs to allow bulk updates for images. According to their recent support responses, they do not plan to anytime in the future despite a wall of complaints about this lacking feature. Actually had two clients recently ask me about this feature as well. Found a possible alternative, however in Postcron.com.

To help give HootSuite the kick in the pants they need to get this project started vote for pictures to be included: Check out this vote on HootSuite chats, where they have over 150 votes for this feature. However, the voting has been going on for two years now, so it might be time for Hootsuite to follow through on this idea.

Second, the Hootsuite bulk scheduler really sucks. Pardon my French! Or is that a poor excuse for English? Either way, the system is definitely bulkier! I used to use SocialOomph for mass scheduling. Social Oomph was a breeze. You would upload the messages and then create a standard amount of time between each update. The problem with Hootsuite, is that you have to create a CSV file with specific date parameters. This can be time consuming, and negates some of the benefits of a scheduler.

While I do have a quick fix that I will share on Friday for the social networking minute to make this process faster, it is still not a 1-2-3 answer. Part of the reason why you pay for a pro account is to make it easier to use the system. Having to set up the dates in their format on a CSV file is a bit wonky. To go through this idea further, wait for the end of the week (not the end of the world) when I publish my cool thoughts on this subject.

Third, I had a problem with Hootsuite recently, because the bulk uploader was not working properly. The system kept telling me that I could not process updates, and to fix the problem. What was this mysterious problem? I am not sure, because after fooling around with the system for half an hour it finally, magically worked.

I contacted customer service, or their support ticket system. Customer service responded back a week later. These were posts that I needed up that day. Thanks for the quick and efficient help!

Fourth, not to be a mensch, but there is a new social network called Pinterest. Please add them! Also, while we are at it, can you work out an agreement with Google to allow us to post to our personal profiles as well as our page profiles. While I applaud your initiative at putting in Mixi and FourSquare as options, please remember there are amazing social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit that deserve considering as well.

Future of Hootsuite

While I am not sure what the future holds in store for Hootsuite, it is evident the social firm needs to be a bit more social and interact with their user base. They are clearly not in step with their target market. I know this from extensive dreams that I have in the middle of the night, where I envision a Hootsuite that works the way I want it to work.

However, as they say. If this is the worst of your problems in life, then you have it pretty good. So, HootSuite take heart in the fact that you do have a number of cool features on your site. However, we need you to pick up the pace, so my dreams are no match for the extensive library of options you have available for your clients.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Social Media For Market Research?

It is no secret that social media has forever changed the ways that businesses and the public interact. Though businesses have realized the marketing and networking potential of social media, many overlook another potential benefit of these fast-paced platforms. When it comes to conducting market research, social networking offers a mix of affordability, easy access and transparency that make it ideal for businesses of any size or budget.

The Basics of Market Research Using Social Media

Market research covers a broad spectrum of topics and issues. With traditional market research methods, after deciding upon

social media market research

questions and criteria, you would form a focus group or find participants for a survey or other format. Social media is similar in this regard. After formulating questions and theories, you must find groups to observe or question. However, with social media, your options are virtually endless. With millions of users logging on to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites, finding your ideal demographic is as simple as a few quick searches and filters.

Much like traditional polling and marketing, specific platforms will work best for particular users. Though each platform will include a wide variety of demographics, suggestions include:

  • Facebook: As one of the largest social media platforms, Facebook is great for finding a variety of demographics.
  • Twitter: Popular with businesses and tech-savvy users, Twitter’s rapid micro post format makes it great for collecting information quickly but can be difficult to use for in-depth studies.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great choice for B2B businesses or those researching professional industries. It is also a good source for finding trends analysis and recent studies by other businesses.
  • Google+: Though this social network is relatively small, it is growing quickly. With support for Hashtags, communities and other advanced features, it will continue to improve its market research potential as it matures.

Benefits of Using Social Media for Market Research

There is an abundance of reasons why social media is ideal for market research. These are five major benefits:

1.       Variety and Scope: Millions of messages, posts and interactions occur on social media networks each day. This means that it is easy to find information about a particular market, business or demographic. Simply use the built-in search tools or a premium client, such as HootSuite, and start researching.
2.       Low Cost: Unlike focus groups or ethnographic research, it is possible to conduct market research using social media without the help of a professional. Most major social networks are free to join and use as well. This means that your only investment is time and effort. With proper planning, social media market research offers outstanding ROI.

3.       Uncovering Hidden Trends: Most interaction related to market research on social media is participant driven. Instead of determining questions and polling participants, you are able to observe conversations as they occur. This can lead to the discovery of trends and information that might otherwise go undiscovered.

4.       No Pressure Communication: One of the biggest obstacles faced by businesses conducting market research is eliminating bias. In formal settings, participants might be prone to tell you what they think that you want to hear. Social media’s casual etiquette allows you to learn how markets speak about various aspects of a product or service. This is great for learning how to adjust your company voice or connect with customers.

5.       Quick Turn Around: Digging into the wealth of information on social media is as simple as performing a search. Advanced APIs and other tools allow automatic gathering and sorting of information as well. This makes is possible to conduct research quickly and efficiently. This reduces the chance of data becoming obsolete before research is completed.

Planning Your Social Media Market Research

Depending on your market, the process might vary slightly. However, these best practices offer great results for most businesses:

1.       Identify Your Market Personas

2.       Determine Questions and Concerns

3.       Assign Questions to the Best Platforms

4.       Conduct Research

5.       Analyze Your Results

By following these steps, you can add a level of accountability to your research efforts, reduce time investment and improve the quality of your results.

Social media platforms offer an endless bounty of information for businesses looking for market trends or way to improve operations. From small local businesses to online startups, social media based market research offers outstanding benefits. When it comes to business tools, the accessibility and low cost of social media make it an essential part of any business’ toolkit.

Willie Pena is a freelance writer, video producer, visual artist, and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma and enjoys writing about qualitative research. In addition to writing for firms such as IBM, Colgate, Transunion, Webroot and a multitude of private clients and websites.  Connect with him on Google+.

 

Keys to a successful Social Media Marketing Campaign

By Haylen Bradley

Social media. What do you think of when you hear the words? For many social media is something for the younger generations, something that is too complicated or too burdensome to worry about. But, a sound social media marketing campaign can do your business wonders. As social media can be fickle, though, it is important to get a solid foundation before jumping in head first.

-          Take advantage of your existing networks and communication channels

It’s always said that, in business, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Social media strategies are similar. In order to launch the most successful campaign you possibly can, you need to reach out to those reputable people you already know and communicate with on social media.

For example, if you were to tweet something from your business profile, each of your employees should also reach out to the people they know. This helps build a reputation for the information in the tweet that is much more natural.

-          Add social media to traditional marketing strategy

It still surprises me. There are many businesses out there that do not use social media as an extension of their traditional marketing strategy. They separate the two, each burdened with the knowledge that the other strategy has so much to offer the other.

Well, you can use social media as an extension of your traditional marketing. Here’s an example: Let’s imagine for a moment that you’ve got a great new product or service, so you write up a standard press release (description, expert quotes, etc.). You’ll then send it out somewhere like PR Web, where your press release will be sent to blogs and news outlets all over the place. You’ll then find the websites that posted your press release, pick the best one, and blast that link out using Facebook and Twitter.

You can also use social media as a planner and exclusive form of event creation. I’ve written about this in the past, and with new technology and techniques, like credit card machines or small crowdsourcing options, using social media to help make sales outside the office walls or online makes more sense than ever.

-          Watch your self-promotion

Keeping your business goals in mind is crucial to any business owner, but keeping them in mind when creating a social media strategy is just as crucial. Your level of self-promotion will depend entirely on your business goals.

There are companies that can talk about themselves exclusively, like Apple, because they create an engaging product. If you own small interior design firm, you’ll probably need to sprinkle in some lifestyle posts with your self-promotional posts. You want to bring the consumer in with good information and build trust. You can’t do that by talking about yourself all the time. It’s a balance, and knowing your audience will help you find that balance.

-          Speaking of content… follow the 1/3 rule

Generally speaking, you should use the 1/3 rule when it comes to your content. You should create original content about 1/3 of the time. This is NOT advertising. This content should be helpful to the reader and answer the questions they are asking.

Another 1/3 of your content should be advertising, promotions, and engaging with the customers. Use this chance to really bring them in, answer their questions, and give them peace of mind.

The other 1/3 of your content should be shared from other trusted resources. This goes hand-in-hand with your original content. You want to show your company’s value beyond the dollar sign.

-          Automate it

You probably have office hours or regular working hours. But sometimes, social media doesn’t adhere to those hours of operation. There are tools out there, such as TweetDeck and HootSuite, that allow you to schedule tweets, Facebook posts, etc., for those prime social hours that come after you’ve closed up shop for the day.

Be advised, though: Automating all of your social media is a bad idea. This takes away from the genuine interaction that is possible through social media. Automating will, however, allow you to reach those people after hours, and save time and stress.

-          Be visual

For social platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest, it pays to be visual. In order to be viral, you almost have to be visual. People respond to visual stimulation much more than they do a long body of text, so give them what they are looking for and pay attention to your visuals first. Then, allow the content to flow from the visual.

-          Be engaged

You’ve got all this great content, a great product, and the customer is engaged. But now they’ve asked a question or made a comment. Are you going to respond?

Absolutely. This doesn’t mean you have to answer every single time someone posts something, but it’s definitely a good idea. You want to create the conversation, be a part of the conversation, and encourage others to join in. By joining in on the conversation your content started, you show that you and your company (your brand), really cares about the customer and maintaining a relationship with them.

-          Create an editorial calendar

By creating an editorial calendar, you have the ability to structure your content (and how it is disseminated), which also allows your brand the ability to build relevance and harvest familiarity among consumers.

More than that, though, you can better track your marketing efforts and come up with better ideas for future posts. For example, let’s imagine you set up your marketing effort to discuss industry trends on a Tuesday and consumer tips on Wednesdays. With an editorial calendar like this, you want have to search the recesses of your brain for topics to keep your content fresh and relevant.

-          Cultivate your brand

The goal of any marketing campaign is to increase revenue and bring back customers. The same is true of your social media campaign.

You can use your social media marketing efforts to build an identity for your brand and be open with your potential customers, which means building out a detailed profile. This is also a great opportunity for you to incentivize becoming a member of your social media circle (i.e. promotions, deals, specials, or exclusive content.

Social media can appear pretty daunting at times, and it can take time to learn, but with the right tools and know-how, you can run a successful social media marketing campaign.

Haylen Bradley is a consultant for small businesses in the Houston area. She is also an MBA student at University of Houston. In her spare time, she writes for TipsOnHowToSaveMoney.com. Follow her on Twitter.

 

How Social Media Helps Infographic

Lot of new developments and changes are taking place in social media. One has to keep updated to know latest trends in social networking to utilize the tremendous opportunities offered by social networking to get connected to target audience. Properly executed social media marketing strategy can achieve surprisingly very good results.

The big reach of social networking can be seen from the fact that there are 850 million Facebook users, 500 million Twitter users, 135 million Linkedin users, 50 million Google+ users and 10 million Pinterest users.

Social media is a platform to connect people. Important social media are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Myspace etc.

Social media are used by following types of people/instituitions:

  • Individuals – Personal, Politician, Celebrity
  • Government – Government Department, Ministry
  • Business – Company, Freelancer
  • Non-Profits – Charity, Social Worker

Objectives for utilizing social media are:

  • Get social – increase fans or followers
  • Share – Photos, Videos, Articles
  • Send a message – Latest news, Promotions
  • Feedback – Customer comments

If we use other means like direct face to face interaction, phone calls, TV/Radio, Newsletter etc. they are highly labor intensive, time consuming, high cost and results in low engagement.

 

how social media helps

This post is written by Karl Hunt and he works at CouponAudit as a writer, where thousands of valid and working online coupons are available for different stores. For example you can use Proflowers coupon code 2013 etc. to get discount on your order while shopping on that store.

 

Social Media Memes

Ready to peruse some really bad social media memes that I created? No! Why not? They are funny. Oh! You do not know what a social media meme is? Then let me take a moment to explain.

A social media meme are the fun pictures that you see with cats and other funny items with a zingy one-liner. Now, a zingy is something fun and to the point. Probably the opposite of this ramble I just had with myself. Huh! Such is life.

Below are a few Social Media Memes that I created. Please try not to be too harsh on my sense of humor, however, feel free to share away on the social networking sites when you find a meme hilarious. Just link back. Hope that was not too much self-promotion in one post. If it was not let me know, I can add more.

Sexy Social Media Memes

Smart Phone Meme-Aw Shucks! (Yes I used this one before)

Cats And Smart Phones copy

Catching Up On My Reading (Yes I used this one as well before)

Content Is King

Who’s Afraid Of Social Media Now!

Do You Hide In Fear From Social Media!

I might have dated myself with this meme

I Am Too Sexy For Facebook!

Take 1

I Shall Paint You A Picture And Put It On Pinterest!

Take 2

Reddit Anonymous
They So Smart

Two Heads Better Than One

So, which one is your favorite? Do you now know what a social media meme is? Cool! Now it is time to vote on your favorite. Choose one above, and let us know, which is your favorite social media meme.

What can Super Bowl ads teach small business owners?

Guest post by Matt Herndon on Super Bowl ads and social media.

Do you want to reach more than 111 million people with one ad? That kind of exposure could elevate your small business into a moneymaking machine in no time. All you have to do is reserve television ad space during the Super Bowl. Of course, you’ll spend between 3.7 and 3.8 million dollars for one short ad, but the investment is worth the rewards, right? Clearly, most small business owners can’t afford that kind of advertising. You can learn from the Super Bowl ads, though, as you tweak your marketing efforts and make social media marketing part of your campaign.

Football Fans Silhouette Banner

Be socially connected

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are here to stay and many Super Bowl viewers can be found online as they watch the game. Ignoring these advertising outlets means you leave a vast market untapped and potentially lose thousands of dollars in revenue.

Take advice from Coca-Cola. They built a layered campaign in 2012 that interacted with customers across a variety of social media platforms. In addition to buying a TV ad spot during the big game, they also integrated social media as the Coke polar bears followed the game in real time on Facebook. Allow your customers to interact with your brand on a variety of social media networks before, during and after the game. Instead of focusing solely on a television or print ad, include online content that reaches even more customers without costing you tons of money. Multiply your advertising dollars when you get online and stay online.

Hire staff

Super Bowl XLVI, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, was the most socially connected Super Bowl ever. The host city took social media so seriously that they set up a social media command center downtown. A digital marketing agency and 50 employees monitored social media sites around the clock in the two weeks leading up to the big game. Additionally, eight street teams carried tablet devices around the stadium on game day. They helped more than 150,000 excited fans navigate the stadium and the city. The teams tweeted parking directions, directed fans to open restaurants and answered weather-related questions. Their hard work made the game and Indianapolis more enjoyable and user-friendly.

Does your business have a social media command center? If you’re like most companies, you have one person who sporadically writes blog posts, uploads pictures to Instagram or shares tweets. Consider changing your strategy. If you can’t hire someone full-time, hire a company to meet your social media needs. They can monitor your social media posts, respond to readers and give your marketing campaign the attention it needs as traffic to your sites grows.

Involve your fans

Lincoln has steadily declined as a top luxury car brands since 1999, but they’re out to reclaim the brand this year. The company used personality Jimmy Fallon to invite fans to tweet crazy road trip memories. Out of more than 6,000 responses, a few will be featured on the company’s Super Bowl commercial. This type of interaction gives fans a chance to be part of the discussion. In your marketing strategy, interactive content is one of your greatest assets. Encourage conversations as you ask for feedback, host contests and take polls. With these strategies, you make the conversation a two-way street rather than doing all the talking.

As you watch the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers on the field in New Orleans this February, pay attention to the Super Bowl ads. You’ll see the creativity millions of dollars can buy as you analyze how each commercial integrates social media. Use the strategies you see to increase your small business’s social media effectiveness on any budget.

Steps to Effectively Budget Your Social Media Campaign

This is a guest post on budgeting your social media campaign. 

About The Author: Vishal Gumber is the founder and CEO of Appsquare—An Australian Mobile App Development company that develops top selling iPhone and Android Mobile apps at offshore prices.

In the competitive world of business marketing, good budgeting tactics can bridge the gap between a success story and a terrible failure. While marketers are generally well versed with the ways and means to budget traditional campaigns, the prospect of funding relatively new strategies such as social media can be a little tricky.

This is because, while a majority of social tools are free for use, the most effective tools and those who run them, do cause a drain on finances. So, here’s a rough blueprint upon which you can shape your budgeting model.

Identify Your Audience

It is important to realize that as a marketing team, you are not only looking to reach out to your customers alone, but also the vast market of potential clients. Thus, it is important to strike a balance between pandering to the interests of existing customers and attracting new people simultaneously.

To do this, make sure invest equal time and efforts on both fronts. To give you a simple example, your Twitter marketing should be divided into two elements:

1)      Identifying and engaging with influential followers

2)      Attracting new followers by following them and through engaging tweets and chats.

Try, Test and Then Proceed

The trick to mastering budget making in marketing is to explore first and then make big investments. So before investing in social media with much alacrity, first start multiple small campaigns on different sites.

Observe which campaign gets the best response over a given period of them, and release more variants of that same idea to determine what gets most attention; that should be the final campaign for which you can contemplate making larger investments.

For example, you may allocate small amounts to different strategies like Promoted Posts, Facebook ads, Sponsored Tweets and LinkedIn Ads. Based on the response you get from each strategy you can create a more concrete social advertising plan.

Identify The Most Suitable Free Tools

Every business has different needs, therefore its crucial to identify only the most suitable free tools, instead of wasting your time registering for every Social Media Marketing tool that offers a free version.

The best way to do it is to create a list of your social media marketing needs first and then identify the most user-friendly free tools suited to your requirements. The initial research maybe time consuming, but you will save up on time and effort at the plan-execution stage.

Here’s a sample of such a list:

Scheduling Facebook Posts: Facebook In-built scheduler

Scheduling Twitter Posts: Hootsuite

Tracking your brand’s mentions on Twitter: Twilert

Social Media Monitoring tools: Tweetreach, Twentyfeet, Facebook Insights

Social Content Distribution Tool: Viral Content Buzz

Let Your Customers Market for You

Beyond a certain point, social marketers should device ways in which to ensure that the customers begin marketing for them.

Creating referral systems, where you reward customers for spreading the word about your website is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways of doing this. If you are new and have a limited following, you may spread the word about the referral program in your social network through promoted posts and ads.

You needn’t spend a lot of money here. Facebook for instance, lets you promote a post for as little as $5!

Another way to turn your customers into marketers is by offering all your fans and followers great, relevant, and useful content.

So, make sure you allocate a part of your budget to not only creating engaging and interesting content, but also re-packaging it in multiple ways to drive traffic to your business site and improve your customer engagement levels.

For example, we are an app development company and we create a lot of blogs on app marketing for small businesses. We use the blogs to then create newsletters and free E-books that are distributed through the website and our social media networks.

This way not only do we get new fans and followers, but also save money on creating content by re-packaging our existing content.

Adapting the above mentioned blueprint to a specific social media campaign for a specific product, service or enterprise may help a marketing team better its budgeting strategy, thereby improving prospects of success for the entire firm.

The Unwritten Business Rules for Effective Social Media Usage: Tips and Tricks of Today’s Business

This is a guest post on social media usage.

When you think of social media today, it can seem as though it is the great Wild West of online interactions and marketing for companies. You won’t really find any rules, laws, or regulations out on the frontier of the web, but that’s not to say that there aren’t some unwritten rules, some “good ideas” that you might want to follow. If you aren’t the type to get in line with those ideas, you could find that your experience in social media is one that is not going to be entirely enjoyable. Even with the fast-changing world of social media, you should keep some things in mind all the time. Here are some tips on how you and your business can keep happy in the wilds!

Never Push Your Marketing and Never Expect People to Buy

When you think of marketing, you are probably thinking that you need to push to get your ideas of your products in front of people. The fact is that people don’t like that. It is the equivalent of walking up to people and repeating the phrase “buy my widget” repeatedly, interrupting the people and never letting them speak. You probably don’t enjoy it either, so why would anyone else? When you are on a social media site and you are interaction with your customers and potential customers, you can’t keep pushing your own content. It’s okay to give reminders and mentions about your content or site occasionally. However, if that’s the only thing that you are talking about, people are going to stop following you.

You should retweet, mention others, find interesting content that your visitors and followers might actually be able to use. You have to realize that the traditional type of marketing that you do in other parts of your business aren’t going to cut it in social media.

Deliver Good Content

Whether you are guiding someone toward your site, or you are pointing them in the direction of something that you believe they might find interesting, you need to make sure the content is good. Always have professional content on your own site, and always read or watch any links that you have on your posts or wall sending visitors to another site.

Think Before Tweeting and Posting

Perhaps you see something in the news that grates on you and you take to the social network to complain about it. While that might be fine for a personal page, consider what it will do to a business page. People might have differing opinions than you do, and this could cost you business if you argue about it on a social media site.

Veronica Clyde is a tech writer at VPNServices.net – a place where you can read reviews about the best VPN providers. If interested check out a Private Internet Access review.