Six tips to help boost your company’s organic Facebook reach

Facebook marketing has evolved immensely since the inception of the company. Organic reach, the number of people who are shown your posts in their feed, is the lowest it has ever been. Considering all the obstacles, here are six tips to help boost your company’s organic reach.

Promoting products and services solely will hurt more than help — have a diverse range of photos

Since users will be more engaged with variety in your page, it’s best to have varied content, including brand story posts, authority building posts, lead nurture posts, and personal posts. Given that Facebook is a social media platform, it needs to be personalised — it’s important also to include team posts and highlight witty and creative posts. 

As tempting as emojis are, stay away from them unless they add meaning to your post. 

Since they are tiny images, emojis weigh down the post and are less likely to reach a bigger crowd. However, when used in moderation (less is more), they can help. Unfortunately, there are so many rules to emojis and how they can easily hurt the algorithm that it’s almost easier to forego them. 

Love is stronger than like (in more ways than one) 

The love reaction is stronger than the like reaction because it weighs more on the algorithm. So, utilizing thought-provoking posts or bright, happy scenarios can produce a “love” reaction versus a like. Spread the love. 

Bypass the algorithm with Facebook Stories 

Stories float above the algorithm since they aren’t a part of the newsfeed. Stories should be easy to understand but engaging. Showing new products or advice about them is a good start, as well as keeping them personal. 

Start a conversation! 

Facebook, at the end of the day, is a community. Starting a conversation on a post that engages users through humour or curiosity—not manipulation into winning a prize. Drawing them in with interesting ideas will inspire people to comment and share. Using a question sticker or a poll can be one easy click for the user while driving engagement at the same time. 

Less is usually more, especially when it comes to posts per day

In fact, engagement actually decreases when you post too often. It’s best to post between 1-3 times per day, depending on your following. If you have an international audience with a range of time zones, stagger your posts per day to reach out to different audiences.

Want to read more social media tips and insights? Click here.

Here’s Why You Should Be A/B Testing Your Paid Social

Using A/B testing as a marketing strategy is not new. In fact, it was used routinely in the pre-internet era to conduct small tests by direct mail marketers, who would send a tiny fraction of print to their contact lists before committing to the massive cost of printing and mailing a campaign.

Nowadays, the technique is just as important to marketers across the globe who want to refine their content marketing and advertising strategies on the fly. The true beauty of A/B testing in the digital age is its agility – any time you have a hunch, or question-related to your strategy, social testing can be easily implemented, helping support your next steps. 

Whilst there are endless articles online about creating the best social ads, the truth is that the best way to reach your audience will be unique to you. That’s why we’re big advocates for the importance of A/B testing here at Colour Me Social. 

So, we thought we’d compile a guide to starting with A/B testing paid social. Whether you’re trying to secure more clicks and conversions or improve engagement, we’ll show you how to use A/B testing to get great results for paid social ads.

What exactly is A/B testing?

Let’s drill down into the basics.

A/B testing, also known as split testing or conversion optimisation, is the process of running versions of ads that are different from one another in only one aspect. These two versions are then sent to a small percentage of your total audience – half get version A, half get version B. Testing two versions means you can find out which works best – the winning message is determined by success metrics like opens or clicks. Think of it as survival of the fittest. 

It’s a simple concept. However, the countless variations you can build into social ads requires marketers to be very precise. Without precision, you may end up wasting budget and garner no significant insights.

A/B testing can be used to answer key questions about your social ads, helping you identify the strongest messages, the best time of day to post, or the most effective call-to-action.

Getting Started

A/B testing lets the data show you what’s working and what’s not. It’s deeply rooted in your campaign, rather than relying on blanket best practices or other people’s benchmarks. Therefore, before you start running A/B tests, we suggest you get the following five key details down. This work will help you identify the most important areas to focus on when it comes to testing. 

  1. An understanding of the overarching goals of your business
  2. Your current social strategy, including your general goals for each platform
  3. An understanding of your audience for each platform
  4. An overview of your current performance across all channels
  5. Your questions, hunches, feelings and ideas that you want to test

What can you A/B test?

Anything! Well, pretty much. Any variable element of your social media ads can be tested, but let’s take a look at some of the most common elements to test:

Post Text

There are many variations you can try with your headline, post text and description. Just remember the A/B rule – make just one change for each test, otherwise, you won’t know which variation is working. Here are some considerations:

  • Testing a formal approach vs more friendly language is a common A/B test. Think about the tone of voice you use and the words you pick – different phrases and punctuation can hugely impact click rates. 
  • Consider the use of emojis – dependent on your target audience they could be well received or could come across as unprofessional. If your audience is responding well to them, which emojis work best?
  • Other useful tests could include the length of your ad, and the style of the copy itself – which will perform better – a question? A statement? Or perhaps even a statistic?

Layout

Layout variables depend on the platform you are using; some provide a lot of options that are well worth A/B testing. Facebook, for instance, offers multiple ad formats like carousel ads and lead ads. Test these against each other to see which your audience engage with the most. 

Imagery

Photos, graphics, illustrations – we know imagery is important in social ads, but which type will work best for your ad? Does a product image or video perform better? Will GIFs perform better than static images? Will images with brighter colours outperform those with dark colours? There are countless A/B tests you can run with your imagery. 

Audience

This one is a little different – rather than showing variations of your post or ad to similar groups, you show the same advert to different audiences to see which gets a better response.

Test your assumptions, and find out if the persona you imagine matches the results you see when you run ads. Test a sample size by using the filtering characteristics to drill down into your audience, consider:

  • Location
  • Gener
  • Education Level
  • Hobbies
  • Behaviours

How to run an A/B test on social media adverts

Now’s the time to determine which two variants you want to test against each other, and to run your first A/B test.

Step 1: Decide on your goals

Knowing your objective is an essential first step when setting up your campaign. This will help you in planning your budget and in knowing what to test. A vital first step is defining what success means to you. 

Step 2: Choose what to test

Look at your goals and let them guide your decision. Of course, you can (and probably should) run many iteration cycles you can run to find the best ad, so choose your goal with this in mind. For example, if you are optimising for overall impressions, your aim would likely be to get the lowest Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM). The main elements that affect the CPM are the targeted audience and the ad placement, so that is what you would start testing.

Step 3: Set your budget

A/B testing can involve many cycles, so it’s crucial to set your budget at the start of the process. Think about your targets, and make sure you factor in some wiggle room for ads that will underperform.

Step 4: Run your test

Once you’ve completed your test, take the best performing ad and scale up your spending to the full budget allocated towards that campaign. Alternatively, you can test it against another small variation to see if you can improve your results further.

Step 5: Report back

Finally, share what you learn throughout your team to build a library of best practices for your company.

A/B testing is a smart, quantifying process that should be the cornerstone of every social ad campaign. Using trial and error is a failproof method for achieving maximum conversion, and we highly recommend that you build it into your strategy. 

33 blogging tips for beginners

Although we know the value of regular, fresh, informative content, the mere idea of blogging can be intimidating for a lot of people.  

If writing blogs constantly falls to the bottom of your to-do list, then we’re here to help. Our top 33 tips will help you form your ideas, keep your mind focused on the task and produce brilliant, captivating content that will help boost your SEO, build traffic to your site and establish brand awareness. 

Let’s dive in…

  1. Begin with an outline

If you find yourself staring at a blank page when you sit down to write a blog, you’re making your life harder than it needs to be. Start by creating a framework rather than launching straight into writing. This outline will be your guide to writing your blog and will make the whole process much easier as you tackle each part section by section

  1.  Answer questions

Your reader will have questions, so set out by answering them. Why are you reading this blog? Probably because you are starting out blogging, and we promised to share our top tips! Provide a solution to a problem, and you’re off to a great start.

  1. Aim for 1500 words

This may be daunting, but studies show that longer posts attract more links, likes and shares. Ensure you are hitting a minimum of 500 words, but aim for higher, and then watch the likes roll in.

  1. Keep the format friendly

Bullet points and numbered lists will make your blog easy to skim through and more accessible for the reader. Big blocks of endless text are far less appealing to read.

  1. Make it evergreen

An evergreen blog post maintains its relevance over several years. Although responsive up to the minute blog posts can be incredibly effective, if you are stretched for time, an evergreen blog will give much more bang for its buck. These consist of issues that people consistently need help with (like this one), so think about how-to blogs and top-tip lists.

  1. Tell a story

Storytelling can be incorporated into every element of your branding, especially your blog. Keep the reader captivated by learning from the world’s greatest storytellers.

  1. Write to one reader

Imagine you are addressing your blog to one specific reader. This is a helpful exercise when you are faced with writer’s block or feel uninspired. What does that one person need help with? How can you share your knowledge with them? Write to an individual, and you’ll find your writing will flow better, and you’ll secure a more in-depth relationship with your audience. 

  1. Don’t shy away from passion

You may be writing about a business, but that doesn’t mean your writing should be cold and stale. Show your passion for your work through the informal context of a blog; people respond well to emotion and genuine passion.

  1. Get your blog down, and then go back to edit

Jumping back and forth between writing and editing can make the process of writing a blog slow and frustrating. Try getting everything down first, and then go back to edit your work. 

  1. Don’t focus on yourself

This is a common slip up in blog writing – don’t make it all about you. You are trying to connect to a reader, so try to understand what makes them tick and keep your focus on your audience, not yourself. 

  1. Set a timer

If blog writing is falling to the bottom of your to-do list constantly, it may be because it is a time-consuming experience. It doesn’t need to be. Use a kitchen timer or unplug your laptop to create a sense of urgency. Having the pressure of a deadline works really well for a lot of writers. 

  1. Be humble and honest

Ok, so you are writing a blog because you have knowledge to share, that’s great! But remember, no one likes a know-it-all. You’re not writing for your English professor, so don’t feel the need to show off your extensive knowledge; share what you know, but keep it human and genuine.

  1. Write for your audience, not for Google

It’s incredibly tempting to focus on keywords, titles and headings when you’re writing a blog in the hopes that Google will rank you for a specific keyword. This is not invaluable work to do. However, it’s not where you should start. Focus on your audience. Introduce keywords as you see fit, only once you have delivered a piece of content that works for you and your readers.

  1. Understand your niche

Once you get in the swing of writing, you might be tempted to tell the world about your enthusiasm for other topics – please try and resist! Your audience is with you because they care about your niche, so this must always sit at the heart of what you write about.

  1. Make commenting easy

It’s important to encourage comments, making it as easy as possible for readers to engage in the topic you are discussing. Requiring users to sign in, complete two-step authentication or pick out all the crosswalks they can see is just going to interfere with that process!

  1. Give your blogs punchy titles

Your title is your shop front, so ensure you draw readers in with exciting, intriguing titles. 

  1. Maintain a regular schedule

Sporadic posting is one of the biggest issues with blog posting; if it’s not consistent, it’s not going to get the attention it deserves. Try and carve out time every week to create new blog content, ideally aim to write two a week for the best results. If you’re going on holiday, take advantage of scheduling tools to ensure your posting regime doesn’t slip.

  1. Know your audience

A crucial rule when writing – you need to know who you’re writing for. Is this content for prospective customers or long-term clients? Are they male, female, in the C-suite or working in junior roles? The more specific you can make the persona, the better.

  1. Use spell check

Before you hit publish, ensure you have checked your spelling and proofread your blog. Bad spelling will not only dent your credibility but will also damage your SEO. Double-check everything before going live.

  1. Let your readers help you form ideas

You need to write what you know, but it’s well worth trying to understand exactly what within your niche people are going to want to read. 51% of website traffic comes from organic search, so you need to be writing about things people are searching for your blog to perform well. You can use keyword research tools to help here.

  1. Set goals

Your blog is part of your business, so it’s important to set goals and KPIs, as you would with any other business endeavour. Setting goals will help you monitor your progress, which will also help you to understand what works and what doesn’t. Goals could be page views, comments, subscribers or any other metric that reflects your ambitions. 

  1. Use a blog topic generator tool

If you are struggling to consistently come up with topic ideas, take a look at HubSpot’s blog topic generator. It’s an interesting way to get ideas based on a few keywords that you type in.

  1. Use an editorial calendar

Once you have a solid list of topic ideas, use a calendar to keep on top of your content. With two or more blogs going out each week it’s easy to get bogged down; even a simple excel spreadsheet can help. Include your publish date, keyword, topic, title, link to the working document and a column for every avenue you promote it on.

  1. Write blogs focused on case studies

People love learning from real life experiences, so consider writing about case studies that evidence your product or service working with real customers. It’s the best kind of social proof.

  1. Fact check

When you publish any content, your reputation is at stake. Go through your whole post and check it for accuracy before hitting publish. 

  1. Post your blog on Monday or Thursday mornings

Peak times do vary by industry, and you will have the best insight into your target audience’s behaviour over time by looking at your website’s traffic signals with analytics; however, Monday and Thursday are proven to be the best days to get the most traction. 

  1. Send your blog post to people that are mentioned

Referencing an influential figure in your industry? Be sure to share your blog with them. They might share it to their circles, expanding your reach exponentially. 

  1. Pay attention to your foundation

Your first few months of blogging are an important time. Dedicate time to honing the basic skills of writing, SEO, and social media marketing, then these skills will work as a foundation for your success when you grow.

  1. It’s not writer’s block, it’s writers procrastination

Don’t use excuses.Take responsibility for your inability to get the blog written and use the techniques we advise to get your focus back and get the job done!

  1. Test your blog in different browsers

Ensure your blog looks great in every browser, and that it is optimised for mobile reading. 

  1. Always reply to comments

If your readers are invested enough in your blog to comment, it’s important that you take the time to reply. It will promote a thriving blog community and will keep your readers coming back to comment again. 

  1. Use data to reinforce your points

Good writing offers the main argument, establishes proof and then ends with a clear takeaway for your audience. Use data to introduce your main argument and show its relevance to your readers or as proof of your argument throughout.

  1. Have fun!

Finally, it’s worth remembering that a good attitude will make you a better writer. It will make the process more enjoyable and make your blogs more engaging to read. A positive attitude will turn blogging from a dreaded task to an enjoyable and creative part of your day-to-day. Good luck and happy writing!

4 Ways to Follow Your Audience, Not Marketing Trends

The key to any successful marketing strategy, nay, any successful business, is a clear understanding of your target audience.

We know this isn’t news to anyone, but we think it’s worth remembering when you’re trying to get more leads, customers and referrals in a fast-paced, trend-driven environment.

Don’t get us wrong. Following marketing, trends can get your company’s name out there and position you as a progressive organisation. However, unless you conscientiously integrate these trends into an established and well-researched marketing strategy, it’s unlikely they will lead to significant growth.

Although new popular platforms, ideas and techniques may attract attention and raise short-term revenue, ultimately, following a trend means following someone else’s lead. Doing this can cause you to stray from your own brand identity and values, and move you further away from your own customers needs.

Remember, customers can see right through phonies, so jumping onto TikTok because it’s ‘what everyone else is doing and not because you have a genuine potential to develop leads on the platform could make your company look foolish and out of touch. It could also dent your reputation and cause customers to lose trust in your organisation.

While recent years have brought marketers a load of new and innovative ways to reach out to and connect with their customers, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing, and whilst it’s easy to be susceptible to new trends – not least because they appear a dime a dozen in the marketing world – we urge you to begin with your audience, not the trends. Once you know what they need, you’ll have a clearer perspective on which of those novel fads (if any!) could actually play a relevant role in your efforts to boost conversions and improve customer loyalty.

In this blog, we’ll take things back to the essentials of brilliant marketing, dismissing the fads for a deep-dive look at 4 techniques for effectively listening to and learning from your audience, proving that you should be led by your audience, not overhyped marketing trends.

Do a Deep Dive on Your Analytics

When setting out to gain a greater understanding of your audience, begin by reviewing the current data you have. This includes all analyses your company has conducted about your customers since you’ve been in business, such as focus groups and figures you can gather from your marketing outputs, including website traffic, social media data, email open rates and click-throughs. Use this invaluable data to pinpoint where your customers are engaging the most and to inform the rest of your marketing activities.

This gives you a starting point to work from when learning about your audience on a deeper level — you already have some understanding of the real pain points and challenges they experience and what they need from your product or service.

From there, consider the other types of audience-related information you’re missing and need to obtain.

Ask Your Audience

Surveys are an effective way to listen to both current customers and a prospective audience; it’s the most direct way to understand their needs, as it comes directly from the source. Surveys allow you to continually improve and amend your services in line with your customers’ expectations, increasing retention rates.

Try Social Listening

To really get to know your audience and find out what they are saying about your industry and your brand online, try social listening. It gives you a useful context to see where your brand lies amongst competitors and will go a long way to inform your marketing strategy.

Social listening is not about looking at numbers of followers or likes but about how audiences react to your content and brand and reading their mood. Whether it’s positive or negative, knowing when and how your audience reacts to your brand online is crucial to truly understand your customers.

Create Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research. They can help you focus your time on qualified prospects and guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers.

When done well, buyer personas can be really helpful. They can make it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, and services to meet the specific needs of your target audience.

You can build your buyer personas through research, surveys and interviews. They usually consist of information about a prospects age, job, salary and education – now this information can prove useful. However, the best buyer personas include more detail about what actually matters.

What are the tasks they struggle with day to day?

Where are their frustrations?

What work do they love doing?

The answers to these questions are a lot more helpful to marketers, so try to build them into your buyer personas.

As copywriter Gary Bencivenga said: “Emotions are the fire of human motivation, the combustible force that secretly drives most decisions to buy. When your marketing harnesses those forces correctly, you will generate explosive increases in response.”

Listen to Your Audience, Not Trends

Getting to know your audience isn’t always a simple process, but it’s a crucial one. Conducting this work and doing it often will ensure you know what resonates with your audience to create the content and products, and services that your buyer personas and target customers want to buy.

Having a strong understanding of your potential customers will help you convert them into long-term, paying customers. So, start working through these steps to getting to know your audience better and begin building a customer-led strategy rather than letting trends direct your decision making.

How to generate leads for your small business in 2021

Leads are the lifeblood of every business.

In order to survive and thrive, your organisation will need to have a steady stream of sales leads, but even seasoned professionals can find it difficult at times.

It’s no surprise; securing that steady flow is hard work. It requires you to continuously attract new leads, qualify and nurture them, and ultimately turn them into customers. This process, called lead generation, is essentially a technique of finding the right mix of channels that will get you in front of the right people. Using an effective lead generation system will make this process a whole lot easier, but just like any tough job, lead generation requires you to invest some time and effort upfront.

If you’re not sure where to begin, this guide will get you started by leading you through five key strategies to capture and convert those all-important leads.

Create buyer personas

A lead is a prospective customer, so the obvious starting place is to work out just who is likely to buy your product or service, and how you can reach them. Begin this process with research – use the internet to find similar companies to you and see how their consumers are, and study your existing customers, you’ll learn a lot. Consider the basic components that make up a consumer – age, gender, likes, dislikes, purchase habits and financial situation, then feed these into a pen portrait to build buyer personas of your ideal prospect. You should also look closely at the information you hold on existing customers to help build this picture.

Build your marketing plan

Build your plan using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based) goals, and remember to employ a wide range of techniques, with a sharp focus on inbound marketing techniques designs to draw potential clients to you. This ensures the leads coming to you are ‘warm’, making your job securing the customer that bit easier. Here are a few of our recommended inbound techniques:

Digital Advertising

Social media channels and search engines offer incredibly targeted ways of getting your business in front of potential leads. Often referred to as Pay Per Click, they are an effective way to get visitors to your site.

SEO

Digital advertising won’t work for every business, and in some cases SEO is worth greater investment. Google gets an incredible 3.5 billion searches a day, making it prime real estate for lead gen. SEO will improve your visibility in search engine rankings – hopefully keeping you away from the fateful second page of Google results! It must be routinely updated and maintained in order to bring in a steady stream of leads, but when done well can bring in endless warm leads ready to be converted to customers.

A Statista survey conducted among marketing professionals in the US, found that 43% of respondents believed SEO to be the most effective channel in producing high ROI, so this is a powerful place to invest your lead gen budget.

Blogging

Creating engaging content that is promoted well will position you as a thought leader in your field, demonstrating your credibility and bringing a human element to your company. Be sure to include a call to action at the end of each post.

Build a sales pipeline

Once your leads start coming in they’ll need to be nurtured to be transferred into sales. Using a sales funnel model will allow you to organise your customers journey. Once in place, your pipeline will also give you an overview of where prospects are in the sales process. There are a number of reputable platforms that can support this work.

Embrace automation

As you begin to get leads in, you’ll need to find an efficient way to keep in contact with them and nurture them through the pipeline. Plan ahead and look at where automation, such as email marketing, could help you in this process. The beauty of automation is its ability to allow you to scale your marketing efforts whilst keeping your content personalised to your audience. Automation does not mean impersonal – Liana Technologies reported that almost 70% of marketers found improved targeting of messages was one the most important benefits of marketing automation.

All of your prospects have different needs, and having the option to treat them as such will seriously strengthen your relationship. Look for an email service that offers segmentation and tailored, dynamic content which gives you the chance to customise content based on your contact’s needs.

Harness the power of social media marketing

Social media now stands as one of the most effective lead generation channels, and it should therefore feature significantly in your strategy. These platforms are excellent for enabling relationship-building, and once you begin regularly posting engaging content, you’ll attract followers who you can then drive to your website. Here are our top suggestions for using the major platforms to generate leads:

Twitter

According to Optin Monster, 66% of people have discovered a new business on Twitter, so it’s a great place to make yourself heard. Promote your new content such as your blogs, and stay active. Commenting, sharing and engaging is vital to keep a vibrant community.

LinkedIn

One of the smartest things you can do on LinkedIn is to take advantage of the platform’s targeted advertising. It’s in users best interested to keep their profiles up to date, which makes LinkedIn an advertisers dream – you can zone in on just about any part of your audiences profile.

Facebook

Like LinkedIn, Facebook has some incredibly precise targeting options. The platform gives you the option to create campaigns using a Lead Generation objective that allows consumers to fill in a form with their contact information. Most internet users are on Facebook, therefore it’s unsurprising that Smart Bug Media reported that 84% of marketers choose to use this platform to acquire leads.

Remember, business growth can be a difficult and long-term process, and a sign of sustainable progress is a steady increase in sales, rather than random sale spikes. Following these tips will give you insight and overview, allowing you to scale your operations up gradually. Good luck!

How brands should behave on social media during COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic is perhaps the largest challenge most brands have ever faced. 

As the world changes rapidly before our eyes it’s vital that we respond appropriately in this trying time. Companies are finding themselves being challenged by consumers like never before – be it about the treatment of workers or how they’re contributing to the cause, how your brand acts on social is more important now than ever before.

Your inclination might be to go quiet across social media. We understand that urge. How do you compete with a global pandemic? Is it even ethical to do so? A number of high profile brands directly affected by the pandemic have made that decision –  there hasn’t been any Twitter activity from easyJet since 17th February as they contend with refunding and rearranging their customer’s flights and hand sanitizer producer Purell haven’t tweeted anything aside from official statements since February. Hygiene companies such as Purell could be accused of profiteering so their silence is probably a wise choice. However, unless the nature of your services or product puts your brand at risk of being insensitive, we strongly suggest you do not go dark. 

Done well, this moment represents an important opportunity for your brand. Perhaps surprisingly, SOPRO has reported that as much as two-thirds (65%) of all industries will experience stable or increased demand – with more than a third (39%) likely to see increased demand during the pandemic. Therefore, it’s vital that you keep active on social media to keep your business afloat, however, this must be done in a sensitive and appropriate manner.  

So how do you navigate this confusing time? Whether your business has temporarily ceased trading, is still in full operation or if you are contending with fewer customers (or too many panicked customers) we’ve assembled these guidelines to help you find a new focus to your digital content strategy.

First things first, 2 very important rules:

Do not try to profit from the crisis, or do anything that could be interpreted as profiteering:

A global pandemic is not a marketing opportunity. It would be not only insensitive but downright dangerous for a brand to try to profit from this tragedy. Corona (who, granted, are in a very unusual situation sharing the name of the virus) have come under fire for running a campaign for their new Corona Hard Seltzer with the tagline ‘Coming Ashore Soon’. It should go without saying, but Coronavirus is not something you want to associate your brand with. 

Do not run campaigns that could be considered ill-timed amid a global pandemic:

KFC recently paused their ‘Finger Lickin’ ads, amidst criticism that encouraging customers to lick their fingers during the global spread of coronavirus was a rather bad idea. Geico also halted their campaign ‘Perfect High Five’ after customers made noise on Twitter about how inappropriate it was. A Coors ad titled ‘Official Beer of ‘Working’ Remotely was also put on hold over concerns that the message would come across as tone-deaf as most of us transition to working from home. The lesson –  a campaign that was seemingly inoffensive a month ago could be seen in a very different light today. 

A New Social Strategy

Due to panic, curiosity or the fact that a majority of people are now stuck at home, time spent on social media is significantly up. 85% of Chinese consumers reported an increase of at-home screen usage during the outbreak. Bearing in mind that your content will likely be sandwiched between rolling news coverage on Covid-19, you should consider the following when creating content amidst the pandemic. 

Distraction

It’s important to steer your focus away from hard-selling. Remember, the increased time we are all spending online is prompting a lot of people on social media to be even more vocal than usual, particularly on platforms such as Twitter. If your company comes in trying to make a hard sell for a product that feels ill-timed, your followers will let you know about it. 

In these economically uncertain times consumers are looking for distraction, so consider what you could offer for free to provide that for your customers. Offering tips to survive lockdown is a good idea, as is providing ideas to keep the kids entertained. 

Connection

Now is the time to build a sense of trust in your brand. ‘Trust content’ allows you to spend more meaningful time connecting with your audience, something they will appreciate when things return to business as usual.  Consider creating long-form content such as articles, video series, podcasts or training content. Adjusting the volume of social media content, you post is perfectly reasonable right now. Give additional attention to creating high quality, meaningful trust content instead.

Figure out how your company can create good will and stand by your customers during this time.  Be it offering more customer service across social or extending return windows, it’s a chance to deepen that all-important brand awareness and trust.

Community-building 

People are seeking social communities online like never before. Virtual communities are popping up across social media – from bands performing live streamed concerts to fitness trainers providing live streamed classes – people are coming together for a whole new type of experiential moment. If your brand can offer this type of experience, great! If not, think of other ways you can rally your audience together, such as sharing content that connects us all to help build that feeling of coming together over a common cause.

Consider changing the focus of your campaigns from hard-selling to raising brand awareness. Community- building should be the focus of your social campaigns, maintaining your recognition level, so your customers can respond when they are ready to spend. For instance, set new conversion goals on your Facebook campaigns so they are raising brand awareness rather than trying to make sales. 

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

With the indefinite timeline of the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be challenging to look to the future, but brands can serve a vital role in doing this. This does not mean offering discount codes for 6 weeks down the line, but just providing simple positive messaging that reminds us all this will come to an end. Switzerland’s tourist board is a particularly good example of this, giving their social media followers a slice of Switzerland from afar, using hashtags like #neverstopdreaming and #staystrong to bolster morale.

Companies must remember that there will be a point someday where everything will return to business as usual. If your business has gone quiet on social media for months on end the effects could be catastrophic; customers would have good reason to think you had gone out of business during the pandemic. Instead, use this time to distract, connect with and support your customers. If you can successfully adapt and offer your customers value in this time of uncertainty, you will win their trust and when normal life resumes and they do spend again, it will be with you. 

Small business marketing ideas!

As a small business that is very interested in small business marketing, we spend a lot of time each week reading tips and advice from across the World Wide Web. So, we thought we’d launch a regular round-up of some of the cool ideas that we come across just in case you have missed them.

So to kick off, here’s a few for starters.

Use Google Data Studio to Analyse Your Facebook Ads

If you are spending money on Facebook Ads to increase reach, conversions etc you are going to want to fully understand your Facebook ad performance. One really good way of doing that is through Google Data Studio.

This article by Social Media Examiner covers how to better track and analyse your Facebook advertising campaigns performance with this free tool.

Get Creative!

Want to be the same as your competitors? Of course not. That would be silly.

From Speed dating with potential customers to Alignment with trade associations, this article by All Business has some brilliant approaches by 10 entrepreneurs that are not scared to look outside the box when it comes to marketing their business and products.

Video marketing is leading the way for ROI

Everyone’s talking about video marketing, and for good reason: there’s power in video, especially for small businesses. Video grabs users’ attention and engages them to a greater extent than text (apart from this blog of course).

We can’t think of a better form of media to engage your target audience than video. 83% of businesses say that video provides a good return on investment and ROI and research by Moovly found that you are 53 times more likely to show up on the first page of Google if you have a video embedded on your site. As Middle Table say; with numbers like that, what’s not to love!

Build your LinkedIn community in just 5 minutes a day

Are you maximising your presence on LinkedIn?

It’s possible to start building your personal network with just 5 minutes effort a day so no more “I don’t have the time” excuses!

South Thames Marketing show you how…

We hope you find some these useful and if you are looking for any tips/advice on how to better maximise social for your business drop us a line. As fellow small business owners, we are happy to chat and advise without obligation. We’re just pleased to help where we can.

 

How to grow your LinkedIn network in just 5 minutes a day

As a small business are you maximising your presence on LinkedIn? Our favourite B2B platform has now got more than 630 million members – 21% of the entire global workforce –  yet, despite its huge number of members, many people are still not using the platform to its full potential.

Despite a growing number of small firms and independent consultants stepping up their social strategies; in what is an increasingly competitive market, many still have work to do.

Research shows that nearly 60% of people now consult social media before making their buying decisions. 70% of them use LinkedIn, so it really is more important than ever to ensure you have a strong, thriving network.

Building your community is all about making connections. So, this month we’ll show you how dedicating just 5 minutes a day to strategically building your first-degree connections can exponentially improve your access to new clients and professional opportunities.

So, whether you’re aiming for that 501st connection, or just want to make your profile work harder for you, read on as we show you how to grow your network by investing just 5 minutes a day.

1. Personalise and connect

Follow up with everyone you meet (or wanted to meet but didn’t) at networking events. You can only do so much at a conference, so use the power of LinkedIn to make those connections count. Before you hit connect make sure you send a personal message, explaining who you are and where you met (remember, this is not the time to sell your services). Dig out those business cards and get searching.

2. Update your status daily

Simply having a LinkedIn profile is not enough to keep those connections coming in. Like any social media platform, you need to engage and participate. As you would on Facebook or Twitter, make sure your content adds value, stays on brand and includes a call to action. Try sharing relevant articles, videos or blog posts.

Keep yourself present in your connection’s feeds to give them more opportunity to like and share your posts. This will get you introduced to their connections and offers a great opportunity to grow your network. When connections share your content it is social proof that you’re an expert in your field, which might encourage those 2nd-degree connections to reach out to you.

3. Participate in groups

It’s impossible to engage on a one-to-one level with hundreds of connections. Here’s where LinkedIn groups are a great way of making and maintaining those new connections. Join relevant groups and pick a handful to stay active on, but avoid marketing yourself or your business. Participate in (or better yet, initiate) group discussions.

If you are a member of any ‘real world’ networking groups look through their membership directory and find those contacts on LinkedIn. Remember to customise your connection request and reference the group you are both in.

You can also consider starting your own group. A certain level of kudos will come with this, and people are keen to connect with experts. When they join they are likely to connect with you.

4. Promote your profile

This is a great way to take advantage of your presence on other platforms. Make sure you have customised your URL, then place your LinkedIn profile link in your email signature, add it to your website, include it on your business cards and list it on your social media bios. This tip is easy to achieve and can really drive your traffic and therefore connections.

5. Engage

Keep an eye on your wall and be sure to share, comment on and like your connections updates and posts. There is always a lot going on with LinkedIn – new jobs, birthdays, job changes. Interacting with these important milestones is a great way to develop relationships as well as building new connections, as it will give you more visibility on the platform.

Conclusion

Give just 5 minutes of your day to one of these tasks and you’ll be able to track your success as your number of connections starts to grow. When you connect with the right people on LinkedIn you are truly taking advantage of one the best networking tools at your disposal, putting you one click away from meeting any one of those 630 million members.

If you would like some support with your LinkedIn or wider social media strategies, we’d love to chat.

A version of this post originally appeared on our good friends at South Thames Marketing’s blog.

Taking advantage of the benefits of Twitter for small business

Let’s be honest, Twitter is an interesting world! We follow our favourite celebrities or footballers and we’ve winced at some of the stuff they’ve shared. A scandal hits and one of the first places we turn to is Twitter! We’ve also all had that sneaky look when our phone signal goes down, just to see the comical responses that people post. Why do people get so angry? It can be an intimidating, as well an interesting place!

And in a professional sense, it can be a place where you might think, it’s best just to steer clear and concentrate your efforts on LinkedIn – especially within the B2B world.

Yet, Twitter is actually a very powerful marketing tool and an extremely effective and valuable one to build relationships with your clients (and prospective clients). We’ll be honest, we love it!

You can learn an incredible amount about your customers; you can engage with them; you can make your brand more human and importantly, you can add value by sharing relevant and engaging content. It’s also a great way to stay ahead of what’s happening in the industry and build awareness of your firm. What is there not to like? What’s more, it’s free.

However, the reason people don’t appreciate the value and power is that they do not appreciate the time and effort that is required. You get out of Twitter, what you put in!

So, here are some of our quick tips to help you find that value:

Understand what you want to achieve.

What are your goals? Is it…

  • Increasing sales?
  • Becoming a customer support channel?
  • Increasing brand awareness?
  • Tracking industry trends?

Maybe, it’s a combination of the four, but always be clear and remember you can’t be all things to everyone.

Have a clear content plan

Posting interesting and engaging content, such as blogs and white papers, is important to maintain the interest of your followers. Relevant content grows your following and increases your brand awareness. Complement your own content with relevant third-party content that will be of interest to your following. But, have a plan and remember you need to be tweeting around 3-4 times day. Mix your content up, use images, create GIFs, embed videos – make sure your newsfeed is engaging and looks your own.  But don’t forget while ‘quantity’ is important when it comes to tweeting, it cannot be at the expense of ‘quality’. If you over-post, you run the risk of coming across like an aggressive spam account.

Use Hashtags

Make sure you use relevant and popular hashtags in your tweets. Look at what hashtags are trending with your target audience. This play a big part in growing your following.

Engage, engage, engage

Twitter is not just a place for broadcasting announcements, you have to engage with your community. Retweet posts you find interesting. Add a comment or click Like. If someone comments on your posts, good or bad, reply – professionally! You’ll get positive results from Twitter when you genuinely engage with people, but this requires a time commitment. One simple tip: just take 5/10 minutes a day, maybe during your commute home, to scroll through your feeds and comment and retweet.

In most industries, Twitter is full of influencers; make sure you also follow, retweet, comment and like their posts. If you can build up a relationship with these individuals, there is a chance they will begin retweeting your content. The benefit? They have significant reach and exposure.

Measure and keep track

Twitter analytics enables you to analyse your activities:

  • You can track the performance of your tweets daily and monthly. From this, you can get an understanding of what kinds of content gets the best engagement and you can tailor your plan accordingly. It will also give you an indication of the most effective times to post.
  • You can also track how your following has increased/decreased over the last 30 days, and how many new followers you’ve received per day. You can, therefore, look at what kinds of content was posted on the days you lost followers, did you post too much that day?

Finally, don’t expect overnight results. It takes time to build a relevant and engaged community. So, stick with it and the success will follow – no pun intended!

Twitter is an ‘interesting’ world, but it’s also an extremely effective one. If you would like some support with your Twitter or wider social media strategies, we’d love to chat.

A version of this post originally appeared on our good friends at South Thames Marketing’s blog.

Social media and lead generation in 2019 – how to get quality leads with minimum fuss

Generating more leads and better-quality leads are the top priority for businesses. More leads mean more sales. We are all familiar with landing pages and forms – however, this is not the best way to engage customers in 2019 anymore. They prefer something that is more engaging and personal, and businesses prefer high-quality leads over just quantity. Here are some tips on how to draw in your potential customers and help turn those leads into sales. What types of content work and how can you use social media ads to optimise impact?
Before you start thinking about the type of content that will generate leads for you, think about which social media platforms will serve you best. Who is your ideal customer? Are you more likely to find them browsing through their Instagram feed, or searching the latest industry trends on LinkedIn? Once you have identified where your money is best spent, you can consider the type of content you want to share to pull in customers.

Types of content that work for social media

Gated content is one way to ensure that your leads are high quality, this type is especially successful for B2B marketing. The important thing here is that the content you share must be ‘valuable’ to your customers. The only way for somebody to access your content is to fill in a form and give you their details. Only then can they access your latest white paper, webinar, case study or blog post.
Alternatively, you could create content that allows your potential customers to register their intent in other ways, for example by entering a contest. You draw them in by offering a prize that will only speak to people who are interested in your product.

This could be an extended trial period or an upgrade, or any other special deal for your product. It may even be a sample give-away or a sign-up for an event that you have planned. You can see that this will generate high-quality leads because customers are openly showing interest in your company’s product and are willing to give you their invaluable details.

Social media lead ads

Social media lead ads are another way to help you turn interest into leads. When you pay for adverts on social media, you are already paying to target specific audiences for your product. With lead ads, the focus is on making it easier to capture your potential customers’ data. The ad content could be a contest, as mentioned above or a newsletter subscription. Alternatively, you might create a quiz or a poll for your customers to engage with. In that case, the ‘pay-off’ for the customer would be access to their personalized results.

The advantage of lead ads is that the user will not be forwarded to a landing page with a form, but can stay on the same website (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) and the form is already pre-populated by the social media platform. This means that the user only has to agree to send the details through, and then they can carry on scrolling through their feed.

Geotargeted advertising

And finally, you should consider geo-targeted advertising to generate relevant leads for your business. Targeting potential leads based on their location allows you to focus more precisely on those leads that are most relevant to you. For B2B marketing you could, for example, ringfence those target users that are visiting a certain industry event, which results in focus on an audience that is more likely to be interested in your content and engage with it. And hey presto, you will generate high-quality leads.

As you can see, leads in 2019 still mainly consist of forms being filled in – however, the classic landing page form is slowly on the way out. People are still happy to fill in forms and give away their details, but as marketers, we have to find ways to make it ‘worth it’ and create minimal disruption to the customer experience on social media. The more engaging and interactive your content, the more quality leads you will snap up.