Facebook? Snapchat? Twitter? Where Should I Post?

We all know that social media can be a really effective marketing tool. It gives you a direct line to your customers, allows you to build your brand and helps you direct traffic to your website.

But which social media platforms should you be using? Creating and maintaining a strong presence on all of them would take some serious manpower and it’s not always relevant to your company either. Each platform has its own demographics and its own way of working.

Here we give you a rundown of the most popular social media platforms to help you decide where you should be posting:

Facebook

Facebook has nearly 2 billion active users and is the largest of the social networks. Every business should have some kind of Facebook presence. However, as the youth turn away from a social network increasingly dominated by older generations, this isn’t the place to properly engage with under-24s. Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers, however, are amongst the 44% of users checking Facebook several times a day.

Snapchat

The majority of Snapchat users are under the age of 24, with a high proportion not yet out of high school. Content on Snapchat has to present an authentic look at your brand. Daily stories are formed from a collection of low-budget video snippets, meaning it’s a great option for brands who can’t or don’t want to spend thousands on slick video content. Working with influencers, encouraging users to create stories around a brand and offering promos codes are just some of the marketing tactics used by brands on Snapchat.

Twitter

Twitter is the most succinct of social media platforms, limiting its users to just 140 characters per post. However you can also post images, videos and links. Hashtags are a big part of the Twitter experience too. Add a few relevant hashtags to your posts to get seen across the network. Twitter has 328million monthly active users but it takes a lot of time and effort to post effectively. You need to engage with customers, retweet relevant content from across the network and become part of the Twitter community to truly reap the rewards of a presence here.

Instagram


Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) has great reach. It has 500million users, 59% of whom check Instagram every day. The platform allows users to post images and 15 second videos to their feed. Lots of these images are slick and edited to be aspirational rather than realistic. It’s the perfect place to build your brand image but, because links can’t be placed within posts, it’s not a great way to direct traffic to your website.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business oriented social networking platform and almost 80% of users are aged 35 or older. It’s a good place for B2B communications and promotions. In fact, according to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry report, LinkedIn now beats Facebook as the most important platform for B2B marketing. Brands use the platform for product launches, employee recruitment, generating leads and establishing their companies as industry thought leaders.

Pinterest


70 million people actively use Pinterest. The majority of these are women with the most popular topics including home décor, weddings, fashion and recipes. Images are posted to Pinterest. These can then be assembled into a digital noticeboard. Marketers have the added advantage of adding a Pinterest “buy button” to their posts meaning users can be directed straight to a product on your website.

Whatever your business and whoever your target market, there’s a social media platform out there to help you market your brand. Think about the demographics you want to reach out to and consider your social media objectives before choosing your social media platforms and designing your strategy.

Corinne Ledling is a businesswoman who’s very passionate about her job. She’s a Content Manager at Bizstats.co.uk and loves to share social media tips and tricks and her marketing experience.

8 Strategies to Grow Your Social Media Presence

Image Source: Pixabay Images

Social Media, as many of us know, is quickly taking the lead when it comes to the movers-and-shakers of the marketing world. Why are businesses so focused on this advertising outlet? The answer is simple: Brands provide what the customer wants. With 2.56 billion mobile social media users globally, and an additional 1 million new active mobile social users added every day, it would be foolish not to cater to the consumption habits of the market.

If done properly, digital media marketing (and more specifically, social media marketing) has a profound effect on the reach and engagement that a company or product has with its consumers. Here are eight strategies that will help you grow your presence on social media.

1. Identify your goals as a business.

If you are offering a product or service, then how can you make that attractive to your target demographic? If you are an influencer, how can you focus on making yourself an asset to companies? Staying on topic with your personal brand is important, but the real results come when you tailor your approach to the people you want to see it.

2. Interact with your followers.

If you seem distant or not as active as the customer wants you to be, it is easy for them to lose interest. The attention span required for social media is very short- so if you aren’t around when the consumer is looking for you, you may miss out on a window of opportunity.

3. Link your profile to your website, and vice-versa.

There are more tips for how to customize your business profile here as well. Business profiles also generally have a “contact”, “message”, or “email” button which you should also have set up on each of your profiles. If the viewer has to work hard to get in touch with you, they’re less likely to make a purchase or reach out for more information.

4. Produce valuable content that is aesthetically pleasing.

This is a tricky one… Yes, it is important that the content you create and share with the world is eye-catching, but it must go deeper than solely appearance. Why are users going to look at your post and say: “I want more!” rather than just continuing on with their day? If the content that you share tells a story as well as being professional and clean, then you have a recipe for success.

5. Engage with your followers.

Make sure that they feel you are active and authentic, rather than just a company looking to make a quick buck. Commenting on their posts, liking their photos, and following users interested in your brand is time consuming to say the least, but it also creates a direct relationship between you and the account you are trying to reach. And if you don’t have the time to engage with thousands of users on your own, there are tools you can utilize to delegate that process.

6. Use hashtags to broaden your media horizons.

You can also hide them within your post to keep things looking tidy. Social media, in its simplest form, is a visual marketing technique- so the way things look holds high importance- as well as being visible in as many places as possible. Hashtags allow your post to close in on people that are already searching similar products or ideas, such as #fitness or #hairstylist.

7. Post consistently and at a comfortable rate.

Posting too much can cause followers to tune you out, and posting too little could mean they miss your posts or forget about you. Depending on the type of account you are running, a maximum of twice a day is usually the sweet spot. Instagram stories are also a great tool to use when trying to up your engagement, just be sure not to overdo it!

8. Take customer service above and beyond.

Respond quickly and publicly to questions or concerns posted on your page, and make sure that whoever stumbles across your page will be impressed by the way you interact with users. Humor is a universal way to create a bond with other humans, so try to appear as genuine as possible when reaching out to consumers.

Overall, success on social media is about being attentive to the wants, needs, and likes of your audience. If you incorporate these eight strategies within your social media framework, the positive effects will be clear.

 

7 Harmful Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid on Social Media

Businesses have discovered the power of social media and have flocked to popular social networks to attract leads, pitch sales, and service customers. Despite their concentrated effort to connect with audiences via social sites, only a few businesses have thrived there.

All things considered, improper approaches to social media provide the best explanation for failure. Unlike some conventional thinking, companies cannot achieve success only by opening accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other venues. In fact, a successful social media strategy takes a lot of work.

If you want to achieve great things using social media, you must have realistic expectations and invest your time, money and effort in ways that will contribute to your goals. Additionally, you should learn to avoid making the following seven harmful mistakes on social media.

1. Making Aggressive Sales Pitches

Some businesses assume that social media exists as a channel for promoting products and pushing sales. Even though you can at times announce promotions and make special offers on your social media profiles, too much of that activity will turn off your audience and cause your reputation in the online community to fade.

As you avoid making the mistake of constant advertising, remember also to avoid bragging. Rather than constantly hyping your products and showcasing the excellence of your brand, focus on building relationships. If you make people feel important and create value for them, they can become enamored with your business and have reason to choose you over your competitors.

2. Bombarding with Messages

In the first place, you should remember the difference between creating value and becoming a nuisance. In contrast to the many social media failures of the companies who bombarded their audience with incessant messaging, try to take it easy. As much as you want to get noticed on social networks, you should always ensure to post content in moderation.

By all means, you should create valuable content that solves problems and improves lives. As you go about your work, however, make sure you always make your content interesting and diverse: from insightful articles to short and funny reminders. Always create fresh content rather than sending out repetitive messages that can quickly bore your followers.

3. Being Too Passive

Moderating your use of sales pitches and restraining the number of messages you send on social media should never keep you from having an active social presence. Such a mistake goes on display countless times when companies create a Facebook page only to leave it idle, hoping for people to discover it.

Actively engage your audience by maintaining a lively interactive presence. Such an approach requires a lot of time, so make sure you enlist the help of your staff. Also, you should respond to every comment and feel free to share fun content such as jokes and memes that your customers might enjoy.

4. Ignoring the Community

Your effort to engage social media users should help you avoid the common mistake of ignoring the community. In contrast to firms that only use social networks to publish information, your business should create a two-way street where you and your followers routinely converse and share content. When you talk to your fans and socialize, you give a human touch to your brand.

Even when businesses create meaningful dialogs on social media, they sometimes fail to leverage the full value of their audience. How to achieve the latter? For example, you can actively solicit feedback from customers to learn about their experiences. Doing so helps your brand appear transparent and sincere while supplying you with a stream of information that can help you better serve your customers.

5. Poor Customer Care
Speaking of customers, successful firms have discovered that social networks provide a fantastic channel for customer service. Never make the mistake of ignoring their comments, especially when they come from dissatisfied customers. Rather than allowing customers to feel unimportant and ignored, make sure you promptly address their concerns.

Even when people say embarrassing things about your brand, you can use the situation to display your dedication to customer satisfaction. Furthermore, as the world looks on, you will earn their trust by demonstrating that you stand behind every sale. As a matter of fact, news of your excellent service will quickly spread.

6. Acting Like a Robot

Make your brand come alive by letting your personality shine as part of your brand. People want to connect with other people on social media. Notwithstanding, many companies use a robotic tone on social networks and create a mechanical, sterile aura for their brand. You can do better! Allow yourself to use humor, emoticons and casual speech as you interact with others.

Above all, make you and your brand approachable. Do this not only by avoiding arrogance but also by making friendly gestures and sincerely communicating your feelings. Of course, you must always stay vigilant because you never want to say anything offensive or behave flippantly. In other words, stay professional, but personable at all times.

7. Lack of Grammar Skills

Repeatedly, companies that attempt to use social media hurt themselves through their writing. When you write with improper grammar and fail to spell words properly, you communicate a lack of professionalism. So spend the necessary time to proofread your content to make sure it reflects positively on your business.

Poor grammar can also cause social media failure when you produce video and graphic content. The greatest message in the world can quickly become the subject of ridicule if the messenger comes across as either ignorant or uneducated. Knowing this, make sure that everything you post to social media communicates competence, professionalism, and confidence.

Conclusion

In summary, you can use social media to grow your business, but doing so requires you to learn from the mistakes of others. By working hard and ensuring that you create both a personable and professional image for your firm, you can build profitable relationships and a stellar reputation for your brand.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Helen Eagleton, a freelance blogger from Boston, follows topics in the realm of education, technology, digital marketing, and business in general. When she’s not researching for her next article, she enjoys watching documentaries and exploring the nature. Reach her @eagleton_helen

Top 5 Tricks to Drive Web Traffic from Social Media Display

There is no denying that social media is a powerful platform. It has created waves of influence that has resonated around the world and transcended different cultures, religions, and races. No wonder big and small businesses alike are flocking to it to promote their brands.

This means you can ease up on your efforts in optimizing your web content when you have social channels to fall back on, right?

Wrong.

You can make your social channels and company website work together. More specifically, you can bring more traffic to your website through your social content.

Here are the top 5 tricks to drive web traffic from social media display:

Trick #1: Select the appropriate social channel for your business.

The different social networking sites gained their popularity through their special features. Pinterest is home to artsy users who want to display and monetize their creative side. Instagram is for aspiring photographers and makeup artists who want to showcase their aesthetic works.

Of the many social channels today, which one can highlight the strengths of your service? What social platform allows you to reach your customers more effectively?

Have a look at the demographics involved:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Ethnicity
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Educational Level
  • Marital Status

Knowing these details about your target market will help you zero in on the social channel you can leverage to drive visitors to your website.

Trick #2: Optimize content for each network differently.

All social networks are powerful but their influence have varying levels and can be harnessed through different strategies. The key to doing this is finding out the strength of each channel and optimizing it.

The photos you share on Facebook will be cropped when you share them on Instagram. After all, Instagram is famous for its square photos. Tweets are limited, so you must be concise and straightforward, but attaching an image to it may earn you extra clicks.

(Source: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/double-your-social-media-traffic/ )

By knowing the strength of the site, you can strategize your posts and lead followers to click through and view the full or extended version of your content on your website.

Trick #3: Don’t be a spammer.

Clickbait and false news – these are just two maneuvers that shady pages use to reel in visitors. If you want to build a credible image, don’t litter your followers’ feed with phony content.

Being a spammer does not exclusively mean spreading false information. You can also be a spammer if you post the same message multiple times or if you publish different content between brief intervals. When people grow weary of your posts and tag you as a spammer, you can expect to lose followers, be flagged by the network, and have zero traffic driven to your website.

Here is a guide on how often you should post according to Maximize Social Business:

(Source: https://maximizesocialbusiness.com/8-ways-get-more-website-traffic-via-social-media-22744/# )

Trick #4: Track your results.

How do you know your campaigns are working? Get concrete numbers by tracking your results. Use tools such as Google Analytics to monitor the traffic coming to your website and social media traffic.

Aside from crunching the numbers, watch out for the following findings:

  • Rise or decline in post activities
  • Negative comments or feedback
  • Decreasing interest in your content

Social media gives you honest, real-time, and sincere reviews from real people. By knowing what they have to say on your social channels, you can adjust and strategize your web content accordingly.

Trick #5: Invest on good-quality content.

You can cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s in social media marketing in driving traffic to your website. But if you deliver these visitors to substandard content, they will become nothing more than one-time visitors.

What you need is excellent content that informs and entertains people at the same time. Provide useful information but deliver it in such a way as to give your audience a good reading experience. Invest in content writers who write original, relevant, and smart articles. You can easily find one through established staffing companies like.

Instead of dividing your efforts to optimize social media and increase your web visitors, hit two birds with one stone by making one work for the other. These top 5 tricks to drive web traffic from social media display will show you how.

Catherine vanVonno, the author, is the President and Executive Director of 20Four7VA, a global Virtual Assistant (VA) Service Provider. She holds a doctorate degree in Applied Statistics, Research Design and Program Evaluation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and has over 10 years experience in facilitating evidence-based strategic planning, product development, brand management, legislative communications, and medical policy. She is married and has four children. You can reach her at communications@20four7va.com.

http://20four7va.com/ | twitter.com/20Four7VA

Essential Tips for Growing your Following on Social Media

If you want to grow your brand in the modern day, making the most out of the power of social media is the way to go. This means that the more following you on social media, the more audience you are able to reach.
There are right ways, wrong ways, and smart ways harness the power of social media. How can you grow your following on social media to build an audience of customers around your business? Here are some methods that you can use to build a following, and increase engagement for your brand.

1. Decide Which Social Networks You are Going to Target

Create an account on all the top social networks; Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It makes it easier for potential customers to find you, or talk about you, on Twitter, for example, one can easily mention you on a tweet if they are talking about your business. This makes it easier for someone following the conversation to find you.
Do your research. Find out where your target market is spending most of their time and focus more on those social networks. This will help you build your customer base and satisfy the ones you already have.

2. Optimise Your Social Media Profiles

People mainly post the same thing in the exact same way on all social media platforms, this isn’t right. All of the posts you are putting out there should be different depending on the social media platform you are using. For example, you’ll need great photos to go with an Instagram post and a short precise post for your twitter account. Everysocial media account should have a suitable delivery style.

3. Have Consistent and High-Quality Content

Creating a social media presence is more than just the number of likes a single post gets, it always comes down to content. It’s tempting to put up a post that will get you instant likes, but, it will not help in building your brand if the content doesn’t go hand in hand with your message.
If you are putting up high-quality posts on a regular basis, that is consistent with your message, you will build a fan base on social media that will continuously follow and share whatever it is you post, provided it’s relevant to your brand.
Remember, not all content will be popular but it is still important. Things like testimonials won’t get a lot of likes or shares, but they are important pieces if you want to make the market perceive you as a successful business.

4. Be Real

One of the things that make a social media page successful is if it’s real. If your fans can feel a connection to your brand, they will be more likely to follow you. Connect with your followers; reply to mentions, engage, and build relationships with your customers.

5. Link your Social Media Profiles

If you have a website or a blog, which you should, put up links to all of your social media profiles. For example, include a link to your Instagram account and website on your Facebook account. This makes it easier for someone who has found your Facebook page, to get to the Instagram page or your website and vice versa.

6. Make Use of Sponsored Posts

At a fee, some social media sites will promote a post for you. This makes it possible for your posts to reach a much larger audience, depending on your budget. This will help in making more people aware of your brand.

Who should Handle your Company’s Social Media Presence?

It does not matter what you think about it personally – social media presence has become a must for companies, no matter what industry they are in, how large they are or who their customers are. With a bit of savvy social media marketing, a company can attract new customers, help retain them, provide quick customer support and even attract top talent using various social media platforms.

In order to achieve all of this, someone has to be tasked with taking care of your corporate social media accounts and for a certain percentage of companies, this is easier said than done.

So, who should handle your company’s social media accounts?

Hiring Someone

For certain type of companies, hiring a person to handle their social media accounts is perfectly viable. Mid-sized companies can afford such a position and larger corporations can have entire teams dedicated to doing nothing but boosting their social media presence.

The main problem with this approach is that it is simply not affordable for smaller companies that are struggling paying their employees as is. Taking on another person just for social media efforts is probably the last thing they would do with extra money.

Some companies decide to go to an outside agency or a freelance social media marketer. Such agencies and freelancers usually offer certain packages and services that come as part of these packages.

While this can work perfectly well, it can still be pricy and there is always the danger that you might not end up one of their “priority clients” and thus end up with subpar service and results.

Taking on an Intern

One of the more common practices today is for companies to take on an intern who would handle their social media accounts for them.
On paper, this really does sound like a win-win situation. The intern gets the chance to put his or her foot in the door and the company does not spend money or someone else’s time (we’ll get to this later).

Unfortunately, the thing that sounds so good on paper turns out to be less-than-spectacular in the real world, at least in the majority of cases. Often times, the amazing social media skills that this intern is supposed to have cannot translate to corporate accounts in any way imaginable. God forbid you ask them to give you some numbers or tell you how they are doing in terms of KPIs you set or ROI that you expected.

It is also not unheard of to take on an intern and end up with someone who is absolutely disinterested in what they are supposed to be doing. They come up with innumerable excuses for not doing their job and they end up as glorified coffee-fetchers for the rest of the company.

Assigning it to an Existing Employee

This is an especially common solution in companies where no one really knows what they are trying to do with their social media presence. They see everyone doing it, they have a few ideas and they decide to throw something at it, so to say.

The obvious solution is to find the most social media-savvy person in the company and assign them with running a few social media accounts on various channels. Perhaps someone even volunteers, thinking that it is the same as having their own personal Twitter profile.

This is a solution that very rarely works out fine because this person is often not exactly versed in the intricacies of social media marketing. They try their best and they may come up with a few ideas, but once again, no one is tracking results, no one is measuring ROI and it all becomes an afterthought after a month or two.

The worst thing, perhaps, is that this employee starts neglecting their other tasks, since doing social media seems like an easier assignment. They think they’ll come to their actual work later, but they end up wasting time on social media efforts that do nothing.

A Company-Wide Effort

If pulled off the right way, the best approach to social media for companies that cannot afford to hire experts to do this long-term for them is to come up with a company-wide strategy that will be as comprehensive as possible.

For example, the owner or someone who is interested in these kinds of things can spend some time reading up on social media marketing and talking to people who actually do it for a living. Maybe the company can even hire a consultant for a few days, just to clear up the basics. At this stage, it is absolutely crucial that it is decided what the goals are and what the KPIs will be that have to be tracked closely.

The next step is to get the employees together and ask them if there are ways in which they would like to contribute. It is more likely than not that a few hands will go up and from there on it is just a matter of organizing everything so that everyone knows their assignments and schedules. This can be done using Basecamp or a similar Basecamp alternative, for example.

It is important to encourage input from the entire company but still have someone who will be in charge and who will monitor the results that are hopefully leading to a successful social media presence for the company.

Cheat Sheet: Your 10-Step Guide to Getting Started on Twitter 

If you didn’t set up your Twitter account in 2006, it’s easy to feel behind the times. Even if you registered “the perfect handle”, using social media correctly requires strategy. For celebrities or charismatic bloggers, it doesn’t require much for people to engage. What if you’re a niche company or have specific messaging? How do you get people to care?

1. Ask yourself first, why do you care?

Before you create any marketing approach, decide why you want to promote. Do you want to converse with your audience? Maybe you’d prefer a more diverse group of people. Or perhaps you want to collaborate with specific groups within your industry. If you have a clear sense of what you’re doing, it will show in your actions. For several years I worked in the parenting and lifestyle industry blogging for several platforms under one company. We had 10 employees. Now, I am working at an organization that has over 200! However, some of the same rules apply even though the industry and size of company are drastically different.

2. Be consistent with your messaging

With one person at the helm of your social media and marketing, your company is able to distribute messaging that is streamlined, timely, and collaborative. If you have too many cooks in the kitchen, your editorial voice is unrecognizable. You can work with different members of your team to get ideas or to boost specific events or blog posts, but one person should be constructing the messaging.

Having content like this Windows Through the Years page is a unique way to pass along information to our audience. Because it’s evergreen and interactive, we can share this several times throughout the year depending on what is happening according to our editorial calendar.

 

2. Start small but keep at it

The great thing about Twitter is that if you are active, people will start engaging with you. The entire philosophy of Twitter relies upon people working together to showcase their skills. It may seem like a small feat capturing 2 or 3 new followers or getting 1 or 2 likes. The growth will be small at first. But if you capitalize on trending hashtags or institute a theme (Like #ThursdayThoughts or #WellnessWednesday) you can create content centered around what’s already popular.

You can amend the types of trends you see and use those hashtags to make the most of your content. It’s important not to boost your material with an improper hashtag. You can get suspended or even removed from Twitter if you abuse the trends. Get clever with them, but don’t exploit them.

4. It doesn’t hurt to spend a little cash

Something to think about utilizing is Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. Try using a promoted tweet to redirect people to your blog or published content by placing $10 or $20 behind it. Set a monthly budget and track those tweets over time to see the resulting interactions. While engagement can feel like a slow process, you should see immediate results with Promoted Tweets.

5. Make it easier on yourself with automation

Automated platforms like HubSpot, HootSuite, and TweetDeck are helpful services to track and schedule messages. While you could spend hours a day constantly updating, scheduling in several messages for the week can help you stay organized. It’s important to check your feed each day to see if you’ve gotten any engagement, but you can focus on other projects and be less distracted by Twitter noise if you schedule them out.

6. Capitalize on the status of your best followers

When a verified Twitter user follows you or networks with you, don’t miss this opportunity to capitalize on their status. They might not have a ton of followers, but their verification standing is important as an influencer. That little blue check next to each name signifies expertise in a certain field. Weather they like your post, retweet it, comment, or follow you, any type of action from their end is an opening to a conversation.

7. But don’t make it awkward

Direct Messages can result in a slippery slope between dialogue and stalking. Keep in mind you can only Direct Message users whom you are following and who are following you. The point of these messages is not to harass someone- but to entice them in to furthering the exchange perhaps over email or business phone call. If you’re a business targeting an individual, the last thing you want to do is try to sell to them (either with a product or an idea) over messaging. It’s easy to forget that behind a persona is a real person—with feelings! Sarcasm or snarky remarks can be taken out of context, so remember to bear on the professional and friendly side when chatting with people. Keep messages brief, to the point, and with a positive attitude.

8. Be colorful

Posts with photos do infinitely better than those without. This is where you can get a little bit more creative if your copy isn’t super engaging. Subscriptions to photo libraries like iStock can be useful, though pricey. Plan your budget and stick to it. Original photos, while they may be trickier to acquire, are beneficial to showing your audience that you’re a real person behind whatever it is you are promoting. Use a photo (not a logo) in all of your posts.

9. Finally, don’t forget to have fun, too

Ultimately, Twitter is a helpful tool to engage with your community and industry, but at the end of the day, it’s also supposed to be fun. There are cool features like GIFs which you can use (sparingly!) in your messaging to humanize yourself and company. You can also add original images to make your posts stand out. If you’re not a graphics master, free services like Canva can help you create quick and colorful visuals.

Try one or two of these tips and see which ones work best for you. Once you get into the swing of things, experiment with other things like videos, twitter parties, and Follow Friday campaigns.

Mandy Fisher is the Digital Marketing Manager at 1E. She is a journalist, actor, and content creator. She has been seen on Broadway, in magazines like Real Simple, as well as sites like Mashable, USA Today, and Forbes. Photos and videos are all her own. She lives in New York City and drinks too much coffee.

How Companies Can Use Social Media To Attract Top Talent

Pretty much every company that is present on social media uses their presence there to achieve a few things. First and foremost, they use it to share news on their company and products/services, treating social media as another marketing channel. There are also those who provide some customer support via social media or who simply build stronger connections with their customers.

One thing that not that many companies do, and they should, is doing employer marketing online; or, in other words, attracting top talent through social media.

The Growing Importance of Employer Branding

Employer branding, in the formal sense, has been around for not that long. While companies have been looking for ways to attract the top talent in their fields since forever, it wasn’t until the 1990s that it was introduced as a concept as such – promoting a company from a standpoint of an attractive employer.

In the last ten years, it has truly become a big thing in HR and business in general, for a number of reasons. First of all, there are certain fields where there is a definite shortage of talent, especially top talent. These include app development, data science and cloud computing, just to name a few. Too many companies are struggling for experts in these fields.

Also, the employees’ loyalties have undergone a dramatic shift over the last 10 years, as is discussed very comprehensively in this article from Wharton’s website. The true cost of employee turnover has also become better appreciated by the decision-makers and all together, this has led to a certain growing importance of employer branding.

Which, as we have mentioned, can also be done on social media these days.

Where To Start?

Like always, it is best to start from the top. What this means when it comes to employer branding and social media is to sit back, take a deep breath and honestly and subjectively survey the company.

There are no two companies or business that are alike. There are no two local burger joints that are the same. There are no two B2B business software development companies that are the same. Every company has its quirks, its insecurities, its good sides and its bad sides.

This will give you an insight into what kind of an image you will be sending out to your prospective new hires. For example, if your company is not exactly the pinnacle of innovation, you will probably not be comparing it to Apple. Or, if you know that your salaries could be bigger, you will probably not advertise lavish signing bonuses and salaries that make people’s eyes water.

The next step is to come up with a strategy that you will stick to, a strategy with very clearly determined goals, avenues of pursuing those goals, fail-safes in case avenues are not working out, as well as everything team-related (someone will be working on it).

Put A Friendly Face Forward

The basis of all employer marketing is that you put a friendly face forward. No one wants to work for a gloomy, ominous company with dark offices and buttoned-up bosses, even though it might actually be the best place in the world to work.

People want bright now. They want every office to look like Google’s offices. It all has to be airy, breezy, friendly. And people should wear plaid shirts. Preferably with yellow and orange colors featuring prominently.

But all joking aside, your social media presence has to be candidate-friendly. This means only jokey Tweets, cheerful photos from the breakroom and the coolest Instagram videos you can imagine. Also, don’t forget about hashtags that show off your company knows what is going on in the world.

One word of warning, and this applies to HR in general, not just employer branding, please do not overdo the fun.

Feature Your Employees. Heavily.

Perhaps even more importantly, make sure that your present employees get every chance to shine on social media.

Whenever someone does something great, make sure all of your followers know about it. If there has been a major breakthrough, create a short video that you will post on your YouTube channel. Let your employees do a separate part of your company blog where they write about their experience with the company.

The best thing is that your employees will not mind it. People like to brag about where they work and they will be happy to show they are better off than their friends. Even if you make it part of the regular employee scheduling, they will not mind saying a good thing or two about their work and their company.

This will also increase the chances of your company story reaching new people as your employees will naturally share stuff like this. Their friends and family too.

Another way to feature your employees is to ask them to share new job ads and openings on their private social media profiles. You might even encourage them to do it with some tokens of appreciation such as a day off for the person who gets in the most candidates.

Be Proud of Your Expertise

One of the things that most attracts employees today is a company where they will be able to learn and improve their own skills. In order to do so, your company will also want to paint itself as an employer where interesting things always happen and where no day is like another.

Make sure to publish interesting and expert content from time to time and also make sure to promote this on the social media. If one of your employees gets a new degree or comes up with something on their own, promote this on social media.

There is nothing that puts people off nowadays more than the prospect of working for a company where they will only be punching the clock. Make sure that your company is as far from that as possible.

Instead of a Closing Word

To wrap things up and to provide you with a few ideas from companies that have started using social media to recruit new great talent, check out this story from Cisco or this one from Microsoft. Sure, these are some really big players with insanely well-financed HR and marketing departments, but there is plenty there that any company can apply.

AUTHOR: James D. Burbank is the editor-in-chief at BizzMarkBlog, a business-oriented blog. He is also a huge NBA fan.

5 Statements to Live By When Using Social Media to Attract New Clients

Believe it or not, you can actually get leads from social media!

5 things you should know about using social media to generate leads and attract new clients.

As a business owner, you hopefully you know the important role social media can play when it comes to marketing your business.  However, it can be hard for business owners to keep up, much less stay ahead of the curve when dealing with how social media works.  Let’s face it the average business owner is giant flail when it comes to social media.

That’s because social media changes quickly and dramatically- what’s hot this year may be the MySpace of the next.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t find clients on social media.

Follow these guidelines for attracting new clients using social media … they’re general enough so they apply to any platform, no matter how hot it may or may not be this year.

1.  Don’t be afraid to branch out. But actually do something too.

You might have a Facebook page and think you’re done with social media.  But if that’s your approach to digital marketing, you are missing out on a lot of potential clients for your business.

Since the idea is to be generating leads and finding new customers, it makes sense to branch out beyond just one social media platform.  If you’re on Facebook, consider Twitter too.

Branching out doesn’t mean just sign up, put two posts and then add the link to the list of social media icons that came with your website template.

It actually means being active, and putting some time in.

This guy's followers are not real!

This guy’s followers are not real!

2.  People judge you by your social media accounts.

Whenever I am checking out a new business I found on online, I can’t help but clicking their social media links and judging them. I’m not sure what they are trying to tell me by showing they signed up for Twitter five years ago, and tweeted a handful of times FIVE YEARS ago and have done nothing ever since. I mean it’s great you got a free link to your website but why tell people about it.

If you are serious about leveraging social media, get a few platforms and actually do something once you’re there.

Here are a few more platforms to consider:

  • Pinterest.  Pinterest, as you may well know, is picture-driven.  It’s always been a wonderful source of inspiration for home decorators and wedding planners, but did you know it’s much more than that now?  All sorts of businesses (including B2B) are making connections on Pinterest…connections that may result in new customers.
  • Instagram.  Instagram is not what many business people think.  That’s to say, it’s not just a place for 20-somethings to show off details of their lives to their friends.  Like Pinterest, Instagram is where many business connections are now being made, including B2B.  Since you can’t post links and because it’s all about the photos, there is, however, a special way to do business marketing on Instagram.
  • LinkedIn.  LinkedIn gets the short end of the stick when it comes to reputation and potential as well.  It’s much more than an online resume site now.  With the introduction of Pulse, there’s more content creation going on these days: more sharing, and more commenting than before.  Businesses are finding LinkedIn to be a very rich source of connections, leads, and potential clients.

3.  You need to be proactive.

The biggest mistake that businesses make with social media is simply signing up and doing nothing.  The internet is littered with a million examples of this.

Don’t be scared to re-post great content that’s from your competitors,  if it’s relevant and valuable to your followers (and of course you hope they do the same with your content).

4.  You need to create.

You will see a rush of engagement when you re-post something great.  YOU need to be creating something like that too.

When you post original, valuable content to your social media, that’s when you really start to see a return on investment for your efforts.  Don’t forget: your potential clients are examining your feed (that’s what you post from day to day) and when they see lots of effort put into publishing original, creative content that makes you look authoritative, caring, helpful or whatever makes you look good, then they’ll form a better opinion of your business.

They’ll also share what they like, effectively broadcasting your business message to all their followers too.

5.  It’s important not to lose sight of your brand identity.

Another mistake business owners make – and this is common even among the heavy hitters in every industry – is they lose sight of who they are the minute they log into their social media accounts.

If your business branding involves marketing your services or product to high-end clients who are willing to pay a premium for a top-notch product with customer service that goes above and beyond, you probably shouldn’t be on Instagram posting pictures from the infamous “Girls in Yoga Pants” website, or joke pictures from their sister site, “People of Walmart”.  The latest cringe worthy thing has been posting photos made with the face swapping app on a business account.

With everything you post on social media, you should have first and foremost in your brain the message you want to convey.  The best way to keep your ducks in a row on this is to clearly define your brand identity, and post it everywhere in your office so everyone keeps it in mind throughout the work day.  Everything you post must be on message, or don’t post it at all.

Where to go from here.

So in general, post lots of good (appropriate) stuff everywhere!

If you’re not sure how to proceed, study the accounts of businesses whose pages you admire and enjoy.  You may be able to develop your own blueprint from the way they manage their social media accounts.

Do you get clients from social media?  What platforms have you found to work best for your business?

How to Make Instagram Work for ANY Business [5 ways]

I have been doing a lot on Instagram this year, on both client sites and on my own. Instagram is becoming super popular and here are 5 ways to make it work for ANY business, gleaned from my experience.

Demographics matter.

This is true of all social media and you should research your target audience. But here is the thing, Instagram is exploding right now and more and more older people are on it.

The first commercial account I worked on was for extreme sports and it took off like a rocket with huge engagement and numerous leads originating from the account. The demographic was perfect, as we were selling gear for an extreme sport. Instagram is full of young guys wanting to show off how extreme they are. It was a match made in heaven.

The next account I worked on was for a high end restaurant, and it did not work as well. The engagement was lower. Although it got responses, a lot of the response was from people who were already following the client on Facebook.  They’d seen the Instagram posts on the Facebook page, then headed on over to Instagram to follow the client on that platform, too.

Therefore, the account was not finding new leads. Instead, it was engaging existing customers. It was still worth having but it was nothing like the exploding success of the first account I worked on.

Instagram is global, but you don’t have to be.

The second thing about the demographics (and this cuts both ways) is: Instagram is international. Can you sell to people everywhere? Or are you limited to the USA or even a physical location.

The bigger the area you can deliver to the better Instagram can be for you. But this shouldn’t mean you should skip Instagram if you are promoting a physical location. The one thing that offsets your limitation is the shear volume of people you can reach on there.

I have worked on several campaigns which were promoting tours on the island of Key West where I live, and the accounts produce leads. Some of those people we were reaching out to in all corners of the world would later end up on the island booking trips.

Frankly if your customers are young like under 35 then being on Instagram is pretty much required.

What is this a photo of? Someone swapped faces with their wife?

Of course the photos matter.

You have to have good photos. This seems obvious but after working with a bunch of small businesses on their Instagram accounts, I know that its not obvious to everyone. If your photos are not good the account will not grow organically.

You can have interactions with thousands of people on Instagram and you will get some followers and likes but your growth will be severely limited if your pictures are ugly. People might feel indebted to because you liked their photo so they like your crappy photo back, but they are not going to tag their friends or anything.

What you really want is to be posting photos that elicit enough response so that people tag their buddies and you can get more followers. This seems pretty easy when your account is all about showing pictures of hot girls or guys, not as easy when it’s something people don’t usually get too passionate about.

Push your phone number.

You are going to see a lot more success from Instagram if you push your phone number. Instagram doesn’t allow links anywhere except in the bio, which again is a knife that cuts both ways for me. It makes it almost impossible for spammers to stuff their feed full of affiliate links but at same time legitimate brands can’t link out to helpful URLs.

I see a lot of people directing followers to click the url in their profile  When I tried this approach, it did increase click throughs, but what really seems to work is putting your phone number right in the post. People are viewing Instagram on their phones 99% of the time and if you give them a great photo of what you are offering with your phone number next to it, there is more chance they will just call, than if you make them go to your profile and dig through whatever you are using as a website in order to email you.

Closeup portrait, smart pretty young female in gray white suit, dumbfounded flabbergasted by what she sees on cell phone, isolated indoors office background

I can’t believe this account has so many followers and its only a week old!

Don’t be fooled by fake followers.

I see a lot of accounts on Instagram that are swollen with fake followers, and they stand out like a sore thumb, at least to me. I totally see the allure of padding an account with some fake followers to get it started or just to appear a bit more important. That actually might not be a bad plan: to get a new account a few fake followers so it doesn’t look new, but to me when you have thousands of obviously fake followers it just looks bad.

The way I spot them is that the account’s engagement rate is astronomically low. Your engagement rate is a percent based on the number of followers you have vs how many engagements your posts get. There are different ways to count engagement, like some people say you should only count comments or whatever but what I am talking about is likes and comments.

When I first started working on Instagram a couple years ago, it was wide open. You put a good photo on there and if you had a decent following you could see a 10% even 20% response rate. Like for example if you had 1000 followers you would post a photo and get 100 to 200 likes and comments on it. It was insane.

Then as the ads rolled out. Now if you have a really good account and you post a great photo, you are lucky to get 10%. You more likely to get 3-5%. There are a bunch of internal changes at Instagram causing this but it’s not important for this article so let me get back to what I saying about the fake followers.

When you have an account that has 1000s of followers and then you look at its post and you see it got like 27 likes and no comments on their last post from two days ago, guess what?  They probably have fake followers, and to me I go from being jealous at their huge following to thinking they are a joker.

So essentially, how do you know if Instagram will work for you?

You don’t! There is no way to know until you get on there and try. But if you have younger customers (although not required), you can deliver what you are selling over a wide area, you can answer the phone and you can take/buy great photos, you’ve got a great chance of Instagram working for you.