How to harness the Power Of The Big 6 Social Media Platforms

As the marketing power of social media grows, it no longer makes sense to treat it by observing from the sidelines. In less than a decade, social media, in many ways, seems to have “taken over the world.” This statement is not exaggerated. As one of the largest social networking sites in the social media universe, Facebook boasted more than 750 million people actively using its service. After all, if Facebook users constituted a country, it would be the world’s third largest and will soon grow twice as large as the population of the United States. We know that both B2C and B2B businesses use social media as part of their marketing strategy. Companies certainly know what social media is and its ability to amplify word-of-mouth effects.
engagement

Yet the vast majority of executives have no idea how to harness social media’s power. Companies diligently establish Twitter feeds and branded Facebook pages, but few have a deep understanding of exactly how social media interacts with consumers to expand product and brand recognition, drive sales and profitability, and engender loyalty.

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. Myspace. Google Plus. LinkedIn. YouTube. Vine. Foursquare. Tumblr. and much more. There are more than 400 unique social networking sites currently active across the globe, hosting trillions of conversations and billions of gigabytes of data. Over the past few years, small businesses have begun to harness the power of these networks to talk about their brand, engage customers, drive leads and even ramp up sales. But there are a few hard-and-fast rules that business owners should adhere to if they want to avoid going from social hero to hapless zero.

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Social media is here to stay when it comes to marketing. Most businesses use it for brand exposure and increasing website traffic. Often overlooked is the power of social media for lead generation. Some businesses get it and others don’t.

What you need to know to make it work for you.

The key word describing the difference between Social Media and conventional communications is
engagement. The premise of Social Media is a dynamic, interactive conversation between you, and your customers. This interactivity is at the core of both the benefits and the risks of Social Media. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution to implementing a successful Social Media strategy. As such, this article focuses on providing executives with ideas, challenges, and guidelines on how to use Social Media to advance the mission of their organization. No matter what industry your business is in, social media can enhance your sales, marketing and public relations efforts.

    The 5 Levels of Social Media Engagement

  • OBSERVING
  • Level 1: Observing – watching the conversation from a far & simply “lurking” to decide if it’s interesting/valuable enough to join.

  • FOLLOWING
  • Level 2: Following – following the brand in some way, i.e. following on Twitter or Liking on Facebook.

  • ENDORCING
  • Level 4: Endorsing – actively sharing your content with others, i.e. retweeting, sharing via Facebook, etc.

  • ENGAGING
  • Level 3: Engaging – interacting in a limited fashion, such as clicking through to read your content, viewing a video, or Liking a wall post.

  • CONTRIBUTING
  • Level 5: Contributing – actively participating in the conversation and interacting with your brand, i.e. tweeting to your brand, posting on your Facebook wall, or commenting on a blog post.

engagementWhat social media engagement represents is a two-way dialogue between brands and customers. The primary rule of engagement is: If you want to increase engagement, be engaged. Like most people, social media users don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Start by giving before you expect to receive.
The rapid evolution of digital, mobile and social technologies has propelled the financial industry into an era of transformative agility and adaptability.
Consumers expect highly personalized products and services, delivered in real time. Instant gratification means no more waiting in long lines, no more trudging through shopping malls, no more cash purchases. Even tangible goods are fading into services delivered thru social platforms.
Peter Drucker was right when he said, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer”. This is the goal of every business: to create and keep customers. This principle survives Digital. Digital helps you keep this focus by giving you more ways to know your customer better.
Digital is second nature to Millennials and plays a significant part in their lives. They believe new technology makes life easier and brings people closer together. Millennials are mobile. They are hyper-connected and always on. Based on their love of all things Digital, Millennials are introducing a whole new value system to the marketplace.

How to Write an Great Article for Social Media

Social Media Sharing
While there’s no single formula for writing an article that will resonate with your social media audience, here’s some guidelines that increase your chances for success.
The term ‘Social Media’ is a pretty popular concept these days. Cutting across the barriers or geography, culture, creed and language this concept has gripped the entire society spanning across the entire planet. Social media can be described as the gift of the latest technology that facilitates human interaction around the world! Technology has always – since the onset of human civilization – provided man with a distinct edge, which in turn marked the difference between man and other living beings on earth.
While digging through my bookmarks and starred articles, I noticed a growing list of awesome stories and helpful links. If I threw them all together, it’d make for quite the collection!
social media
I’d love to share with you what I’ve got so far, and it’d be awesome if you’d consider adding any personal favorites in the comments. Here is some I’ve bookmarked as my must-read guidelines on social media articles and content marketing resources.

Sure, you’re on Facebook. Twitter, too. Maybe you have a blog. You put a lot a lot of work into keeping them fresh and updated with pertinent, interesting posts. But aside from the few comments you get now and again, how do you know if anyone is listening to what you have to say?

You think hard about your social media strategy, posting interesting links relevant to your mission, working to expand your network and engage your constituents and create a solid, online reputation for your organization. You want to monitor your efforts and measure your results. Knowing whether your efforts are paying off can help you adapt your posting strategy to better meet your goals.

Monitoring your social media activities means listening to what people are saying to you, about you, and in your area of interest. Measuring them means counting, calculating and quantifying those activities into useful metrics that will inform your actions. These are separate and distinct practices that rely on each other to succeed. Finding the right tools to meet your needs in this area can save long hours of work.

When it comes to the big three of social media—Facebook, Twitter and —this can be done for no cost whatsoever, or for a significant investment. It all depends on what you want to track and measure. Every day, more and more tools join a substantial number of choices already on the marketplace.

I’ve been on social media for about a decade. Now it’s time to do some reflecting

  1. 300 to 3000 Words of Text.

Yes, the words in this text should contain a modicum of keywords you’re shooting for, but my advice is not to obsess about keyword density or even word count. Google, especially post-Hummingbird, is a lot smarter now than it was a few years ago about identifying article themes based on elements not directly related to keywords. As far as word count goes, it’s far better to a punchy 300-word article than a 2500-word article filled with lazy words and editorial fluff. (Google to my knowledge has no plans for a “content fluff” penalty yet but my hope is they’re working on it).

Also, remember that on social media the first words – and only the first few – will be excerpted in the text field surrounding the thumbnail image used when you add your post to a social media service. Make your point (or ask your question) in the first 25 words: this string of text will function as your “teaser” and must be as arresting as possible.

  1. At Least One Large (at Least 800 x 600) Image.

Social media thrives on visuals; without images, blog posts have no traction at all. You should have at least one great, compelling image on each post you publish, preferably two or three, because this gives your social media team a choice of more than one image to promote when listing the URL on Facebook and LinkedIn.
perfectpost-infographic
It’s clear to me that images are the often the weakest element on most blog articles. Using cheaply licensed images is always a mistake because doing so broadcasts the subtle message “everything on this page is a commodity.” A strong, unique image, however, can add credibility to the message in your text.

Make sure that this image renders well as a social media thumbnail image, because that’s the way most people will see it in their content streams. Factor in image search and/or production time into your blog production schedule. In some cases, finding an appropriate image can take almost as much editorial time and effort as generating the copy.

Conventions for image display in blog articles have changed in the past couple of years. Small right- or left-aligned images that looked OK in 2008 look archaic today. Perhaps because of the influence of mobile and/or tablets, full-width images mark your post as “modern.” It’s best to plan for any images you select for your blog post to be at least 800 x 600 in size.

  1. Links.

When I read a blog article that lacks a single link (other than the one in the author box), I feel cheated. Sprinkling a few hyperlinks strategically through your text conveys emphasis to your reader, as well as supplying textual context. These can be used to guide your reader’s eye to your main point.

Links aren’t simply decoration, of course. Well-chosen links function both as footnotes (keeping the exposition off-site and reducing your word count and “fluff”), and as visual signs that show you’ve done your research.

From a social media perspective, links are absolutely crucial because your social media team’s first post-publication job is to aggressively promote to those sources linked to in your article that a new article with this link is live. As I explain more fully in my ClickZ post about my Yearbook approach to content marketing, there’s no better way to increase the chance of social pickup than to reach out – on a one-to-one basis – to those whose work is being referred to in every article you post.

Try my approach out on your next blog post. The results may surprise you. Remember, it’s not enough to write great text, create great images, and include well-curated hyperlinks. You, your social media team, or your agency, still has to get “into the trenches” and perform personal outreach to motivate folks to share it. This job is the “marketing” component in “content marketing,” without it, content will never find the audience it deserves. In many industry categories, it’s a challenge to find the emotional triggers that stimulate sharing behavior. People share because it reflects well on them. They are trying to impress their followers or in some cases they are trying to impress (or get the attention of) the person who created the content (you).

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