Up Periscope

Methods and Resources to Promote Social Media

Social Sonar - Friday, December 07, 2012

The best way to get more "likes" on Facebook and followers on Twitter is to let your customers know about your sites. Below are some business cards and flyers with default text you can edit and order or print out. We recommend ordering from OvernightPrints.com. They are very reasonably-priced and high quality. We actually use them for our own business cards.

To promote Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Google Places:

  • Add Facebook and Twitter icons to your website in a prominent place, usually the top right.
  • Add your Facebook and Twitter links on business cards, invoices, flyers, ads, and email signatures.
  • Create a business card (like the one below) with your profile addresses. 
  • Post a small flyer in your window and on your counter. We made ours a double. Just print it on glossy paper and cut it into two halves.

To encourage signups for your email newsletter:

  • Keep an iPad or laptop at the front so people can sign up for your email newsletter.
  • If you don't have an extra laptop, but your database allows you to enter email addresses, your staff should ask customers as they are paying if they would like to be added to your email list in order to receive discounts and the latest news. This is the safest method and saves the most time, since you will be able to export these emails to your email newsletter software later. 
  • If your current database does not allow you to enter email addresses and export them, print out a form (like the one below) you can put on your front counter in order to collect email addresses. To better protect your clients' personal information, your staff should keep the form on a clipboard behind the front desk and only present it to a client after they have agreed to sign up.
Business Card FrontBusiness Card Front
Adobe Illustrator CS4
Business Card BackBusiness Card Back
Adobe Illustrator CS4
Half Sheet Flyer Promoting Facebook and TwitterHalf Sheet Flyer Promoting Facebook and Twitter
Adobe Illustrator CS4
Newsletter Signup SheetNewsletter Signup Sheet
Microsoft Word 2008

3 Easy Ways to Increase Social Awareness with On-Site Tactics

Social Sonar - Monday, October 29, 2012

Foursquare Window ClingA picture is worth a thousand words, and companies like Nike and McDonald's have created images that connect consumers to their brand. The same can be said for social media giants like Twitter and Facebook. We know that a blue bird is Twitter. The letters "in" are part of a LinkedIn logo. The difference between Nike and Facebook is easy to see. Facebook wants to you to create awareness of your brand by directing consumers to your page. As a small business you can create a page, but how will consumers know that the page even exist?

Daily Contests.

You've seen it before, "Follow us on Facebook for a chance to win". Giveaways don't need to be costly, and they can provide a fun and easy way to reward customers while increasing your reach. Create a sign and post it in your store. You can purchase items in bulk custom-made with your company's logo. For instance, you can give away a canvas shopping bag with your logo, add a few of your store items, and begin to communicate with your loyal consumers. Pick something useful and related to your business for even more impact.

Business Cards.

Adding your social media logos to your business cards helps drive traffic and awareness. Not only will customers have your card with your website to check business hours, they now know where to look for you on social media sites.

Window Decals.

Adding window badges lets in-store consumers and passing traffic know your business is accessible online. Social Media junkies love to unlock specials and obtain badges from sites like Foursquare. Items like window decals can be relatively inexpensive with some major return on investment.

These are simple and effective ways to create awareness of your company's social media presence. What tactics have you had success with in the past?

7 Reasons to Outsource Your Social Media Management

Social Sonar - Friday, October 12, 2012

1. It's Cheaper.

Using a low cost solution is far cheaper than an agency and frees up employee time to grow your business in other ways.

2. It's Safer.

There is always going to be a flow of feedback, and whether it's positive or negative, it's nice to have someone respond who is one step removed and skilled in damage control.

Business Owner Relaxing with Coffee

Relax. A trained professional has your social media under control.

3. It's Always on.

Your employees will love you if someone else is watching Facebook and Twitter 24/7, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

4. It Allows Focus.

Paying someone to cover the basics of writing and responding frees up your time and expertise to do bigger marketing pushes, like sweepstakes and videos.

5. It's More Effective.

People who craft content for social media know how to word posts to increase engagement and maximize responses, something that takes time and experience to learn.

6. It's Up to Date.

Facebook and Twitter are constantly changing. Someone who spends all day every day in those channels is on top of the latest trends and will adjust your program accordingly.

7. It Buys Peace of Mind.

You can sleep well at night knowing someone has Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp under control.

Ménage à Trois: A Marketing Love Story

Social Sonar - Monday, October 08, 2012

Ménage à Trois translates to "Household of three". Here at Social Sonar, we often talk about the Virtuous Cycle, the three services that complement and feed each other seamlessly to create a cohesive marketing program and serve as the basis for all other efforts. Combining services does more than triple your reach; it has a multiplying effect.

Virtuous Cycle of Marketing

1. Blogging

Maintaining a blog is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your business. Not only does a blog educate your customers and demonstrate your expertise, it also greatly improves your search engine ranking. Every blog post increases the number of keywords and pages on your site, so search engines will rank your url more highly than other websites with less information.

Having a more highly-ranked site ensures more traffic to your blog, which leads to more people signing up for email newsletters, and more people liking your Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you run any Google AdWords campaigns, you can actually pay less and be ranked higher than less informative sites.

Blog posts also provide you with unique content to promote in your Facebook and Twitter messages, as well as your email newsletter. You can even run targeted marketing campaigns linking to specific blog posts, which are easier to set up than landing pages.

2. Social Media

Updating Facebook and Twitter pages shows customers your business is healthy, and you are keeping up with the times. Rather than expecting people to visit your website, you are meeting them where they already hang out and making it easy for them to interact with your business or check your hours.

Social media is an ideal tool to drive customers to your website when you need them to take an action. For example, you can promote your recent blog post on Facebook and Twitter. People click the link to visit your blog and spend time on your site, where you can convince them to make an appointment or call with questions.

You can even run specials on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Post a unique coupon code and send people to your website to make the purchase. You get to keep more money than if you partnered with a deal site like Groupon or Living Social.

Tell other fans on your Facebook and Twitter pages about your positive Yelp reviews, and encourage them to review you. You can even link directly to the positive review!

3. Email Marketing

Gaining the trust to receive an email address is one of the most powerful marketing relationships you can build. Make sure you always send relevant content so recipients are less likely to unsubscribe.

Blog posts are ideal for ensuring your emails are always interesting and informative. They enable you to take a "Something for Everyone" approach, as we mentioned in our blog post What Saturday Night Live Teaches Us About Email Marketing.

Facebook and Twitter are great tools to promote signing up for your email newsletters. People who sign up to receive your emails are more likely to make a purchase than someone who has only liked you on Facebook or followed you on Twitter.

This recent article from TIME states, "Forty-eight percent of consumers reported that social media posts are a great way to discover new products, brands, trends, or retailers, but less than 1% of transactions could be traced back to trackable social links... For repeat shoppers, 30% of online purchases begin with an e-mail from the retailer."

Our complete package offers everything you need for the basis of a healthy marketing program: Blogging, Social Media, and Email Marketing. Give us a call at 1-866-843-4490 or send an email to service@socialsonar.com to find out how our customized automated solution can work for your business.

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform

Social Sonar - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It might feel like there are far too many social media platforms in the virtual world.  Here's a list of the top websites and why they might benefit you.

FACEBOOK  

Facebook is approaching 1 billion users (although that number was recently challenged due to the number of fake and/or inactive profiles).  Those with a Facebook profile generally leave their browser open for many hours a day, but most are there to connect with friends and socialize.  With so many users, this platform can be helpful in both B2B and B2C marketing.  Make sure you understand the difference between profiles, fan pages and groups.  

TWITTER  

Twitter receives approximately 144 million unique visitors each month.  Reportedly, Twitter users are multi-taskers who are easily distracted.  This platform is more open, which can be overwhelming but useful when searching keywords.  Hashtags can help you be part of a larger conversation about topics.   

GOOGLE+  

Google+ will reportedly have 400 million users by the end of 2012.  Sixty percent of their users are web developers or software engineers.  Seventy-five to 85% are men, and the most popular age range is 25-34.  Google+ is definitely rising in the ranks and may certainly take over the top spot someday if Facebook continues to frustrate users with format changes.

LINKEDIN  

LinkedIn has over 100 million users, the majority of which are there for professional reasons.  Over one million are high-ranking executives with decision making authority.  LinkedIn is best used for B2B marketing.  

REDDIT  

Reddit receives millions of visitors.  It is a social site that allows users to submit links, and then allows other users to vote those submissions "up" or "down," so that popular posts are more easily found.  The site can be useful to help create viral ad campaigns and cause awareness.  

STUMBLEUPON  

StumbleUpon calls itself a "discovery engine" that finds web content for its users.  It recently surpassed Facebook as the highest traffic referrer of any website.  To catch the StumbleUpon user's attention, use flashy photos and catchy headlines.   

YOUTUBE  

YouTube reportedly has a brand value of $18.099 billion.  As the internet replaces the yellow pages, television and radio in the advertising department, YouTube can provide you with a format for releasing visual content.   

PINTEREST  

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard.  It relies heavily upon photos and videos, which are the most popular posts for business fan pages on Facebook.  Women between the ages of 25 and 44 make up 59% of its membership.    

TUMBLR  

Tumblr is a very simple blog site and, like Pinterest, is photo/image-based (well over half of the content uploaded are images).  Tumblr offers seven options for posting content: Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio, Video.  Users can then "like" your post or "re-blog" it.  Tumblr had over 15 billion page views in January 2012.

The top two social networking sites remain Facebook and Twitter.  However, there are many other sites out there.  Ask your customers where they spend their time and consider spending some time there yourself.  Which sites do you use to promote your business?

What Is SEO And How Do You Get It?

Social Sonar - Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Search Engine Optimization. SEO. You may have heard those "buzz letters," but what do they mean? SEO "is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural," or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic"), search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users."  (Via Wikipedia.) 

Basically, SEO is what helps people find you faster. How do you raise your SEO and help your customers find you in a sea of competitors? Some of it is simple -- things you may already doing:

  • Add a blog to your website
  • Add Google Analytics to every page of your website
  • Don't use excessive code
  • Make every single page unique
  • Use meta tags
  • Don't use repetitive wording
  • Include footer links on every page
  • Create separate pages for each keyword
  • Use keyword rich title tags on each page of your website. 

However, recently it was revealed that Google's new algorithms also include social media in the SEO-raising criteria. Updates can also determine when websites are trying to trick the algorithms into raising their ranking. Therefore, you not only need a great website, you need to be a social media conversationalist.

What else should you be doing to stay relevant in the online world? We hate to sound like a broken record, but...

Maintain your Facebook page: Post interesting content (photos, links, etc.) and respond to questions or comments. It is truly important to have a conversation on Facebook. 

Share tweets about your industry, not just your brand. And share interesting links and information so that others will be compelled to re-tweet and respond to your posts.

Upload videos to YouTube (which is owned by Google). Include a link to your website somewhere in the description. An interesting video can go viral and give your brand a boost. The goal is to create content that others want to share.

If you are on Pinterest, pin or re-pin interesting visuals. Don't just pin photos with links back to your website.

On LinkedIn, you should join groups and participate in conversations: answer questions and post your company updates. Although it doesn't necessarily raise your SEO, it contributes to brand recognition. 

Since Google obviously owns Google+, it is certainly a place that you may want to consider spending time if you are looking to raise SEO. It may not weigh heavily now, but as Google+ gains momentum, it may matter more in the future for those trying to raise awareness of their brand online.

As you work to build your brand, your ranking in any search engine should organically rise as well. Which sites are you using to build your brand and optimize your search engine ranking?

 

Attracting Customers With Twitter, Part 3

Social Sonar - Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Last week, in Part 2 of our series, Attracting Customers With Twitter, we summarized some tips for optimizing the time you spend on Twitter.  This week, we finish summarizing HubSpot's report, Learn How to Attract Customers with Twitter, by giving you six ideas to jump start your lead generation strategy (i.e., how to start actually making money). 

Idea 1:  Tweet Offers

Don't overuse this idea and cause followers to accuse you of spamming them, but sharing your offers is the "simplest form of lead generation."

Idea 2:  Connect Your Blog To Your Twitter Feed

Publishing your blog posts to your Twitter feed is an indirect but effective way to potentially attract new clients.

Idea 3:  Respond With Landing Pages

If a follower asks you a question, often the best way to answer is with a link to a landing page on your website.  

Idea 4:  Hashtags

Twitter uses hashtags to track trending topics.  Adding the proper hashtags to your tweets can ensure that your message is reaching a larger audience. 

Idea 5:  Build Reach

Spend time building a quality following.  There is no point to all of the work you are putting into social media if you are not reaching the right audience.

Idea 6:  Twitter Chat

Twitter chats are created by using hashtags.  It allows many users, whether connected or not, to participate in a conversation on a given topic.  

Now that you have followed all of these steps, how do you measure your return on investment (ROI) on Twitter?  

Although Twitter doesn't offer analytic tools, if you are linking your website to many of your posts, you should be able to track clicks in other ways.  Here are HubSpot's suggestions for tracking ROI:

1.    Start using an analytics tool, such as Google Analytics.

2.    Use a tracking token to help track links that may have been shared by a third-party Twitter app such as TweetDeck. 

3.    Track metrics that actually matter, such as follower month-to-month growth and visitor to lead ratio.  

4.    Set up a tracking system to follow up leads.

HubSpot also gives you four additional tools to help track your Twitter engagement: TwitterCounter (to track follower growth), Twitter's advanced search (to find information by content, users or location), hashtags (to track marketing campaigns), and bit.ly (to help track and analyze clicks). 

Hopefully you now have the tools to start using Twitter to generate leads and actually make money for your company.  Tell us if you have implemented any of these tips and tricks for your business' Twitter account.  We love hearing success stories!

Attracting Customers With Twitter, Part 2

Social Sonar - Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Last week, in Part 1 of our series, Attracting Customers with Twitter, we discussed optimizing your brand and reach using Twitter.  Today, we continue discussing HubSpot's report, "Learn How to Attract Customers with Twitter," by summarizing their suggestions for proper business etiquette for businesses.  
Here are some tips to cut down on the time you spend monitoring Twitter comments:

Tip 1: Reply When Necessary

Although many Twitter users feel the need to reply to every direct tweet with a "thank you," it is not necessary.  You should, however, always reply to questions and negative comments.  You personally may not know the answer to every question asked of your company, but hopefully someone in your company is able to answer.  Do your best to find an answer and reply.  Sixty-four percent of users are more likely to purchase from businesses that answer their questions on Twitter. 

Tip 2:  Follow Back To Allow Direct Messaging (DM)

If you would like to interact directly with your followers via private messages, you will need to follow them.  A person cannot send a message to any user that does not follow them.  Many people will try to ask questions first via direct message. 

Tip 3:  Place "@Reply" In Front Of Tweet

Twitter differentiates between a "reply" and a "mention" based on where you out the Twitter handle.  If you place it at the beginning of your tweet, Twitter considers it a reply.  However, if it is placed elsewhere in the message, it is considered a mention.  A reply tweet only appears on your profile page and the feeds of people who follow both users.  If you would like your tweet to seen by more people, place the Twitter handle somewhere other than the front of the message. 

Tip 4:  Schedule, Then Monitor

There are multiple social media programs to help you schedule regular Twitter posts.  If you don't want to log in on a daily basis to post content, finding the program that best fits your business is important.  Don't forget to monitor any replies or questions that might require a response from you, though. 

Here are a few tips to keep you from getting lost in the Twitterverse:

Myth 1:  Longer Membership > Shorter Membership

It does not matter how long you have been on Twitter.  As long as your content has value, and is not just spam about your company and product, users will follow you. 

Myth 2:  Tweeting Every Second > 15-25 Tweets Per Day

Although Tweets can quickly slip off of some users' feeds, posting too often can irritate your followers.  HubSpot's data shows that "15-25 tweets per day is the 'sweet spot' for increasing following." 

Myth 3:  Following Industry Leaders > Following Customers

You should follow industry leaders AND customers.  Many businesses don't follow customers or potential customers.  Social media should be a two way street. 

Next week, we will tie up this series by discussing ideas to jump start lead generation using Twitter.  For now, tell us how you've used some of these strategies to secure your place in the Twitterverse.

 

Attracting Customers With Twitter, Part 1

Social Sonar - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

HubSpot has released another great e-book about social media marketing.  In "Learn How to Attract Customers with Twitter," HubSpot describes how to optimize your Twitter presence to generate leads and sales.  

As we stated in our previous post about social media sites, in September 2011, Twitter received 144 million unique visitors.  All reports point to that number growing even larger each month in the last year.  Twitter looks like a good place to market your business. 

Optimize The Branding Of Your Twitter Profile

In 2011, Twitter announced they would offer official brand pages.  Larger companies like American Express, Coca-Cola and Chevrolet were launch partners and the first to test out the pages.  They allow "Call-To-Action" banners, which enables a business to add a header underneath it's bio.  They also allow featured tweets so that you can highlight an important message at the top of your feed, and a custom background (which you would most likely create using your company logo).  

Six Steps To Optimize Twitter For Search

HubSpot included six tips for helping to raise your SEO. 

1.    Make Twitter Handles Spam-Free.  Many spammers use names like @Name546789.  Google's algorithm often disregards such user names.  Your company name is obviously your best choice.

2.    Include Keywords in Bio.  While you don't want to fill the entire 160 characters allowed in your bio with hashtags and industry keywords, you will want to include enough information to accurately reflect your business and help you improve search visibility.  

3.    Build Your Reach.  You will want to build a high-quality following.  Google and Bing said their algorithms check the "author quality" of every user tweeting content.  Therefore, #TeamFollowBack may not be your best plan of action for gaining followers. 

4.    Create a Special Subset of Keywords.  Using specialized keywords and phrases in your tweets can help raise your SEO. 

5.    Keep Tweet Length in RT Safe Zone.  You are allowed to tweet 160 characters.  However, if you want any re-tweets to have room for your company name to remain in them, you should try to plan your tweets to be somewhere in the 120-130 character range.  Data shows that posts that length have the highest clickthrough rates.  

6.    Create Your Own Inbound Links.  In our last post, we described how to create inbound links.  Re-tweeting is the Twitter equivalent of an inbound link.  Post content that causes influencers to re-tweet and share your message.

Next week, we will continue our adventures in Twitter-land by discussing etiquette for businesses.  Until then, tell us how you have used the tips above to improve your visibility on Twitter. 

The Social Media Data Stacks

Social Sonar - Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hubspot recently sponsored a report by Watershed Publishing's Data Insights entitled, "The Social Media Data Stacks," which was filled with charts for business marketers.  We have gathered some of the most interesting findings here. 

They start their report by stating these statistics:

~ Social media site users spend an average of 5.4 hours per month on networking sites.

~ Facebook attracts 734.2 million unique visitors each month.

~ Half of TV viewers tweet about TV shows.

As we already know, Facebook is King.  According to The Nielsen Company, Internet users spend 53.5 BILLION minutes on Facebook each month.  The second place site is Yahoo! with "only" 17.2 billion minutes being spent there.  Google comes in at third place with 12.5 billion minutes.  

When narrowing down to only social networking/blogging sites, second place goes to Blogger, with users spending "only" 724 million minutes there on a monthly basis (remember that we are comparing this to Facebook users logging almost 53 billion minutes each month).  Tumblr comes in third with 624 million minutes.  The top five is rounded out by Twitter (535 million minutes) and LinkedIn (326 million minutes).  

Globally, Facebook and Twitter are the top two sites attracting visitors.  According to a September 2011 report, Facebook receives 734 million unique visitors each month, which is an increase of 33% from the the previous year.  Twitter receives 144 million.  In the US, there are 140 million visitors to Facebook each month.  Blogger comes in second with 50 million visitors and Twitter is third with 24 million visitors. 

Interestingly enough, despite the large number of users visiting Facebook, they do not win in the customer satisfaction department.  Based on ACSI / Foresee Results' American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook is the lowest-scoring site in the social media category, as well as of any of the other companies measured.  Google is one of the highest-scoring companies.  

Google+ has long been questioned as a potential player in the social media realm.  Even with constant negative articles about how Google+ will fail, recent reports show that they are, in fact, nowhere near failure.  Experian Hitwise reports that Google+ recently went from a ranking of 54th most visited site in the social networking category to 8th in only a week.  

You might be more concerned with the numbers on your Facebook Insights than all these statistics.  You want to know that the time you personally spend connecting with customers on social media sites is paying off.  In a future post, we will break down how consumers spend their social media time and how best to capture their attention.  Until then, tell us where you spend the majority of your time in the social media world.  Is Facebook King for you as well?