No one cares about your latest press release especially on social media. Using social media for PR is about building a community around your business and creating content your audience wants by building brand awareness, manage reputation and sharing a story.
- The proliferation of iPads (Air, Mini), Amazon Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Microsoft Surface Pro, Smartphones = Frictionless share culture. Teens love to Share
- Teens love self expression and identity development (creative outpost for ideas, somewhere where kids can share their ideas and photos)
- Instagram fulfills fundamental teenage needs (discover what’s new and what’s next)
- Teens want to be where their favorite celebrities/brands are
- Teens are where their parents aren’t (although that is changing as more parents are now on IG to monitor their teens as well as enjoy the platform themselves
If you are a “brand” or business, Instagram is a great way to expand your business’s reach and engagement (tell a story) with your customers. Growing a dedicated following on Instagram won’t happen overnight. But the bright side is that Instagram users are very active and love to engage. Instagram is the ideal choice for SMB‘s. You can engage with your customers, advertise your products and build awareness for your brand of service!
Whether your a big or a SMB company, a celebrity or some kind of a famous personality with a large amount external public exposure, chances are you may have to deal with some kind of social media crisis sooner or later. A crisis can occur at random (insensitive tweet), or it can occur with a product misstep or even a social media account hacked. In this digital world, speed of these harmful conversations can implode on you or your company in mere seconds.
While there is no “one size fits all” approach, the below basic social media action plan will help you quickly identify the crisis (issue) and resolve it before it goes viral and turns into disaster.
The first stage of social media crisis planning is to identify the problem or issue in real-time before it gets out of control and goes viral. There are many tools out there that can help you keep tabs and monitor the majority of social media platforms. Most of these social tracking tools depend on keywords important to you or your company. Keywords such as “Company” or “product name” “name of person” “events” “competitors” “social media accounts” etc.
A short list below:
- Social Mention. A great social real-time listening tool for your brand. It measures your influence within four key categories: passion, sentiment, strength, and reach.
- Google Alerts. Track your brand mentions across web and news sites.
- Mention.net. Track your brand across blogs, news sites and forums.
- Talkwalker. Track your brand across across mostly blogs.
- HowSociable. Measure and track what your competition is doing in Social Media.
- Sprout Social. Great tool for monitoring and measuring your brands.
- Radian6. A salesforce product. It allows you to quickly and efficiently track, monitor, and react to comments, questions, and complaints as they happen on most all social media platforms.
Here are five basic steps to include in your social media crisis plan:
1. Act quickly. Speeds kills, but speed also resolves! Explain the issue or problem FIRST and what your going to do to address it ASAP before it takes hold on Social Media. Be very transparent. You need to do this before it destroys your brand or major lawsuit.
2. Take charge. Step up and take charge of the issue and move fast (even if its at 2am).
3. Be transparent. If its bad and your company screwed up. Take ownership. Own up to the problem or issue!
4. Engage. Engage all the nay-sayers. Engage all the Social Media Trolls and critics.
5. Spread the word. Post your PR response on your website, company blog, social media pages and media releases.
Bottom line: Don’t wait until the threat to your company’s reputation becomes visible. Identify the crisis and get out in front of it before it takes hold.
Know your Audience first. Catering to Pinterest’s user base is key to marketing success.
79% of the Pinterest users are female. The age distribution of fairly even between 25-54. 60% has some college, 19% Bachelors degree, 10% High School degree, 6% Less than High School, 6% Graduate degree. Pinners spend 29 percent more than non-Pinners, delivering an average of $2 in profit for every advertiser dollar.
When you’re ready to get started with Pinterest, start with a business account. First, create a business account. Start with an eye-catching profile. A great blog post can be found here on”how to set up “Your Small Business on Pinterest in 2021.”
Figure out a Content Strategy first. Foster and grow your community, build brand awareness on other social media websites, pin hi-res images and videos that will interest your customers and demographic. Host contests and encourage customers to repin their favorite products from your boards to their boards!
Types of Pinterest Ads – Promoted Pins (One-tap Pins), Promoted Carousels, Promoted Video Pins, Promoted App Pins, Buyable Pins. Story Pins. When your ready to set up the ad of your choosing, make sure you have installed the Pinterest Tag. With the Promoted Tag you’ll be able to track the actions people take on your website after seeing your Pinterest ads, including checkouts, sign ups, and searches. After you installed your Pinterest tag, the next steps are:
Choose your campaign goal > Choose your campaign budget > Create an ad group > Choose your target audience > Select ad placement > Add interests and keywords > Set your budget and schedule > Tailor for optimization and delivery > Determine your pacing > Pick your Promoted Pins > Monitor campaign performance
Pin It! Add a price on a pin. Add Hashtags (will help customers find your product), Link back to your website product page.
Create organized themed boards. Group similar images as well as similar products and multiple boards. you don’t have to be a big brand or a have a massive marketing budget to make Pinterest ads work for you. Use your creativity and your brand’s uniqueness to showcase your products and engage with your target audience.
Forward-thinking salespeople are embracing a more “social” approach to break down old communication barriers such as Cold Calls, and Email = Social Media. Social selling allows salespeople to laser-target prospects, establish rapport and with their networks, and possibly even ditch the dreaded practice of cold calling.
While determining the best way to connect with prospects and help coax a consumer down your sales funnel, buyers are consistently going to social networks and the Internet to research products they have an interest in purchasing. Whether you are a B2B or B2C brand, potential buyers are looking on these social media platforms for product information. As smartphones are getting bigger form factors and faster processors, consumers are apt to looking, researching with these larger handheld mobile screens.
Here is a brief breakdown of Social Media as related to the Enterprise:
Business to Consumer = Facebook
Business-to-Business products (or services) = LinkedIn (if you have a first-level connection in common with the executive or buyer who will sign off on a PO)
All types of sales = Twitter
*Twitter is the best for “all kinds of sales” as it’s a very popular network (across all demographics) that doesn’t have privacy settings that keep you from high volume searches and actions.
Social Media Sales strategies
Twitter. Make sure you “add” to the conversation a little before directly engaging in customers:
- Like (heart) a few Tweets
- ReTweet one or two Tweets
- Follow them
Friend, Follow, Follow Back or Connect with individuals with profiles that match you or your clients. Its VERY Important to build relationships on any Social Media platform. Not only can it help to generate leads, it can also help foster relationships with current customers.
Be in expert in your space. Provide solutions or tips and feedback to your customers or potential customers if they post a question or gripe on Twitter/Facebook. Prioritize the social channels and tools your audience is already using and that you’re familiar with, then organize those by their primary function.
Listening on social media is one of the most powerful tactics in a social selling strategy. Monitor for popular hashtags and keywords that are relevant to your industry or brand to find useful insights but also see what is being said about your competitors.
Never cold pitch on Social Media platforms. It comes off as desperate and will be ignored. If there is a conversation trending within your industry and potential customers, join in to offer meaningful commentary and interact with these potential buyers. Listening for these opportunities and finding out the pain points your potential customers are having will give sales people a feel for the conversation and allow them to add value.
Social media is “networking” more than it is “advertising”. The goal is to get them to call you (or vice versa), have an open mind about your product or service, and then make your sales pitch.
When its time to engage or pitch, follow these steps:
- Ask for their email so that you can send them some info on your services.
- Find them on LinkedIn and add “connect” with them.
- Send a polite email and mention a conversation you had with them on Twitter or Facebook. You can also mention a tweet or Post that you “favorite” or “liked” from them.
Good Social Sales tools in this space that keeps track of conversations and engagement include:
Hootsuite. More for individuals and small business.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Enterprise grade and scalable.
Its apparent that Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are not fads anymore. These platforms are now mature options to generate leads and sales online. By experimenting with different Social Media sales strategies, you can find the best way to convert them into real quantifiable results on all levels. There are no participation medals in social selling: if you’re going to do it, you have to do it right. That means providing valuable insight to the right prospects at the right time.
Pinterest offers businesses a fairly unique proposition. Like other social media networks, it’s a place to connect with friends and influencers. If you sell physical products, one of the most obvious ways to use Pinterest is to share images of those products. Your photos can feature different variations of colors and styles and even photos of your customers using your products.
When you’re ready to get started with Pinterest, start with a business account. First, create a business account. Start with an eye-catching profile. Start here – pinterest.com/business/create
1. Verify your website (business website).
> Go to your profile and click on the pencil in the bottom-right corner of the name box. Don’t see the pencil? Go to the menu in the upper right corner, select Settings, and go to Step 2.
> Enter your web address in the Website field, then click Verify Website.
> Follow the instructions on the next page. You can verify with an HTML file or a META tag.
> Once your website’s been verified, you’ll see a checkmark next to it and will have access to your web analytics when you’re logged in
Add the Pin It button to your site. Make it easy to Pin from your website or blog. Go here for directions.
2. Get creative. Make your Pinterest board stand out in the crowd. Use high quality .png images. Example, If your a clothing boutique, take digital pics of all your new inventory (clothes) hanging in your store. Images sell. Your selling your store, your style, your products, your design. High quality digital pics drive customers to your store. Think about it being an online mall your walking through. Create a range of boards that showcase your store’s personality and taste, and make sure each board has enough pins to make it feel substantial. Remember that people can choose which boards they want to follow, so not every board has to appeal to everyone. Pinterest users have been more heavily female (about 65%), so keep that in mind as well. If your customer base is mainly men, Pinterest might not be right for you just yet.
3. Publish high resolution photos of your product. The ideal image dimension is 736 pixels wide. Pinterest will display your image at it’s maximum size up to 736 pixels wide. As long as its 736 pixels wide, Pinterest will adjust the dimensions. Also, highlight customers using your product. Ask them to submit pictures. Acknowledge them and give them a discount coupon for this content.
> Make sure you have your Pin logo up on your website that will allow online traffic to click over to your Pinterest page.
> Use rich pins to automatically include information like prices, availability, ingredients and reviews with your pins. All you need to do is add some meta tags, keywords, and #hashtags.
> Learn and keep checking your Pinterest Analytics dashboard! Pinterest Analytics dashboard shows you which pins are most popular with pinners and which ones are driving the most traffic to your site. You can also see what boards your stuff appears on, how the pins are described and what people pin along with your stuff. All of these insights will help you make smarter choices about your merchandising, product development and pinning strategy.
4. Motivate people to pin. The more people pin your content, the more discoverable it becomes. To encourage more pinning, make it easy to pin from your website and email marketing, and promote pinning in your social channels Like Twitter & Facebook, packaging and advertising. Push people to your Pinterest website and in turn they will visit your actual business website and store in real life. Be sure to add links to your company website and Twitter page on your Pinterest profile. You can also bring users to specific web pages by adding the URL in the pin description.
5. Pin at least once a day so your followers get fresh content in their home feeds. Just like with boards, thoughtful descriptions will make your pins more inspiring and searchable. Never Pin inappropriate material. Keep your personal Pinterest account separate from your business account. What makes a good pin description? Check out these tips:
- Recipes: Describe the main ingredients of the dish and how to cook it
- Fashion: Include what kind of clothing, the designer or season to wear it
- Travel: Tell people the local on and the kinds of things you can do there
- DIY: Describe what it is, how you make it and what materials people need
- Photography: Name the photographer, year, subject or publication
- Design: Mention the designer, medium, publication, etc
Last Pinterest tip: Once you are on Pinterest, add the Pinterest follow button to your social media pages and even your printed materials. This is a good way to jump start your Pinterest presence. A great Pinterest marketing article for small business (SMB) in 2021 is here.
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I shared the above graph way back in 2017. Instagram has become a critical platform for product marketing, particularly small business. The Instagram platform is evolving and raising the bar. Forward to today and the 2023 forecast below:
Instagram is a great way to tell a story and find customers. Once you’ve got a story going, an audience will grow organically (as pictured above). A key ingredient with Instagram is using # Hashtags to get your business found by customers. Hashtag marketing makes your posts searchable and gets your business found by local & national customers (especially relevant on Instagram where you can post 10+ Hashtags per post). Growing a dedicated following on Instagram won’t happen overnight. But the bright side is that Instagram users are very active and love to engage. The option to switch to an Instagram business account and use Instagram tools for checking insights and running advertisements has been life changing for small business (SMB).
With Instagram ads, you can reach new customers and extend your reach with customizable, trackable advertisements. You can target specific demographics, link to your website and collect valuable user data that can help inform your other social media marketing campaigns. Instagram is the ideal choice for SMB‘s. You can engage with your customers, advertise your products and build awareness for your brand of service!
Keep it simple but make sure its thorough! Content Strategy Answers the Question ‘Why’ You’re Publishing Content.
- Understand your firm and how it works. Clients and brand considerations. What do you specialize in? Retirement? Wealth Management? Trusts? Client demographics. The specialization (client persona demographics) will dictate the kind of content you should plan to generate.
- Collect data. Competitive analysis, Keywords, Customer (client) research.
- Audit your website. Google Analytics. Traffic data. Conversion and bounce rates, etc. SEO metrics.
- Prospect company’s key influencers and where your customers or potential live online. Do they live on Twitter? Facebook? Do you think they would gravitate to you via another platform such as YouTube if you made instructional financial videos? or maybe subscribing to a Podcast?
- Create useful, exceptional content (blog posts, landing pages, contact forms, eBooks, videos, infographics, case studies) according to steps 1-4. Rank them in importance and create content accordingly. Ensure that editorial standards are being followed. Make sure the content is compliant if you are a Financial Advisor. Pictures and videos should be high-resolution.
- Measure content performance. Google & Social Media Analytics. A/B testing, etc.
If you lack the resources for generating content, outsource to an agency or freelancer for help. Content strategy is the foundation on which successful content marketing is built. Content marketing is the journey towards success, content strategy is the blueprint that directs it.
Do you have a Financial Advisor website with amazing content? Original blog posts? Sticky landing pages? Videos? eBooks? Social Media is THE perfect platform to post & link all your SEC and FINRA compliant original content.
Social Media helps amplify the firm’s brand awareness. Showcasing original blog posts on social media will help push visitors (client leads) back to the home website. Presence on social media is also must if you want to get noticed and be respected. 79% of Twitter users like to discover what’s new, making it the top platform for discovery. Around one-in-five U.S. adults (22%) say they use Twitter