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Why Entrepreneurs Should Love Social Media

Why Entrepreneurs Should Love Social MediaBy Kevin Strasser

My own experience has taught me how vital social media can be to an entrepreneur today. Vital may not even be a strong enough word, as social media has had such an amazing impact with my own venture.

Let’s walk through my own entrepreneurial journey.

From the very beginning of only having an idea, through eventually having a fruitful, profitable business.

The Idea

While working on growing my previous business, an iPhone and iPad apps publisher, I realized how hard it was to cultivate an audience. Building out a sizable, high-quality audience takes a great deal of time and effort; or money. The trouble is that time and money are both in short supply when starting a bootstrapped business. Eventually I came to the realization that while some people get lucky to have their apps go viral (or have the marketing budget to hack popularity), the large majority of app publishers struggle to achieve even meager earnings. Spending months of blood, sweat, and tears developing an app, only to have people complain about having to pay $2.99 for it, is absolutely soul crushing.

While flailing along in the apps business, along the way I grew a great affinity for Twitter. I realized how amazing powerful it was as a marketing and networking tool. You can find and connect with any kind of person you need to, easily and quickly.

I discovered that for tech-savvy audiences, Twitter was a great place to be

But building an audience was still a struggle. I discovered tools that were supposed to help make this less time consuming, but all of these tools had serious or even dangerous flaws.

Vetting Your Ideas

I had an idea that creating a Twitter audience growth service may have some potential. Was I right? I decided to find out. I needed to find people to connect with and get some conversations flowing. I focused on Twitter because it was a great place for my particular audience. Other social media platforms may make more sense than Twitter for you. It all depends on your market and where most of your potential audience is. For instance, if you are selling fashion accessories to young girls, you probably should look to Instragram and Snapchat instead.

Finding Your Initial Customers

Within a few days of starting conversations on Twitter — I had my first customers. This was an immediate validation of my idea. People were willing to pay for this as a service. Always take this step first before spending money and time on developing your product or service.

The total cost of finding my first customers was zilch. Keeping in mind that this was for a brand new business, offering a service that was the first of its kind, makes this fact even more profound. I was not simply lucky to connect with these first customers. If you find the right people, and are offering to fix a problem they have — people will be interested in speaking with you. It is as simple as that.

Once you have your first customers in place, you can learn at a much greater pace than strictly doing internal testing. Customers have needs and situations that you often never anticipate. These first customers, while not only giving you confidence and cash flow; give you much needed feedback and direction.

Content Marketing + Social Media Audience = Success

Your idea has been validated and you have discovered that there are people who will pay you money for it. This is a great first step, but there is more work to be done. You now need to grow the business to a point where hopefully you can quit your day job. At least that was my goal.

But how can you do this with such limited time? Once again social media is your best friend.

Being a B2B business, I have always focused on Twitter and LinkedIn. With limited time, I could not be active, engaged, and human on every social networking platform. With LinkedIn, it is easy to join relevant groups to your offering. I joined several groups related to social media marketing and B2B marketing. Once you join groups, you can easily elicit connections with other group members via LinkedIn invites.

This allowed me to easily grow my LinkedIn base from around 200 people to nearly 1000. Keep in mind that these were not random people, but social media marketers, content marketers, B2B marketers, and growth hackers. Most of whom were already connected to at least a few people I already knew. LinkedIn has been helpful and has led to a few great connections, but Twitter has been my true power driver.

Twitter at this point is the main source of traffic to TribeBoost.com — outpacing Google referrals at a 5 to 1 rate (along with outpacing all other social networks by a greater degree). Looking back on it, the formula to this success is amazingly simple. Create good, targeted content and build a quality audience at the same time. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. The bigger and better your social audience — the more retweets, shares, and mentions you receive for your content. These all lead to more traffic and more traffic leads to more business.

For the first 18 months of TribeBoost we have done nothing but social media marketing. No paid advertising, no Google Adwords, or anything of that kind. We have jettisoned from zero to several thousand dollars per month of revenue — and are growing at a thousands of dollars per month pace.

Amplifiers

When I talk with new TribeBoost clients they are always interested in targeting potential customers. This is surely something you can and should do, but amplifiers and not customers may be the most important connection of all.

Amplifiers are not customers, but are people who find your story engaging and share it with their own audience. This in turn exponentially grows your reach. Think of the impact when someone with a large audience says something great about your business — or shares your content. Work daily on finding new amplifiers and it will pay fruitful dividends.

Thought Leaders and Like Minds

Another great aspect of connecting with people on social media is for your own education.

I aggressively seek connections with like-minded individuals, other entrepreneurs, social media marketers, and growth hackers. Following these people has been invaluable to learn about new tools, new techniques, new people, new communities, new websites, and new ideas for my business. Being an entrepreneur requires you to constantly grow from within, if you are not growing you are dying.

Yes, You Can Get Customers Directly from Twitter

This is a common question I get from new clients. Can Twitter really help me find new customers? Yes it can, as I have found most of my new customers via Twitter.

I cannot tell you have many times I talk with a new client and they say, “You followed us on Twitter, so we checked you out and here we are.” We also have connected with new partners and other very valuable assets as well via Twitter.

Don’t Get Left Behind with the Other Dinosaurs

The fact that there are entrepreneurs not using social media is astounding to me. I credit the harnessing of social media for the growth and success of my business. Goals that only a year ago seemed dreamlike and out of my reach, are already here. I managed to quit that stifling day job, am able to work with people that interest and excite me, set my own daily schedule, and am growing at a pace that I am having trouble believing is actually happening.

This is all due to the amazing power of social media networking.

———————————————————————————
Kevin is the founder and tribal chief of TribeBoost, a pioneering service that helps companies grow their social audience with influential and targeted people.

You can learn more about TribeBoost at http://memarketingservices.com://TribeBoost.com.

 

 

Social Media Platforms Bring Home the Gold

shutterstock_158540423The past few weeks have been full of exciting events in the news involving social media. We celebrated Facebook turning the big 10 and the Winter Olympics began in Russia with the controversial Twitter tag #SochiProblems.

Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Christ Hughes founded ‘thefacebook’ in February 2004 exclusively for Harvard students. Today, one out of every 12 people on Earth has a Facebook profile and if it were its own country, it would be the third largest by population!

Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams founded Twitter only two years later with the simple idea of sharing what you’re doing in 140 characters or less. As of January 2014, Twitter has 645,750,000 active users and an average of 58 million tweets per day.

So, how do these two platforms differ? They both serve as a way for people to connect globally; however, one succeeds far more than the other. The revenue for the first three quarters of 2013 for Facebook was $5,287 million and Twitter trailed behind at $422 million. Net income for Facebook during this time was $977 million and Twitter had a loss of -$134. Facebook users spend an average of 22.52 minutes compared with Twitter’s 12.51 minutes.

These statistics indicate any business trying to expand their reach and exposure should first establish and maintain a solid Facebook page. With high social visibility, Facebook allows businesses to tap into potential customers. They are able to read reviews, see recommendations, and purchase products via their website. A Twitter page should follow shortly after as a tool for building traffic and business promotion.

Facebook and Twitter are tools for networking any business to success. So, bake a cake in honor of Facebook’s birthday and tweet at them to show some love.

Photo Credit: Olga Popova / Shutterstock.com

5 Reasons to Love Continuing Your Social Media Education

5 Reasons to Love Continuing Your Social Media Education

If you’ve been using media for as little as two weeks, you would know that things change. Fast. Social media is an ever-evolving machine that works to enhance the user experience. Businesses use it to market their business. Individuals use it to connect to others and their favorite businesses.

No matter what you use social media for, it’s important that you continually educate yourself on social media. With changes happening every week, you need to stay in the know. For your business, your marketing success depends on it. For your personal use, your privacy depends on it.

Continuing your social media education doesn’t mean you have to take courses at a college or university, it’s as simple as subscribing to blog posts from reputable sources. (Side note: I emphasize reputable because there are a lot of social media “experts” out there and you don’t want to follow someone who may be telling you wrong). Some easy ways to continue your social media education could include…

The how is easy but why should you continue your social media education is the real question. It does take time but if you are wanting to use social media right for your business or for your personal brand (yourself), you have to. Not keeping up with it puts you and your business at risk. Here are 5 reasons to love doing it…

  1. You will know the latest Terms of Service changes and not worry about doing something to have your account suspended.
  2. Knowing the latest trends and updates will allow you to educate others on them, positioning yourself as a credible resource for social media.
  3. You will be aware of any changes that may affect your strategy, i.e. advertising options, text limitations, etc.
  4. It gives you the opportunity to jump on any social media changes or new strategies before your competition does.
  5. It gives you the power to up your A game on social media making you a more advanced social media user.

Are you currently doing anything to continue learning about social media?  If so, please share!

 

LinkedIn Love: Ten Ways to Share and Engage

LinkedIn Love: Ten Ways to Share and Engage

LinkedIn Love: Ten Ways to Share and EngageLinkedIn, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

In an article I wrote for ME Marketing Services this past September, I shared some suggestions for getting started on LinkedIn. Within the article, I explained the importance of having a solid profile, finding connections, and being polite on this platform. If you use LinkedIn, you probably already know that most people tend to be business-like and act more professionally there.

Being professional, however, doesn’t mean you can’t share a little love with your LinkedIn network. Here are ten ways you can use to get started.

(1) – (3) Like, Comment and/or Share to show the love

When people in your network post statuses on LinkedIn, you can choose to engage by clicking on “Like,” “Comment,” or “Share.” Of course, you can do two and even all three. It’s an easy way to show you care.

(4) Use the LinkedIn mentions feature

LinkedIn rolled out a feature called, “mentions,” in April, 2013. With mentions, you have the ability to easily tag someone by name in LinkedIn, just like you can with the other major social platforms. You may find that this feature proves to be especially useful for starting and continuing conversations, or otherwise communicating directly with people on LinkedIn.

(5) Personalize your invitations to connect

LinkedIn has a standard message when you send an invitation to connect: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

This is nice and all, but not very personal. Taking a couple of seconds to add a personalized message can go a long way. The recipient(s) appreciate your extra effort and probably feel better about accepting your invitation.

(6) Endorse people in your network

LinkedIn introduced endorsement capabilities in September, 2012. This feature allows you to endorse people in your network for skills they list for themselves. If you are certain that someone has the skills they say they have, then endorse away.

(7) Give recommendations

Writing recommendations on LinkedIn is a great way to help former co-workers or colleagues who may be job-hunting, or even just because. When you write recommendations, make sure they are sincere, relevant, and appropriate so they’re truly useful for your recipients.

(8) Get involved in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn hosts thousands of groups, meaning you should have no trouble finding at least one you like. Find a group or groups of like-minded people to join and participate in discussions when possible.

(9) Start conversations or share something relevant

Have you just written or read an article or blog post you think your network would like? LinkedIn makes it easy for you to post links to online content or share other information with your network. Post new updates regularly, but respect your followers and be considerate with your posts. Avoid “spamming” or “firehosing,” for example.

(10) Don’t be shy…

Sure, LinkedIn even recommends you only follow people you know well, but why should you limit yourself and your network? If you feel comfortable and want to expand your network then go ahead and invite people to connect and/or accept connections. If necessary, you always have the option to remove them from your network.

 

So, how do you share and engage on LinkedIn? I’d love to hear the ways and the reasons you use LinkedIn. Please leave comments below or click here to connect with me on LinkedIn.

social advertising facebook

Best Practices for Those Who Pay to Play

social advertising facebookIn this day and age of digital marketing, the options are nearly endless of what you can do for your business. Most businesses have taken advantage of social media, using Facebook and Twitter to get their message out to the masses. Social media, as you probably know by now, allows you to really get to know your market. A smaller group of businesses have taken that further and paid for advertising to get even closer to their market.

Yes, businesses can pay to play on social media and the ones that do it have gotten quite good at it.

Paying to play is almost becoming a new norm on Facebook. Everyone and their brother knows about Facebook’s decline in the amount of people who see your posts. Because of that simple truth, businesses are devoting advertising dollars to that platform to make sure their content reaches their market.  Let me say though, you can pay to play on Twitter and LinkedIn as well – it’s not just limited to Facebook.

If you are going to pay to play, here are some basic best practices to make sure you getting the most bang for your buck…

Know why you are doing it. Simple enough, right?  Not really. I see businesses promoting Facebook posts and tweets that are honestly a waste of money and it’s obvious they did it just to do it. Like in using social media, you have to have intent in every.single.thing you do.

Know who you are targeting. You may be having an event that interests only a portion of your market, so when you pay to advertise it, target only that group. That’s the sheer beauty of social advertising – targeting. You can target so specifically that you know your market is going to see it.

Have a budget. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to lose track of your money on social advertising. Yes, you may only be spending $2 per day, but if you have that plus $15 on a promoted post plus $10 per day on Twitter, it adds up quick. Keep a spreadsheet of what you are advertising, how long it’s running and how much you are planning to spend and stick to that.  Trust me, it will save you many accounting headaches later.

Don’t promote every post on Facebook. This is a hard truth, but not everything you post is worth paying to promote. I’m not saying your content isn’t awesome (because I’m sure it is), but when you promote a post it shows up more in your fans’ news feeds and the more they see it, the more likely they are to hide/unlike/report your page for spam. A good rule of thumb is that unless it’s a contest, event or sale/special, don’t promote it. Blog posts are sometimes okay to post, but only if it’s one that is getting a ton of response or it’s something you really want people to read.

Those seem easy enough, right? These are just some basic things to keep in mind when you go to pay to play. Do you have any best practices you use when you advertise online?

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