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.

engagement
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 Make Your Content Valuable Enough To Be Unique

Why unique content gets you found.

It’s never too late to start worrying about creating unique content. It places your brand at the top of the social media market as a thought leader – someone people trust and admire. Unique content helps you push the boundaries. It challenges the status quo and inspires your team to become better at creating your own unique content.

Unique, unique, unique; can’t be said enough.

To help you get started we take you through each step required to build a meaningful audience that adds value to your business.

For those of us who are content creators, nothing swallows valuable time as achieving the main goal of grabbing attention long enough to make them interested. If your content kicks off with something that has color, drama, and a unique content approach, then they are more likely to stick around. Also, more appealing images are likely to make your content more sharable. The trick is how to accomplish this with consistent results.

How Unique Does Content Need to Be to Perform Well?

Consistent, unique content such as articles, blog posts and infographics drives traffic and increases customer conversions, but without an integrated content management system (CMS) in which to easily post unique content causes many businesses to struggle to stay up-to-date. A CMS streamlines the process of publishing and updating content because it doesn’t require any knowledge of programming to operate.

What’s the meaning of unique content?

Writering bloggers know images can have a huge impact on how readers perceive their posts and sometimes, it helps to start with the image, and build the rest of the content around that.

What do you mean by saying “unique Content”?

People always say that you have to write unique content if you want to have chances for SEO or generally speaking chances to succceed in internet marketing. But when you say “unique” content do you mean to write something with your own words that already exist or to write something that nobody has ever written for? If the answer is the second one then an average person will miserably fail to make money online because there are a ton of information in every field. It’s practically impossible to write something that no-one has written before. Even if you write content off-the-wall you’ll almost certainly have been influenced by what you’ve read and therefore will repeat phrases and so on. However, when marketers talk about ‘unique content’ they normally mean content that isn’t curated from somewhere else, even if it’s spun. For SEO you could broaden that further and say that anything that passes the Copyscape test is ‘unique content’ in that it isn’t identifiable as a copy elsewhere on the ‘net. But that is stretching the definition somewhat!

unique content

Unique Written Content + Relevant Image = Good

You’ve perhaps heard of visual content? The term seems to be everywhere these days. We come across it all the time as we’re curating content, and it seems that social media strategies now consider visuals as required elements. Sixty-three percent of social media is made up of images. That means nearly two-thirds of the updates you see on social media are visual content.Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without.This oft-cited visual content stat is evidence that visuals have been vital to online success for some time. Ninety-four percent equates to almost double the views, and the boost is noticed across all topics and categories. Find out why you need unique images for your content, and how to create them. You might be wondering, since I mentioned that there are many sources of ready to use images already available, why you would want to spend the time creating your own. Here are just a few good reasons.

  • Stock photos are generic and widely used. Anyone can buy and use a stock photo for less than a dollar, which means many images appear on the Internet hundreds, or even thousands of times. If you’re goal is to create unique content, why top it off with a generic image?
  • Creative Commons image use can backfire. Many Creative Commons images are licensed specifically for non-commercial use. Non-commercial is open to interpretation by the owner of the image, therefore, if you use their image on a blog owned by a business or a blog that generates revenue, it may be considered commercial usage.
  • People are more like to share images they’ve never seen. People who love sharing images on sites like Pinterest are more likely to share yours if it’s something they’ve never seen before that is either useful or simply visually appealing.

Here are just a few good reasons.

  • Images for your blog posts are important for many reasons.
  • They illustrate important points to your readers, make social shares of your posts stand out in the newsfeed, break up text to make the content easier to read, and encourage people to share your post for no other reason than they like the main image.

While there are many sources of ready to use images available, you should consider creating unique images on your own. Captions can help you turn almost any image into one that is relevant to the piece of content you are writing.

Far too many companies are trying to produce content that would go viral, have a huge impact, will rank the website higher and will convince the target audience to buy a product or to sign up for a service. Accordingly, content writers are being bombarded with keywords and they are trying to accommodate those keywords adhering to a certain density, all the while trying to ensure that there is some helpful information and some literal sense in the piece.

It is time for companies to be pragmatic and they should understand what a piece of content is meant to achieve. One article is not going to change the fortune of a company. One article cannot impress the entire target audience. One article is not going to make your website rank first on search engine result pages. Content is supposed to connect and that is all a company and writers must focus on.

  • Have a Reason
    Let us not think of content marketing strategies for a moment. Let us focus on any one piece of content, say an article. The first question one should ask is: why is the article being penned? What is the primary purpose of the article? It cannot be just another droplet in the ocean. It cannot be clueless. It cannot be mundane or bland. The article needs to have a purpose. That purpose could be solving a problem, letting people know of a certain development, notifying readers of a certain accomplishment or just a factual guide. The purpose could be anything else, as long as it is relevant and helpful. The article must then be written with the aim of catering to that purpose. Having keywords and all the optimization requirements come later.
  • Connect With the Individual

    When a company publishes some content, it is not going to be read out loud at Times Square, it will not be read by a group of people at a social gathering and the article will certainly not find a place in academic or professional curriculum. The article will be read by one individual who would possibly be alone at the time. Connecting at an individual or personal level is the key to have an impact.

  • Captivate the Audience

    An article should have a captivating headline, the layout should be professional, the wording must be suitable for the target audience, it should be readable and interesting and there should be a relevant start, middle and end. Without these attributes, just having keywords would not guarantee anything.

3 Content Marketing Assets Every Salesperson Should Keep in Their Back Pocket for 2016

Technology research firm, Gartner, Inc. defines content marketing as the process and practice of creating, curating and cultivating text, video, images, graphics, e-books, white papers and other content assets that are distributed through content management systems, media platforms, and the social graph. The very definition proves there are a wide variety of content assets available for use today.

Given the change in the way today’s buyers research and purchase products and services, the content marketing methodology enables salespeople to leverage the power of content and further reduce the painful process of cold prospecting to generate new leads.

In fact, according to Hubspot, a marketing software platform, these methods generate 3 times as many leads vs traditional outbound marketing.

Depending on which stage of the buying cycle prospects are in, salespeople are wise to have three specific content assets readily available.1. Use blog content for information seekers.Buyers who are in the awareness stage of the buying cycle are looking for solutions to a problem they have or perhaps an opportunity exists of which they can take advantage. Blog content that is both relevant and delivered in the right context increases lead generation and conversion rates significantly.

unique content

Here are a few key stats:

  • Among business that blog only once a month, 57 percent acquired a customer as a result
  • Companies that increased blog frequency from 3-5 times per month to just 6-8 times per month nearly doubled their leads
    of businesses that blog daily, 82 percent reported gaining a customer through their blog

1. Blogging is a proven content asset that works 24/7 to pull in leads who are searching for specific answers to problems they’re experiencing. A recent Demand Gen report states that about two-thirds (67%) [of buyers] rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions.

2. Salespeople that produce content or leverage existing content assets are better positioned to engage buyers earlier in the buying process. This early access will help you get a better understanding of their problems and offer specific solutions.

For those prospective buyers looking for answers, keep a few links to helpful blog content handy and available to share.

3. Keep an inventory of videos to educate and explain.Leveraging video assets can be a great way to provide educational information to buyers. While video can be useful at any stage of the buying cycle, it is extremely effective for buyers in the consideration stage of their purchase. These buyers have identified their problem and are researching methods to solve it.

Some interesting stats on video consumption provided by Forbes:

  • 78% of consumers watch online video every week
  • 75% of business executives watch work-related videos, at least weekly
  • 59% of senior executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic on the same page, they prefer to watch the video

There are a few types of video that work well for salespeople. These include explanatory videos, especially if your product requires educating the end-user. Q&A videos are useful to buyers who are considering your solution, yet have questions. Start with your most frequently asked questions first. Email videos are a great way to increase email open rates and also provide valuable content to prospects in a unique way.

The goal is to be prepared to offer up a video for prospects looking for a reason to choose you.

4. Offer case studies as endorsements.Buyers who are in the decision stage of their journey have usually narrowed down their options to a few key solution providers and are looking to make a final decision. There are several content types that salespeople could use at this stage, but case studies help influence buyers by showing how your product or service has previously solved a similar problem.

Done properly, case studies should identify customers who have successfully used your product or service. These are customers who have approved the use of their brand in your collateral; thereby providing an endorsement of your solution.

It’s a given that case studies should be made available through your website. In addition, case studies in .pdf format should be readily available for a salesperson to deliver to a potential buyer at a moments notice.

Content marketing enables salespeople to generate more leads, by meeting buyers at their immediate point of need. As a salesperson, if you haven’t adopted content marketing yet, there’s no better time than 2016.

Use these assets and abandon the frustrating, cold prospecting methods of years past. Keep a few blog posts, videos, and case studies in your back pocket and improve your sales for 2016. What content assets do you recommend for salespeople?

How do I increase my website traffic?

There are many ways you can increase traffic on your website, and in today’s post, we’re going to look at some of them. Effective guide on how to increase website traffic. Learn these proven internet marketing strategies you can use for acquiring and increasing website traffic fast.

  1. Advertise. …
  2. Get Social. …
  3. Mix It Up. …
  4. Write Irresistible Headlines. …
  5. Pay Attention to On-Page SEO. …
  6. Target Long-Tail Keywords. …
  7. Start Guest Blogging. …
  8. Invite Others to Guest Blog on Your Site.

You increase your website traffic through “traffic driving tactics.”

These tactics include:

  • Blogging — Writing blog posts (“blog articles”) that feature your target keywords is a great way to help your website rank in search engines for those keywords. These posts are also great for sharing on social media and sending out via email.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Get the technical aspects of the way your website is built in order so it’s easy for search engines like Google to crawl. This includes technical, buzzword-y things like setting up 301 redirects, optimizing meta descriptions and page titles, and fixing canonicalization errors. This also includes improving the overall usability of the site for the user.
  • Social Media Marketing — This includes participating in conversations your customers are already having on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. By posting helpful content on social media, you can help drive those social media users back to your website.
  • Email Marketing — Sending helpful, informative emails to a qualified email list will drive those people to your website to learn more information. Sending your list a quick email telling them about a new blog post on your website will drive them to your website to read a blog post they may have never known about.
  • Referral Traffic — When you create helpful content (such as blog posts, webinars, or eBooks), and you tell the world about it (via social media and email) other websites may then link to it (as a reference). You will in turn receive traffic from their websites (and links!).

These tactics, implemented successfully, can increase the quality of traffic visiting your website. And the key here is quality traffic. Not all traffic is created equal. Therefore not all traffic is quality traffic. Inbound marketing focuses on driving quality traffic only. When you drive quality traffic, the statistics are hard to ignore:

  • Companies who blog as part of an inbound marketing strategy have 55% more website traffic than those who don’t.
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not.

Implementing all these tactics together as a part of one comprehensive strategy is known as an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing strategies are focused on generating quality content that will rank high up on search engine results pages, be shared on social media, and then emailed to a dedicated email list through a trusted email service provider (ESP).

How do I improve my website’s conversion rate?

Good question. Let’s say you’re driving more traffic into your website, nice job! And let’s say your website converts at a 2% conversion rate. To get more leads out of your traffic you need to improve your conversion rate.

There are many ways to improve the conversion rate on your website, here are three examples:

1. A/B Testing

Quick: are your website visitors more likely to click red buttons or green buttons?

I bet you don’t know.

How about this one: would more website visitors fill out your “Contact Us” form if you did not ask for their phone number on it?

I bet you don’t know.

Don’t feel bad. Most businesses don’t know these things. They have not paid attention to how visitors behave on their website. But they should. By testing two different versions of the same website pages, business can learn what elements of a website will drive more leads.

Do you have forms on your website with a button that says “Submit?”

According to online lead generation research, website forms using the button text “Submit” have lower conversion rates than those who used other wording like “Contact Us Today” or “Click Here.”

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Conversions-Occurance-by-Submit

Can you believe it? By simply changing the wording on your website’s buttons you can improve your conversion rate and thus the number of leads you generate.

Additionally, adjusting certain elements such as removing the navigation bar, writing better headline copy, and adding customer reviews, a website’s conversion rates can increase over 100%. Check out these 12 case studies: 12 Surprising A/B Test Results.

A/B testing certain elements on your site will allow you to convert more of the website traffic you already have. That’s the beauty of A/B testing. It seeks to convert more of your existing traffic, therefore getting you more conversions without needing to send more traffic. Most in the inbound marketing world refer to this as conversion rate optimization.

2. Add Testimonials and Case Studies (Social Proof) To Your Website

Your website visitors want to know that you’ve been successful with your current customers or clients before they buy your product or services. By adding testimonials and case studies to your website, you show your website visitors that others have come before them, are happy with you, and trust you. It adds validation to your business.

This type of validation is known as social proof. This is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others because they believe those actions represent successful behavior. Basically, if other people are doing it, and those other people are trustworthy, then they should be doing it.

For example, if your target buyer is an HR director, they will feel more comfortable with your business after viewing testimonials and case studies featuring other HR directors they can relate to. These testimonials and case studies essentially serve as references for your business.

Here’s a case study on how one business received 64.53% more downloads by using testimonials on a landing page.

3. Add Micro-Conversions

Most B2B websites offer their visitors one opportunity to convert and it’s usually via their main “Contact Us” form. That’s typically the only form on the website.

Let’s say out of 100 website visitors, 2% of them fill out that contact form, and because that one form is the only conversion opportunity on the website it sets the conversion rate for the entire website.

But what if you added another form on your website? Let’s say this new form allows your website visitors to download a recent whitepaper, eBook, or webinar you created. And in order for your website visitors to download and view any of these items, they must first fill out a form providing their name, email, job title, and company name. Bingo, you just created a brand new conversion opportunity. A brand spanking new way to generate lead information from your website, without requiring those visitors to fill out the “Contact Us” form.

We call these things (whitepapers, eBooks, webinars) “micro-conversions,” because while they may not have filled out the main “Contact Us” form, they did fill out a form that provided your sales team with enough lead information to follow up on.

Let’s bring it back to math, you have 100 website visitors:

  • 100 website visitors x 2% Contact Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Whitepaper Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • Total: 4 Leads

Now let’s say you added all three of the new micro-conversion strategies (whitepaper, eBook, and webinar):

  • 100 website visitors x 2% Contact Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Whitepaper Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% eBook Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Webinar Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • Total: 8 Leads

There it is. By adding more opportunities on your website for visitors to convert, you generate more potential leads.

With that, here’s what your new website lead generation equation looks like:

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Conversions-Lead-Generation

Now that you understand the basics of how to get more online sales leads through your website, you’re ready to dive deeper into the world of inbound marketing.

And like all other companies, everyone depends on these leads to thrive and grow. We understand the importance of having an effective lead-generation strategy that leverages quality content and thought leadership. This is what makes us among the top inbound marketing agencies.

Contact us today to learn even more strategies on how to increase website traffic and improve conversion rate to create more leads.