Committing to social media marketing can be a heavy lift. Read on for tips to make it easier.
Whether you love it or hate it, social media has permanently changed our world. It has certainly opened new avenues for marketing. Whether you are firing off micro-targeted ads, responding to customer questions or concerns, or using it as a vehicle for branding and thought leadership, social is an essential digital marketing tool. Let’s look at how small agencies can tap into the power of social without becoming overwhelmed.
Social Media 101
First, determine where your audience is. It can be tempting to create profiles on as many platforms as possible, but if you overextend yourself, you may not be able to keep your profiles consistently updated. This can make you look unprofessional and even harm your brand.
Instead, consider a data-driven approach. In our industry, it likely makes sense to start with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook, for example, has incredible reach, with 69% of American adults using the platform as of 2019.[i] LinkedIn is an ideal choice for B2B brands, with 80% of leads coming from the platform.[ii] The platform also offers powerful tools for showcasing your company, recruiting workers and even building your company culture. Twitter has significantly less user adoption – 22% circa 2019[iii] – but it is a hotbed for journalists and is perhaps the easiest platform for engaging in the type of one-to-one customer communication that social thrives on.
After you have your platforms, create profiles that are complete and optimized. At the beginning of 2021, we wrote a blog post outlining how to do this on Facebook, and while each social media platform differs, the best practices we covered are largely applicable to other platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Just remember to prioritize the use of photos, your “About” section and your business’s contact info, and you’ll already be ahead of the game.
Next, establish a posting strategy. As you might expect, there is no shortage of opinions on how much to post on each platform. With Twitter, it is suggested that you post three times a day or more, while Facebook and LinkedIn get two times and one time per day respectively.[iv] Yet that cadence is likely not feasible for most agency owners. Posting once per day per platform is sufficient to keep your pages looking fresh and active. Even putting up new content two to three times per week goes a long way toward creating a vibrant social media presence.
Quality Over Quantity
With any content strategy, quality trumps quantity. Focus on thought leadership and educational content over company updates. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should neglect to promote your business or publicize your products, but you want people to see you on social as a helpful resource rather than a pesky salesperson. Here are some great examples of content to post:
- Company blog posts
- Industry news
- Product demos or videos
- Customer reviews
- Quick tips or advice
- Holiday or awareness day posts
- Photos of your company culture
- Relevant quotes
- White papers or reports
- Industry research
- Polls or questions
As long as your posts are visually appealing, educational and inspire engagement, you’re on the right track.
Join the Conversation
Posting your own content is only half the battle on social media. The other half is social listening and fostering conversation. First, establish your community and/or audience on each platform. Friend or follow a few people each day. Depending on the platform, you can also join groups or forums.
Additionally, it’s not a bad idea to track keywords that pertain to your business. That way, you can stay apprised of any chatter where it would make sense for you to join the conversation as a thought leader. Once again, social media is all about two-way communication, community and establishing yourself as a helpful resource. If people start seeing you that way, they may circle back around when they need the product or service your company provides.
To start easily tracking hashtags and keywords, look into a social media listening service. The good news is there are plenty of options out there that offer a free version.
Final Thoughts Like much of marketing, social media can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a designated staff person handling things. But it doesn’t have to be. By being choosy with your platforms, creating optimized profiles and establishing a solid content strategy, you can leverage these technologies
[i] Which Social Media Platforms Should I Use for My Business? – Wharton Online (upenn.edu)
[iv] How Often Should I Post on Social Media? | Buffer Blog
We test out a lot of things these days. Why not our marketing collateral?
We live in a world of endless trials. Whether it be for streaming services, meal delivery programs or pretty much any software tool, testing something out before committing seems as American as apple pie. So why would we not apply this logic to our marketing content?
A/B testing is the process of testing out various iterations of marketing collateral ahead of fully disseminating it. Also known as “split testing” or “bucket testing,” A/B testing assists businesses in identifying which variation of a piece of content is most successful in achieving the desired outcome with a target audience. The good news is that, due to marketing solutions dropping in cost over the past few years, A/B testing is an increasingly viable practice for smaller firms.
And it couldn’t have come at a better moment. With the market growing increasingly competitive, particularly online, ensuring that your collateral is as optimized as possible is more important than ever. Nobody has time to waste on creating content that has no chance of converting customers. Here’s how you can begin incorporating A/B testing to improve your marketing practices.
A/B Testing: Your Ticket to Better Marketing
Have you ever felt that there is too much subjectivity when preparing a new marketing campaign or initiative? While there are concrete best practices with writing or content strategy, select elements do seem to come down to individual choice. Should a button be lower or higher on the page? Would a different color or CTA (call to action) resonate more deeply for a specific audience? A/B testing brings more scientific rigor to the tweaks and changes that are a typical part of honing campaign material.
It’s also a straightforward process to understand. A/B testing technically harkens back to the 1960s, but its contemporary version is most typically used in the context of email marketing campaigns. Many email software programs today allow you to create multiple versions of a campaign email and then send them to a test audience to gather feedback. Operating similarly to the scientific method, a marketer would create a control email and then a supplemental email that is slightly modified.
Once each version is sent and opened (or not), the system automatically compiles analytics for each variation, allowing you to put real data behind your final writing or design decisions. Users can apply this method to test nearly any element of an email – including subject lines, colors, body copy, font size, font family, imagery, links, video and more.
Perhaps best of all, A/B testing does not require specialized knowledge. It’s easy to get started by viewing any of the many well-produced video tutorials that you can find online.
Emails Are Great, but Where Else Can I Use A/B Testing?
Emails are perhaps the easiest way to use A/B testing, but they are not the only one. A/B testing is a crucial aspect of social media advertising, SEM (search engine marketing) and even landing page development. Social media platforms make it easy to create different versions of an ad and then cycle through them for the campaign’s duration. Each platform will continually update you with fresh data on which version of your ad is performing best, allowing you to reallocate your funds and maximize your marketing dollars in almost real-time.
Conducting A/B testing for landing pages is a little more difficult – but not by much. All that is required is to create two different versions of your landing page, changing elements such as headlines, body copy, CTA buttons and their respective layouts. After you have these established, funnel a similar number of people to each page version and gauge performance.
You can do this by employing Google’s free analytics platform, Google Analytics, although that may involve a learning curve. Happily, many leading CMSs (content management systems) have built-in analytics that are more user-friendly and accessible than Google’s. Some of the main metrics you should look at when assessing the quality of your landing pages include (but are not limited to): views, session duration, conversion rate and bounce rate.
If you’re interested in getting your bearings with Google Analytics, there are a ton of fantastic resources online that can help get you started.
Make Your Marketing Count
Running a business is only possible if someone is buying your products and services. And people cannot buy from you unless they know who you are and what you do. This is a long-winded way to say that marketing matters. But marketing is also time-consuming, and when you’re leading an agency, time is always in short supply. Still, A/B testing is worth the time investment. Whether you are conducting an email campaign, disseminating paid ads or even looking to optimize your landing pages, A/B testing allows you to tweak your collateral more effectively before making a final decision.
Simply put, it increases the prospect that your content will convert, and your hard work be rewarded.
Email campaigns are not dead. Here are some best practices to make the biggest impact.
Since email was invented in the 1970s, tremendous change has occurred in the marketing world. Despite this, the tried-but-true email campaign remains a rock-solid tool to get your message out, spark awareness for your services and grow your customers and prospects. Here are some best practices for putting together an email campaign that will “wow” your audience.
Before you start writing, you first need to dig into the quality and integrity of your list by asking yourself a simple question: Did you organically compile your contacts, or did you purchase a list?
Purchasing a list is rarely smart. For one thing, you cannot assess the validity of the contacts until you send your first campaign. Plus, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 includes numerous rules for how companies can or cannot market via email. Violating the CAN-SPAM act can result in serious consequences, so you want to be sure you’re compliant.
Subject Lines are Crucial
In a previous blog post, we mentioned that email subject lines are incredibly important. Remember to keep them short, with concise language. Do not use excessive capitals or unnecessary punctuation.
There are a variety of other techniques to build a great subject line around, including urgency, timeliness or special offers. It also never hurts to personalize them by tucking the recipient’s name or other personal information into the text of the subject line.
Prime the Pump
The average person is now exposed to somewhere between 4,000-10,000 ads in any given 24-hour period.[i] Because of this, people are much less likely to respond to a cold email from a business that they do not know.
To overcome this challenge, make your email campaigns part of a larger strategy. Market only to people you know or, at the very least, people who have explicitly agreed to give you their contact information.
You should also use other marketing channels like social media to raise your prospects’ awareness of your brand. Even better, conduct personal outreach! If you have a list of contacts, reach out and connect with them on LinkedIn before sending an email. Do whatever you can to ensure that when your email shows up in their inbox, they are going to be intrigued and excited rather than annoyed and apathetic.
Remember the Buyer’s Journey
A best practice with any marketing campaign, email or not, is to meet people where they are. Not everyone is always in the buying mindset. Instead, prospects need to be guided through the “buyer’s journey,” a multi-step process where people move from being aware that they have a problem, to considering potential solutions, to finally making a purchasing decision.
On a practical level, that means that your initial email should be conversational and helpful, sharing thought leadership or helpful advice that is not related directly to your business. After that, you can gradually transition into discussing your offer, always reinforcing how it will help solve your prospects’ problems.
To prepare for this type of outreach, make sure you have collateral that you can attach to your emails. For example, if you are raising awareness for your agency, you could include a thought leadership piece about the benefits of title insurance, before transitioning to something like a brochure that lists your services in the second or third email. Keep trickling information out and always include a strong call to action encouraging people to get in touch and talk further.
As you might suspect, there are a variety of best practices you’ll want to implement when preparing your email marketing campaigns. In addition to what we’ve discussed here, there are a lot of additional tips that can help you also improve the visual design of your emails. Try to incorporate as many best practices as you can. After that, you’ll be in a great place to capitalize on the power of email marketing and start converting mere recipients into reliable customers.
[i] How Many Advertisements Is a Person Exposed to a Day? (gradschools.com)
Social media has its own language. Be sure to become fluent.
A great benefit of social media marketing is the analytics that are available for little to no cost. However, sometimes when evaluating a campaign, it can feel as if you are drowning in data and that more questions are being raised than answers. From understanding what analytics to prioritize to knowing what each metric means, reviewing your work on social media can be far from straightforward. The following tips can serve as a helpful primer on setting your campaign’s goals and properly interpreting the results.
Determine Your Goals
Before you can start evaluating your social media campaigns, you must determine what your goal was in the first place. Was it to drive more people to your website? Develop a broader reach on social media? Cultivate leads for your business? Generate sales? Once you clarify your goal, you’re ready to zero in on which metrics to scrutinize further.
A helpful way to think about which social media metrics to examine is to decide if your campaign is intended to increase awareness or drive action and engagement. Let’s say you are trying to increase awareness of your agency. Some major metrics to look at could include:
- Net follower gains
- Page reach
Impressions capture how many people saw a post on a given platform, while net follower gains describe the number of people who followed your page and are now receiving updates on your activities.
Both are simple to track. You can see impression figures for an individual post with a simple click. If you are looking to track them over time, you can access the built-in analytics on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Follower numbers are also prominently displayed on a user’s profile on each site – allowing for easy review.
Page reach is used on Facebook and describes the total number of unique people who saw your page’s content within a specified time frame. LinkedIn has a similar metric called “page views,” which is the total number of page views in a designated period. To view this metric and collect necessary data, navigate to the analytics platforms within Facebook or LinkedIn. Twitter does not contain a comparable metric, but you can view impression data for your tweets (both individual and cumulative) by visiting https://analytics.twitter.com/ and logging into your account.
These metrics are important for agents to be mindful of, as social media is about building brand identity and fostering community just as much as it is about driving people to your website or inspiring sales. Agents should evaluate how their output on social is resonating, making tweaks to language, messaging and hashtags based on the results they are seeing.
If emotional-based messages are not working, you could try posting about the tangible benefits you can provide to your customers. And if the hashtags you’re incorporating don’t seem to increase the number of people viewing your content, you can always apply a hashtag research tool to improve how your posts are connecting with your audience.
Action or Engagement Metrics
What are the analytics you should focus on if your goal is to drive action with your content? Some pertinent metrics would include:
- Likes and favorites
- Post shares and retweets
- Conversions and click-through rate (CTR)
Not all metrics are created equally. While it can be satisfying to receive likes on a carefully crafted post, they may not do much for your brand or make an impact toward your campaign goal.
Typically, it is more valuable to receive engagement based around a business priority. For example, although sharing or retweeting a post is technically an engagement, it provides the type of organic awareness of an agent’s operations that cannot be matched by your own posting.
Conversions, which means that a user has navigated to your site and performed a specific action, and CTR, which measures how many people have clicked on a link embedded in your post, are usually the most valuable form of engagement. The main social media platforms provide an easy mechanism for tracking CTR. LinkedIn, for instance, offers several metrics (including CTR) to review at the bottom of each post, while Facebook offers a similar array of helpful insights in the same location.
Tracking conversions is a bit more complicated and can require some familiarity with additional technologies like Google Analytics. However, numerous online resources can walk you through how to gauge whether your social media is inspiring the actions you want to see on your website, such as people signing up for consultations or joining your agency’s email list.
Take Advantage of Social’s Power
Social media has changed how people connect, obtain information and conduct business. While these technologies can take some time to master, they can be incredibly advantageous for an agent’s operations. The trick is to have a strong idea of what it is you are trying to accomplish via social media and a firm understanding of how to measure your results. By applying these principles, you will start seeing a positive impact and ultimately make progress toward your business goals.
Put your best foot forward on the world’s largest social platform with these easy-to-implement tips.
You’ve done it. You’ve finally set up a Facebook page for your business. It’s time to leverage the platform’s nearly 2 billion subscribers, engage directly with your customers and promote your products. But before you start crafting your first posts or preparing your weekly hashtags, you must ask yourself a key question: Are the basics of my profile optimized?
If you are brand new to using Facebook for business, the answer is likely no. While it is tempting to immediately start marketing on the platform, it’s critical to not skip optimizing your profile. For many businesses, Facebook is the number one way in which their customers will connect with them and form long-term judgments about their brand. You want to be sure that you are putting your best foot forward by implementing the following tips.
Any Facebook page includes both a profile photo and a cover photo, each of which needs to be formatted correctly. Begin with your profile photo. Typically, for most businesses, this will be your company logo. It is highly recommended that you resize your image before you upload it, as Facebook will compress photos to make them fit the platform’s specifications. For instance, your profile photo will be displayed 170×170 pixels on computers, 128×128 pixels on smartphones and 36×36 pixels on most phones.
Remember that your photo will also be snipped to fit within a circular-shape template that Facebook uses for profile photos. You will need to ensure that your logo image has excess whitespace around it, which will then guarantee that the entirety of your logo shows up within the circle. Utilizing photo editing software like Photoshop or a free online platform like Pixlr can help you make this change.
Your page’s cover photo needs to be approached the same way. The ideal dimensions for your cover photo are 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall for computers and 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall on mobile devices. To make things easier on yourself, seek out an online tutorial. Hubspot’s guide to the Facebook cover photo is particularly helpful and includes a free, downloadable template to help you optimize it.
There are other considerations to keep in mind regarding your profile’s photos. You will want to make sure they accurately reflect your brand. Is your logo the correct version? Do the colors, words and imagery that are in your cover photo fit with your organization’s style guide? Be sure you can answer “yes” to both of these questions before you proceed.
Keep It Fresh and Accurate
Once you have some great-looking photos in place, you’ll need to update your profile’s logistical information. A freshly updated page has become even more important during the coronavirus pandemic, as more people are online than ever before. While you don’t need to necessarily use every field that Facebook offers, you should strongly consider providing responses for the following sections:
- Category: This field will increase your chances of your company showing up in Facebook’s internal search.
- Address, Hours and Additional Contact Info: While always meaningful, these fields have become exponentially more important for businesses during the pandemic. With some customers now limiting their face-to-face engagement with businesses do to health concerns, you will want your customer-base to be aware of any changes to your hours and to know how they can get in touch with you regarding questions or concerns.
- About: This is your opportunity to offer an “elevator pitch” that sums up who you are and what you’re offering. Make it short and succinct. Additionally, consider knitting together your digital presence by providing links to other social profiles and your website.
Don’t Forget Your Call to Action
In addition to its other functionality, Facebook provides what is known as a “call to action” (CTA) button. With a bright blue color, and given its prominent location near the top of a business page, this is another aspect of Facebook that merits careful optimization.
Facebook allows you to modify the button’s text and choose from a variety of different CTAs. You can direct people to click on the button to book an appointment, call you, download an app and much more. Don’t forget to insert a URL into the button and that your URL’s destination aligns effectively with your chosen CTA.
Onward and Upward
Now that you’ve got a fully-optimized profile, you’re truly ready to begin taking advantage of the world’s largest social network. Once you start pulling people into your business page’s orbit by creating great content, they will have everything they need to learn who you are and what you have to offer. From there, it is onward and upward. Continue nurturing your profile. The more work you put in, the more progress you’ll make toward your business goals of achieving greater recognition, reach and additional sales.