Learn How To Use Social Media To Its Fullest Today (Part 2)

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In the digital age where it seems every second there’s a new cat video or controversial article trying to grab your attention, it’s easy for someone to lose their voice in all the noise.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that businesses have a firm understanding of the landscape before them. And, perhaps most importantly, know how to reach their target audience through all that noise. Having and maintaining a strong reputation online is the difference between a successful business and a fail endeavor.

These days anyone with an internet connection is using social media in one way or another. With social media businesses can now target their specific market and create tailored messages and advertisements. Audiences have never been easier to cater to.

But which social media platform is the right one for you and your business? Remember to read through Part 1 of this series where I analysed the major social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

After all, you’re an entrepreneur. You don’t have time to be wasting on Facebook if you’re a B2B business. All the images you’ve painstakingly curated for your Instagram isn’t going to be doing you any good if none of it is redirecting traffic to your site.

Take advantage of Google Analytics and find out where the bulk of your traffic is coming from, and capitalize on it.

Here’s a video from KISSmetrics explaining the importance of knowing referral traffic and how to access it through Google Analytics.

Continuing on from the previous article, here are the most popular, and upcoming, social media networks that you could, or should, be using. I’ll be breaking down each social media platform to find out which is best suited for you. As well as providing the tools to use in order to achieve maximum success.

 

YouTube

This year YouTube turned 10 years old. 10 years since the first ever YouTube video of co-founder Jawed Karim at the zoo was uploaded. YouTube now impressively boasts over 1 billions subscribed users, and an estimated 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute.

In 10 years YouTube has led the charge of online streaming services and revolutionized how businesses can market themselves. Industry professionals believe that in another 10 years no one will be watching television anymore with online streaming services dominating the market.

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On average teenagers and young adults are spending less and less time concerned with traditional forms of media.

While Facebook undoubtedly dominates social media in terms of overall membership and active usage, YouTube actually attracts more visitors to their site. A worldwide survey by GlobalWebIndex has found that, excluding China, 85% of online adults were regular visitors to YouTube, using the site multiple times during their week.

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Looking past the health and beauty blogs, music videos and tween celebrities you’ll find that YouTube is home to one of the most diverse communities online. Due to the, almost, complete lack of restriction on the type of content allowed on YouTube, this has led to video coverage on almost every topic or subject in the world. YouTube content creators with even a rudimentary knowledge of film production can now easily become opinion leaders by catering specifically to their niche communities.

Fashion brands were capitalized early with brands like Macy’s creating an online reality show dubbed “The Next Style Star”. In which stylists were chosen to compete for a $10,000 prize, and a chance to help direct a fashion shoot at their flagship store in New York. It also just so happened that the contestants also happened to be popular fashion bloggers on YouTube and they had to design a new look from pre-existing Macy’s merchandise.

For less overt marketing tactics, take a look at Nissan who teamed up with prominent YouTubers in order to promote their dad themed Super Bowl Ad. They allowed the content creators complete creative control, which allowed the YouTubers to stay true to their audience as well as providing a promotional spot for Nissan.

Statistics provided by Tube Filter conclude that viewership across the board takes a significant dip on Mondays to Thursdays. Although this data isn’t particularly surprising when considering the average person’s work cycle.

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Further research also shows that these are the best times to post a video. With overall viewership peaking during these times, increasing the likelihood of views, likes and shares. However the best time to post for your business will rely on you to make the most out of your YouTube analytics.

youtube-best-posting-times-days-of-the-weekYouTube has recently rolled out a new feature known as YouTube Cards. The new feature allows you to include a distinct call to action within your video. How you choose to use that call to action is up to you, from creating referral traffic, allowing users to buy directly off the video to simply building your email list.

19240256_blogimage_nap_enFor those inexperienced with making films and video editing, try giving Directr a go if you are an Apple user. An incredibly simple app that breaks down all the steps needed to make a video into bite-sized pieces. Using set storyboards and templates, Directr was designed with marketing and virality in mind.

directrPerhaps YouTube’s most advantageous feature is Fan Finder, a plugin that allows you to target demographics that are most likely to become a regular viewer. First you have to create a channel ad, a short succinct video in which you explain your business and your brand, which targets your desired audience. Be sure to grab someone’s attention within the first 5 seconds and include a clear call to action.

YouTubeFanFinderAdsLinkedIn

LinkedIn was launched in 2003 with the sole purpose of being a social networking service for businesses and professionals. To date there are over 364 million registered users worldwide. LinkedIn has quickly become an invaluable marketing tool for professionals, whether it’s improving their B2B marketing strategy, self-promotion or networking.

Screenshot 2015-06-05 14.25.14LinkedIn is unique in that it is a social networking platform geared towards professional networking, meaning that its user demographics are unique from other social networking platforms.

The majority of LinkedIn users typically possesses a college education or higher, with a significant majority earning over $75 thousand annually. LinkedIn also holds the distinction of being the only social network in which the usage among 50 to 64 year olds is higher than the younger demographic of 18 to 29 year olds. LinkedIn also features executives from all Fortune 500 companies listed in 2013, with its corporate talent solution being used by 94 of the Fortune 100 companies.linkedin-users

A survey conducted by Statista on UK business professionals in 2014 found that LinkedIn dominates the field when it comes to profession-related activities. Showing a significant lead in comparison to Facebook and Twitter, despite both social media platforms far outweighing LinkedIn in terms of registered and active users.Screenshot 2015-06-05 14.55.34

Screenshot 2015-06-05 14.54.26Based upon the information above it’s prudent for any entrepreneur to understand what LinkedIn is and is not. It’s definitely not a place for straight promotion or sales.

At its heart the primary function of LinkedIn lies in its nature as a social network and its ability to allow users to establish professional relationships with other users that they otherwise wouldn’t have known. LinkedIn is about enhancing your business, your brand, and your profile through the power of networking.

Take advantage of LinkedIn groups and talk directly to influencers and opinion leaders. You should be treading connections on LinkedIn not as potential customers, but as potential colleagues. Join the discussion and show that you’re able to run with the big dogs.

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“Treat LinkedIn like any other form of marketing you do, and get clued up on the latest trends. People don’t want to be interrupted so do your best to be “discovered” on LinkedIn. Read up on Content Marketing, and Inbound Marketing, and apply these strategies to this network. There are plenty of people acting like hard-sell 1980 sales reps on LinkedIn, so be wise and don’t be one of them.” – Nikki Hammett, Digital Marketing Manager of blur Group.

As an entrepreneur it’s important to be constantly learning as much as you can from as many different sources as possible. A key attribute of success is having the ability to learn and adapt. However this is my personal mantra: Why bother being a follower when you can lead?

Screen_Shot_2014-08-19_at_9.06.44_PMOne of the best ways to do this is through smart content marketing by becoming an influencer yourself with smart and informative articles, which is why I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Score analytics tool. It measures your use engagement, keywords, and current trends, among other things, and gives your article a score based on it’s relevancy and likelihood to be read. While this is not a perfect tool and cannot conclusively tell you how relevant our influential your piece is, but it’s a great benchmark to start with.

where-linkedin-ads-displayIf you are a B2B business take a look at LinkedIn Ads to find potential clients. Like Facebook or AdWords, LinkedIn Ads is buying online advertising space through banner ads and the occasional pop-up. However a neat trick for LinkedIn is that you can target specific demographics, ranging from age, location, job title to number of employees.

 

linkedin-office-showcaseCombine it with LinkedIn Showcase Pages where you can design landing pages specifically for a single product. You can also choose to have it feature on your business’s LinkedIn page to increase your leads.

 

 

 

Google+

Let’s face it, Google+ is the butt of many jokes, when the tech giant announced its plans to create a social media platform the world was abuzz. However when Google+ was rolled out it fell incredibly short of people’s expectation.

Especially when compared to social media giants like Facebook, Google+ has just over 300 million monthly active users, while respectable, it cannot match the 1.23 billion monthly active users that Facebook has. So much for the “Facebook-killer” sentiment being thrown around in the lead up to the launch.

Google-Plus-JokeHowever, this does not mean that you should ignore Google+, just because it isn’t the next Facebook does not make it a complete failure. In the same vein, just because social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter aren’t as widely-used as Facebook does not mean that they’re failures as a social media platform.

Google+ has pivoted and become more business facing, with Google showing a clear preference in their search algorithms to businesses with a Google+ page.

Searchmetrics_Google-Search-Results-Correlation

Data gathered by Searchmetrics shows that Google+1s are more likely to appear on top of Google search rankings than Facebook shares or backlinks. For any business that’s looking to stay on top of the SEO game, then you absolutely need a Google+ profile.

As it grows Google+ is becoming a trusted source of news for users, especially among older millienials. With the right audience engagement you can easily drive up the search engine ranking of anything you post.

It’s important to remember that Google+ isn’t Facebook, and it isn’t LinkedIn. It’s somewhere in between. So the social media tactics you’ve used before may not be applicable here.

Google+ is almost a mashup of various other social media networks. It has an almost Instagram-like focus on eye-catching images instead of tiny thumbnails. You’re able to curate Pinterest-like boards with Collections, creating a public stream of interesting content. Like LinkedIn you can engage with niche communities with Circles. Also it should be noted that while small Google+ has a thriving community with high levels of user discussion and engagement. You can also include easily cross-promote with other social networks like Pinterest and Instagram.

With Google+ you now have the ability to create and present content in a variety of ways. Smart businesses will exploit this feature to its fullest in order to generate leads and increase their conversion rates.

Google Hangouts is a fun application for anyone entrepreneur looking to achieve high user engagement. It essentially allows you to create either a public or private chat room with select audience members. You can also broadcast your webinar live straight onto YouTube. Here’s a video explaining how to use Google Hangouts as a tool for webinars.

If you’re keen on taking advantage of the networking aspects of Google+ then take a look at Google Ripple. It’s an inbuilt application which beautifully displays far your influence reaches and track how well your posts are doing. By using this smartly you’ll be able to figure out if major influencers are paying attention to you and how you should handle your user engagement. This tool is also not only limited to your own account but can be used to view how well your competitors are doing as well.

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reddit

reddit, rather aptly, calls itself “The Front Page of the Internet”, as a discussion board powered through user submitted content it has proven to be a virtual smorgasbord of text, links, videos and images from every part of the internet.

The discussion forum runs upon a very simple idea: to be powered by community as much as possible. This means that there is a distinct lack of editorial oversight when it comes to posting or publishing content, outside of volunteer moderators. All content linked or published onto reddit is then either voted up or down by other users and in doing so creates an internalized ranking based upon the amount of votes it has.

Another signature feature of reddit is its ability to create niche communities by creating internalized forums known as “sub-reddits”. The lack overt moderation means that you can create a sub-reddit on any topic you want and build an online community around it. With over 8000 active communities virtually every facet of society is represented in reddit in one way or another.

Research from Pew Research Centre has found that 6% of online adults in the US frequent reddit. In its survey of over 2000 consumers, it found that men were twice as likely to be reddit users than women, and the discussion board was more likely to be used by young adults.
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Last month reddit saw over 170 million unique visitors, and a 40% overall increase in registered users and engagement since last year. Not bad for a company that was initially laughed at and deemed a failure by Yahoo.

Traditionally users of reddit have been distrustful, and sometimes incredibly vocal, of any attempts by businesses to market or advertise themselves on the social platform. Not to mention that reddit users are quick to spot sloppy tactics like manipulating votes, spamming and fake accounts and any other overt means of marketing.

This mentality has made it incredibly difficult for businesses to find a way to gain a foothold on reddit for fear of backlash.

Although reddit has taken steps to become more profitable as a business by allowing businesses to advertise take advantage of the high volume traffic of reddit and have feature ads or links promoted on either reddit’s front page or in specific sub-reddit communities.

With reddit it’s incredibly important to be aware of two facts: the 90:9:1 ratio of participation, and that two-thirds of users consume news primarily through reddit.

community-participation-pyramidThe 90:9:1 ratio, otherwise known as the one percent rule, dictates that in all online communities only 1% are heavy contributors, 9% contribute a little and 90% are ‘lurkers’ who simply read and don’t contribute into conversation. While this rule can be considered outdated with some saying that the ratio is more like 70:20:10 these days, the key takeaway is this: most people aren’t creating content.

This means that you have a unique opportunity to become an opinion leader and influencer just by participating in the conversation.

Further research by the Pew Research Centre has found that the majority of reddit users use reddit as their primary source of information and news.

1_News-consumption-varies-widelyFurther research done by ShareThis shows that Facebook dominates the amounts of shares a news piece gets, reddit has a consistently higher rate of user engagement with a piece. Users on reddit are far more likely to generate discussion about a piece of content than any other social media platform.

sharethis-majorevents-800x600Take advantage of this and actually lead the conversation instead of joining in by posting and linking relevant information to the right niche communities.

But you have to remember to strive to be honest and transparent when it comes to posting on reddit. Ensure that you’re volunteering relevant information freely and that you’re actually connecting with the community as a whole.

For gaining valuable insight on how your posts and content is faring, use reddit insights to track its progress.

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Meerkat and Periscope

In the past few months two applications have been launched that have touted as the future of marketing and advertising. The future is, apparently, all about live streaming video. Both have received significant media attention since they’ve launched with many tech blogs offering their two cents about how they stack up against each other.

I won’t go into too much detail about the differences between Meerkat and Periscope simply because there isn’t enough facts or data at this point to conclusively point out which is better. And I’m not the kind of writer that gives you shoddy information. So let’s lay out the facts and see how either of these apps can help grow your business.

Screenshot 2015-06-06 22.52.27Here is a quick comparison by HubSpot, be sure to remember that both Meerkat and Periscope are still early in their release and are regularly being updated.

A study by Business Insider has concluded that more and more people are turning to digital video when it comes to consuming information. YouTube now reaches more people via mobile alone than any cable television channel.

businessinsiderdigvidBusiness Insider predicts that businesses will focus more on mobile advertising, with mobile advertising revenue set to equal traditional desktop focused advertising by 2020.

Further research by TubeMogul has also found that click through rates are significantly higher across the board for mobile devices than non-mobile devices.

Screenshot 2015-06-06 20.37.35Research by comScore has shown that consumers now prefer using mobile devices to non-mobile devices. The evidence is clear, mobile usage is no longer a growing trend and that we’re now past the tipping point. Businesses need to learn how to optimize their mobile marketing fast, or risk being left in the dust.

Screenshot 2015-06-06 20.49.00A recent study has found that people do prefer live streaming services, citing authenticity, originality and time as motivators. Live viewings, and by extension live streaming, allows audience members to feel connected with the performer, to associate with a friendly personality and not just a faceless corporation. Watching something live also creates an experience of originality, that unlike recorded shows, letters or emails, it gives people a feeling that this experience is once-in-a-lifetime and cannot be replicated anywhere else.

In terms of customer service and complaints, a survey conducted by eConsultancy reveals that live chat shows the highest level of customer satisfaction.

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Meerkat and Periscope were both created with the above information in mind. Which app is best for you is dependent on the type of business you’re running and what you want to achieve, but here’s a few things to help you on your way.

Screenshot 2015-06-06 22.51.18Here’s a quick graph showing times of the day where mobile device usage is at its highest. Obviously once you’ll learn more about your audience you’ll find out the optimum times for your business to be utilizing live stream.

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General Electric has jumped on the bandwagon early with Periscope, by giving a behind-the-scenes look on StarTalk radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Screenshot 2015-06-06 23.35.41Aaron Levie CEO and founder of Box did a live broadcast of himself doing magic tricks through Meerkat, immediately endearing himself to many.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oobLXhS–lE

Here astronaut Chris Hadfield does a Q&A using Periscope, answering questions from the multiple users who tuned in to watch.

Real estate businesses are even taking advantage of live streaming, using it for home showings, announcements and buyer and seller presentations.

Ultimately there are many ways in which you can utilize live streaming for your business. Take some inspiration and advice from YouTubers and professional film makers about filming live.

 

Conclusion

The online landscape is constantly changing, and you have to learn how to change with it if you want to stay relevant. Utilising social media doesn’t have to be scary, when used properly it become an invaluable tool and weapon for you. At its core social media is all about being social, by being part of and subsequently understanding the online communities you’re participating in.

Not every social media platform will be the right one for you and your business, and trying to use all of them is just a waste of valuable time and resources. Understand what you want from social media, who your target audience is and the best way to communicate with them. Make the most out of the information here and start building your social media strategy.

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