Want to Be Successful in Social Media Marketing? Avoid these Crucial Mistakes

Social media has revolutionised the way we all communicate, and that includes businesses. 90% of all marketer’s report that social media has increased the exposure of their businesses.

But it isn’t enough simply to have a social media presence. Getting your digital marketing wrong can damage the credibility of your business. Here we take a look at some of the most common social media marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Posting the Same Content Across All Social Networks

Social networks are not all created equal. Each platform attracts different user demographics, and therefore the people that use them will be interested in different types of content.

  • Facebook is the most popular social network, with over 2 billion active monthly users. 83% of all online women and 75% of all online men have Facebook profiles. The platform attracts all age groups, but the majority of users are aged 18 to 49. Due to the generic nature of Facebook, users are interested in a wide variety of content. 62% of marketer’s rate Facebook as the most important social network for marketing.
  • Instagram is used almost exclusively for photo and video content, and 90% of its 700 million users are aged under 35. This makes it the ideal platform for reaching your target audience if your products have a lot of visual appeal and are aimed at younger consumers.
  • LinkedIn has 106 million monthly users. While only 31% of online men and 27% of online women use LinkedIn, it is used by 45% of people who make US$45,000 a year or more. Therefore, it is a good platform to choose for B2B marketing and sharing in-depth information that is likely to prove useful in people’s careers.
  • Twitter users are the most likely to click on links; they account for a huge 92% of all interactions with tweets.
  • YouTube is now classed as the second largest social network and only provides video content. It’s 1.5 billion active users watch 2 million videos on YouTube every single minute, so it’s the perfect platform for sharing video content, whether for business or for leisure.

It’s important to research your target market when you are devising your social media strategy. Doing so helps ensure you are using the appropriate channels and sharing the right types of content to attract potential customers. Downplaying this advice can lead to unnecessary and wasted social media effort and spending.

2. Being Too Promotional

Content marketing differs from other types of marketing in that it’s about building awareness of your brand by offering value to consumers in other ways, such as by providing them with useful information about your industry to help them make informed purchase decisions, rather than overtly promoting your own brand. Social media users are savvy consumers, and 76% of them don’t trust advertising content, viewing it as ‘very exaggerated’ or ‘somewhat exaggerated’.

Instead of advertising, social media users want to form connections with brands through meaningful, informative content. Facebook, for example, ranks posts in each user’s News Feed based on how relevant it thinks each post is likely to be for that person, so it’s important to think about what content is likely to be most useful to your target audience if you want maximum brand visibility.

Don’t make exaggerated claims or overdo the promotional language; it’s worth bearing in mind that 86% of social media users rate honesty as the behaviour they most want to see from brands online.

3. Not Interacting Enough

The whole point of social media is that it is social. Users interact with brands on social media in a similar way to how they interact with their friends; liking, sharing, commenting on content and sending direct messages. If you want to build good relationships with your followers, it’s important to reply and participate in discussions around your brand, so your customers feel they are being listened to. It’s worth remembering that being responsive is the behaviour most likely to make social media users purchase from a brand.

Quick responses are expected by social media users; 22% of Facebook users and 29% of Twitter users expect brands to respond to them within 24 hours, so it’s not enough simply to post your content and forget about it. It’s important to get into the habit of checking your social media accounts every day and taking the time to respond to comments and messages; otherwise, you can harm your brand’s reputation in terms of responsiveness and customer service.

4. Concentrating Heavily on Trending Topics

While highly topical posts can give your following a boost by going viral, it’s likely to fade quickly, along with many of the people who followed you because of it. Evergreen content; content that will still be relevant in months and years to come, is likely to keep your business prominent for longer, as social media users will keep sharing it.

Evergreen content gives you a better opportunity to let your followers know what your business is about and what it stands for and is more likely to attract loyal followers who value information that is likely to stay relevant for a long time. This builds lasting relationships with your customer base and establishes you as a trusted source of information within your industry.

5. Posting Only One Type of Content

Users like variety, and it’s important to know that different types of content appeal to different users. As such, by sticking to one type of content all the time you are restricting the audience you’re likely to appeal to. If you only ever post written content, you should consider using other formats, too. Statistics show that four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video than read text on the same topic. This is also true for 59% of executives.

A lot of users also like to feel more involved with the brands they follow. Posting interactive content can be a good way of achieving this; 53% of social media marketers now use quizzes, competitions, and interactive infographics as part of their marketing strategies.

By avoiding these common mistakes, it’s truly possible to use social media to achieve awareness for your brand and build long-lasting, trusted relationships with your followers. Set out with a clear aim of what you want to achieve, make a detailed plan, and remember to think about what your audience wants at all times.

This way, you’ll have a better chance of not only using social media to promote your business but also successfully employing digital marketing to achieve an awesome online presence.

 

This post was originally published on Smallville.com.au

Are You Using Your Social Media Weapons to Build Your Brand Presence Correctly?

These days it’s certainly impossible to ignore social media, everybody seems to be using it!

But it’s become much more than just ‘social.’ When used correctly as part of a carefully planned digital marketing strategy, it can be one of the most effective ways for building your brand presence online. Here we offer several key social media marketing tips for small- and medium-sized enterprises, enabling you to harness the true power of your social networks in order to engage your target audience and build for your business an effective and truly awesome online presence.

Social Media Marketing Explained

Marketing your brand on social media is all about creating relevant content that will engage your followers, prompting them to interact with it through things like comments, likes, and shares. Through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, you can promote your brand and what it offers, as well as build awareness and a unique online identity for your business.

Sounds easy? There’s actually a lot more to it than you might think, which is why it’s essential to access the right social media marketing tools if you want to make it work effectively for you.

1. Understand the different platforms

Each social network attracts different demographics, and users won’t be attracted to a brand or content that doesn’t seem relevant to them. Before you even get started on social media, one of the most important online profile tips is to understand your target audience so you can identify which social networks they’ll use, and tailor your content accordingly.

While Facebook is by far the most popular social network, attracting users of all ages and social groups, other channels are less diverse. Instagram, for example, appeals to the under 35 audience who like to post or view photos while LinkedIn is mainly used by business professionals.

By choosing the right social networks, you’ll be able to create digital marketing campaigns that target the right audiences; the people you want to market to the most and even potential partners that can take your business to the next level.

2. Offer something for nothing

Social media marketing differs from other forms of digital marketing in that it’s not necessarily directly promotional or sales-driven. Instead, it’s about offering them ‘something for nothing’ in the form of the content that you share. Sharing well-crafted, high-quality, useful content will establish you as an expert in your field, and build trust with your followers, which will encourage long-lasting relationships with current and even potential clients.

The more quality and value you offer in your content, the more your followers will want to share it, which means that all their contacts will become aware of your brand as well and will potentially want to follow your business themselves. This is important because social media has a significant influence on the purchasing decisions of its users. For example, in 2015, 52% of consumers were influenced by Facebook in both online and offline purchases they made.

3. Listen and interact

The whole point of social networks is that they’re about socialising. It’s not enough just to post content regularly. You need to engage with your followers in order to gauge their reactions and show them you’re interested in them as people. Read the comments they’ve written and join the discussion yourself by replying. This will make your brand seem approachable, relatable, and friendly. Remember, if your business seems intimidating or has an ‘unfriendly’ virtual persona, less people will want to interact with your brand online, which leads to lesser promotional value and potential.

Many users will ask you direct questions on social media. It’s important to respond promptly. Twitter users, for example, tend to expect a response from a brand within one hour! You should be checking your social profiles several times a day and allocating time to respond to questions and comments.

This has several other benefits for your brand. The more people interact with your content, the more other users will see it, and want to follow you themselves. In addition, the more your content is liked, commented on, or shared, the higher it will rank in search engine results. This is why one of the most basic content marketing tips is to always link your social media marketing tools back to your website to create as many potential leads as possible. Using hashtags is another popular way of starting a discussion around your brand, and these can very quickly attract large amounts of participants.

Interacting with your audience through social networks also gives you a better idea of what you’re doing right or wrong in terms of your brand and its products or services (through online feedback), giving you a heads-up on what to improve on for your business.

4. Track your results

If you’re going to use social media marketing effectively, it’s vital to track your results. Notice which of your posts are receiving the most attention, and tailor the rest of your content accordingly. It’s also worth using an analytics package to identify how users are interacting with your content, and which platforms are creating the most click throughs to your website. This way you can learn more about your target audience and adjust your social media strategy to target them more accurately.

There are several social media analytics tools available online. If you’re dead serious about using social media marketing for your business, using them is a wise choice.

An Australian Social Media Success

One example of a brand that has successfully harnessed social media is Frank Body, an Australian natural beauty brand founded by Jess Hatzis. Having launched the business with less than $10,000 and initially offering just one product, Hatzis built her brand entirely using Facebook and Instagram. By creating honest and often cheeky content, Frank Body has grown to be worth over $20 million, with customers in 149 countries.

To build a successful brand on social media, it’s not enough simply to have a presence on a few social networks. You have to be using them correctly, creating the right content, and aiming it at the right people. Getting it wrong could harm your brand, and in this day and age of digital connectivity and dependence, you really can’t afford to be left behind in the online race.


This post was originally published on Smallville.com.au

Introducing, the New and Improved (But Still Super Awesome)
Lite Social!

We’re pretty sure you’ve already heard of the saying “death and taxes are the only sure things in life,” or something to that effect. Allow us to add one more thing to the list: Innovation.

We’re not exactly trying to give a more positive twist to the aforementioned adage. Rather, we’d like to highlight that point by introducing you to the new and improved Lite Social!

Lite…what?

For the uninitiated, Lite Social is Curate Bee’s social media marketing service which helps clients gain a strong online presence via the social media. Perfect for individuals and SMEs which are just starting out with their social media efforts, it’s a great way to boost customer engagement and build brand awareness online. We’ll research the kinds of articles that fit your expertise, niche, or preferences and, using Lite Social, curate and share them via your social media profiles, from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and even Instagram. And because we want to make sure you also have control over what gets to be curated and shared, Lite Social also allows you to manage all suggested articles as well as personalise your posts.

All these work towards the goal of establishing you or your brand as a thought leader in your field through the power of social media.

We did say something about innovation, right? We want to serve you guys better so we decided to innovate and make Lite Social even more awesome than it already is!

What’s new with Lite Social?

In many ways, the new Lite Social is an entirely different beast compared to the old one. For example, there’s a new login page (and a new login URL). To make things easier for you, we’ll keep your registered email address and send you a temporary password which you can then change to the one you prefer. You’ll still be able to connect your preferred social media profiles to the new Lite Social. Don’t worry—just like before, you won’t have to share with us any of your login credentials to protect your privacy.

Then there’s the new Dashboard where you can tinker with your all-important Lite Social settings. You can also view posts and tweets shared and your audience’s comments on them via the Inbox, which also allows you to reply, repost, or retweet without the need to login to your individual social media accounts.

Through the Outbox, you’ll able to manage your content, from scheduling posts to approving articles for social media sharing. You can also create and share promotional posts, events, photos, and customised messages by clicking the Compose button—a new feature that we’re sure you will love! You could also view your reports through the Measure tab to give you a better idea of the effectiveness of your Lite Social campaigns. How’s that for convenience?

These features come together to give you a well-managed, streamlined, and more convenient way of building and strengthening your brand presence minus the hassle and stress—we’ll handle that for you!

Last but definitely not the least, for our existing clients, we left something quite important unchanged: the monthly subscription fee. All these super features for the same price! How’s that for a good deal?

Here at Curate Bee, we value innovation especially if it means being able to provide you [our clients] with better and more effective services to boost your digital marketing efforts. This is why we decided to implement these changes. In this case, change is definitely good!

Of course, this blog is basically just an overview of the new Lite Social. So, if you want to get down to the specifics, we highly recommend clicking the links below.

About Lite Social
What’s New in Lite Social?

Need more information? Shoot us an email at wecare@curatebee.com!

Need More Business Leads? Social Media to the Rescue!

Need More Business Leads? Social Media to the Rescue!

As we all know, one of the keys to business success is increasing the number of leads you’re generating. Many business owners don’t instantly think of social media as a tool for lead generation. However, when utilised strategically and correctly, it could increase the revenue of your business by as much as…

We know we have your attention now so read on to see how!

But First, What is Social Media?

We are all aware of social media, and most of us use it. It is any app, digital platform, or website that allows users to connect with other people and interact with the content other users share online. This is generally known as ‘social networking’.

Aside from being used to connect with friends, social media is increasingly being used by businesses to generate and increase audience engagement and brand awareness, as well as cultivate new leads and sell products. After all, 2.34 billion people worldwide now have at least one social media profile. That’s an audience worth tapping into, but if you want to use social media successfully to grow your business, you have to know how to do it right.

Key Advice for using Social Media to Gain More Business Leads

1. Know your target audience

Many digital marketers make the mistake of sharing the same content across a variety of social networks and online audiences. This is a mistake because each social media platform attracts a different demographic, and they interact very differently with the platforms they choose. If you want to get the most out of your social media marketing, you have to know whom you’re hoping to target and use the appropriate platforms.

Here are a few details which can help you out:

  • Facebook is the most popular social network overall, with 83% of online women and 75% of online men having Facebook profiles. The ages of Facebook users typically range from teenagers to those over 70, so it’s good for attracting a wide demographic.
  • Instagram is the fastest growing social network. It appeals more to younger people, 90% of its users are aged under 35.
  • LinkedIn is mostly used by professionals who have more spending power than those who use other social networks. As it is more about business connections rather than personal ones, it’s a primary choice for digital B2B marketing.

There’s no reason why your business shouldn’t use a variety of social media platforms, but you should make sure you research the audiences of each one first and adjust your content accordingly for maximum appeal and reach. Doing so also gives you a better idea of which social media platforms fit your marketing targets and ideals and those that don’t.

2. Post interesting and relevant content

It’s not enough just to have profiles on various social media platforms; you should also be able to build brand awareness through them. This means attracting more followers. This will start to happen organically if you share content that people are interested in – the more people ‘like’ and ‘share’ your content, the more chances their contacts become aware of your brand and be interested in it themselves. 92% of buyers trust products and services that are recommended by their friends and family. Social media works in a similar way. If someone’s friends are talking about your business, he or she is more likely to follow your brand wanting, at the very least, to know what the fuss is all about.

3. Interact with your followers

One of the main advantages of social media is that it allows your audience to engage you and your business without having to be present physically. This can work for you if you also exert effort to interact with them, doing things like taking part in discussions in the comment section of your blogs or social media pages and replying to direct messages frequently. This will make your business seem approachable, relatable, and friendly, and will make your audience feel more involved with what you do.

If you’re consistent, they’ll be more encouraged to interact with your brand on social media, increasing your chances of promoting your brand further, resulting in more leads, knowing what they like or dislike about your business (insights which you can use to improve your products, services or business processes), or even making a sale.

4. Optimise and share for mobile

There are currently 1.65 billion active mobile social media accounts, and this number is growing by a staggering 1 million per day. As such, it’s important that all your content is optimised for mobile devices. This also offers opportunities if you tend to generate a lot of local business. As your audience will be accessing their social media accounts while they’re out and about through their phones or tablets, offering special local promotions or discount codes, for example, will attract them to your business.

Sharing content that’s both mobile and desktop friendly on social media also increases your brand’s visibility, ensuring that what you put out there will be seen or heard by more people. Ignoring mobile in your social media and content efforts, however, is a big no-no. For example, a visual, ad, or graphic that renders badly on mobile will reflect negatively on your brand’s reputation, especially if it happens frequently.

5. Use video

Video is essential as part of your social media marketing strategy. It is expected to account for over 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020. Also, videos are shared much more than other types of content. Video gives you the opportunity to create narratives around your brand, engaging your audience by involving them in a story that evokes emotion, without being too promotional.

A couple of facts to convince you that video should be an integral part of your social media efforts:

  • Social media sites like Facebook give more prominence to video compared to other types of content.
  • YouTube reaches more viewers aged 18 to 49 than television, with two million videos viewed every minute!

6. Consider paid advertising

Most social media platforms now offer paid advertising, with a range of options to suit your marketing budget. Social media algorithms favour paid advertising over organic content, so your posts will be seen by a lot more people if you shell out a bit of cash. In fact, almost 60% of social media marketers believe that paid social media advertising is more effective than just having organic posts.

An Australian Social Media Success Story

The success of Pearly Whites, a popular Australian home teeth whitening brand, is attributed directly to its social media marketing strategy. 27-year-old managing director Jake Munday grew the business by 10,000% in just over a year by attracting more than three million followers on social media. He now earns around $40,000 per month.

Jake is not alone in having harnessed the huge potential of social media to make a success of his business. Social media works, and it should be an essential part of your marketing strategy if you’re serious about generating more leads and growing your business.

This post was originally published on Smallville.com.au

Small business in a niche market? How to outgun your competition in the Wild West of social media?

Small Business in a Niche Market? How to Outgun Your Competition in the Wild West of Social Media?

Being a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) can be challenging enough, but to be a gunfighter in a niche market is to climb yet another mountain of competition and potential anonymity. The savvy SME social media marketer can turn that mountain into a molehill with a careful social media strategy and clever usage of online and digital tools.

In fact, social media levels the playing field to the extent that the SME might find itself effectively armed, marketing-wise, even when face-to-face with a faster gun in the form of a bigger corporation. As such, it is best to become competent in social media marketing to have a better chance of attracting more interest and creating more buzz in a niche market.

Social media is a very wide street in a very big town. In that sense, marketing in this desert is just like the Wild West: almost anything goes, no real rules and sometimes a stampede happens. Social media marketing is a lot more fun than traditional marketing though, so enjoy pushing your brand into the hide of your competitors and showing it off to your loyal customers.

Here are a few bullets you can arm yourself with:

Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight

Be as creative as you dare. The more creative, the more unusual, the more “out there” the approach, the more viewers and followers pay attention—particularly Generation Y. They have seen it all and know it all already, so you will have to “bring it” and be bold if you expect to get them to pay attention. The Big Old Guns a.k.a. bigger companies in your field are hiring young guns doing this, too, so don’t expect them to sit by and let you take anything.

This is especially true if you’re in a niche market, which also means you might be more constrained in terms of what you can do with your social media strategies and content. Just another reason to be more creative since there’s a good chance the competition will stick to their “tried and tested” techniques, opening them up to the risk of being, well, boring.

Be Faster on the Draw

Research from Akamai and Gomez.com has shown that you have as little as two seconds to get the attention of a reader before they go somewhere else, and that includes the load time. The same report shows that the older people might wait as long as six seconds. What does this mean? Well, it just means it’s much better if you’re faster in terms of loading your social media content and getting your point across because, at least in this sense, patience is not a virtue.

Since you’re already in a niche market, you’ll be given a fewer set of eyes to attract. All the more reason to not let them ignore you and look at another company’s social media profiles—a risk which increases if you’re slower to the draw with your social media load times and campaigns.

Link Your Content to Your Other Social Profiles

Many social media platforms allow sharing to other platforms. Leverage this ability, as doing so will draw your audiences and encourage them to follow your other social media marketing attempts, giving you better odds of making a conversion (making a sale or other positive actions towards your brand or your products) occur.

Make Sure All Content is Mobile-friendly

Mobile devices are now becoming the primary platform for content viewing. Mobile usage has passed the 50% mark in the last couple of years and will likely require a little adjustment by marketers. It is crucial that this occur. Forrester Research predicts that 70% of content will be delivered to mobile devices within four years. It is already at 70% in Japan in the field of retail and consumer goods and is at 69% in Australia and New Zealand.

So, while you might be in a niche market, it’s safer to assume that this trend applies to your target market as well. Creating mobile-friendly content gives you a better chance of reaching them while they’re in transit and away from their laptops or desktop computers, increasing potential views and conversions. It’s also not enough that your content be accessible via mobile devices, they must look, at the very least, decent on them as well. Badly-rendered images and social media pages on mobile will only annoy viewers and be a negative for your online reputation.

Learn and Adjust

There are considerable benefits to being an SME walking tall on the mean, dusty streets of social media marketing. The payout can be considerable, but just like prospecting, there are risks. You will make some errors—just learn fast and recover.

Here are some of the gold nuggets you might just find:

  • Increased revenue from incremental sales made online.
  • Access to new global markets.
  • Opportunity to discover new SME partnerships and collaboration opportunities.
  • Heightened brand awareness.
  • Continual networking opens avenues to new resources.
  • Put a “fresh face” on your old company.

All the more reason to get your guns out and make social media marketing a priority. If you’re new to the scene, a bit of trial and error is expected before you reap the aforementioned rewards. Carefully study the plans that work (data analytics tools are available for this) and those that don’t. Adjust accordingly and learn from your mistakes. This is crucial for smaller businesses in a niche market since they have less viewership available to them compared to companies in more mainstream markets.

However, if you do this right and are able to adjust your social media content and strategies effectively, you’ll have a better chance of not only getting greater online visibility and brand awareness but also building a nice reputation as the company that does noteworthy social media marketing campaigns in a niche market. Your target audience already knows who you are and will anticipate what you’re up to next.

If You Feel Outgunned…

If you feel you have limited bullets and weaker guns in the Wild West of social media, don’t hesitate to call for back up. By that we mean investing in digital tools, attending seminars or hiring a third-party digital marketing agency to help you out, especially if you’re just starting out. Not only will this help you improve your strategies, you’ll also fast track the learning process.

Combined with your own trial-and-error learning and experiences, you’ll be able to improve faster and be on your way to truly knowing how to use social media marketing for driving a smaller business in a niche market to greater heights.

So don’t hesitate to contact us; we’ll help you out, partner!

This post was originally published on Smallville.com.au

Clueless About Social Media Marketing? Here’s What You Need to Know

Social media marketing is a blessing for small and medium-sized enterprises or SMEs. It is relatively easy to do and can be very inexpensive, therefore it can help level the playing field for these smaller companies in terms of marketing their brands online.

An SME can have a social media presence that is as effective as a large company’s. But what if you haven’t started yet? Don’t worry—it’s definitely not too late! Here’s everything you need to know about getting started in social media marketing for your business.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media is a sort of catch-all term for various networks that people and businesses use to communicate online. What makes it “social” is the fact that people share information with other people in their networks. If a person communicates with your company on social media, the people in that person’s network will also be able to see your social media presence.

Social media marketing is simply a way to promote your business using the same social media tools. For example, you use Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends and family. You use them in the same way to stay in touch with your customers, promote your brand, and market your products or services.

How Is Social Media Marketing Different from Other Kinds of Marketing?

The difference between social media marketing and other forms of marketing can be summed up in one word: engagement. When you take out an ad in a newspaper or magazine, you’re assuming that a potential customer will see that ad, read it, and seek out your business to make a purchase. The same goes for direct mail, TV, and even billboards. That’s a lot of assumptions!

With social media marketing, you are meeting your prospective customers where they are. They are already on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you are there too, you can get in front of them—and here’s where the magic happens. Once you get in front of them, you can engage them and get them to interact with your brand. They can watch a video about your product, participate in discussions, or view photos which they can then share with those in their networks. This in turn creates more buzz for your business. The more people talking about and sharing what you put on your social media accounts, the better your chances of reaching more people and generating more leads for your business.

Social Media Marketing by the Numbers

The number of people using social media is truly astounding. As of May 2017, Facebook—the biggest social network out there—has 1.94 billion active monthly users. That’s 1.94 billion people who use Facebook at least once every month. It also reaches every demographic, most age brackets, and different income categories. Meanwhile, there are over 5 million businesses which use Instagram to promote their wares. Instagram—or simply IG as millennials like to call it—is a photo-sharing social network, so if your products or services have any visual appeal, it will be useful if you’re on IG as well.

According to updated stats, around 95% of people aged 18-34 follow at least one brand on social media. Also, visual content (photos and videos) are 40 times more likely to be shared on social media compared to other kinds of content. In the land of the little blue bird a.k.a. Twitter, there are currently around 320 million active users worldwide. Back to Facebook, there are around 40 million active small business pages.

So what does all this tell us? Simple: Ignoring social media marketing is basically akin to hiding your brand from lots and lots of people.

Advantages of Social Media Marketing

The biggest advantage of social media marketing is its viral reach. You are engaging with your customers and they are engaging with their network. Essentially, you are turning your customers into ambassadors for your brand. Your products may never come up in face-to-face conversations between friends, but they will come up on social media and people might just share them, potentially growing your business organically.

For example, in February 2016, the total amount of views generated by Facebook videos is an astounding 199 billion. That’s just for one month—imagine if a chunk of that was generated by a video you created for your business. Impressive, yes?

Of course, it also goes without saying that you must be careful with what you post and make sure your products and services are actually good before promoting online. Because, while going viral on social media can really be a big boost for your marketing efforts, it can be destructive for your brand as well. You don’t want word to get out about a major mistake your business made or a sub-par product your company created now, do you?

Setting Yourself Apart

With all the people and businesses using social media, it can get a little crowded. Make sure you set yourself apart from the crowd by bringing your brand to the fore. Your social media accounts should have a common theme and be brand recognisable. You could adopt a social media personality that will draw positive attention to your brand and make it stand out more. Be warned though; you should be consistent with how you set up your social media profiles—confusion is never a good thing!

You could also focus on what makes your business better or your products and services unique. Building on your business’ unique selling proposition will directly communicate what you want to say to your online audience, which is probably something like, “Here we are, check out our products, and see why they’re better than the rest!”

You should also devote time to being active on social media and consistently communicate with those on your business’ social media networks. Remember: the social media world, as a whole, has a very short attention span. If you’re dormant for too long or become uninteresting, your followers will soon forget about your brand.

Getting Started

There’s a lot to learn about social media marketing, so try not to get overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time. You can start with the network you use the most—this will probably be Facebook, although it could be Twitter or even LinkedIn—only this time you must adopt a business approach. This will help familiarise yourself in terms of what needs to be done. It also pays to assess your options and answer key questions. Which social network does your target market visit the most? What kinds of content do they like? What kinds of content should I share?

Admittedly, social media marketing can be a hit-or-miss affair in the beginning but, in time, you’ll be able to get the hang of it and know which social media strategies work best for your brand. However, if you really need to jumpstart things and get useful advice and guidance on social media marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us at Curate Bee. Our busy “bees” will be hard at work in helping you build a social media presence that will do wonders for your business!

Still Don’t Have an Online Profile? Here’s Why It’s a Must for Your Business

Any business that does not yet have an online profile is perhaps not aware of the many benefits that come with it and an accompanying social media strategy. Just look at established companies—the likes of Amazon, Google, Dell, and Microsoft are using their online presence to grow and are experiencing immense success.

These companies were early adopters of the internet and established their brand profile online. They also leverage social media to its maximum, continually sharing interactive and engaging content with their customers. With these big businesses as real life examples, it goes without saying that having an online profile for a business, especially small and medium-sized enterprises or SMEs, is a step into the right direction.

But just in case you need more convincing, read on!

What is an Online Profile?

An online profile is not a single item or piece and is not in only one place, but rather is an amalgamation of pieces that together represent a business’ brand on the internet. The components that comprise an online profile are unique for each enterprise. Some businesses have only a domain and a basic non-interactive website; maybe even just single page on a shared domain. This is the minimal online profile and is likely not particularly effective in terms of marketing online. Others have built a strong presence not only through a dedicated website but also by leaving a digital footprint on social media and other online platforms.

What are the Components of an Effective Online Profile?

An effective online profile will, at the very minimum, include a complete website, with the business profile, contact information, and ideally engaging online content the company wants to share with its customers. Next the SME will want to dip their toe into the interactive social media space using the current popular platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumbler, etc.). It is wise to participate in a few of these at least, linking them where possible to have a better chance of gaining more followers and interactions.

Developing professional, high quality online content like short videos (leveraging free and paid video sites), the SME can share their content in a manner that engages. Adding further components completes the strategy, with marketing tools like email, newsletters, and a regular blog allowing the SME to tell an ongoing “story” of their business and to help drive views and clicks. With a more complete online profile containing these components, a business can more effectively represent its brand and products/services online.

5 Solid Benefits for an SME of Having an Online Profile

Many businesses are familiar with online profiles but don’t yet see how having one can be a useful tool. The competition online and offline is fierce in nearly every field. According to recent studies there are now 2.1 million small businesses in Australia alone. An online profile is another tool an SME should carry in its competitive tool belt. Below are five reasons why:

Increased sales

An online store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and requires no additional personnel to man (aside from developers on standby, unless live persons are regularly needed for a live chat with customers). This relates more to those in retail; it’s always better to have more options in terms of marketing and selling your products.

Exposure to new global markets and customers

It is now as convenient to buy a product from a large established company in the U.S. as it is to purchase from an SME online in Sydney. Many people prefer the SME for service reasons. Don’t miss that chance to build new client relationships. Having an online profile makes you more visible and easier for potential clients—even those overseas—to know more about your business and your offerings.

More effective and rapid communication with clients

Having an online profile via digital platforms gives you the speed and convenience of electronic communications and feedback, which in turn bolsters the service (and after-service) capability of your business, allowing it to respond more rapidly to clients. And we all know that happy clients are great for business, especially in terms of promotions.

Increased brand awareness

With an effective online profile, an SME will enjoy the ability to reach more clients than by word-of-mouth in the physical world. More awareness equals more brand power, which ultimately translates into more loyal customers and more sales.

A chance to compete with the big guns online

The internet levels the playing field considerably for all businesses. Online, an SME’s website, social media profile, and other components of their online profile has the same opportunity as the largest companies in the world to get the attention of a potential buyer and close that sale. As long as the online profile is executed and managed effectively, it will be able to bring in the same kind of advantages more established companies are currently getting via the internet.

Many Australian SMEs are Already Succeeding with their Online Profiles

All an interested digital marketer looking for proof needs to do is browse the web and he or she will find a plethora of real-world examples of small companies that have made a large impact using their online profile.

One nice example of an Australian SME that enjoyed the benefits of having an online profile is the company Shoes of Prey. A quick read reveals that 10 million pairs of shoes were sold on their website. It is clear from reviewing their website that the business has been working diligently on their online profile, leveraging social media and online tools like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, email, online feedback, and more.

Shoes of Prey’s success tells us that the benefits of having a strong online profile are not reserved for the big companies. Diligence, patience, proper management, and the strategic use of digital tools combined with enthusiasm for what the internet can offer ensures not only having an online profile but having one that’s effective as well.

Convinced now that having a legit online profile is beneficial for your business? If you need help to get started or to strengthen your current online profile, don’t hesitate to contact us. Curate Bee’s hardworking bees will help you use the internet to create a truly awesome and effective online presence for your business.

Why Real-time Engagement is a Top Priority for Businesses

Between 2014 and 2015, there has been a 110% increase in social media messages that require a response from a brand. As we bid goodbye to 2016 and move into 2017, this number is only going to increase even more in the coming years.

Real-time marketing hit the limelight with OREO’s 2013 Superbowl ad, and it has served as a path-breaking example in this arena. As a report by Intelligent Catalyst puts it, it seems to be time that we move further past the one-sided “push” of real-time marketing, to the more communicative “share” world of real-time engagement. It also mentions that fans on social media are looking not just for information, but also for answers, and that discussion and validation are other factors to keep them engaged.

Here are some strategies for businesses to engage effectively with fans in real-time:

Listening to the Customer

In harnessing the power of social media, most brands learn early on about the significance of listening to the comments and critiques from a fan base. The real power of Big Data lies in leveraging it to track and gauge what your followers are saying, and responding to these conversations suitably, maybe even proactively when possible.

Committing to a Focused Strategy

Real-time engagement is a strategy that the entire brand must commit to, and not the sole responsibility of the social media marketing team. Once this focus is achieved, the engagement comes through as genuine and would be recognised as such by the customers in the company’s fan base.  The Hertz case study is an instance of how a cross-company initiative for social engagement provided great results. Their belief that “Social media doesn’t stop, neither does travel, and neither should we” has inspired them to proactively reach out to customers, and blur the lines between service, marketing, and sales.

Choosing the Right Channel for Your Campaigns

It is important to choose your social channels wisely. While a cross-channel strategy works well for some brands or specific campaigns, other brands might have a much larger fan base on a single outlet like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. In such cases, it makes sense to focus your energy and investments on communicating with an existing fan base.

What to Watch Out for…

In the enthusiasm of engaging with fans and thinking up real-time engagement strategies, it is important to remember a few things:

  • Build a good fan base before releasing an important campaign. This might involve listening rather than broadcasting for a period of time, but it will be worth it in the long-term.
  • Do not focus only on trending topics and hashtags, but instead watch for the pulse of the customer and respond accordingly.
  • It is important to be factually correct and do research since it is difficult to move back from gaffes on social media, like the “giraffes in Ghana” example quoted by Steve Olenski in this Forbes article.
  • Remember that not all events are appropriate for brand engagement, and your sharing on social media must never be indiscriminate and just for the sake of grabbing eyeballs. This could tarnish your brand image in the mind of your customers and fan base. Take the example of a firearms brand like Beretta tweeting about 9/11, that just ended up sounding shallow and insincere.

Social media marketing remains a key factor that organisations must focus on, and real-time engagement is the new face of it. If a brand stays connected and listens to its customers, it is possible not just to expand your fan base, but to meaningfully engage with them as well. One must remember that although growing your fan base is important, maintaining your fan base is equally important. Proper engagement will help your brand to sustain its current fan base.

Leveling up the customer service experience with Facebook chatbots

Facebook has just made it even easier for its 900 million consumer and business users to connect with each other. Currently, consumers rely on Facebook Pages to learn updates and get in touch with their favorite brands, an opportunity that Facebook saw to introduce an easier way for both sides to interact. And so far, businesses have flocked to try out this latest offering.

The latest from Facebook comes in the form of bots, confirming TechCrunch’s scoop earlier this year that Facebook’s Messenger team has indeed been working to create programs of automated messages. Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook Messenger’s head of product, discussed during one of his interviews that the current state of communication between businesses and consumers online are seemingly highly robotic and the chatbots role is to improve that connection. Before, when chatting with a bot, you would simply be asked basic information whereas now you get more customized messages to help address your need.

Taking the Leap

Among the many businesses that have taken a shot at using Messenger’s latest platform is Dutch airline KLM who soon plans to allow customers to obtain their boarding pass directly through the app. Uber, on the other hand, has already gotten an early start with the service, now allowing customers to order rides via the app, adding greater convenience to its service offering.

An estimated 5,000 Shopify merchants are also distributing order confirmation and shipping alerts using Messenger’s platform. This only goes to show how e-commerce companies are eager to further engage Facebook’s almost one billion users.

What chatbots can do to level up the customer service experience

Using the platform’s new Send/Receive API, chatbots are able to send structured messages that include images, links and even call-to-action buttons. This means people can now perform tasks like make restaurant reservations, purchase tickets and even send flowers to loved ones all on one platform via means of messaging. There will be no payments allowed as of now though for fear of possible hacks and security breaches.

Businesses would also be able to send out sponsored messages ads to people who have started a conversation with their bot. Advertisers have an option of promoting the ‘click to message’ feature on Facebook’s newsfeed to attract target consumers to engage in a conversation with their bot.

Consumers need not worry about the chatbots getting too spammy as just like with ordinary chats with friends, there is also an option to silence notifications from the bot.

Chatbot Analytics on the Way

Alongside the chat feature, Facebook also introduced analytics to see how customers actually respond and engage with these chatbots. Given that the service is fairly new, such insights will help Facebook to continually improve its service and give the best online-customer service experience.

Chatbot analytics will also help programmers see the messages that most people find engaging or which call to action or messaging schedules come across as unappealing. This way, it’s win-win for both consumers and businesses.

The introduction of chatbots has led to many financial experts see Facebook potentially doubling up its revenues in a few years, if it can successfully bridge customers and advertisers using this app. This could lead to Facebook domineering the online market world and changing the way that many businesses manage their customers.

My first 5 questions about social media marketing

“I’ve heard so much about social media marketing, but I don’t really know what it means or what I should do about it.”

When being introduced to the world of social media for the first time, it isn’t unreasonable to feel overwhelmed and confused at where to start. But in today’s world where so many of us have our faces buried deep into our smartphones during our commute and open Facebook in the morning like previous generations opened the newspaper, it is safe to say that social media marketing is indeed ingrained in our day to day lives. We’re either using it for our own businesses or are being influenced by it, whether you know it or not. It is practically unheard of to not have an online presence today but for smaller or local businesses that aren’t up to date yet, knowing where to start can be the tricky bit. So here are my first questions when approaching the subject.

1) What is Social Media Marketing?

Simply defined, it’s marketing where you gain traffic and attention to your website through social media tools and platforms. What’s more important for you to know is that social media marketing, or SMM, has transformed the way that consumers and brands communicate, allowing direct conversations between the two.

With so much choice on the market, customers need reassurance that what they’re buying into is the best possible choice for them. Using social media is an easy way to achieve this because people have always relied heavily on word of mouth and reviews and will continue to do so. This is where platforms like Facebook are perfect for this. If you’re posting something people find interesting, the content will be shared, friends will be tagged or comments will be made, which in turn appears on other people’s newsfeeds. Your brand name becomes increasingly familiar so people trust it and the product/service being offered. This results in more website traffic and attention generation for your brand.

2) How could it be beneficial to my business?

The main benefit to be involved in SMM is to increase brand awareness at little or no cost. We just have to look at the statistics to see that it’s crucial in today’s world to build an online presence and create relationships with your target market. 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites and the number of worldwide social media users is projected to grow from 2.1 billion in 2015 to 2.5 billion by 2018. According to Search Engine Journal, marketers saw an increase of 74% in website traffic after devoting just 6 hours per week in social media. You establish yourself on your chosen channel and start to spread awareness of your brand but it doesn’t stop there. Social media generates leads too! Shifting your Page to a lead generation tool will impact the type of content you post and what kind of ads you run. By using information from your audience, you can then figure out how to attract them into your sales funnel and eventually turn them into paying customers.

3) What is the most effective platform for me?

The answer to this question depends on a number of things;

  • Where is my audience’s attention focused?
  • What type of content am I sharing?
  • How much do I intend to post?
  • How do I interact with customers?

Find out the best way to communicate with your target audience by knowing where they spend the majority of their time. The obvious choice of social media to begin with would be Facebook. It continues to be the platform with the most amount of users and is great for visual advertising. The downside is it’s easy to overload customers with information as people generally use these types of sites socially and don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements.

Once you’ve built up a following, you will need to keep them engaged by figuring out where you fit into their content viewing. For more frequent postings and faster interaction with customers, Twitter is the tool for the job. LinkedIn is clearly the place for professionals, businesses and recruiters. If you’re involved in a visual based industry like food, fashion or lifestyle, then Instagram is a must. Of course it could be beneficial to your business to use multiple platforms but it’s most important to first identify how to use them in different ways and whether these tools are relevant to your business and target audience.

4) Is maintaining a social media presence time consuming?

It doesn’t have to be! Once you know where you’re focusing your efforts and what content you’re sharing, there are a variety of tools available to schedule posts to be sent out throughout the day. With enough planning, content can be made ready and set to go weeks before it goes live. There are companies available to you that make your social media marketing a breeze. From managing company posts, blog writing to web hosting and software updates, these are marketing needs that an external agency can help cover that allows you to focus on your business whilst still reaching out and having your content viewed and shared.

5) How do I know we’re reaching our target market?

Many of the social media sites have native analytic tools that help you monitor which of your posts invite the most clicks and which get shared more than others. For example, Twitter’s ‘Tweet activity dashboard’ has in-depth metrics for users individual tweets and audience insights where you can actually track your follower growth over time see their top interests and discover their demographics. This data is essential for micro targeted campaigns. It will give you a better insight as to who your audience is, help you evolve the campaign and be posting content aimed at these followers. You can get other information such as what time your customers are browsing, allowing you to utilize those periods. The results you will get in sharing your content will see you gaining in earned media rather than paid media.

In researching the answers to all of my questions it became clear that creating a presence for your brand on social media is essential at this point in time and looks likely to be the case for a while. Figuring out how to use everything to get the optimum results is the key here and remember that it doesn’t have to be an effortful task. Using the tools available to you, you should be able to know your audience and from there it’s up to you to share relevant and interesting posts to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds. This will generate leads and your business will grow.

This is just the surface of SMM but the information is enough for you to begin to explore this avenue, to grab the attention of your future customers and start valuable conversations with them. Remember that social media gives you the opportunity to create more of a personal connection with your audience on the digital landscape – and there’s no better time than the present to get started.

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This blog piece was written by Curate Bee’s new bee member, Charlie Champ. Stepping into the world of digital marketing for the first time, Charlie has been introduced to new perspectives and has since taken quite a keen interest to the subject. This piece was inspired by Charlie’s first 5 questions she had when she first joined the team and is probably what many are thinking when they are starting out with social media marketing.

Got any comments or questions? Let Charlie know below!