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The Types of Status Updates and Tweets your Business should be Using

There is no need to talk about and validate the value of Twitter and Facebook to your business; if you still needed convincing you wouldn’t be reading this post, but perhaps could find some value in one of our earlier posts about generating sales through social media  (an oldie but a goodie).

So, with that out of the way, there is a good chance at this point you are in one of two places with your Social Media strategy: 1) You are trying to fix/improve it or 2) You are in the infant stages of development and are looking for guidance. Well guess what? Either way we have you covered. If you integrate our tips into your current or infantile strategy we guarantee you’ll avoid that infamous Social Media writers-block that we hear about from so many entrepreneurs and professionals alike, not to mention avoiding some Blunders of Social Media we have talked about before.

So here it is, in plain English, a simple but effective How-to guide that will ensure you will always be producing Status updates and Tweets worth reading…

Get your Fans/Followers Involved
We have said it before, but we will say it again, Social Media is about interaction; it should be a dialogue as opposed to a monologue. The best status updates and Tweets you can send are the ones that promote interaction with your fans. Facebook provides you with more tools to organize things like Contests and Polls but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your loyal Twitter followers out of the fun; you simply have to be a little more creative. Asking your followers on Twitter a few questions in the form of Trivia is a great strategy, and encouraging them to share or Retweet something is a very effective way to tap into their network. Retweets can lead to great success for your business as they present you with an opportunity to have your business exposed to fresh eyes and new potential customers. Status updates that encourage your fans to submit pictures or video of them interacting with your business or product is often a great way to encourage interaction and dialogue.

The Generic
This category is often a necessary evil of social media marketing, it’s the generic status updates and tweets that you see every business using. Mentioning holidays, famous quotes, current events and general open ended questions all fall into this category. What is good about the generic content is that it requires very little thought, and it can be scheduled well in advance (you could have salutation for every major holiday planned for the entire year all in one day). What is bad about generic content is that it requires very little thought… so, it is difficult to create very much interaction with these updates. Our advice for dealing with the generic: First and foremost keep it to a bare minimum, and second try to make it as creative, funny or witty as possible; you know everyone is going to be mentioning a particular holiday, so do your best to make your tweet or update stand out.

Promote your Website
Ultimately driving individuals to your website, is a major outcome that most businesses are seeking to accomplish as a result of their social media marketing efforts. So, if you make a major change to your website, whether it be a new design or launch of an ebook, to the updating of a price or new content on your blog, these updates make for great content that most of your fans will be interested in exploring. After all, they wouldn’t be a fan or follower if they were not interested in your business. Additionally a great strategy to use when crafting these particular status updates or tweets is to ask the opinion of your followers on the change, product or the content itself you are promoting.

Remember, there is true value to be found on social media if you’re constantly thinking about your purchasing funnel. Through channels like Twitter and Facebook you can promote your website and only strengthen your bond with the customers and guide them further down the funnel.

Keep it Exclusive
Fans love unique deals, special offers and exclusive information that you only share with them. Updates and tweets that take advantage of this fact have a HUGE potential to be shared and go viral. For example, sending a tweet that offers an exclusive deal at your store-front for twitter followers is not only going to get retweeted, but also promote loyalty among your followers as you are showing them you are willing to reward your fans on an exclusive basis- of course, the same applies to Facebook fans. Product launches and sneak-peaks for only your followers and fans also do the same to promote sharing and loyalty. Giving your fans the opportunity to occasionally exclaim, “That’s why I follow these guys!” certainly isn’t a bad thing!
So there you have it, follow these tips and you can rest assured that your updates and tweets will be interesting, provocative and viral. Above everything, remember one all-encompassing rule: If you can be unique, inspiring, witty and informative your updates will never appear stale or unforgettable.

Do you regularly use any of these tips when you interact with your fans and followers? We would love to hear about them!

Understanding how to use Facebook for Business

A new infographic from the folks at Mashable shows that “social commerce sales are expected to bring in $30 billion each year by 2015, with half of web sales to occur directly through social media.”

Furthermore, the infographic shows that Facebook fans are 79 percent more likely than a non-fan to purchase a product, and 74% of fans are more likely to recommend a company they’ve liked on Facebook. It also claims that Facebook is known to drive 26 percent of the referral traffic.

The numbers make it obvious that social media needs to be a significant part of your marketing mix. Here are three things to keep in mind when looking to utilize Facebook for business:

Understand Fan-Acquisition
Unfortunately many business owners fall victim to ego-drive tactics like buying fans. Over the last few years, we’ve visited a handful of events and conference and a consistent theme is a request from small businesses looking for ways to get new fans.

There are tons of businesses selling fans for $199 or even as low as $99.58. I’d link to them but I don’t want them to have that satisfaction. This approach is worse than it seems – by buying fake fans, you actually lower your EdgeRank score thus lowering the odds of your content ever being seen.

Instead of buying fans on a mass scale, be targeted and run ads catered to a specific audience. That’s how you can gather potential leads who just so happened to also actually “like” you.

Embrace Fan Conversion
If we could teach marketers using Facebook anything, it would be to understand that fans are not baseball cards. You need to stop going to meetings and discussing how many fans you’ve generated this month and start talking about how many of those fans turned into sales.

Strive to convert
Look for ways that you can drive more visits to your purchasing funnel or into your lead development system. Take a cue from organizations who share deals specifically to their Facebook fans with limited time promo-codes. Anything you can do to monetize your network is the key to generating meaningful results.

Utilize Ongoing Storytelling
Whether you’re looking to build a following on Twitter or build a network on Facebook, storytelling is the difference between those brands who thrive and those who simply survive. You need to tell a story to your fans on an ongoing basis that shares with them not only the essence of what your brand represents but also your key value proposition. You need to use social media to tell a story that allows you to develop a sense of authority and leadership in your industry. If you can do this through social media you will be able to build deeper relationships with your audience and drive real results.

Here is the infographic from Mashable showcasing the power of Facebook on social media:

Mashable Facebook Infographic

Four Steps to developing a Sales Strategy on Social Media

One of the things we truly love about sales and social media in general is your ability to integrate the two to find meaningful measurable results. There’s no fluff, there’s no magic tricks, it’s business as usual with a slight twist.

Many organizations are still trying to get a grasp on how they can take that first step into using social media to generate sales. Well, look no further, here are four easy steps that any sales team can take to developing an excellent sales strategy for social media:

Establish Sales Goals & Objectives
Before you dive into developing a sales strategy for social media you need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Immediately you’re going to think that you’re trying to simply achieve an increase in sales. Incorrect. You need to understand the difference between leads, opportunities, visitors and actual customers.

Once you understand the business mechanics of a social media program such as the different types of conversions highlighted above you can start focusing on sales. To do this, start with the bottom line and make your way back to get to your goals. As you do this, integrate your understanding of the objectives and funnels to develop the KPI’s that will demonstrate if you’re on the right track.

Develop Soft Conversion Channels
Developing soft conversion channels is built around the idea of capturing a users attention before they make a buying decision. It’s a great tactic as many prospects may not be ready to make a purchase; however, with soft conversions you have an opportunity to convert relevant leads over time.

Soft leads are people who are willing to provide personal information like an email address or Facebook account in exchange for highly relevant and valued content. This content they see as valuable and relevant could range from an eBook to a Webinar that’s offered for the first 60 people who subscribe. These users are valuable leads who have demonstrated some form of interest in your content; but haven’t necessarily said they want to spend cash on your product.

Upon developing a compelling and relevant email marketing campaign, you will start to push these users through the sales funnel more effectively. As a result you will have a better opportunity to convert what was once a soft lead into a buyer and potential brand advocate.

Identify where leads are talking
Think about who it is you’re trying to target with your advertising. If you’re startup that sells velvet track-suits, you’re going to need to develop the persona for someone who would want this product. Start to think about the channels they use, start to think about how they interact with these channels and what type of content they would find valuable. From there, also understand your potential leads from a real world perspective – What are their general interests? Where do they live? What’s their name?

If you’re able to define your potential buyers it will allow you to be more strategic with your thinking and marketing approach. Defining their persona will help you in identifying your target customer and understand how they will actually search for your business online. This process seems quite simple and a bit silly but it’s one that can play a huge role in increasing your conversions.

Measure, Analyze and Report Stuff
Finally, you have to do something that a lot of people don’t want to talk about. It’s sort of like one of the rules from Fight Club except online marketing club. MARS. Measure – Analyze – Report Stuff.

It’s very important that you understand how you’re doing along the process to ensure you’re able to maximize your dollars spent. The quickest and most cost-effective way to monitor social media is by utilizing tools like Google analytics or Hootsuite Pro. The combination of these two tools will make your life a whole lot easier by demonstrating the number of click-throughs on various links.

Once you have received all the data and measured your results it’s time to analyze. During this phase you want to study cost per impressions, engagements, etc.. You also want to run a mini-SWOT analysis to show your team what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are present. If you can do this, you will find success. It’s much more difficult to go somewhere without knowing where you’ve already been.

Have you been using Social Media for developing and generating leads? What have been some learnings from your approach? We’d love to hear your ideas and any learnings you’ve found in your career.