Today’s blog is by Yasmin Bendror, a friend of mine, and my “go-to” expert on in the field of social media marketing. I asked her what is the best way to integrate social media into your company’s marketing plan.
Best Tips for Successful Social Media and Digital Marketing in 2014
by Yasmin Bendror
Social media and digital marketing are going to grow even stronger in 2014. These are no longer “nice to have”, but a “must have” for your business. With my first hand experience working with so many businesses, I am giving you my most important social media and digital marketing tips that will help you increase your online footprint, exposure and bottom line in 2014 for your business.
I know first hand that so many businesses (1) struggle with human and financial resources for social media and digital marketing and (2) find it confusing to choose the most important and effective tactics with limited resources.
And to make things even harder, social media and online marketing are becoming more complex and are overlapping more than ever – as you will see below. Measurement, statistics and content between social media, website, email and online advertising overlap and are influenced by one another.
Bottom line: Social and digital marketing have to be integrated and looked upon with a holistic view. No more separate silos. They must all work hand-in-hand as you will see below.
Here are my best tips for your increased success this year:
Strategy and Plan
Having a social media and marketing strategy and plan is crucial to your success in 2014. It will really help you understand and to commit the necessary time and resources to your social media and marketing outreach. Social media and marketing is getting increasingly complex, as well as deciding which social media channels to use for your business. Create a strategy and plan defining your goals, audience, budget and resources. This will really help you keep focused, be successful and get results.
Personal and Human
Social media literally is the means by which your business can relate to, exist in and influence human communities. In short: social media is human interaction. Taking part in social media means your business must become more human to be more successful.
Have A Responsive Website
Make sure your website is “responsive”. That means it “responds to” or resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being seen through: A desktop computer monitor, a laptop, a 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet, or a 4-inch smartphone screen. The exponential growth of smartphones and other mobile devices is real. More people are using mobile devices to view Web pages. A recent Skava Consumer Mobile Shopping Survey found that 71 percent of smartphone owners shop using their mobile device. 88% of smartphone shoppers have negative experiences, 33% of mobile shoppers defect to a competitor after such an experience and 30% will never return at all! If your website is not responsive, you will lose business.
Email List and Email Marketing
Growing your email opt-in list and doing email marketing is so important for your business and may be your most important marketing asset. Your opt-in list = people who WANT to hear from you, your products and services. Email is not expensive and not too technical with the right email service provider. 92% of marketers in Marketing Sherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Survey said that email is producing, or will produce, a positive ROI for them.
So write a crafty email message that is friendly and helpful, and hit SEND!
(Remember to check how emails display on smartphones, since mobile now makes up the majority of email opens at 51%. (Litmus))
Social Media Advertising
Set aside a budget in your 2014 plan for social media advertising. To make headway on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, you can no longer rely on organic growth alone, it’s too slow. It must be ignited by advertising dollars. (Facebook publicly admitted that organic reach is going to dwindle even further unless brands start leveraging paid advertising!). Once you gain a critical following, organic reach becomes much easier. Advertising on social media is still much cheaper that any other form of advertising, and you get a higher and much more tangible ROI.
Get onto Google+! Google+ is quickly gaining steam, and now has the second highest number of monthly users (343 million) after Facebook. Remember: Google+ is GOOGLE and has become an integral part of Google’s organic search results. This is especially apparent with the importance of Google Authorship. This means boosted search engine results for your business! If you have a Google+ Page and someone searches for your business (despite if they follow you or not), your Google+ Page and its most recent posts will be displayed on the right side of their personal search results. These search engine rankings alone make Google+ an important social media platform. Even if you are not active every day, make sure you have a Google+ Page, the About section filled out with all your business details and keywords.
- Blogging helps your search engine results: Google and other search engines just love an active website with current useful content in the form of a blog. This is a cue for Google to check your website frequently to see what content you have published that can be served up on their SERPs (search engine results pages). It’s difficult to update your regular webpages (About, Products, Services and Contact pages) with new content. Blogging solves this problem! Every time you write a new blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website. And every new indexed page is one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines results, and drive traffic to your website through organic search.
- Blogging helps your social media efforts. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience.
- Blogging helps you convert website traffic into leads. With traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads. Each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post.
Finally, Track and Measure Results
Be on top on what’s working in your social media and online marketing efforts so you can continue doing the same, or make adjustments to get better results. There are different ways of measuring results. Again, each social media and online channel overlaps and influences measurements.
Website Analytics: One of the best ways to track social media and online efforts is by setting up a free account with Google Analytics. The most important metrics to look at are unique visits, returning visitors, visit duration, bounce rates, geo location, search engine traffic, referral traffic, mobile visits, social metrics and — conversion rates. This is the number of visitors to your site who take a specific action that your content encourages them to, such as signing up for your newsletter. Conversion rates can vary depending on the industry, but tend to be around 2-3 percent on average. If you are creating specific landing pages for specific audiences, you should aim for a 5 percent conversion rate.
Social Media Analytics: Measuring results on social media channels include increase in fans/followers, likes, shares, engagement, +1s, pins, etc. Social media can also be measured in definitive sales! Concentrate on quality, not quantity!
Email Marketing Analytics: Look at email opens, click-through rates and what percentage of those who opened the email actually clicked a link or button within the email and form conversion rate: What percentage of those who clicked through actually finished the process by completing a form.
The social media and online marketing environment for 2014 will continue to change rapidly and feel like a moving target. These tips will better equip you to do battle for the effectiveness of your marketing and to win the war for growth this year in your business.
Good Luck! I hope 2014 will be a huge successful year for your business!
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