Category Archives: Social Media

3 Reasons Pinterest is Good for Business

If you’re like me, Facebook is where you go to creep on people you went to high school with, Twitter is where you go for news and current events, Instagram is where you go for cute pictures of cats and dogs, and Pinterest is where you go to get inspired.

pinterestWhat makes Pinterest so unique is that it creates a desire to explore and engage. When users see a delicious recipe, they want to eat it. When they see a DIY project, they want to try it. When they see a nail polish color they like, they want to buy it. Pinterest is visual, product-focused and interactive, and if you use it correctly, it can be a marketer’s dream. Here’s why:

  1. Pinners have purchase intent – When pinners browse product boards, they are actually looking for things they want to buy. Pins that incorporate pictures, prices, availability and reviews typically do well because they offer all of the information pinners need to make a purchase.
  2. Pinterest helps you understand your audience – Pinterest boards tell hand-crafted stories about what pinners care about. When you know what users have pinned in the past, it’s easy to target them with similar products moving forward.
  3. Repins connect you with new audiences – Pinterest connects people through shared interests. If a user repins your product, it instantly gets visibility from an entirely new audience that might be interested. It’s like word of mouth marketing, but this word of mouth connects directly to your e-commerce site.

Although it may have a reputation as a crafter’s dreamland, Pinterest is a serious marketing tool that can lead to very real business results. Try it out, and see for yourself!

Facebook Still Drives Traffic

We have discussed Facebook’s organic reach decline on TKGenius for the last several months. At the risk of angering big and small brands alike, Facebook slowly reduced the organic reach for business pages over the last year, resulting in some brands leaving for other platforms such as Twitter and Google+.

Was this a good decision on the part of the brands saying “Adios”? Probably not. As new traffic numbers are released by Shareaholic for the second quarter, the infographic below shows that Facebook is still by and large the biggest driver of traffic.

shareaholic

As you can see, referrals began to climb from March to June, but really took off in the second quarter, with Facebook driving 23.39% of ALL referral traffic in June, with Pinterest coming in a distant second. This is an increase of more than 150% from last June, allowing Facebook to continue to be the dominant force in social media.

Pinterest, the darling of the web, also saw a dramatic increase over last year. Image as content is getting more and more love from users – proved by the more than 69% in growth since last year.

Coming up third in referrals is Twitter. While Twitter remains very popular among users, it doesn’t have the reach that Facebook continues to garner. Most brands use it for branding alone as opposed to trying to actually drive traffic.

What does all of this data mean to you? Basically, Facebook, even with the organic reach nosedive, performs. It will still provide the best ROI of any of the social media platforms out there. Facebook changes just enough to keep users interested. The newsfeed changes constantly, creating an environment where users can’t help but to read, click, share, like and save. It still provides an enormous amount of interaction for brands and the traffic numbers speak for themselves.

So, did you decide to just muddle through Facebook’s organic reach decline, or did you choose to abandon ship and spend your online marketing dollars elsewhere? If you left, we’d love to hear what you’ve been doing instead of Facebook.

Photo Credit

Social News: Facebook Eases the Pain of Managing Multiple Business Pages

Do you manage multiple Facebook business pages and/or ad accounts?

If the answer is yes, you’ve likely felt the mind-numbing pain and frustration of trying to keep all of your accounts straight. Up until now, Facebook hasn’t made it easy for users to manage multiple pages.

At TKG, we manage multiple business pages and advertisement accounts – and it can get quite cumbersome to navigate from account to account, in addition to having the risk of using incorrect payment methods on different advertising campaigns without a way to switch between payment methods.

All of that has changed with the launch of Facebook’s business manager tool. Marketers, rejoice!

The new tool will allow admins more control and keep everything in one place.

Here are the basic steps to get your Facebook business manager account setup:

Step 1: Login to your Facebook Account

Step 2: Go to http://business.facebook.com

Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click get started.

setting up facebook business manager

Step 4: Read the “Getting Started” page, then click “Next”.

Step 5: Enter Information about your business, then click “Next”.

Step 6: Enter your business name and select which page you want to use as your primary business page. Please note that you need to have admin privileges for the page you would like to use as the primary. Click “Next” to move to the next step.

Step 7: Enter your personal information to setup your business manager user account, then click “Next.”

And just like that you are set up to add business pages and ad accounts. From now on, you will need to go to http://business.facebook.com to manage your primary business page.

Try it out and let us know what you think! Does the change help your business?

Do Social Media Best Practices Work for You?

best type of tweetIt’s easy enough to read article after article on general best practices for Social Media. We’ve even posted some of those general best practices here, because they are great guidelines for businesses looking to get started or to enhance their Social Media efforts.

While these general best practices are named so for a reason (they do indeed fare well on Social), there are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Adhering blindly to any practice without monitoring and testing to ensure its best for your audience can often mean plummeting results in engagement or followers.

Businesses and brands who use best practices as initial guidelines only, and move forward to develop their own unique formula for Social usually fare well in the mercurial world of selfies and viral Kickstarter campaigns. Here are some ways I’ve been seeing how non-general-best-practices have been working for clients lately.

1. “Normal” Tweets

Twitter upgraded its platform to be much more visual. In fact, a Twitter feed is now virtually identical to a Facebook feed, with links, photos and videos blended seamlessly together in a single stream.

While this visual experience can make for a richer interaction with your brand, some of our clients are actually seeing better results with “normal” Tweets, or Tweets that are simply statements or questions, with no photos, videos or links attached.

The important thing with normal Tweets is that they contain compelling, shareable or engaging content to help them stand out from photos or videos. Often, they come in the form of a question, a fact, or even just a witty take on a service or brand promise.

2. Tagged Posts and Mentions

Facebook, of course, swings heavily visual, especially with recent updates including more video in feeds. If you’re running a Page on Facebook, however, you’ve probably noticed that even visually compelling posts have taken a nosedive in organic reach.

You’re not alone. Recent algorithm changes have hit Pages hard, meaning that less and less of your content will be seen organically by your fans (the platform is gradually moving toward a world where brands will likely need to pay for, oh, just about any exposure in individual user’s feeds).

However, we have seen some better than average engagement with posts that not only feature a photo, but also tag or mention other businesses or brands in the photo caption or status update. Not only does this tactic seem to push the post a little further into the feed, it can be a great help to fledgling pages that need as much exposure as possible.

Do be careful here, though, to use this tactic in a natural and friendly way, since it can very easily morph into spam.

instagram clean photos3. “Clean” Photos

When sharing photos, especially on Instagram, it’s tempting to overuse enhanced controls and filter options. Sometimes these filters can be used to great effect…and sometimes, well, less is more.

For some of our clients (and even TKG!), we’ve seen higher engagement with photos with no filters, or with filters that only subtly enhance or alter the photo.

While I’m currently monitoring from month to month to check numbers against each other (it’s possible that certain hashtags are coinciding with no filter posts, or that we simply haven’t stumbled upon the “right” filter for our audience yet), it is interesting to note what is working in the present. In a sea of harsh burnouts and overly wide frames, it does appear that simple, well-lit photos are outshining layer after layer of poorly used tilt shift.

Again, best practices are named so for a reason, and they’re always a great place to start for your brand or business. But as the competition to be heard continues to increase on Social Media, it’s more important than ever to closely monitor analytics and insights and adjust general best practices to your best practices.

This Week in Social Media: New LinkedIn App

LinkedIn recently announced a new iPhone app to replace an outdated Contacts app.

The new app, called “LinkedIn Connected”, is designed to help you stay better connected with your network. Connected will allow your network to see special moments in your career or life and increase your ability to receive endorsements as well as many more profile views.

LinkedIn says users could receive 6X as many profile views with LinkedIn Connected, as well as 7X as many endorsements.

Because the goal of the app is to help you stay more intimately connected with members of your network, LinkedIn says the app includes easy ways to invest in your relationships: big moments, personal victories and professional accomplishments are all highlighted in LinkedIn Connected.

“We know you’d love to reach out and catch up with everyone in your network over coffee, but that isn’t always possible. Connected gives you relevant, and timely, reasons to reach out and keep in touch with the people in your network,” said LinkedIn’s David Brubacher. “This app helps you invest in your relationships today, so opportunities blossom for you tomorrow.”

The early reviews of the app from early users are overwhelmingly positive, with most reviewers noting ease of use and functionality.

What they say is true – it really is all about who you know sometimes. Keeping your network up to date (and your prospects warm!) is important. It looks like this app might help with that. It is now available in the App Store.

Have you tried LinkedIn Connected yet? We’d love to know what you think of it!

Building a Strong Brand on LinkedIn

building a brand on linkedinLinkedIn is a powerful tool to display your company professionally. But it should also be used to expand your follower and fan base, release company news that might not fit well on your other Social platforms and recruit from the diverse and talented group of professionals that use the platform.

It is important to put thought into your brand’s logo, description, connections and external links on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile is a snapshot of your brand and can often be a prospective client’s first impression.

But why use LinkedIn for your brand in the first place? LinkedIn offers several benefits for companies, including:

  1. B2B Networking: Find and vet new vendors, suppliers and manufacturers, connect with partner companies or organizations and simply keep an eye on the competition
  2. B2C Networking: Build your brand, add a different facet to your brand, increase likability and trust through transparency, product promotion
  3. Lead Generation: Network with possible consumers through an optimized profile and robust product and services descriptions
  4. Staffing: Find and recruit qualified active and passive candidates
  5. Customer Satisfaction: Interact with customers on a one-to-one basis, such as through conducting surveys, answering questions or solving customer complaints or problems
  6. Promoting Corporate Culture: Connect with employees and leverage employees to interact with the page, share stories, accomplishments or awards and show the human side of the business

LinkedIn is so much more than a simple “digital business card.” It is a valuable way to promote your company to thousands of customers, build your brand, and promote your company’s culture.

When building your company page, first think through why you’d like to leverage LinkedIn for your brand. It can be for any of the reasons listed above, but having a good idea of what you’d like to accomplish will help you begin to build a strong brand on the platform.

Next, match the overall look, tone and feel of your brand as closely as possible on the platform. No need to re-invent the wheel; use images your customers and employees are already familiar with and can easily recognize.

But beyond creating a consistent profile that matches the look, feel and tone of your brand, there’s more. Frequent, consistent posting helps companies build their audience on LinkedIn while also giving followers a “behind the scenes” look at their business. Showing this angle to your business, as well as adding showcase pages or posting current job openings, lends to a feeling of transparency to your company, which can be an excellent way to attract new customers and bolster your overall brand.

Just remember, LinkedIn might be a platform dedicated to business, but it is still a Social platform. So think through how customers or employees might want to socially interact with the “business side” of your business. You may not want to post your latest press release in its entirety, but you might want to post a quick snippet with a photo that then leads to a link on your website. Think in small snapshots, and your followers will be grateful.

Are you currently building your brand on LinkedIn? What tactics have you found helpful?

Are You a Brand Journalist?

brand journalist

A shopping cart full of Shearer Perfection!

It was me.

It’s true; I was that crazy lady snapping pictures of her shopping cart at the grocery store this weekend. And of the nice endcap display. And, umm, I may have taken a few of some random guy’s cart.

Yeah, that too.

Don’t judge. It was all in the name of good content.

It’s no secret that brands and marketers everywhere continue to scramble to figure out what good content is and how they can create and incorporate it into all of their platforms.

Everyone knows that content is king (if you haven’t heard that, you’ve likely been living under a rock!). But what a lot of people don’t realize is that good content isn’t this crazy, hard-to-obtain thing. Good content is everywhere, and the simplest things are often the best.

The key to finding that perfectly on-target content is to just live it. Rather than try to dream up an idea that will make people everywhere swoon to ‘like’ your content, try coming by it naturally. If you know your product and audience, you shouldn’t have to reach too far.

The trick comes in mobilizing your staff to become brand journalists of sorts, and able to report what they see in real time.

In social media, it’s the difference between your company telling people that it is awesome vs. someone else relating to other why your company is so awesome. It kinda inches up the credibility a notch.

At TKG, we often become brand journalists for our clients, taking every opportunity to take notes and snap pictures when we see the product or service of one of our clients in the real world. Essentially, we become another set of eyes that can capture stories as they are happening.

And yes, sometimes that happens at the grocery store, like it did for me last weekend. Shearer’s Potato Chips is a TKG client, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to snap a few pics for them of some perfectly placed Shearer’s chips in the cart in front of me. Or the wild riceworks that just so happened to jump in my cart (side note: you have to try them, they are amazingly delicious and addictive).

People connect with brands through social channels when they can see their lives in it. Good content is relatable, relevant and personal. And in the ever-evolving world of news, it’s important for brands to be able to tell their own story.

Is your brand telling the story of your business? Is your staff mobilized to spot good stories that should be shared? Are you sharing them in a consistent and well strategized way? We’d love to hear how brand journalism is working for you.

This Week in Social Media: Should Facebook Suggest You Unfollow Pages?

Should Facebook suggest you unfollow pages? Have you noticed that Facebook has started asking if you want to unfollow pages as you scroll through them in your newsfeed?

As if people didn’t already know they could unfollow pages, now the option is right in front of their face – and the dreaded unfollow is just one click away.

Allfacebook.com reported the new practice is a test by Facebook.

The worry for marketers, of course, is that the test will become permanent and pages will lose even more visibility in newsfeeds.

The reason it matters to you? Your posts need to be primo – top notch and on-target every time – in order to retain your fans. More than ever, brand posts are going to have to matter to fans, so make ‘em good! Posts will also need to reach out to fans in more substantial ways than, “Like and Share if you agree!”

Why? Because you need interested and engaged fans.

It all boils down to what is more important: visibility or engagement?

Visibility vs. Engagement

Some think that having inactive fans unfollow a page could be a good thing. They may have followed the page to win a contest, get a coupon or whatever, but there was not further engagement after that time. Having them unfollow enables a brand to target and reach a specific audience that they know is interested in their products.

On the other hand, many brands may take less followers as adding insult to injury after also watching their organic reach decline rapidly over the last several months. The visibility they feel like they have built up in their fan base may now begin to decline as well.

Many companies, especially smaller businesses, have had to work hard for each and every “Like” or “Follow.”

Fans, on the other hand, are often glad to “clean up” their newsfeed and drop brands they don’t want anymore.

So what’s your take? Will this invitation by Facebook to “unfollow” pages result in a decline in visibility for brands? Or do you think it will it just foster engagement with those who are truly interested in the brand?

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Photo Credit

How to Use LinkedIn Successfully

LinkedIn LogoLinkedIn is a powerful tool for individuals looking to craft a professional online presence. Cat photos, memes of the moment and political rants are few and far between on this platform; the focus rests solely on all aspects of business.

Individuals with profiles have the opportunity to rub shoulders with their industry’s elite, make meaningful, lasting career connections, or even participate in online networking with other like-minded careerists.

But there are three areas where LinkedIn really excels and can benefit your own career and business: lead generation, recruitment and building brand equity.

LinkedIn for Lead Generation

Connect with potential clients through your 1st and 2nd degree connections. Dive into their profiles and find out their interests and specific areas of expertise. Check out their connections … do you have a few connections in common that could help you establish common ground? Perhaps you share a common niche or specialty, or maybe you worked in the same company or area. When you approach your leads later, you’ll have mutual connections and conversation ideas.

One very savvy TKG client generated dozens of leads a day on LinkedIn by simply searching her connections’ connections (her 2nd degree connections) by industry. She would then either ask for an introduction from her 1st degree connections to these 2nd degree connections, or send a short InMail about their mutual friend, and it often organically lead to her being able to help the lead with her company’s service.

Lead generation on LinkedIn can take a little time. It does require patience to dig into the information available on the platform, but it can yield measurable results in a way that cold calling or endless networking events can’t quite meet.

LinkedIn for Recruitment

Current employees can be one of your greatest recruiting assets for both new followers and new employees. Ask employees to connect with your company profile, and indicate on their LinkedIn profiles that they are currently employed by you. Encourage employees to interact with your status updates, post about current job openings, or share your page or information regularly.

You can also upgrade to Careers packages on LinkedIn to reach qualified candidates … both those who are actively looking for a position like the one you’re offering (about 20 percent of LinkedIn users) and those who are simply passively using the platform, but would be fantastic candidates (about 80 percent of LinkedIn users). These options can range from about $100 a month for a targeted ad or posting, up to $10,000 plus for a robust recruiting system that includes a CMS and other options that can actually be quite reasonable for companies that recruit often and heavily.

LinkedIn to Build Brand Equity

If someone in your network posts a question or article in your realm of expertise, take a moment to thoughtfully respond. Publishing good content in the form of your own individual status updates, interactions with your connections, or even on your company’s page on LinkedIn will establish your brand as a credible influencer.

Remember, however, that even though LinkedIn is a professional platform, it is also first and foremost a Social platform, so look to build relationships with your audience and connections whenever possible.

Community management techniques that apply to other Social platforms also apply on LinkedIn. Answer questions when possible or acknowledge positive feedback when it is received either on your individual profile or company page.

Strong Calls to Action in your posts are also an effective way to boost engagement. You may consider directly asking followers to recommend your products, sign up for your newsletter or visit your website.

Above all, remember that LinkedIn is the one place you get to brag about your company as much as you’d like! Share how things work behind the scenes, your involvement in the community, how your company typically likes to recruit, or even updates on internal initiatives when possible.

Without the noise of personal issues, cat photos or ridiculous list articles, LinkedIn can be a safe refuge for all things career and business based. Leverage the platform to help build your career and grow your brand and business.

This Week in Social Media: Are You Ready for Social Media Day?

Social Media MondayThis Monday, June 30, marks the 5th annual Social Media Day (#SMDay), a tradition started in 2010 by Mashable as a way to “recognize and honor the digital revolution happening around the world.”

People all over the world participate in #SMDay by attending networking events, inspiring presentations or even dance parties. But the day isn’t just about gettin’ your groove on; it is designed to highlight the one-to-one connections and power for change that Social Media allows.

As we’ve seen in the last few years, Social Media is no longer simply the shared breakfast photos (#nomnomnom) of the past. It truly has the power to start or sustain revolutions, spread information like never before, and help raise awareness (or cash) for a cause.

Celebrate Social Media, its users and the digital revolution this Monday by using the hashtag #SMDay on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn or other network of your choice. Then connect…either online or offline. Check Mashable to see if there are meetups in your area, or simply reach out to a user in your circles (or beyond!) to say hello.

TKG looks forward to connecting with you on #SMDay!